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Inafune: The Western audience is turning its back on us

Outspoken developer continues his crusade to save the Japanese games industry

Comcept's Keiji Inafune has sent out yet another distress call on behalf of the Japanese games industry, begging it to wake up, recognise its problems and to begin working with Western developers.

You should tell the truth about Japanese games not being what they used to be," he told Wired.

"Unless they get that criticism, Japanese game creators are just sitting on the glories of the past. They won't get the message that the Western audience is turning its back on us."

The interview follows Inafune's inflammatory talk at this year's GDC, where he made much the same plea for change. As he spoke to Wired he praised Korean and American titles, and pointed out that Japan won't acknowledge that serious competition.

"Right now, Japan believes that other Asian games, and American games, aren't as good as theirs. But across the world, American games are the best-selling and considered the most fun. But Japan's gamers and game creators still won't accept this. This is why Japan can't win."

He praised GREE and DeNA's drive and success, but also suggested they were the exception rather than the rule. And even though he's currently working on a 3DS title, Kaio: King Of Pirates, Infanue still didn't let Nintendo get away unscathed.

"It's always been the big player that's provided great creatives to the world. But lately I feel what they're doing is not very contemporary. They're behind the times a little."

He said the answer was Japan finally accepting it had fallen behind in the race, "when they're embarrassed and they feel obliged to change, it would make a difference," and working with other Western developers.

"It's impossible for Japan to win with just Japanese power. Everybody in Japan should work with foreign developers," he argued.

"Not just paying them money and letting them make whatever they think is good, but really working together, coming up with new ideas together and discussing how to make something brand new. That would result in a chemical reaction in a good way. There's no way that Japan can be on their own anymore."

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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