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PlatinumGames: "Most games from anywhere aren't good"

International co-ordinator Jean Kellams starts discussion on Japanese game design

Jean Kellams, PlatinumGames' international co-ordinator and writer, took to Twitter last night to share his thoughts on the issue of Japanese game design, and argued sometimes a bad game is just a bad game, wherever it's from.

"The problems with Japanese games aren't that they are JPN games or that they are Westernised games," he said.

"The problems with JPN games are simple: Most of them aren't very good games. People don't buy those. Most games from anywhere aren't good. That's why exceptional means exceptional."

He continued over a series of tweets, going on to explain that finance also had a major role to play.

"Most Japanese publishers/developers can't invest money/manpower enough to compete with exceptional Western productions. Risk is too high. It costs money and sweat to make things stand out, but it also raises the risk. Then marketing is crazy expensive after that."

He said both countries had the capacity for making great, and not so great games, and what was important was the execution of the ideas. Part of this for Japanese developers was reducing "friction" which stemmed from wanting to ensure players didn't miss anything.

"Culturally, Japanese design is about being inclusive. They don't want anyone left behind, so they will add friction to an experience. Except then you move at the pace of the slowest one in a group. It bogs the experience down for people who already get it," explained Kellams.

He said it was like going to Macdonalds, ordering a hamburger, and having the precise components of a hamburger explained to you.

"Western games stop when the user says hamburger. They assume that user intent is initially correct. JPN games should too."

He was replying to a forum discussion on the topic, and the tweets started as replied to comments about recent action title Vanquish.

"Someone posted that Vanquish "failed" because we made the story 'dudebro.' That's weird because it implies that was the intent. For the record, no one ever tried to write the story of Vanquish in any way other than the way we wanted to write the story."

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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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