Silent Hill composer: Maybe Japan "reached the maximum we could achieve"
Akira Yamaoka admits that Japanese gaming development culture is "struggling"
The recently released Sine Mora from Grasshopper Manufacture and Digital Reality has prompted the game's sound designer Akira Yamaoka to reflect on the culture of Japanese game development. Yamaoka, also known for composing Silent Hill's music, admits that Japanese developers are having a tough time adapting to the global games market.
"I think it's true that the Japanese industry is struggling a bit," says Yamaoka. "Maybe we reached the maximum that we could achieve, and we have to admit it. I think that those Japanese people who do not understand cultures overseas will not be able to create entertainment for the global market."
"Creating videogames is a service. If you can't, or don't want, to see and meet users around the world, I don't think it's possible to provide the entertainment they want."
Grasshopper Manufacture collaborated on Sine Mora with Hungarian-based Digital Reality, showing signs that Japanese developers are opening up to collaboration opportunities with studios from around the world. Digital Reality creative director Theodore Reiker believes that this collaborative effort has been instrumental in boosting creative and expanding budgets.
"The Japanese videogame ruled the world for many years, but times are changing," added Reiker. "The middle-class of game development is struggling everywhere."
"Japanese creators are still making fantastic and fresh games… but just like Europe lost cinema after the first few decades to Hollywood, so Japan has lost videogames to the blockbusters and social networks. It'll be interesting to see how they adapt."