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Team Ninja: Japanese devs must look beyond "Hollywood" games

Yosuke Hayashi believes Japanese industry must continue to play to its strengths to stay relevant

Team Ninja boss Yosuke Hayashi has warned of the dangers of Japanese developers attempting to emulate popular North American games.

In an interview with Gamasutra, Hayashi noted that Japanese games were almost entirely absent from the E3 press conferences, but that could suggest a way forward for the country's developers.

"Maybe if the industry is going for that Hollywood blockbuster direction, we can offer something that's different," he said. "That's Hollywood, but we can still offer solid entertainment, and make sure that it reaches the people that are looking for that solid entertainment."

Hayashi led the development of Ninja Gaiden III, which was widely regarded as a failed attempt to reach the widest possible audience. The finished product was "a Japanese hamburger for the West" that under-performed both critically and commercially.

Hayashi believes that this is broadly representative of the Japanese industry's desire to remain relevant on the international stage. However, misguided experiments like Ninja Gaiden III will lead it in a new and more constructive direction.

"All Japanese developers are right now treading water, and doing everything they can just to basically stay above water... We feel that, actually, you're going to get an answer coming from that, because everybody is so desperate to stay there and stay alive that you're going to get answers for how to move forward and how to make things work in the future."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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