Inafune tears into Japanese game dev business, calls it a “communist state”

Tuesday, 2nd November 2010 04:22 GMT By Nathan Grayson


Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune may have gotten the hell out of Capcom so fast that his office chair’s still spinning, but that doesn’t mean there’s not time for one last parting jab.

Actually, make that six or seven parting jabs. And then maybe a baseball bat to the face.

“In short, it’s like a communist state. Working as hard as you can is your own loss. Not working hard becomes more advantageous. But doesn’t that get in the way of making games? You can’t make good games by just taking it easy,” Inafune said in an interview with 4Gamer (as translated by NeoGAF).

Granted, Inafune hardly views this as a holy moral crusade. He’s just as guilty as anyone else, he admitted.

“I was in the position of being a naysayer, and yet was assured a paycheck the next month. No matter how much one is late or skips work, or even no matter how lousy a game is made, the next month’s paycheck was always guaranteed,” he explained.

“There are a lot of people who take their company’s commitment for granted and don’t work as hard as they should. This could be said of the entire industry, and of course Capcom is no exception.”

He added that if he tried to do anything “brashly” within Capcom but was met with commercial failure, he’d have been demoted.

Fortunately, Inafune’s world isn’t all doom and gloom. Western developers, consider Inafune your biggest fan.

“There are of course publishers who keep developers ‘like pets’ but overseas there are more independent developers. For them, the goal is to make a hit, grow the company, sell it or do an IPO, and make lots of money. It’s the American Dream,” he said.

Anyone care to hazard a guess where Inafune’s gonna end up next? We feel like he might be trying to tell us something here.



  1. MushroomStamp

    Thats Aweseome! Come on down to the land of the gravy train and hard work. :) Welcome to the American Dream, where hard work can pay off. I wish I had hardworking employees like Keiji. Nothing gets me more upset at the office than seeing others being lazy.

    Now, you gotta produce and actually make great games. Here is your opportunity.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. metamorphic

    What the fuck are you on about? Is that the same country where game developers are routinely overworked to inhumane working conditions?

    Interestingly, Inafune never did much of the ground work on games; he was never a developer, even though he likes to speak about them. He was a character designer; an illustrator promoted only after Capcom lost its most talented creative personnel (Mikami, Inaba et all, the true stars of the studio).

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Kuwabara

    its true thoughm the jap game industry is nowhere near as good as it used to be ps2 era and before. Look what happened this gen, kojima tried to westernise mgs and in my opinion is the least favourite of the series, then final fantasy went the westernised approach and fucked up, devil may cry is doing the same, silent hill and others im sure.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. YoungZer0

    @2: Being a character designer or illustrator means he was a developer, jackass. You’re downgrading everyone who’s working in the industry as an artist.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. manamana

    THQ is recently hiring the heck of the market, so …

    #5 4 years ago
  6. AHA-Lambda

    uh tbftht same interview he mentions he wouldnt work for one of the big boys like ea, ms, acti etc.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Blerk

    He sounds quite cross, doesn’t he? :-)

    #7 4 years ago
  8. James Mac

    I read the interview and thought it sounded like he was fielding a messiah complex.
    He’s hoping to revolutionise the Japanese games industry by going out by himself. I personally think he’s going to wander the desert for a little while and realise that Japan really doesn’t like change… and when he tries to come back to their party he’ll be left out in the cold.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Blerk

    Sort of depends on whether he comes back to the party at all. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him join a Western studio.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. CptKurk

    He calls it a socialist state (not communist) in the original text. Seems the translator wanted to beef it up a little.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Psychotext

    What he’s complaining about is the same worldwide. He’s going to have an unpleasant wake up call unless he starts his own company.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. metamorphic

    Perhaps you’re not familiar with the Japanese definition or context of the word, but a character designer mostly designs the look of the characters; they generally have nothing to do with the coding, programming or creation of the game and/or story. Afterwards, further artists or programmers then work to put those designs into the game or media. So, jackass, the point isn’t semantics but the fact that he is in no real position to comment on “hard work”, considering that he depended on other people to do his work for him anyhow. The true creative forces and geniuses at Capcom were people like Atsushi Inaba and Shinji Mikami, who Inafune is well-known not to have gotten along with (and who forced them to leave Capcom). They are the ones who deserve our respect and whose opinions count, not this attention whore’s.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Fantastic

    Japan has almost always sucked. It was just that they had very little competition. The PS2 weren’t just the twilight for JP games, they were the reason the west won. The pumped out a pile of shit that was so freakishly JP that the west went looking for new games. That created a window for the Xbox to gain a foothold. Between the PS3 launch and Gameboys and PSPs, JP put their own nails in their coffens.

    Whats funny is that some people think it is because their games are going “western” that they failed. They are failing because JP doesn’t know how to do a game that turns western gamers on. Just because you wear boots and cowboy hat don’t mean you can sing country music.

    Japan is lost. Cut off from the rest of the world. And too proud to jump from a sinking ship.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. YoungZer0

    @12: Wow, thanks for clearing up that you have absolutely no idea what an artists job is.

    There is no Pattern to what a Character-Designer does and does not.

    Just because he’s a character designer doesn’t mean he wasn’t a big influence or the main influence on a project. If you had any experience in the field you’d know that there are meetings where people talk about all kind of different things like the art-direction, gameplay mechanics, etc. There is no job like “Idea-Guy”, the ideas mostly come from the team itself, not one person, no matter if you’re a Director or “just” a Character-Designer.

    There are many ways a Character-Designer has to work. Some Director’s are Jackasses. They come to the Designer: “I need a new character, he has to be cool. Bye.” And then it’s the Designers Job to make this Character, to figure out just what the fuck the Director wants. After a few hours the Director approaches the Designer and says: “NO! Jesus, i wanted him to be cool! Do it all over again.”

    Of course there are also cool Director’s, who approach the Designer, talk to him, give useful information and feedback, share passion and care about the topic. But it’s still hard work. As an artistis it’s your job to work on feeling, not instructions. You might have a director who says “I want this character to be really aggressive. The End.” It really is fucking hard, and frustrating, especially because you put a lot of your feelings into it. And if the director feels different about it, be ready to do it again. Programming and Coding, while hard, are completely different jobs.

    If it’s so fucking easy, why don’t you go ahead and Design a Few Characters? I want them to be nice, but aggressive and kind of old-fashion while still young an fresh.

    And btw. he was also a producer, that’s also something completely different.

    #14 4 years ago

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