Keita Takahashi calls Japanese games sector a “zombie” that focuses on sequels too much

Tuesday, 23rd November 2010 17:36 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi believes the Japanese game industry is in a bit of a sad state, and has suggested the sector does its best work after it has hit a downward slope.

Speaking with GamesTM magazine, Takahashi said the industry in Japan needs “an injection of life” to get it out of its zombie state, and start making more “genuine, original games”.

“I think the Japanese industry is like a zombie,” he said. “We don’t know what to do until we’re at the very bottom, and only then can we start looking at where things are going wrong.

“When we go down, we see new technology like PlayStation Move and things pick up a bit. We never hit rock-bottom, and it’s like a zombie that never dies. It needs an injection of life. I think in Japan there’s too much a focus on sequels. There are too few genuine original games being made and, for me, that is why Japanese gaming is not doing so well at the moment.”

Takahashi left Namco Bandai back in September after starting to feel as if he “didn’t belong there anymore”.

He’s now overseeing the re-design of a park in Nottingham, and works at his studio Uvula, which he co-founded with his spouse back in October.

Thanks, Develop.



  1. Gekidami

    Its not that they’re too focused on sequels, western devs are like that to (even more so imo). Its that Japanese devs are loading off their franchises to cheap western studios that make rubbish.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. osric90

    Western are fuckin’ up sequels (Silent Hill, now DMC I’m afraid…). Japanese ones were always good and ejoyable, even if they were FAILS in ocassions (DMC2) they still knew what to do next, not screw up. But let’s not generilize. Quantum Theory, not a sequel but a SHITTY game…and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a sequel but the greatest adventure you can have. Japanese are too quiet this generation, hope this changes soon.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Herlock

    Demon’s Souls need more sequels yu’re right…!

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Hellequin

    seems to me that some commenters are that “western sucks, i luv animanga and everything from japan is great”.

    btw, keita is right, japanese games sequels sells to a limited market like those “japan culture fans”. To me, those FF and its unlimited sequels seems boring, not to mention others series sucessful 10 years ago… and now didnt sells well anymore…

    if its not selling, maybe they need stop and see that the way they create/develop, is not working anymore… time to change, guys.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Suikoden Fan

    as long as the games were atleast up to 5′s standard i would gladly have sequal after sequal of suikoden, no game does what that game does

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Gekidami

    If you’re referring to me then you’re quite wrong. I cant stand most of the stuff thats came out of Japan no matter what it is. But its undeniable that Japans quest to ‘westernize’ their games has ruined some of their best franchises.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. xino

    it’s because of game designers and directors!
    Japan needs fresh minds or legendary creators and directors!
    People like Shinji mikami, Itagaki, suda 51, rez creator, bayonetta creator etc to create new games.

    Those guys are the ones who bring new IP’s all the time, and they are also fresh though retaining familiar elements from their previous games.

    Namco are FARKING IDIOTS! They are the ones abusing the f*king sequels. Every single time we keep seeing new fighting DBZ game that brings nothing new. When will we see a new DBZ game under a different genre?
    Tales of Xilian will soon be announced, another trash Tales Sequel. They will not make a new IP but keep making trash sequels!

    Japanese industry is dying just like PC gaming!

    #7 4 years ago
  8. OlderGamer

    Its because the western market is bigger then the eastern one. At this point anyway. And JP doesn’t understand western povs and cultures.

    IMO JP almost never inovates anyways, they tweak. They take a concept and improve it and make it their own. I love it when a JP dev is asked what inspired him with his new game, and he says another game. Basicly he ripped it off.

    They Sonic Team did that with Phantasy Star Online. They played Diablo. Liked it. One of the lead guys(forgot his name) was said to nearly be addicted to Diablo. His next game was PSO on the DreamCast. PSO is basicly Diablo …in space, with JP flavor/style thrown in for good measure.

    I love Phantasy Star Online, btw, but it has spawned 10 sequals and graced 8 different systems. Work is now getting underway for a outright reboot of of the franchise with PSO2 for what is looking like the PS3/PC/xbox360.

    This happens all of the time. And yes to some degree it happens across all dev regions. But JP is caught in a rut. All they can seem to do is rehash the same old ideas. Their RPGs(opnce the crown holders of the Game World) are terribly redundant and cliche. With FF they have even tried to capture the essance of World Of Warcraft, but they failed. They don’t understand why the bulk of players play WoW. Don’t ask them to make a FPS.

    I don’t know. I just don’t think the JP industry can right itself by hiring cheap western studios to reimagine their same ole franchise. I figure the answer has to come from within JP. But maybe as China and India emearge with more promenance the market for their products will grow.

    #8 4 years ago

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