Hideo Kojima seems to think Japanese developers should stop worrying about trying to make globally appealing games.
“Do we really need to succeed worldwide? That’s what I’m really wondering about,” the Metal Gear Solid creator asked, according to 1UP’s translation of an interview in this week’s Famitsu.
“Everyone talks about overseas, overseas, but nobody’s really thinking about what needs to be done if we want to succeed.”
Kojima seems to feel that if Japanese developers want to make Western blockbusters, they need to create entirely separate teams for the task.
“If you’re trying to break out overseas, then I think the only way is to divide your development teams between the Japanese and global markets,” he said.
“It’s impossible to encompass it in a single group – everything needs to be separate, down to the office and pay structure.”
Kojima seems to feel preference in games is the real dividing factor, having said that “it doesn’t matter what nationality the team is” so much as what types of games they enjoy.
“Americans like games where you have a gun and you’re shooting at space aliens. If you don’t understand why that’s fun, then you shouldn’t be making games for the world market; you don’t need to.
“I mean, Japanese people might say ‘Why space aliens?’, but Americans will counter with ‘What’s with these games featuring these feminine-looking boys fighting in Japan with these huge swords?’ It’s no wonder the target audience for a lot of games is getting so compartmentalized.”
Development in technology could change this, Kojima noted, commenting that Kojipro’s new Fox engine will allow for games to be built “more intuitively as well as far more efficiently”.
“That’s the way games are normally developed overseas, but we just didn’t have that,” he said.
It’s a revolution which he believes the West embraces in the last generation.
“In the 8-bit days, you had to symbolize a lot of things and make gamers follow certain rules. In the West, that did a complete 180 starting with the PS2.
“It’s no longer the game designer’s job to think up the rules; his job is to dissect gamers’ preferences and build a world they can get addicted to.”