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Kojima argues that Japan is acting locally instead of thinking globally

Saturday, 17th March 2012 23:35 GMT By Dave Oshry

A lot has been said recently about the impending doom facing the Japanese game industry. Now, Hideo Kojima has weighed in on the matter.

Speaking to Eurogamer during the Art of Video Games exhibition at the Smithsonian, Kojima-san argued that the issue is that Japanese developers are too focused on the Japanese market and, “Aren’t really aware of what people around the world want.”

He says game creators are acting locally instead of globally and only making games that are, “Targeted at Japan and Japanese cultures.”

Meanwhile, he argues that western developers have achieved success because, “Western studios approach things from more of a Hollywood standpoint where they’re looking at making their games a very global success and looking at how they can sell them in various markets. ”

However, he also states that it’s not strictly about Japan vs. the world:

“The key is it has to be a global game, it has to be something made for everybody. I want to get rid of all those barriers.”

To read the full interview (in which Kojima compares his company to the Starship Enterprise), head over to Eurogamer.

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22 Comments

  1. LOLshock94

    so true

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dark

    Well , with all this FPS games around i can safely say the same thing about western developers.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Talyis

    I agree so many damn shooters, also Japan rarely releases JRPGs anymore, it was huge last gen but this gen is almost non-existant sadly!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. osric90

    West should take Mass Effect’s and Uncharted’s example and Japan Catherine’s and Metal Gear Solid’s.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. LOLshock94

    @3 are you being sarcastic? because there’s to many jrpgs in japan its just most of them never get released over here.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dragon246

    @LOLshock94, THAT is the the most depressing part. JRPGs offers excellent bang for the buck with many games being 40-60 hours long and they are story driven which is rare in western games. These JRPGs instead of going through the useless localisation process should at least release their games in bare bones english (minimal amount of english used like menus in english and english subbed cutscenes) so that at least purists can enjoy those games.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. HighWindXIX

    The West had made great games this generation but I think I will always prefer Japanese games. Give me spiky haired anime cliches over gruff military or stoic space marines any day of the week. Also, we need more JRPGs to make it over here. I agree, just slap English in the menus and give us subtitles and don’t worry about voice acting. Just do what it takes to get these games to the people that want them… I’m looking at you SEGA and Valkyria 3!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. TAG

    If you want your game to be a global hit, then he’s absolutely right. You have to try to appeal to as many people as possible.

    It would be terribly sad if these games with a local character disappeared, though. Games like that are special to those who play them. When you try make a game (or movie or song or book) appeal to as many people as possible, then you must take away things that SOME people don’t like (even if others do like it) and put in a few things that have proven to be really popular (like guns and explosions). It’ll be popular, but it won’t be special.
    (I’m speaking generally of course. “Hollywood” games can be enjoyable and even fantastic.)

    If Japanese developers start making games that appeal on a global scale, they’ll have to follow the same formula as “Hollywood games.” No one will notice or care that a game is from Japan.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. absolutezero

    “If you want your game to be a global hit, then he’s absolutely right. You have to try to appeal to America.”

    I fixed that for you.

    There are plenty of JRPGs out at the moment, its just that not all of them can have the budget of a Square game. So loads of them are released on the PSP, a fair few of those have been brought to the US by XSeed. Theres also all the PS3 JRPGs, not all of which are great. The Atelier series and most of Atlus’ US output. The Tales of series is another example.

    The games exist, its just that they never ever get any press what so ever. Mainly because its so niche that its not worth the internet time to waste on an article.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DrDamn

    He’s right, but at the same time it’s a very good thing. The only thing they should take from Western development is advances in control schemes (see archaic nastiness in Resident Evil and MGS). They should endeavour to keep the games themselves distinctly Japanese flavoured.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Freek

    You see so many FPS games because they are popular on a global scale, rather then just one country.
    But more importantly, it’s not about genres. It’s about adopting modern design priniples when it comes to how people interact with the games. Realizing that the internet exists, making things user friendly, looking at the scale of the game, all of the aspect people expect from a modern game.
    What a large part of japan is doing now is making PS2 games with high res graphics. That isn’t good enough anymore.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Da Man

    Kojima (says)
    Stopped reading here.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. silkvg247

    Sigh. Am I the only one who likes the fact that somebody, somewhere does things differently to the typical neverending American shite?

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DrDamn

    @11
    Yet some of the more innovative uses of the internet in games has been coming from Japan – Demons Souls, Dragons Dogma, Everybodies Golf even. At least they don’t just do a check box list of internet features.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. YoungZer0

    @14: Dragons Dogma isn’t even out yet, so how is it a great example of anything?

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DrDamn

    @15
    There have been previews strangely enough. Sure we don’t know how well it works in practice, but it can still be innovative and influential even if execution isn’t spot on.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. YoungZer0

    @16: So what was so innovative about it?

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DrDamn

    See here for example. http://www.vg247.com/2012/03/01/pawn-system-in-dragons-dogma-inspired-by-itsunos-time-spent-on-bbs-boards/

    The general Japanese approach to online tends to be more conservative and less confrontational. That seems to send them in different and interesting directions. The Western approach is generally more comprehensive, but rarely a key differentiator for the game itself. E.g. Team DM becaause its a shooter and therefore should have TDM. It’ll tick all the boxes for playing with friends and comms etc, but isn’t doing much actually different to anything else out there. That’s not to say there isn’t interesting stuff out there in western releases, just more often than not its bog standard, or the interesting part is a side dish rather than thrust front and centre.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. gotee

    I don’t really see a big issue here. A game cannot and should not be made for everyone.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. YoungZer0

    @18: From what i understand it’s kind of like Pokémon. You have Pawns, they help you and you can rent them.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. DrDamn

    Its like support characters, but you can make them available to other people to use. The benefit to you being the experience and knowledge they gain whilst working for other players.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. stealth

    Hes an idiot…………differentiation and globalization are enemies…………japan needs to keep doing what its doing

    And in the case of japanese rpgs theres more than ever

    And just like any other gen, ALOT dont get localized

    Its how its ALWAYS been

    “What a large part of japan is doing now is making PS2 games with high res graphics. That isn’t good enough anymore.”

    And what the west is doing is making generic pieces of crap………….see how hurtful words can be?

    #22 2 years ago

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