Kojima Productions’ Jordan Amaro has said the Japanese games industry has not “gotten worse”, as Mega Man and Mighty No. 9 creator Keiji Inafune claimed this week, and suggested detractors might do better to stop ‘complaining to journalists’ and get to work making it better.
In a chat with Gamespot, Amaro disagreed with Inafune’s position.
“It’s not gotten worse. That kind of comment used to be relevant a couple of years ago but many companies are recovering, and have made tough strategic decisions that will pay off soon,” he said.
“I can assure you that everyone here is aware of how painful the current gen has been to Japan, but I see the Renaissance around the corner. Stop dramatizing and start working on it like we are,” he added.
“Sure it’s not easy, but do you hear us complain to journalists every few months? Discretion, humility, and hard work are the way to go about this.”
Amaro said Inafune’s complaints are demoralising, and paint an inaccurate picture of the Japanese development scene. He said that although not every western production habit is “good, productive, or even adaptable to a Japanese work environment”, Japanese developers are aware of international processes and are incrementally updating their own. Japanese companies are also hiring from other countries, Amaro added; PS4 lead system architect Mark Cerny, for example.
It’s not like the western games industry is perfect, he went on.
“There’s no question we need a Japanese regain in the game market, especially in AAAs. I’m personally suffocating from the lack of creativity and subtlety exhibited during the last few years in Western AAAs,” Amaro said.
“A lot of them have become recipes, where a spreadsheet game design is bluntly applied to the environment with little consideration to the actual experience, removing any sense of discovery and magic. But hey, they sell millions right, so who’s to blame?”
The full interview includes some interesting comments on the difference in how games are perceived on both sides of the international divide, among other observations.
Amaro worked at Crytek and 2K Czech before landing a designer role at Kojima Productions.