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Western games vs Japanese games

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:32 pm
by C=Style
You have to admit that over the years console games from the West have certainly come leaps and bounds with most big exclusive names hailing from this side of the globe. Yet I remember a time when all the best games were made in Japan and most Western ones were quite poor in comparison.

Hideo Kojima commented on the decline of Japanese gaming at the Tokyo Games show just gone, saying: "If you honestly compare Japanese games with Western ones, Japan has lost."

Continuing, Kojima stated that the Western game industry system is closer to Hollywood in that the best creators from all over the world are brought together and given large budgets for the projects. Kojima also called this current situation "dangerous" with discussing how far the West has come — especially with how far Western development tech has come in the last few years.

What spurred him to say this and why do you think the tables have turned? and do you maybe see the decline getting even worse over the years until Japan isn't a major videogame developing nation anymore?

Let's have look at the BIG games for this Xmas run up:

Fable 2 (Western)
Gears of War 2 (Western)
Little Big planet (Western)
Dead Space (Western)
Saints Row 2 (Western)
Fallout 3 (Western)
Banjo Kazooie Nuts 'n Bolts (Western)


When you look at it like this, what the hell is going on?

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:04 pm
by liveinabin
I think Japan is just doing what it always has, making very japanese videogames. Now, sometimes these are in vogue in the west, but increasingly not, especially at the moment. Japan's game industry is really going through a funny patch at the moment, isn't it? They've got the very well defined game types that are still wildly popular at home (turn-based RPGs, strategy RPGs..) so they've got to keep making them.
Meanwhile, the west, that has been stuck in the FPS genre for too long, has started to diversify and western game publishers are really doing some wonderful stuff. We've really lost the incentive to stick with Japanese games.

It used to be that Japanese games were better, cooler and more original than western titles (I think many of us have at least considered importing a console at some time to play the hot new releases) but, apart from a few notable exceptions, that's no longer the case.

Still, I'm sure the Japanese videogame industry can exist quite happily just serving itself. I'm very sure the big games in Japan this season are very different titles from the ones you listed.

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:04 pm
by Antiriad2097
I remember when Japan barely made a dent in my gaming. Most of my Speccy games were European and a fair chunk of C64 stuff was too, with a slice of US for good measure. Europe has always had strong games imho.

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:28 pm
by C=Style
liveinabin wrote: Still, I'm sure the Japanese videogame industry can exist quite happily just serving itself. I'm very sure the big games in Japan this season are very different titles from the ones you listed.
Good point, different games for different markets, but the problem being that gaming as a business in Japan (which is surely one of it's biggest economic revenues through export) will dwindle as they play second fiddle to the Western big name games. Games like Metal Gear Solid 4 and Resident Evil are very much geared towards Western tastes for example, what happens when we start to do survival horror and stealth bigger and better, look at Dead Space for example and compare it to the new Silent hill, which excites you more?

TBH as time has progressed I find Japanese games too rigid in design, although aesthetically appealing I find many of the games quite stale and lacking true innovation or freedom that many Western games this (and last) gen have brought to the table.

I guess one genre that is truly Japanese to the point that no-one does it better is Turn based RPG's. There will always be a market for these I'm sure, but even this genre is seriously stuck in the mud and almost look ridiculous when compared against the scope of other WRPG's like Mass Effect and Oblivion IMO.

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:32 pm
by C=Style
Antiriad2097 wrote:I remember when Japan barely made a dent in my gaming. Most of my Speccy games were European and a fair chunk of C64 stuff was too, with a slice of US for good measure. Europe has always had strong games imho.
Yeah I know what u mean, but I was talking about console games as a whole, not computer or PC games.

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:51 pm
by PSXPlayer
Amerikan PR teams convinced all the cool kids space-marines were aces.

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:35 am
by Antiriad2097
Space Marines are aces. You never play Warhammer 40k as a kid?

I'd rather play as a Space Marine than a pointy hatted feminine elf boy or an angsty kid. Or a moustachioed italian plumber come to think of it.

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:27 am
by HEAVYface
i'm not really interested in any of the big games you have on the list at the top of the page.

my games collection is 95% japanese, mostly 2d or nintendo stuff on the cube or ds. the only western developed games i do own are 3d and on the cube (rogue leader, burnout and the like).

i think the percieved difference is FPS's which for some reason are big news in the west (i hate them...) but don't go down well in japan. i think japanese developers struggle with getting all the action, precision and excitement they got into 2d stuff in 3 dimensions (racing games excluded...)

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:43 am
by ShadowMan
I still enjoy a good blend of both Western and Japanese games. My favorite games of this last year have included Call of Duty 4 (Western), Warriors Orochi 2 (Japanese), GTA IV (Western) and Yakuza 2 (Japanese) and Megaman 9 (Japanese). It does depend on the developers though, Capcom and Sega have a load of games coming out in the next year that I am looking foward to (Resident Evil 5, Yakuza 3, Mad World etc.).
Oh, and Silent Hill 5 was farmed out to a western company and isn't developed by Konami of Japan :wink:

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:49 am
by Coopdevil
Decline of the arcades? That always seemed to be where the Japanese games originated and filtered down to home systems from, but the last example of that was possibly Sega in DC period. I wonder if it's a little bit like how the world-leading British motorsport industry who suffer if F1 just vanished overnight.

I remember reading once that FPS don't go down well in Japan because of a tendency amongst Japanese to suffer motion sickness. I don't know if that's true or not, after all once upon a time the British Army reckoned the Japanese would never attack at night as they all suffered from poor night vision and that turned out to be "they are different to us" inspired nonsense.

Another point that occurs to me is that both Xboxes benefited from the ease of porting from Windows and this has skewed the market in the favour of Western developers with a background in PC development.

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:03 am
by David
the Fire Pro game I ordered yesterday is the only jap game I have ever ordered in my life

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:30 am
by Matt_B
I wouldn't sweat on it; they might be in vogue at the moment but I bet the games chart in Japan usually has few Western games in it for the most part too. :wink:

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:29 am
by Spooky
There are so many Japanese games that we never even heard of, but sell like hot bread in the land of the rising sun...
Sure, they used to have perhaps a few more games at the top of the charts, but it's only logical that given the recent expansion of the video game industry in the West, that we now have more Western titles.

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:48 am
by sleeper77
If you take a look at Monster Hunter Freedom on the PSP, that game has sold superbly well in Japan, somewhere on the same scale as GTA4 in the West. My view is that the game is too repetitive with the same old fighting sequence and lack of depth, but in Japan that is the sort of games they like. Maybe thats how they view GTA4 over there whilst here we were worshipping it as the most incredible game ever done. Check out the Japanese gaming chart each week, and try to identify any games in the top 10 that are popular in the West which will be not many. So a difference between Western/Eastern gaming culture still and will continue to exist which won't help the Japanese games market in selling over here.

Re: Western games vs Japanese games

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:44 am
by gmintyfresh
C=Style wrote:You have to admit that over the years console games from the West have certainly come leaps and bounds with most big exclusive names hailing from this side of the globe. Yet I remember a time when all the best games were made in Japan and most Western ones were quite poor in comparison.

Hideo Kojima commented on the decline of Japanese gaming at the Tokyo Games show just gone, saying: "If you honestly compare Japanese games with Western ones, Japan has lost."

Continuing, Kojima stated that the Western game industry system is closer to Hollywood in that the best creators from all over the world are brought together and given large budgets for the projects. Kojima also called this current situation "dangerous" with discussing how far the West has come — especially with how far Western development tech has come in the last few years.

What spurred him to say this and why do you think the tables have turned? and do you maybe see the decline getting even worse over the years until Japan isn't a major videogame developing nation anymore?

Let's have look at the BIG games for this Xmas run up:

Fable 2 (Western)
Gears of War 2 (Western)
Little Big planet (Western)
Dead Space (Western)
Saints Row 2 (Western)
Fallout 3 (Western)
Banjo Kazooie Nuts 'n Bolts (Western)


When you look at it like this, what the hell is going on?
It's been a great year for Japanese gaming:

Soul Calibur 4 (Japanese)

Ninja Gaiden 2 (Japanese)

Devil May Cry 4 (Japanese)

Metal Gear Solid 4 (Japanese)

Smash Brothers Brawl

No More Heroes

To name a few :)