Forums - Gaming Discussion - Kojima: Japanese developers lack global outlook, technological skills

Eurogamer

The Japanese games industry needs to start making titles that appeal to a global audience rather than just focussing on niche games for domestic customers if it wants to get out of its rut, according to Konami's Hideo Kojima.

Speaking to Eurogamer during a round-table Q&A in Washington DC ahead of the Smithsonian's Art of Video Games exhibition, the Metal Gear Solid creator offered his response to Keiji Inafune's GDC rant about the sorry state of the Japanese industry.

"I think the problem really is more about where people are looking and who they're targeting," said Kojima.

"A lot of creators are just focused on Japan and the Japanese market and aren't really aware of what people around the world want."

He went on to explain that he believes there are three elements that developers need to get right in order to have a global hit: "technology, gameplay and world view."

Kojima argued that Japan is failing to keep up in all three areas.

"Regarding technology, I think in Japan there are less people going abroad, and maybe less people going to, say, M.I.T. and being at the cutting edge of things. From a technology standpoint, I think Japan is lagging behind a bit.

He suggested that that's a problem that can be easily remedied, but the other two issues are potentially more serious.

"The bigger problem is how do you use that technology to create something? When it comes to gameplay, unfortunately a lot of Japanese creators don't really like creating a free experience. Those types of games aren't being made in Japan.

"Regarding world view," he continued, "game creators now are creating games based on the culture they know, targeted at Japan and Japanese cultures. So they set it in places like Shibuya or Shinjuku or somewhere else in Tokyo. And it's not something that appeals to people outside of Japan.

"Because Japan doesn't look outside of it's borders then technologies don't come, creating this vicious cycle."

If developers took a more global view, Kojima argued, they might find it easier to secure bigger budgets.

"The Japanese games industry has fallen to a point where Japanese movies were at as well - these small indie movies set within Japan with a Japanese story done on a low budget. Because the scale is so small we can't get the budget to make it succeed on a global level.

"In contrast to that, most 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.

"From the very beginning they have those goals and are able to get the proper budget and commit the proper technology to it."

Kojima did offer some cause for optimism, however.

"I think that it's still not over. Japan does have the ability to recover from this and get back up to a competitive level, technologically and in other ways.

"I don't want to break this down to a thing where it's Japanese games versus non Japanese games. 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."

He offered up his own studio as an example of a Japanese developer taking a more global view of the industry.

"You can tell from my generation that I've been influenced by Star Trek, so when I think of my studio I think it as the Starship Enterprise. The Enterprise had people from all races - even Vulcans! I want my studio to be like that.

"This is my Enterprise. It just happens that the captain is Japanese and the ship was manufactured by Konami, but it's a multi-cultural staff."

Last month, the studio announced it was looking to recruit Western developers to work on the Metal Gear Solid series.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-03-16-kojima-japanese-developers-lack-global-outlook-technological-skills



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In any of these articles I always press ctrl+f and type Nintendo. After zero results, I move on.

 

Acevil said:
In any of these articles I always press ctrl+f and type Nintendo. After zero results, I move on.

It applies to Nintendo, too. Duct taping consoles together =/= technological skills.



badgenome said:
Acevil said:
In any of these articles I always press ctrl+f and type Nintendo. After zero results, I move on.

It applies to Nintendo, too. Duct taping consoles together =/= technological skills.


I think it requires a lot of technological skill, can you imagine how perfectly the duct taping has to be. Duct taping that good, is beyond current technoligical trends. 

Even the iphone 4 used duct tape, but nintendo did it first. 



 

Nsanity said:

"In contrast to that, most 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.

 


The day this becomes 100% truth and games are Hollywood-like, I will quit gaming. Hollywood has like 3 main stories for movies that are used over and over again. Games already start to feel the same as all the other games of the genre they belong to and I'm sick of all the western success.



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Yea lets all make more FPS, TPS and open world games. No more games like Persona, TWEWY, etc infused with Japanese culture which brought something interesting to the table, but even more COD and Gears of War clones.

Surely that is the way to go forward.

Why is it that people with predominately Japanese taste in games are so defensive. Also, why so derisive of Western games when there are countless masterpieces produced in the West? Kojima speaks the truth in regards to Japanese developers failing on a technical level. I can not remember seeing a visually impressive Japanese game in many years. Additionally, I haven't exactly seen the steady stream of original gameplay concepts that I have come to expect thanks to previous console generations. Finally, Kojima is also correct about Japanese developers failing to appeal to a wider audience. However I disagree with his sentiment that they should try to do so. I personally think that Japanese developers should continue to create unique experiences without Western influence, I just think they should do a much better job of it. Typically they either ignore the Western world which is bad for business (but good for original game design) or they pander to what they think their Western fans want which ends up being uninspired at best and insulting at worst.

ok, i'm not so sure about that. having a global outlook means changing to much of what would make the game unique, having its own identity.

not every game can be a global success, so in that i say make something you're proud of, instead of the industry standard.

we don't need every game following the same model. we need innovative games that change the game, and forces the industry to take more risk.



He is right, most Japanese games this generation suck.

On the PS1/PS2 era it was the opposite. I open my shelve and most games are from japan. Like Onimusha, DMC, FF, MGS, Shadow Hearts, RE, Viewtiful Joe, God Hand, Xenogears, Vagrant Story, Chrono Cross, Legend of Legaia, gran turismo, Legend of Dragoon, etc, etc, etc.

In my PS3 shelve most games are western made like: GOW3, Uncharted, Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, Deus Ex: HR, Mortal Kombat( the best fighting game this generation for me), Assassins Creed, Dragon Age, Fallout, Killzone, Resistance, Heavy Rain, Batman, Red Dead Redemption, GTA, Dead Space, Prince of Persia, Darksiders, etc,etc,etc.

The problem here is that Japanese developers keep doing games like they used to make them in the PS1/PS2 era. Back then, by those standards, most games were AMAZING, but for todayīs they are most of the time a big meh.

Meanwhile western developers keep getting better and better each generation of consoles. And now there are lots of masterpieces (according to my taste).

The main solution here, is not that Japanese developers should develop FPS or TPS, the solution here is that they should change how they see game developing, and the gameplay mechanics. Few studios in Japan are keeping up with the challenge like Kojima Productions, Platinum Games, Capcom (taking the hate aside, itīs games sell really well).

What Kojima says is just the truth, and that is why gaming giants of the past are going to hell, like Sega, SE (Eidos games are saving itīs butt), Namco-Bandai, Tecmo-Koei.

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Nsanity said:

"I think the problem really is more about where people are looking and who they're targeting," said Kojima.

 

So who in the world wanted his movie on a gameconsole??



http://i45.tinypic.com/287dhcz.jpghttp://i50.tinypic.com/1553y14.jpghttp://oi56.tinypic.com/2v16t81.jpghttp://oi39.tinypic.com/5eg9y1.jpg

Face the future.. Gamecenter ID: nikkom_nl (oh no he didn't!!)