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State Of The Japanese Gaming Industry |

“Personally when I looked around [at] all the different games at the TGS floor,” Capcom’s Ben Judd translated Inafune, “I said ‘Man, Japan is over. We’re done. Our game industry is finished.'”

  After the Tokyo Game Show this year the famed Mega Man creator had nothing positive  to say about the state of the Japanese gaming indusrty. Speaking to a crowd of attendees he asked what they thought of TGS ’09  and expressed his dissappointment in this years line-up. However, Inafune did take the time  to note that Capcom’s upcoming title Dead Rising 2 will be one  “kick ass” game emerging from Japan, eventhough it’s being handled by Canadian studio Blue Castle Games.

Is the Japanese gaming industry really  falling behind? 

 Right now the most innovative game to grace this gen was developed by Media Molecule, a small European studio.  Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, even praised the critically acclaimed PS3 exclusive Little Big Planet.  The action-adventure genre has been pushed to new heights by the American company, Naught Dog with Uncharted 2 and it took only 18 months to do so.  French studio Quantic Dreams is said to be  pushing the story telling  envelope with their upcoming title, Heavy Rain.

The only game I’ve played so far  that’s come out of Japan and has taken me by surprise is FROM SOFTWARE’s Demon’s Souls. Konami’s MGS4 offered nothing new in terms of gameplay. Neither did Capcom’s Devil May Cry 4 or Resident Evil 5.  Square Enix’s attempts to ‘expand into the western market’  by releasing mediocre games have failed as well.

Was Inafune  exaggerating a bit only to prove his point, or is  their trouble ahead for the Japanese gaming indusrty?

  • JimmyMagnum

    I think its the gaming industry as a whole. No one is taking chances on new IPs and innovations in gameplay are taking a back seat to graphics and visuals (well, the Wii tries to innovate gameplay, but most of their games are shovelware). I also think it’s all this multiplayer gaming that is devolving storylines because there’s been a lot of focus on that as opposed to a robust and memorable single player experience. I think the gaming industry peaked during the PS2’s heyday.

  • Darrin

    I would challenge this notion that Japanese studios dominated the gaming industry in the past.

    OK, they did dominate the old 8/16-bit era consoles and arcade machines, but in the home computer game world, almost all games were made by American/European studios.

    2009 is probably the first year that my favorite game was made by Japanese devs: Demon’s Souls. Patapon 2 was pretty good as well.

  • I disagree. Nintendo is the company that dragged the gaming industry out of the brink of extention in ’85 after the American companies destroyed it in ’83. Sony took it a step further with the Playstation. That’s where all the big hits and fresh ideas from the Japanese come out, during the PS1,PS2 era.

    The big Japanese devs have been playing it safe this gen by releasing HD versions of the 20th installment of a series with no innovation instead of releasing anything fresh. The only few gems I can think of have been Demon’s Souls, Folklore, White Knight Chronicles and Lost Planet.