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Let's talk Japan

TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Games and Technology
I don't think anybody would object to the claim that Japan has lost it's iron clad dominance over gaming this gen, but I think broad claims like "japan sux" really misses the point of the discussion. I'd say that Japan's diminishing role in console gaming has more to do with the West's rise, while Japan's consumer focus has shifted to niche markets whose spending power outweighs traditional mass-appeal product. I read an interesting article explaining that, as Japan's economy has slumped, the spending habits of niche groups such as Otaku, Gyaru, and Yankii cultures, who continue to buy en masse in order to maintain social pecking order within those groups has shifted the focus of Japan's media producers which has affected the output of everything from film to fashion to especially video games. It's an interesting point to consider.

For the most part, the main players today in Japanese gaming are:

-Sega
-Capcom
-Konami
-Namco
-Square Enix

Let's just leave Nintendo out of this, because they're an outlier, probably the only big Japanese producer who still produces content with true global aspirations, and as such they don't really contribute much to this conversation (i.e. "Japanese gaming hasn't slumped, just look at Nintendo!" ignores the problems faced by the majority of Japanese game companies). For the most part, the above companiese are still major players in both the developer sphere, as well as the publisher sphere. I think a lot of people overlook the importance of publishing these days. For example, Sega today handles all of EA's publishing in Japan, and Capcom publishes loads of western content in japan as well (Halo, for example).

So, with regards to the above companies, what are your thoughts about their output today? Both with regards to publishing, and developing? It's no secret that virtually all of the above companies are making big pushes into the western market, with Square-Enix probably having the biggest success due to their acquisition of Eidos. Digital space has also become an increased focus for the above, with Sega devoting an entire division of their company (Sega West) to DD this generation. How do you feel about Japan today?

EDIT: On the subject of publishing, what was the last blockbuster publishing deal Konami inked? Because, best as I can remember, it was when they brought Ys VI over... back in like 2006.

TheSonicRetard on
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Posts

  • DarmaniDarmani Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    You've pretty much said all I know.

    Its a different market in Japan. Handhelds are the mainstream all ages focus, not consoles. Various property (that isn't all pervy stuff either) sells there but would have zilch appeall as far as Taiwan or Korea in some cases say nothing of relatively less alike Western market. and yes the rise of Western publishers and developers aided by the PC to Console migration and indie explosion to which we should be thanking Microsoft but everyone will praise Steam and GoG and so on instead has ultimately reasserted a more familiar and approachable set of ip and traditions and ideas.
    Crappy RPG Deus Ex Machina endings have always been a problem in the last month thanks to unparallel communication with companiesthat not only care but in local reach gamers can feel entitled to demand they stop being one. good or bad its a thing and not a totally bad thing but not something japanese can as easily do coming for different concerns and market realities and that's ignoring that the japan rox or suxs is market perception and thus a force of influence of communicating and altering markets in the industry. So yea the japan sux stuff IS relavent because the distrubition of that idea has a correlation with the market value of japanese products and services that are judged in that light.

    Japan has noticed this about a lot remember Utada? She's not died or anything but she was all set to be this major cross international appeal but couldn't pull it off because she wanted to be a big popstar not just niche anime dweeb idol. Admittedly when Rain only has semi-popular presence we have an issue with crossover of Asian entertainers expanding in the forefront. Behind the scenes is a different story. Choreagraphy, cinematography and lots of IP are a regular lovein. But there is a difficulty between being the.. uhm Rhianna of Japan and trying to do that in America.

    Admittedly this isn't just with Japan to the US stuff. My brother a major sports enthusiast has noted while the players are better than ever the role model/superstars are remarkably the same guys or ever shrinking list. So that diversification with no one true blockbuster is a thing now in the US as well. I like to say internet has robbed us of the mystique of the celebrity as has the constant news cycle and manufacture of them too damned fast. It may also be matter of generational incongruity the largest pop phenomenon's have originated or responded to net culture which is harder to market.

    Darmani on
  • EVOLEVOL Registered User regular
    I'm going to focus on the development side of 3 out of the 5 companies here. The reason for leaving out two producers is because I don't have enough knowledge or feelings of their output.

    Their main console output has been lacking compared to the last gens, that much is undeniable. Out of those 5 companies, the only one that seemed to have adapted to the HD generation in terms of tech with minimal problems is Capcom. Their business practices are sleazy and the rampant outsourcing is quite annoying, but they also developed their own engine, MT Framework which has been used for all of their high-profile games with great success. However, executive meddling in this company seems to be extremely prevalent, and the mass exodus of talent is worrying. And while it's difficult to see how much of an impact that this will make, their business practices and handling of old franchises is slowly but surely building them a large amount of animosity from gamers.

    Konami... Now I must ask what has happened to these people? There only notable output that they release these days consists exclusively of Metal Gear. And while I don't follow sports game too much, from what I gather Pro Evolution Soccer/Winning Eleven has been stolen of it's crown of the football game to FIFA. I just can't understand what caused this massive drop in output and quality.

    Personal opinions on the quality of the game itself, FFXIII showed that Square Einx is massively mismanaged. The postmortem on the game cites a lack of a shared vision for a terribly long time and overspecialization due to an overly traditional team structure as problems. Basically, they had no fucking idea on how the game was going to play like until they made a demo for the FFVII:AC blu-ray. There was also heaps of problems that arised from communication between departments that slowed down the development process to a crawl. And about FFXIV? The less said about that game the better. It was made in a void, and it shows. It was also developed for 5 goddamn years. No excuses.

  • DusdaDusda is ashamed of this post Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Well I think we can ignore publishers for this argument, since I don't think that is what people are referring to when they talk about the death of Japanese gaming. Yea, companies like Sega publish a bunch of stuff for us in Japan, but we do the same stuff here for them, so meh. The real discussion lies with the developers. I'll focus on console games here and ignore the PC side for a moment.

    Looking at my shelf of games this generation is pretty telling; I own about 40 games for the 360/PS3, not counting XBLA/PSN releases. Of them Chromehounds, Super Street Fighter 4, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Resident Evil 5 and FFXIII as the ones developed in Japan. That's a pretty weak list, especially from what that ratio used to be in previous generations.

    The few PS2/PS1 games I still have (a lot were misplaced/lost/stolen in a past move) are completely the other way around. My PS1 collection is basically Square/Konami/Capcom's entire release library. My PS2 is mostly Kojima Productions, Team Ico, Capcom, and Konami. Also, basically everything Nintendo made from the N64 era to the end of the GameCube I either bought or at least borrowed from friends.

    I guess a lot of it (for me) has to do with surviving franchises, and where the studios have gone this generation. I lost interest in Final Fantasy when X came out (FFXIII was a failed attempt to get into the series again) and with that, I also lost most of the JRPG genre. Capcom's followup to the Capcom Five has basically been "lets copy/paste Resident Evil 4 for a decade", and excluding my time with Street Fighter 4 I haven't played a fighting game with any regularity since Smash Melee some 5 years ago. Team Ico hasn't released a damn thing in six years. Nintendo forgot about me, and I haven't bought a game from them since Metroid Prime 3 (which was from a western developer anyway!). I still buy anything Kojima Productions makes, leaving them as the only consistent Japanese developer for me since 1998 (fun fact, MGS1 was released in Japan on my birthday).

    This generation, my games have been crafted by the likes of EA, 2K, Ubisoft, Rockstar, Bioware, Rocksteady, DICE, Bungie, Microsoft, Remedy, Naughty Dog, Epic, Infinity Ward and Eidos. I can't remember what the last new Japanese franchise I bought into was, but a glance at my library shows several from the West: Gears, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Batman. Then you have the older, established series' like Splinter Cell, Halo, GTA, and Call of Duty, all of which have gotten plenty of love this cycle.

    To sum it up, other than Kojima's stuff I just don't seem to give a shit about anything Japan develops anymore.

    Dusda on
    and this sig. and this blog..
  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    I don't know how much the change in Japan is to blame, but my tastes have shifted significantly from the PS2 (my first console since the Genesis) to now. The only Japanese games I've bought are both reissues of games I already knew I liked (Front Mission 3 so I could play it on PSP and Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions (because I wanted the upgraded version).

    I'd like to say that as my life has changed I've had less time for JRPGs (which I loved in college) but my save file from Fallout 3 shows that when I want to pour time into a thing I'll find it.

    steam_sig.png
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Dusda wrote: »
    Well I think we can ignore publishers for this argument, since I don't think that is what people are referring to when they talk about the death of Japanese gaming. Yea, companies like Sega publish a bunch of stuff for us in Japan, but we do the same stuff here for them, so meh.

    I disagree. Publishing is indeed a major part of these companies porfolios. Look at sega's work with Obsidean, or Platinum Games, or Tri-ace. Those are arguably a large part of their companies porfolios. I think the problem is that people don't think of publishing in the broad sense - publishing is anything that a game company puts out that they themselves do not develop. this doesn't infer that the company doesn't fund, produce, or own the IPs in question, only that a third party company has developed it separate from the company that is putting it on the shelves. Examples would be Capcom's Bionic Commando by Grin, or DmC by Ninja Theory. In those instances, Capcom was the producer (i.e. funded the development) and the publisher, but they were not the developer. Choosing the right developer to handle a companies IPs is just as important as developing the game itself. Sega owns Bayonetta for example - they can create Bayonetta 2 without Platinum. but they won't. Komani's choice of Platinum to develop Metal Gear Rising is another great example of a major japanese company acting as a great publisher.

    Also, you said you own some Eidos stuff... that's Square-enix.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • DusdaDusda is ashamed of this post Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Dusda wrote: »
    Well I think we can ignore publishers for this argument, since I don't think that is what people are referring to when they talk about the death of Japanese gaming. Yea, companies like Sega publish a bunch of stuff for us in Japan, but we do the same stuff here for them, so meh.

    I disagree. Publishing is indeed a major part of these companies porfolios. Look at sega's work with Obsidean, or Platinum Games, or Tri-ace. Those are arguably a large part of their companies porfolios. I think the problem is that people don't think of publishing in the broad sense - publishing is anything that a game company puts out that they themselves do not develop. this doesn't infer that the company doesn't fund, produce, or own the IPs in question, only that a third party company has developed it separate from the company that is putting it on the shelves. Examples would be Capcom's Bionic Commando by Grin, or DmC by Ninja Theory. In those instances, Capcom was the producer (i.e. funded the development) and the publisher, but they were not the developer. Choosing the right developer to handle a companies IPs is just as important as developing the game itself. Sega owns Bayonetta for example - they can create Bayonetta 2 without Platinum. but they won't. Komani's choice of Platinum to develop Metal Gear Rising is another great example of a major japanese company acting as a great publisher.

    Also, you said you own some Eidos stuff... that's Square-enix.
    Yea, but I don't really care who backs a project to get it on the shelf. What matters to me is the author. To use a film example, I don't give a shit about 20th Century Fox: I care about James Cameron or Ridley Scott. Much of the Japanese-published western studio collaborations (on Japanese IP anyway) have been fraught with peril. Look at anything Silent Hill: Homecoming or Downpour (the latter was European, but basically the same result). Square-Enix is basically alive because of Eidos' work recently, most of which they were working on before they were acquired anyway.

    Japanese companies investing in western development doesn't count; my point is primarily aimed at their domestic development, which by and large has become niche at best in the minds of your average American gamer.

    Dusda on
    and this sig. and this blog..
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Dusda wrote: »
    Dusda wrote: »
    Well I think we can ignore publishers for this argument, since I don't think that is what people are referring to when they talk about the death of Japanese gaming. Yea, companies like Sega publish a bunch of stuff for us in Japan, but we do the same stuff here for them, so meh.

    I disagree. Publishing is indeed a major part of these companies porfolios. Look at sega's work with Obsidean, or Platinum Games, or Tri-ace. Those are arguably a large part of their companies porfolios. I think the problem is that people don't think of publishing in the broad sense - publishing is anything that a game company puts out that they themselves do not develop. this doesn't infer that the company doesn't fund, produce, or own the IPs in question, only that a third party company has developed it separate from the company that is putting it on the shelves. Examples would be Capcom's Bionic Commando by Grin, or DmC by Ninja Theory. In those instances, Capcom was the producer (i.e. funded the development) and the publisher, but they were not the developer. Choosing the right developer to handle a companies IPs is just as important as developing the game itself. Sega owns Bayonetta for example - they can create Bayonetta 2 without Platinum. but they won't. Komani's choice of Platinum to develop Metal Gear Rising is another great example of a major japanese company acting as a great publisher.

    Also, you said you own some Eidos stuff... that's Square-enix.
    Yea, but I don't really care who backs a project to get it on the shelf. What matters to me is the author. To use a film example, I don't give a shit about 20th Century Fox: I care about James Cameron or Ridley Scott. Most of the Japanese-published western studio collaborations have been fraught with peril anyway. Look at anything Silent Hill: Homecoming or Downpour (the latter was European, but basically the same result). Square-Enix is basically alive because of Eidos' work recently, most of which they were working on before they were acquired anyway.

    Japanese companies investing in western development doesn't count; my point is primarily aimed at their domestic development, which by and large has become niche at best in the minds of your average American gamer.

    You should care about who backs a project to get it on a shelf, because few producers or publishers are 100% hands-off. Those backing the project are the ones responsible for setting milestone deadlines, dictating content, setting release dates, even demanding which formats the game is released. A popular quote today is that developers are lazy, to which people point to bugs or flaws in games released. That's not the fault of the developers, that's the fault of the backers, who set restrictive deadlines that did not give the developers enough time to address those problems.

    Look at how Ghostbusters was handled between it's two publishers to see the importance the publisher makes. The best publishers are the ones who let their devs do as they please. The worst publishers are the ones who demand hooks for yearly iterations of the game. That directly affects the development of the game.

  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    Looking through the list, I suppose I've been supporting Square Enix. My wife loves Tomb Raider, and I picked up Just Cause 2. I get that those are supporting SE and making them money, but I don't know if I can really look at them as Japanese projects because I'm certain that a western publisher would have picked up Just Cause 2 without SE there. I'm less sure about Tomb Raider because I seem to recall that they were having a hard time finding a buyer, but watching my wife play them they're not immediately obvious as Japanese games. That's a company playing it smart and selling to a western audience games in line with its interests instead of localizing something designed with the Japanese audience in mind.

    steam_sig.png
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    jclast wrote: »
    Looking through the list, I suppose I've been supporting Square Enix. My wife loves Tomb Raider, and I picked up Just Cause 2. I get that those are supporting SE and making them money, but I don't know if I can really look at them as Japanese projects because I'm certain that a western publisher would have picked up Just Cause 2 without SE there. I'm less sure about Tomb Raider because I seem to recall that they were having a hard time finding a buyer, but watching my wife play them they're not immediately obvious as Japanese games. That's a company playing it smart and selling to a western audience games in line with its interests instead of localizing something designed with the Japanese audience in mind.

    With regards to Just Cause 2 - the game wasn't completed and then shopped to publishers, but rather Avalanche developed a proof of concept and shopped it around, trying to find a publisher who would provide money to actually develop the game. The difference between choosing publisher A and publisher B is the difference between the game being developed on a shoestring budget as an under-$30 release and the game being developed as a blockbuster game with a full release in mind.

    I'm trying to find the interview, but Tri-ace talked at length about the differences between being published by Square-Enix, and being published by Sega. There's a lot more to publishing than just putting the game on the shelf.

    EDIT: The website which hosted the original translated interview is now dead, but you can see allusions to the interview here:

    http://spawnkill.com/2009/08/11/tri-ace-says-sega-is-more-open-to-new-rpgs/

    TheSonicRetard on
  • DarmaniDarmani Registered User regular
    Uhm, you're dismissing buying and publishing good products. If so US gaming is going to suuuuuck in comparison

    That's what's done and it *is* significant and important. What a company decides to buy and invest in is key, especially as there can be a transfer of ideas or rebuilding of brand identity. Square is getting NO credit for Deus Ex but it should. Ditto other examples.

  • BigJoeMBigJoeM Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Another good example of the publisher making a difference is Next Level Games.

    They've gone from Schlock (Transformers, Captain America) to Amazing (PunchOut!!)

    BigJoeM on
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Even though I said we should forget about them, there is an oft-quoted one-liner from Miyamoto which sums up the importance of a publisher very well: "A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is forever bad." That is entirely about the role of publishing - it is a publisher who decides to release a game as-is. It is a publisher who decides how much time to devote to QA. it's all the publisher. That line pretty much sums up Nintendo as a publisher, and is a good deal why they continue to put out excellent games.

  • Dark Raven XDark Raven X Stylin' Profilin'Registered User regular
    Hadn't noticed this "Japansux" thing until the Vita came out and it was the default strawman for why sales were terrible. O'course, Vita sales are terrible everywhere, so...

    Btw, I'd argue Namco's relevance; much as I love Tekken, they put out something like one game a year. Last year was a Pacman collection.

    camo_sig2.png
  • DusdaDusda is ashamed of this post Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Dusda wrote: »
    Dusda wrote: »
    Well I think we can ignore publishers for this argument, since I don't think that is what people are referring to when they talk about the death of Japanese gaming. Yea, companies like Sega publish a bunch of stuff for us in Japan, but we do the same stuff here for them, so meh.

    I disagree. Publishing is indeed a major part of these companies porfolios. Look at sega's work with Obsidean, or Platinum Games, or Tri-ace. Those are arguably a large part of their companies porfolios. I think the problem is that people don't think of publishing in the broad sense - publishing is anything that a game company puts out that they themselves do not develop. this doesn't infer that the company doesn't fund, produce, or own the IPs in question, only that a third party company has developed it separate from the company that is putting it on the shelves. Examples would be Capcom's Bionic Commando by Grin, or DmC by Ninja Theory. In those instances, Capcom was the producer (i.e. funded the development) and the publisher, but they were not the developer. Choosing the right developer to handle a companies IPs is just as important as developing the game itself. Sega owns Bayonetta for example - they can create Bayonetta 2 without Platinum. but they won't. Komani's choice of Platinum to develop Metal Gear Rising is another great example of a major japanese company acting as a great publisher.

    Also, you said you own some Eidos stuff... that's Square-enix.
    Yea, but I don't really care who backs a project to get it on the shelf. What matters to me is the author. To use a film example, I don't give a shit about 20th Century Fox: I care about James Cameron or Ridley Scott. Most of the Japanese-published western studio collaborations have been fraught with peril anyway. Look at anything Silent Hill: Homecoming or Downpour (the latter was European, but basically the same result). Square-Enix is basically alive because of Eidos' work recently, most of which they were working on before they were acquired anyway.

    Japanese companies investing in western development doesn't count; my point is primarily aimed at their domestic development, which by and large has become niche at best in the minds of your average American gamer.

    You should care about who backs a project to get it on a shelf, because few producers or publishers are 100% hands-off. Those backing the project are the ones responsible for setting milestone deadlines, dictating content, setting release dates, even demanding which formats the game is released. A popular quote today is that developers are lazy, to which people point to bugs or flaws in games released. That's not the fault of the developers, that's the fault of the backers, who set restrictive deadlines that did not give the developers enough time to address those problems.

    Look at how Ghostbusters was handled between it's two publishers to see the importance the publisher makes. The best publishers are the ones who let their devs do as they please. The worst publishers are the ones who demand hooks for yearly iterations of the game. That directly affects the development of the game.
    Oh, I'm not saying I ignore them, I just don't think they are necessarily the cause of this stagnation. We can certainly take time to look at where they are putting the money and of course that is relevant. Capcom has spent it's time largely whoring out it's franchises and driving people like Inafune out. I don't even know what Namco is doing anymore. Square is the only publisher I can think of with success in funding western development (other than Nintendo, which has done better in this realm than anyone), which is interesting considering how horrifying their in-house management has been.

    But I still think the larger problem here is in Japanese development. For example, take an original IP from this generation like Lost Planet. It's a 3rd person shooter from Japan that fails to learn anything the genre has built on since Max Payne. It's gorgeous, thanks to the MT Framework, but the mechanics pale in comparison to Gears of War and the story is something only @Katchem_Ash could appreciate. The sequel does the same damn thing. There is not a single Japanese game in my library that has had any success in creating a consistent, rewarding series narrative for me in this generation other than Metal Gear.

    Dusda on
    and this sig. and this blog..
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Hadn't noticed this "Japansux" thing until the Vita came out and it was the default strawman for why sales were terrible. O'course, Vita sales are terrible everywhere, so...

    Btw, I'd argue Namco's relevance; much as I love Tekken, they put out something like one game a year. Last year was a Pacman collection.

    well, Namco is Namco-Bandai, and they put out virtually every anime game out there. While I personally don't play them, I hear good things about the Naruto games, so that's gotta count for something, right?

    There's also Ridge Racer, the Tales games, Ace Combat, and Soul Calibur.

    And to bring this back into publishing, they published Dark Souls.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Dusda wrote: »
    But I still think the larger problem here is in Japanese development. For example, take an original IP from this generation like Lost Planet. It's a 3rd person shooter from Japan that fails to learn anything the genre has built on since Max Payne. It's gorgeous, thanks to the MT Framework, but the mechanics pale in comparison to Gears of War and the story is something only @Katchem_Ash could appreciate. The sequel does the same damn thing. There is not a single Japanese game in my library that has had any success in creating a consistent, rewarding narrative for me in this generation other than Metal Gear.

    not to get off topic here, but have you tried Binary Domain? That's an internally developed Sega game which apes Gears of War better than any japanese dev has been able to do thus far, with a compelling narrative (that is basically less terminator, more blade runner).

  • DusdaDusda is ashamed of this post Registered User regular
    Okay, Dark Souls I will give you. I hate the game for the buggy mess that is Blighttown, but I loved it up to that point. Bold, unforgiving, a multiplayer aspect that is unique and isn't terrible, etc.

    and this sig. and this blog..
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Dusda wrote: »
    Okay, Dark Souls I will give you. I hate the game for the buggy mess that is Blighttown, but I loved it up to that point. Bold, unforgiving, a multiplayer aspect that is unique and isn't terrible, etc.

    How about the Ys titles?

    really, I think the problem with Japanese development is that most people see japanese games are JRPGs and nothing more. In the past, Japan used to make virtually everything, from platformers, to action titles, to flight games, and everything in between. they still do, but JRPGs steal all their spotlight. Even in this topic, someone said that they don't care much for japanese games because they have less time for JRPGs. I think that kinda goes back to the article I linked in the OP, where those kinds of titles are what Japan is known for today, rather than the robust libraries they once provided.

  • DusdaDusda is ashamed of this post Registered User regular
    Dusda wrote: »
    But I still think the larger problem here is in Japanese development. For example, take an original IP from this generation like Lost Planet. It's a 3rd person shooter from Japan that fails to learn anything the genre has built on since Max Payne. It's gorgeous, thanks to the MT Framework, but the mechanics pale in comparison to Gears of War and the story is something only @Katchem_Ash could appreciate. The sequel does the same damn thing. There is not a single Japanese game in my library that has had any success in creating a consistent, rewarding narrative for me in this generation other than Metal Gear.

    not to get off topic here, but have you tried Binary Domain? That's an internally developed Sega game which apes Gears of War better than any japanese dev has been able to do thus far, with a compelling narrative (that is basically less terminator, more blade runner).

    Sounds intriguing, and from a quick look at Gametrailers it looks like a step in the right direction, but they released it within a week of Mass Effect 3 and I didn't know it existed until mid-March when one of the podcasts I listen to mentioned it (Giant Bombcast I think).

    and this sig. and this blog..
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Dusda wrote: »
    Dusda wrote: »
    But I still think the larger problem here is in Japanese development. For example, take an original IP from this generation like Lost Planet. It's a 3rd person shooter from Japan that fails to learn anything the genre has built on since Max Payne. It's gorgeous, thanks to the MT Framework, but the mechanics pale in comparison to Gears of War and the story is something only @Katchem_Ash could appreciate. The sequel does the same damn thing. There is not a single Japanese game in my library that has had any success in creating a consistent, rewarding narrative for me in this generation other than Metal Gear.

    not to get off topic here, but have you tried Binary Domain? That's an internally developed Sega game which apes Gears of War better than any japanese dev has been able to do thus far, with a compelling narrative (that is basically less terminator, more blade runner).

    Sounds intriguing, and from a quick look at Gametrailers it looks like a step in the right direction, but they released it within a week of Mass Effect 3 and I didn't know it existed until mid-March when one of the podcasts I listen to mentioned it (Giant Bombcast I think).

    It's from Yakuza Team, which is one of Sega's best internal developers right now. Try the demo, it sold me on the game.

  • JarkeldJarkeld Registered User regular
    I miss the great survival horror games from the PS2 era like Fatal Frame, Haunting Ground, SH1 tru 3. Most games of that type originated out of Japan, but the current gen lacks that genre.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Jarkeld wrote: »
    I miss the great survival horror games from the PS2 era like Fatal Frame, Haunting Ground, SH1 tru 3. Most games of that type originated out of Japan, but the current gen lacks that genre.

    There was a Fatal Frame game this gen, but Nintendo kept it in Japan.

  • DusdaDusda is ashamed of this post Registered User regular
    Dusda wrote: »
    Okay, Dark Souls I will give you. I hate the game for the buggy mess that is Blighttown, but I loved it up to that point. Bold, unforgiving, a multiplayer aspect that is unique and isn't terrible, etc.

    How about the Ys titles?
    I don't even know how to pronounce that.

    I'm sorry if I sound like a stubborn dick with some of this stuff, and I don't mean to flood the thread with my rants, but I'm trying to make a point about perception here. Nearly every classic franchise from Japan has been abandoned (Megaman), rebooted as crap (Bionic Commando, Silent Hill), underwhelming (Final Fantasy), or convoluted (Kingdom Hearts anything since 2). I...how do I make this more clear...

    Do you have any idea how much anime bullshit you have to understand to even recognize something like Persona as a possible purchase? How much history you need to have with Japanese developers to simply comprehend a title like Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy​? I had to google the fucking name because I wasn't sure I had it right (I didn't), and I've been playing RPG's since Dragon Quest on the NES. I recently bought Persona 3 Portable for the Vita and I like what I've played, but let me lay out the path that led me to it so you can understand what I mean:

    Some Other Castle podcast talked about Persona 2/3 a few years ago, which stuck it in the back of my mind. Then the Vita came out, and I was looking for something to play after Rayman Origins and Lumines. The G&T thread about it mentioned how awesome it was to play some PSP games on it. A couple of people in that thread listed the Persona series as one of their favorites. I googled around and read some stuff about Atlus, and saw a lot of praise. I looked on the Vita store but didn't find anything about Persona on it. Then in that thread I learned that you could get some PSP games via the complicated process of buying them on the PS3 and transferring them to the Vita via the Content Manager, in order to get games that aren't officially supported. I found Persona 3 Portable on the PS3 PSN store, bought it, and transferred it to my Vita. I then sat through the boring first hour that every JRPG ever made since 2002 seems to have before I finally got to hit something with a sword and just so happened to enjoy the experience.

    Meanwhile, thirty-five people went to Gamestop and bought Mass Effect 3 because they saw a poster of a cool looking guy with an arm blade.

    and this sig. and this blog..
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Dusda wrote: »
    Dusda wrote: »
    Okay, Dark Souls I will give you. I hate the game for the buggy mess that is Blighttown, but I loved it up to that point. Bold, unforgiving, a multiplayer aspect that is unique and isn't terrible, etc.

    How about the Ys titles?
    I don't even know how to pronounce that.

    I'm sorry if I sound like a stubborn dick with some of this stuff, and I don't mean to flood the thread with my rants, but I'm trying to make a point about perception here. Nearly every classic franchise from Japan has been abandoned (Megaman), rebooted as crap (Bionic Commando, Silent Hill), underwhelming (Final Fantasy), or convoluted (Kingdom Hearts anything since 2). I...how do I make this more clear...

    Do you have any idea how much anime bullshit you have to understand to even recognize something like Persona as a possible purchase? How much history you need to have with Japanese developers to simply comprehend a title like Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy​? I had to google the fucking name because I wasn't sure I had it right (I didn't), and I've been playing RPG's since Dragon Quest on the NES. I recently bought Persona 3 Portable for the Vita and I like what I've played, but let me lay out the path that led me to it so you can understand what I mean:

    Some Other Castle podcast talked about Persona 2/3 a few years ago, which stuck it in the back of my mind. Then the Vita came out, and I was looking for something to play after Rayman Origins and Lumines. The G&T thread about it mentioned how awesome it was to play some PSP games on it. A couple of people in that thread listed the Persona series as one of their favorites. I googled around and read some stuff about Atlus, and saw a lot of praise. I looked on the Vita store but didn't find anything about Persona on it. Then in that thread I learned that you could get some PSP games via the complicated process of buying them on the PS3 and transferring them to the Vita via the Content Manager, in order to get games that aren't officially supported. I found Persona 3 Portable on the PS3 PSN store, bought it, and transferred it to my Vita. I then sat through the boring first hour that every JRPG ever made since 2002 seems to have before I finally got to hit something with a sword and just so happened to enjoy the experience.

    Meanwhile, thirty-five people went to Gamestop and bought Mass Effect 3 because they saw a poster of a cool looking guy with an arm blade.

    You're preaching to the choir man. That sort of stuff is just so inaccessible to me. The problem is that those sorts of games, are targetted at a super niche group which has all the spending power in Japan right now. I look back at stuff like contra, and it sure as hell was aimed at a different crowd. Those games have seemingly disappeared, and it's maddening to me.

    EDIT: Ys is pronounced Eese, by the way. Like easy, without the y. It's a super classic japanese series, but it's only very recently become popular in the US. I've been a fan since the Sega Master System days, which, along with the Turbo CD release, was the only english release of the series until 2006. Given how niche those two consoles were, it's understandable how you haven't heard of the series.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    There was also a fantastic SH game this gen...it was a remake and I believe developed by westerners.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • JarkeldJarkeld Registered User regular
    Jarkeld wrote: »
    I miss the great survival horror games from the PS2 era like Fatal Frame, Haunting Ground, SH1 tru 3. Most games of that type originated out of Japan, but the current gen lacks that genre.

    There was a Fatal Frame game this gen, but Nintendo kept it in Japan.
    Should have narrowed it down to Playstation. Don't own a Wii. Would have liked to play that Fatal Frame game. Maybe even buy a secondhand Wii for that game. The next Fatal Frame is rumored to be a FF2 remake for the Wii.

    @Xenogears: Liked SH:Shattered Memories, but it's PS2 so I didn't count it as current gen.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Jarkeld wrote: »
    Jarkeld wrote: »
    I miss the great survival horror games from the PS2 era like Fatal Frame, Haunting Ground, SH1 tru 3. Most games of that type originated out of Japan, but the current gen lacks that genre.

    There was a Fatal Frame game this gen, but Nintendo kept it in Japan.
    Should have narrowed it down to Playstation. Don't own a Wii. Would have liked to play that Fatal Frame game. Maybe even buy a secondhand Wii for that game. The next Fatal Frame is rumored to be a FF2 remake for the Wii.

    @Xenogears: Liked SH:Shattered Memories, but it's PS2 so I didn't count it as current gen.

    Well, the Wii version of SH:Shattered Memories is actually a lot better than the PS2 version, because that wiimote acting like a flashlight is great.

    and actually, the Fatal Frame game got a fan translation that you can use by modding your wii and popping a file on your SD card. Perhaps you actually should get a wii, haha.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    It's a Wii game they happened to also port to the PS2. Wii version is in fact a lot better.

    Fatal Frame 2 remake isn't a rumor, it's coming out pretty soon.

    Xenogears of Bore on
    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    Japan an inward facing and insular country? Why would we expect the developer output to not oscillate back to this norm at some point?

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Japan an inward facing and insular country? Why would we expect the developer output to not oscillate back to this norm at some point?

    Because, as indicated in the article I posted in the OP, what is being outputted isn't reflective of Japan's general population. The example they showed is how the current music dominating Japan's top 10 charts would not have had numbers to crack the charts years ago when Japan's general population still had spending power.

  • JarkeldJarkeld Registered User regular
    Hmm, don't know why but I thought SH:SM was a PSP game ported to the PS2. Just might grab me a Wii for that and Fatal Frame.

  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Japan an inward facing and insular country? Why would we expect the developer output to not oscillate back to this norm at some point?

    Because, as indicated in the article I posted in the OP, what is being outputted isn't reflective of Japan's general population. The example they showed is how the current music dominating Japan's top 10 charts would not have had numbers to crack the charts years ago when Japan's general population still had spending power.

    But how does that explain a withdrawal from international markets.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    mrt144 wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Japan an inward facing and insular country? Why would we expect the developer output to not oscillate back to this norm at some point?

    Because, as indicated in the article I posted in the OP, what is being outputted isn't reflective of Japan's general population. The example they showed is how the current music dominating Japan's top 10 charts would not have had numbers to crack the charts years ago when Japan's general population still had spending power.

    But how does that explain a withdrawal from international markets.

    How does it not? If the majority of japan's own populace rejects what they output, why would anybody reasonably expect them to do well in international markets? Japan is insular, yes, but their general population's interests align pretty well with the western market. Japanese devs develop for japan primarily. When their general population was spending well, they developed media for them, which the rest of the world appreciated as well. Now, their general population doesn't spend as much as niche groups, so japan develops for those groups instead. Not surprisingly, the rest of the world rejects this output.

  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Japan is insular, yes, but their general population's interests align pretty well with the western market. Japanese devs develop for japan primarily.

    I agree with this point and want to discuss a point related to it.

    A lot of westerner's seem to believe that many of the recognisable brands are developed for westerners. They aren't, they never were, they never will be. They were developed for japan and westerners happen to like it too. They became recognisable because countries outside japan liked them enough for japanese publishers to continue releasing the sequels outside their own country. But they still developed those sequels for japanese consumers first.
    It is insane to believe that a company or publisher in another country honestly spends millions of dollars developing a game they never intended to sell well enough to recoup costs in their own country. No other publisher on the planet works like that. Why is japan considered special?

    Morninglord on
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    Japan is insular, yes, but their general population's interests align pretty well with the western market. Japanese devs develop for japan primarily.

    I agree with this point and want to discuss a point related to it.

    A lot of westerner's seem to believe that many of the recognisable brands are developed for westerners. They aren't, they never were, they never will be. They were developed for japan and westerners happen to like it too. They became recognisable because countries outside japan liked them enough for japanese publishers to continue releasing the sequels outside their own country. But they still developed those sequels for japanese consumers first.
    It is insane to believe that a company or publisher in another country honestly spends millions of dollars developing a game they never intended to sell well enough to recoup costs in their own country. No other publisher on the planet works like that. Why is japan considered special?

    I'm not under that illusion at all, I'm simply asking given the domestic market faltering and more fragmented, why is a retreat further into a fragmented domestic market really the best idea? I'd understand that move if international dollars dried up but every indication is international dollars are growing for gaming. The domestic market for a lot of these large Western publishers is considered North America AND Europe.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Japan is insular, yes, but their general population's interests align pretty well with the western market. Japanese devs develop for japan primarily.

    I agree with this point and want to discuss a point related to it.

    A lot of westerner's seem to believe that many of the recognisable brands are developed for westerners. They aren't, they never were, they never will be. They were developed for japan and westerners happen to like it too. They became recognisable because countries outside japan liked them enough for japanese publishers to continue releasing the sequels outside their own country. But they still developed those sequels for japanese consumers first.
    It is insane to believe that a company or publisher in another country honestly spends millions of dollars developing a game they never intended to sell well enough to recoup costs in their own country. No other publisher on the planet works like that. Why is japan considered special?

    I'm not under that illusion at all, I'm simply asking given the domestic market faltering and more fragmented, why is a retreat further into a fragmented domestic market really the best idea? I'd understand that move if international dollars dried up but every indication is international dollars are growing for gaming. The domestic market for a lot of these large Western publishers is considered North America AND Europe.

    That's the million dollar question. I suspect that the answer lies a lot in publishing, as in, who sees what money from where?

  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    Japan is insular, yes, but their general population's interests align pretty well with the western market. Japanese devs develop for japan primarily.

    I agree with this point and want to discuss a point related to it.

    A lot of westerner's seem to believe that many of the recognisable brands are developed for westerners. They aren't, they never were, they never will be. They were developed for japan and westerners happen to like it too. They became recognisable because countries outside japan liked them enough for japanese publishers to continue releasing the sequels outside their own country. But they still developed those sequels for japanese consumers first.
    It is insane to believe that a company or publisher in another country honestly spends millions of dollars developing a game they never intended to sell well enough to recoup costs in their own country. No other publisher on the planet works like that. Why is japan considered special?

    well i mean, just look at capcom. they changed RE5 radically compared to RE4, which was already massively different. RE5 took cues from gears of war and CoD, and the more action-orientated gameplay showed that. these companies aren't trying to forget the japanese gamers, they want to try to please everyone. and that's where they get into tricky situations.

    america simply has a larger audience and more money to spend on games. i don't know how many people are in japan but i'm thinking there's a slightly bigger market in the NA territories. i do know FF13 sold better in amurrica alone. again, not every company does this, but capcom does it a lot (raccoon city, dead rising and bionic commando come to mind).

    i can't really speak about most companies but as a fan of capcom as a kid, it's weird to see them do so many dumb things now. back in the 90's i thought they could do no wrong (and even back then they were milking SF sequels). now they seem to choose the worst companies to make games for them, and the good games they do have i don't want because they pull shenanigans with DLC and other crap. they killed the one game i would have bought a 3DS for, and then instead put out ports of old games.

    3DS - 3239-3347-2159
    XB1/360 - Local H Jay
  • baudattitudebaudattitude Registered User regular
    I think that Japan, of late, has been embracing the Halo effect with regards to games, pushing out tie-in products rather than betting the farm on the success or failure of the game proper. They've always done this to some extent - back in the 90s it was soundtracks, tie-in manga, radio dramas and the occasional OVA - but the boom market in figurines and cosmetic DLC has opened up even more ways for them to make money from a game without actually writing any more game.

    Look at Namco, for example. How much money do they make from Idolmaster game sales vs. merchandise and DLC?

    There's no real way to reproduce this kind of product ecosystem in the US and far too much competition for shelf space in GameStop. Once the next PS and Xbox come out and the shelves get cleared of 7 years of titles, I think we'll see an attempt to actually compete in the Western market again.

  • AkilaeAkilae Registered User regular
    I've long since reached the conclusion that most Japanese studios do well when they do what they do best: niche games. They tend to be quite horrible when attempting to aim for the largest common world denominator. I like playing Japanese games not necessarily for their innovation, but for different approaches to games. Case in point: Catherine. Who in their right mind would ever develop a block puzzle game based on the idea of having nightmares over cheating on your girlfriend? Can you imagine this ever being developed with a a "world audience" in mind?

    There's nothing wrong with developing niche games. The problem is finding a publisher willing to sink the resources into properly localizing, marketing, and releasing a game.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Akilae wrote: »
    I've long since reached the conclusion that most Japanese studios do well when they do what they do best: niche games. They tend to be quite horrible when attempting to aim for the largest common world denominator. I like playing Japanese games not necessarily for their innovation, but for different approaches to games. Case in point: Catherine. Who in their right mind would ever develop a block puzzle game based on the idea of having nightmares over cheating on your girlfriend? Can you imagine this ever being developed with a a "world audience" in mind?

    There's nothing wrong with developing niche games. The problem is finding a publisher willing to sink the resources into properly localizing, marketing, and releasing a game.

    History shows this isn't true. Japan was at their strongest when they appeased the masses, not niches. This isn't just for gaming, this is for all consumable media.

    niche music tops the charts currently in japan, but only because the buying power of the masses is so low. The numbers these niche chart toppers pull in would not be enough to crack any top 10 sales lists even 10 years ago.

    Any publisher who would put massive resources into localizing and marketing a niche game, especially for world-wide export, would be committing financial suicide.

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