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Japanese Game Developers Go West 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-ideas dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "More and more Japanese game studios and publishers are looking toward the West. But as the industry becomes more global, is this really such a bad thing? From the article: 'Gameplay is an art that transcends borders, and it simply makes good business sense to keep your eyes open for opportunities no matter where they present themselves, as Zenimax, EA and THQ clearly have. Far from ruining the Japanese gaming industry, it may in fact save some of the best Japanese developers from considering retirement or a career change. They'll be able to make games on their own terms with their own original IP, and shouldn't it ultimately be about these creative types being able to realize their visions?""
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Japanese Game Developers Go West

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  • This is a good thing, just so long as we don't have to play another "war of the three kingdoms" game, I'm utterly sick of those.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Japanese franchises barely evolved. Final Fantasy ran into that trap.

  • Why do articles about the video game business have to refer to law by saying "original IP" when they can call it an "original setting" and be understood by more readers?
    • Sometimes it isn't setting, or even characters. The Final Fantasy franchise has had the same monsters and a few recurring characters, but often enough there's nothing in "the setting" that's really the same.

      If you consider "property" in the same way land is property--as in, something to build upon--"intellectual property" almost makes sense as a term.

    • Because "original IP" is technically correct, where as, if "original setting" were to be used, then to obtain the same scope of statement, one would also have to include a great deal of other concepts, such as, characters, monsters, plot devices, powers and items. You could create a long sentence just naming the things you're referring to, or you can just use a term which accurately identifies the entire logical group, i.e., "original IP". It also contrasts to the development of games identifying with first

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by VortexCortex (1117377)

        Original Ideas... done.

        IP (Intellectual Property AKA Imaginary Property) is a made up term that muddles your meanings.

        Copyright & Patent laws both exist, are very different despite both being made of ideas. Lumping them together is stupid. Copyrights covers a single verbatim work and allows for "fair use", patents cover any derivative work and have no fair use. Copyrights lasts for 70 years beyond the creators lifetime, patents are limited to around 18 years from granting. Copyrights are granted aut

      • Because "original IP" is technically correct

        VortexCortex made a good point that "intellectual property" conflates the distinct purposes and scopes of copyrights and patents. To that, I wanted to add another defect of the term:

        "Original intellectual property" overemphasizes the fact that it is property, or something to which exclusive rights are attached, not commons, or something for all to use in moderation. Furthermore, the abbreviation of "intellectual property" as "IP" carries an implication that people should already know that the best way to

  • Technically the physical relocation involved is via a plane flying east over the Pacific. I mean, westward is really the rest of Eurasia here.
  • mmmmm.... "these creative types"

    Hacking code for a living is an art and is a creative endeavor... but calling me a type... sheesh.

  • I find it funny that I, as an American game developer, want to go work in Japan.

    I wonder if I can trade apartments and jobs with one of them or something?

  • China?
  • It makes me wonder if it's worth learning me Japanese these days. I've been at it for about a year, alongside doing a lot of video game related development work as part of a team of friends doing some indie development. In an ideal, wonderful fantasy world I see myself becoming fluent in Japanese and taking my game-related aspirations further with it, but I'm beginning to question that these days.
  • Is that something like this?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NZ04BG7TfA [youtube.com]

  • Having a Japanese developer making a Western game actually is a stupid thing... it's like if we would be trying to make a porn game... wait we have done some like 7 sins and playboy mansion, witch SUCKED HARD!

    The thing that they should be doing is:make your own games... if you make good games, export them, don't try to clone the games we've been doing for 10 years straight and hope to make something that will outsell everything!

    • Having a Japanese developer making a Western game actually is a stupid thing...

      Citation needed. You obviously didn't play console games in the 70's, 80's, 90's, etc.

  • Yeah, right... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lyinhart (1352173) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:10AM (#34288994)
    From the article: "One, the percentage of the worldwide market composed of Japanese titles has shrunk, and if you exclude Nintendo, would be shown to have drastically shrunk worldwide." Okay, where is he getting this supposed information, or did he should pull it out of thin air? He didn't even cite any numbers either. So that's bunk.

    "...major Japanese game publishers have become much more conservative and sequel driven". Uh... and this is a recent trend? Square has been milking Final Fantasy like a cow since the 1990s. Westerners didn't know because they skipped on releasing a whole bunch of games in the series. Same deal with Capcom and Rockman on the NES, except we actually received Mega Man game after Mega Man game outside of Japan. Heck, Konami released a good number of Akumajo Dracula/Castlevania games, some of which were just different versions of the first game.

    As for the globalization that the whole article is about. Um... we've had that for years. Sega was founded by an American guy for goodness sake. Namco worked with Bally/Midway to release Pac-Man games (which was supposedly a tumultuous relationship). Japanese companies have founded American divisions who've screwed up countless localization jobs. Action games like some of the ones in the Mario and Sonic series have been developed with Western audiences in mind, because, well, you can make lots of money catering to the West.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by toutankh (1544253)

      I find the "sequel driven" claim a bit strange. I mean it's not exactly like the western market is sequel-free. How many Halo sequels have we had recently? I'm not event talking about Need for Speed or all the EA sport games (I remember playing FIFA'94, we are in 2010, and I don't think they skipped a single year). Oh well I have to go play Fable 3 (while waiting for Mass Effect 3) so I can't really elaborate on such a list.

  • Like into China? Or West as in the Western world? The title, at least, is a bit confusing, and we certainly can't expect everyone to read the article. :p

    I think it's great that Japanese game developers are working with Western publishers (western as in American). Anything to provide cross-pollination of ideas and styles is always a good thing. I'm not a big fan of the art style or the grinding that seems to be in vogue for a lot of the Japanese games, but there's plenty there to love, as well.

  • Not a big fan. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tycoex (1832784) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @12:44AM (#34289132)

    To be honest I hate it when these Japanese company purposely tweak their game to try and make it more "Western friendly." I enjoy Japanese games, I like Nintendo, I like Squaresoft, and I like Western games for what they are.

    Studios need to focus on what they are good at. A lot of American gamers like Japanese games, I'd much prefer if Western games and Japanese games stayed good at their own thing instead of trying to copy each other.

    What's better, one great Japanese game, and one great Western game. Or a single sub-standard Japanese/Western game?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ADRA (37398)

      I'm sorry, why does a melting pot of ideas ultimately mean an inferior game in any way? I think you're jumping to subjective conclusions.

      You can say that many or all of the great action movies of the last 20 years were all inspired by Asian martial arts and more specifically the high amount of skill and talent that Hong Kong and other such centers fostered. The fusion of these people with western developments, writers, etc.. have made for great movies by using good aspects from all cultures involved in the

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by allwheat (1235474)

        Two words: Teriyaki Chicken

        It's the most popular Japanese food tailored to Americans, other than sushi, but it's nowhere nearly as tasty as lots of Japanese food that Japanese people actually consume themselves.

  • So Japanese games will now have revolutionary western game ideas like hit points, potions, oozes/slimes, experience points, levels and the idea of using a single unit on foot instead of an army to complete a series of quests? Oh wait. Japan has been using that forever. Now if your talking about setting like the article seems to imply...no wait, most Japanese games don't actually take place in Japan (if you ignore the indie dating sim developers, since most of their games never get official ports). From
    • Indeed, JRPGs as a genre wouldn't even exist if not for western games like Wizardry & Ultima that caught on in Japan the late eighties.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      From Final Fantasy to Zelda, most Japanese games have always been very "western" in almost every way...

      It's the Japanism that makes the games interesting to me. I can't think of any particular cultural examples at the moment but the difference comes right through and makes it seem more alien, which is fantastic for Alien-oriented Sci-Fi :) I mean, I can't think of any differences because everything is different, facial expressions even to some degree, hand signals completely, everything. Mind you, everything is more similar than it's different in absolute terms, we're all bipedal humanoids after all. I stron

  • More and more Japanese game studios and publishers are looking toward the West. But as the industry becomes more global, is this really such a bad thing?

    Are we supposed to assume that's a bad thing? What's the connection between the first sentence here and the second? I'm so confused...

  • Is slashdot broken? There's supposedly 49 replies, why can't I see any of them?
  • The Japanese have done fine without using western developers for decades and in fact most of the bigger successes still come from Japan. Nintendo alone proves that.

    The only area where Japan may be weak is catering to the Xbox crowd which is also the ex-PC crowded and insecure teenager crowd. I don't want to see Japan knocking boring shit like Halo year after year. If they feel they're not doing as well it will because they're getting less imaginative and lowering standards just like western developers.
    • The Japanese have done fine without using western developers for decades and in fact most of the bigger successes still come from Japan. Nintendo alone proves that.

      The only area where Japan may be weak is catering to the Xbox crowd which is also the ex-PC crowded and insecure teenager crowd. I don't want to see Japan knocking boring shit like Halo year after year. If they feel they're not doing as well it will because they're getting less imaginative and lowering standards just like western developers.
  • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dreth (1885712)
    I don't get it, aren't video games in Japan a lot more open-minded? It's always in the U.S. that we're stuck with the same type of titles, most of the interesting, oddball, creative games come from Japan (Okami, Katamari, etc.)

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