Inafune: ‘Japan is at least 5 years behind’
“Japan is at least five years behind [Western developers]” and “everyone’s making awful games.” That’s the bleak view Keiji Inafune has of the Japanese games industry right now. Capcom’s head of global research and development even includes his own company in his criticism, “Capcom is barely keeping up.”
Inafune scathing views were aired at the Tokyo Games Show to a NY Times journalist. He was distinctly unimpressed by what he was seeing on the show floor:
“I look around Tokyo Games Show, and everyone’s making awful games; Japan is at least five years behind… Capcom is barely keeping up.”
These comments are a response to the failure of big Japanese franchises to appeal to worldwide audiences. Recent years has seen the likes of Monster Hunter sell huge numbers in Japan but fail to make an impression on the rest of the world – nowhere else seems to understand it. The Japanese industry is going through a crisis of confidence. They were once the innovators of the industry now Inafune feels they are stuck in a time warp.
According to Inafune, the way out of this rut is to be more like Western developers: he wants “to study how Westerners live, and make games that appeal to them.” Recent evidence has shown that Capcom are changing their business model. They enlisted Vancouver-based developer Blue Castle to help with Dead Rising 2 and have since purchased the studio. They have also brought the UK developers Ninja Theory on board to develop the new Devil May Cry game, DMC. Ninja Theory have already shocked observers with the new direction they are taking the franchise.
So what do you think? Do you think the Japanese industry is five years behind? Are the likes of Metal Gear Solid Rising, Bayonetta and Vanquish that derivative?
Visit here for a full transcript of Inafune’s interview. There are more interesting quotes and Inafune compares himself to Ryoma Sakamoto, a 19th Century samurai who tried to overthrow Japan’s feudal government and open the country up to the West. You have to admit, Inafune is good for a quote.