Tales of the west

Akshat Jiwan Sharma, Sun Apr 07 2013

A few interesting things happened this past week.First there was this ign interview with Keiji Inafune in which he said that japanese game industry is improving though there is still a long way to go.

I hope Japanese game developers are breaking through the stagnation.However, the reality isn’t as good as I want it to be. I see they’re starting to be aware of the problem and that they have to do something. They know they have to learn more from western games and create games that’ll sell more in the western market.

However, they don’t know what to do or how to do it.Even worse, their pride gets in the way, preventing them from learning from overseas developers. As a result, they end up staying in the domestic market rather than going global.Overseas media have been asking the same question for a long time; is Japan’s game industry okay? Are Japanese brand games dead? The fact they’ve been asking these questions for a while is because they care and they’re worried about it.

So we much appreciate the fact that the world is concerned, however, [Japanese developers] still don’t really get it. Some developers are saying [the] Japanese game industry is still doing fine, but that’s wishful thinking. Words are not enough, we must act and prove it. Unless at least a few titles from Japan make it to the top 10 games of the year worldwide, we won’t prove it.

The important question that he asks is “Are Japanese brand games dead?” it is important because by saying that Japanese developers should make games for the west he does not necessarily mean that they should ape the western developers.He emphasizes that Japanese individuality must be protected.Capcoms Dragons Dogma is an example of one such game.It is clearly a more tailored version of monster hunter that is tuned for the western audiences.

The second interesting thing that happened this week was NISA’s re-announcement of Black Rock Shooter the game.It will be coming out in a couple of weeks.The game was all but forgotten when it missed it release date last year.It was assumed to one of those games that are silently canceled.But NISA pretty much pulled a Phoenix Down spell on the game.

Lastly there was this interview of Hideo Baba with kotaku.One significant point that stood out is that Namco won’t be releasing tales of games for the vita in the west.In Babas own words

One of the main reasons is, unfortunately the PlayStation Vita is doing relatively poorly in North America, so it’s one of those things that if the numbers increased considerably, then it’s something we could consider.

I love tales games a lot and have considerable respect for Hideo Baba.But frankly his response is quite perplexing.The games in question are actually remakes of DS games.Both of them were never released in the west.DS is the bset selling console in the us.So by Babas own logic they should have released the game in the west.Similarly tales of rebirth was never released even though ps2 had significant numbers.

The truth is that Namco is one of the game publishers that Keiji is talking about.They have stagnated in their domestic market.Tales has a pretty strong following in the west and yet Namco refuses to localize their games.They are too protective of it.If a small video game publisher like NIS can take a huge risk in bringing an unknown animie inspired game in the west then surely Namco can do so with tales.


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