Discussion Was there ever any truth to when Phil Fish and Keiji Inafune (plus others) bashed Japanese games back in the PS3/360/Wii era?

Kitty Paws

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Of course, he left Tecmo/Koei Tecmo over a payment dispute, but everything he's done since has fallen flat, including Devil's Third and the PC stand-alone release of the DT multiplayer. His most recent venture is a super-shady development of an NFT game. Not unlike Inafune in that regard.
Also look at their careers now: Inafune has achieved nothing since he left Capcom, Phil Fish is too proud of himself he's not making games anymore (after making only one), Jonathan Blow also hasn't released anything in years (and i also feel The Witness while great it's really a modern take on Myst, he didn't exactly reinvent the wheel).

At the time indies were the new hot trend, so that allowed few as...les (sorry for the insult but yeah that was their behaviour) to rise up and start acting like gods, until someone eventually put them in their place.
It's hard not to draw conclusions on the very vocal Japanese games detractors from that era based on where they ended up later on. I'd rather play a crappy video game, Japanese or otherwise, than waste my time and everybody's energy resources buying nfts.

While it's true that the move to hd has been rough for many developers, as others mentioned handheld games were thriving during those times. And many big budget Western console games felt boring an same-y.
 

JazzPotatoes

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The best game from that era (Mario Galaxy) was a Japanese game.

That was the generation that also saw Vanquish, Bayonetta, MGS4, Wii Sports, everything to do with the DS, among a whole bunch of interesting and well received games.

Yes, some notably big Japanese publishers lost their heads or went mad during that generation. But anyone saying "Japanese games suck" was just dabbling in racism.
 

TurtleRock

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The whole notion that Japanese devs were the only ones struggling to adapt to the HD era of consoles is complete bunk. Look at how many western dev studios were completely shuttered during that same era. How many studios did EA and Activision kill just on their own?

The truth is that era was a complete massacre for a mid size studios globally. If you weren’t gobbled up by a major AAA publisher, outsourced some large IP from a bigger studio, or focused on the portable market, your studio is likely dead. The gaming press at the time, for whatever reason, failed to reckon with the damaging impact of capitalism on the increasingly mainstreaming gaming ecosystem. There was a sense that games were getting “worse” but rather than identifying the culprit (capitalism), Japanese games were scapegoated and made an example of.

This is why Phish and the western press antagonism to Japan reeked of Xenophobia even back then. There was this sustained narrative that Japan was out of touch and didn’t know what they were doing, while studios like Westwood, Pandemic, Silicon Knights and Factor 5 put out duds and died.

Not only that, but Japan was widely successful in the portable market, a market that was enjoying huge success in the west as well. And, it should also be stated, that western devs were colossal failures at tapping into the portable market. For all the elitism about western game development during that era, it’s quite frankly embarrassing that western game devs struggled to put out hits on the DS and psp. (The Wii you can argue also falls into this category).

I guess for the western gaming press, success only counted if you launched a bug filled, brown and grey, ultra voilent, dude bro protagonist, dlc loaded, AAA game on ps3 and Xbox 360. All those Japanese devs that found huge success on DS and PSP, that didn’t count! Those weren’t “real” consoles!

It also cannot be understated that on top of the Xenophobia, a lot of the animosity towards Japanese games was largely driven by patriarchal bullshit. The portable market was for babies (and women), the real manly gamers were playing the HD consoles! Japanese games were filled with effeminate girly men. Real games feature a bearded and bald muscled man as the main protagonist!

Hands down my least favorite era of gaming. So glad we’re making progress in the industry but there is still a lot of work to do. Just glad that a younger generation of gamers is at the very least growing up with a more diverse set of voices in both the games development and games writing space these days.
 
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Aggrocrog

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I feel like the "truth" existed insofar that there was a stretch that there were more western-developed games that were beloved in the West than Japan-developed games. Personally, I've generally favored Japanese games on consoles, and I basically stopped playing anything from 2010-2015 bc there wasn't much that appealed to me.

What makes those comments absurd (either xenophobic or ignorant) is the way they draw huge conclusions based on the desires of the home console western male aged 14-24 demographic. I thought about this in the past year when I kept seeing online buzz about "a huge drought" in new releases. What drought? Oh you mean there's not a new FPS/Survival Horror/Soulslike coming out. Cool, I guess the industry is in tatters again.
 

NarohDethan

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I think his statement wouldn't be as controversial if Fish didn't have his head so far up his ass after outputting exactly 1 good game lol
 

Hailinel

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Oh you mean there's not a new FPS/Survival Horror/Soulslike coming out. Cool, I guess the industry is in tatters again.
This reminds me of comments earlier this year on Twitter when Elden Ring rocketed to success and people from studios like Ubisoft were decrying it's "terrible UX". (Read: UX that doesn’t conform to western design trends.)
 

Aggrocrog

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This reminds me of comments earlier this year on Twitter when Elden Ring rocketed to success and people from studios like Ubisoft were decrying it's "terrible UX". (Read: UX that doesn’t conform to western design trends.)
Yep, another way of assessing Fish's comments is that they pretend objectivity in subjective areas.
 

TurtleRock

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This reminds me of comments earlier this year on Twitter when Elden Ring rocketed to success and people from studios like Ubisoft were decrying it's "terrible UX". (Read: UX that doesn’t conform to western design trends.)

In the 5 years since BotW came out and shook up the open world genre, one of the few AAA open world games that took any lessons from it was from a Japanese studio. Almost every single western dev doubled down on the Ubisoftication of AAA open world game design.

The situation with Elden Ring earlier this year, and the baffling takes from western devs on its design and gameplay, was quite revealing. In a lot of ways, the ignorance, xenophobia and “we know better than you” attitude of the ps3/360 era never really went away.
 

Stephen 776

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This reminds me of comments earlier this year on Twitter when Elden Ring rocketed to success and people from studios like Ubisoft were decrying it's "terrible UX". (Read: UX that doesn’t conform to western design trends.)
I have zero knowledge of Elden Ring, but I have a hard time imagine any game being worse than CoD:


There reaches a point where shit is just so overdesigned the function isn't clear at all.
 

RingoGaSuki

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Nope. Japanese dev output was simply focused on the DS during that generation (for good reasons) - and that output was incredibly high quality, many of the best games of all time in fact.
 

curl-6

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Personally, I think plenty of awesome Japanese games released during that generation; Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, Bayonetta, Vanquish, Zelda Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, Monster Hunter Tri, Fatal Frame 4 and the reimaging of 2, Mario Kart Wii, Sin and Punishment Star Successor, No More Heroes 1 and 2, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Puppeteer... (Plus far more on the portable side, but I can only vouch for the systems I owned)

I feel like folks who make the claim that Japanese output was poor this generation make the classic mistake so many gaming journos/outlets/shows do of acting as though Playstation and Xbox are the entire industry.
 
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