Japan going back to its roots according to Tales producer

#1
Hideo Baba's got some interesting things to say about the state of Japanese gaming.

Japanese games are slowly making a resurgence. Games like Dark Souls and Persona 4 have recaptured our attention, after many developers struggled to make hits that resonated with the American audience. Games like Quantum Theory, which poorly emulated Gears of War, proved to be duds--something that has Japanese developers going back to the drawing board.

Hideo Baba, producer of Namco Bandai's Tales series, said that Japanese designers are returning to what made their games so appealing in the first place. "I feel like a lot of Japanese developers, especially ourselves, we've really taken an effort to go back to our roots," he told us. "We look at what we started with and what we're good at, and we really tried to make an effort to strengthen what our foundations are."

Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino recently echoed those sentiments, saying Ni no Kuni attempts to recreate "the good old days" of JRPGs.

The upcoming Tales of Xillia marks the franchise's 15th US anniversary, and with its big-eyed anime characters, it's clear that this is a game meant for Japanese tastes. "With regards to the Tales franchise, we've never made an effort to 'westernize' it," Baba said. Staying true to its identity is what helps the franchise stay so endearing to its fans. "We feel that Western developers are good at certain things, while Japanese developers are good at other things. Rather than us trying to copy Western developers, we really try to look within ourselves and try to improve ourselves. The Tales franchise has been a personal struggle to better ourselves and the franchise."
Link

So what do you guys thing? Is Japan making a return to mainstream appeal/quality without losing their identity? Can they still cater to Japanese tastes while getting some global appreciation out of it? Or will they have to try their hand at westernizing their games some more?

All I know is I am loving Ni no Kuni.
 
#10
This is the same thing that the director of Puppeteer said. He mentioned that he's talked to several game makers in Japan and they all mentioned moving away from chasing the west and just getting back to what they're comfortable with. Should be a great sign for the upcoming generation.
 
#11
Japan definitely lost their luster this generation. Western gaming has been really dominant. Them going back to their roots next-gen should be a good thing.
 
#14
I'd love to get the old feeling of Japanese RPG/JRPG's like the 3-6th gen days, 7th gen a few games gave me that feeling, so I can 100% support this.
 
#25
Really liking NiNoKuni so I'll have to agree with what he said. I like games made with a developers own personality imbued in them; that's why I buy them.

It's like if NIS suddenly stopped making Loli characters...which probably would be that bad, but if they stopped making games with absurd amounts of content I would be disappointed.
 
#28
"Rather than us trying to copy Western developers, we really try to look within ourselves and try to improve ourselves."

This was definitely a problem this generation. I hope things improve from now on.
 

Kagari

Crystal Bearer
#29
This is the same thing that the director of Puppeteer said. He mentioned that he's talked to several game makers in Japan and they all mentioned moving away from chasing the west and just getting back to what they're comfortable with. Should be a great sign for the upcoming generation.
Good.
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
#32
I wish more Japanese devs/pubs would have this attitude and stick to it.

Unfortunately Square Enix is lost to us.
I wouldn't have said Square Enix was particularly guilty of this. Their response to the westernization of gaming was to just buy a western studio, and it's operated very separately from their Japanese output. Their games are still made through the exact same Japanese development culture as in decades past.... and actually, their stagnant nature is probably the root of most discontent toward their recent games.

(now if you mean, we need more Japanese flavored games that don't suck, and Square Enix just isn't doing it there... then I agree)

I'd sooner think of Inafune when he was at Capcom.
 

IntelliHeath

As in "Heathcliff"
#33
This is the same thing that the director of Puppeteer said. He mentioned that he's talked to several game makers in Japan and they all mentioned moving away from chasing the west and just getting back to what they're comfortable with. Should be a great sign for the upcoming generation.
YES! About time that they realized that.
 
#38
Sensible. How can you expect developers to just ignore their own tastes, culture and upbringing? Its ridiculous.

Still not sure why there aren't better online built into some Japanese games.
Co-Op options especially could bring some games to life rather brilliantly.

This is one place only a few have truly excelled in. The traditional RPG has especially missed out.
 
#39
Good thing, it was annoying to see some jap dev trying to westernize their style. If I buy a japanese game, its because I want a japanese game.
 
#40
Imo JRPGs should always have some sort of overworld. I just deal with the maps and triangle guy with SMT since its been a staple of the series from the start.

Gimme more Blue Dragon and Dragon Quest VIII style overworlds. Romancing SaGa PS2 as well.
 
#41
Games like Quantum Theory, which poorly emulated Gears of War, proved to be duds--something that has Japanese developers going back to the drawing board
Almost went the rest of this gen without knowing this game existed.
 
#43
I wouldn't have said Square Enix was particularly guilty of this. Their response to the westernization of gaming was to just buy a western studio, and it's operated very separately from their Japanese output. Their games are still made through the exact same Japanese development culture as in decades past.... and actually, their stagnant nature is probably the root of most discontent toward their recent games.

(now if you mean, we need more Japanese flavored games that don't suck, and Square Enix just isn't doing it there... then I agree)

I'd sooner think of Inafune when he was at Capcom.
That's true. I probably should have said main line Final Fantasy rather than Square Enix. Though the final verdict will be when Versus XIII is released(lol).
 
#44
Great, the whole appeal to the west mentality this gen was awful and completely ruined many companies and franchises. I just hope they dont kneejerk react and try too hard to cater to certain japanese demographics like Valkyria 2 or anything though.
 
#45
Well, we'll see. I don't know too much about this, but when people complain about Japanese games trying to be like Western games, I don't think they're thinking in particular of Level-5 games or the Tales of franchise.
 
#46
"Rather than us trying to copy Western developers, we really try to look within ourselves and try to improve ourselves."

This was definitely a problem this generation. I hope things improve from now on.
Everyone should take that to heart actually. Even Western developers themselves. Not every shooter needs perks or streaks.
 
#47
About time they figure it out, but at the same time I hope they don't stay in the same place.

For example, even though I enjoy Tales games, I can't stop thinking that they look like PS2 games, just in HD.
 
#48
I wouldn't have said Square Enix was particularly guilty of this. Their response to the westernization of gaming was to just buy a western studio, and it's operated very separately from their Japanese output. Their games are still made through the exact same Japanese development culture as in decades past.... and actually, their stagnant nature is probably the root of most discontent toward their recent games.

(now if you mean, we need more Japanese flavored games that don't suck, and Square Enix just isn't doing it there... then I agree)

I'd sooner think of Inafune when he was at Capcom.
XIII's original was pretty clearly a response to western action games. XIII-2 attempted to include western style story branching dialogue
 
#49
The original XIII was a result of people not knowing how to make a video game, not trying to be western.

It just so happens that not knowing how to make a game resembles a linear corridor shooter.
 
#50
Good. Hope we'll see more evidence of that.

Of course on the other hand, I see this more of a notion that mid-tier developers/franchises will have to make do on the PS3 and Wii U, rather than jump on the PS4/720 bandwagon.

And for at least a guy like myself, who loves the likes of "cheesy" games like Sandlot's Earth Defense Force? I don't mind that at all...