Japanese Developers Shouldn’t Try to Imitate Western Games, Says Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda

Square Enix president Yasuke Matsuda talks about how Japanese developers shouldn't just try to imitate a formula that seems to work in the West.

Posted By | On 19th, Apr. 2022

Square Enix

In a recent interview with Yahoo Japan, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda talked about how the games industry has now become a globalized one, and the impact that that has had on development in general. Matsuda went on to also discuss how Square Enix’s own Japanese studios continue to strive for originality in their games instead of trying to imitate a formula that appeals to the Western audience.

Matsuda explained that the Japanese domestic market is smaller than the US and Chinese markets, so it’s important for games from domestic studios to appeal to a global audience. That being said, he went on to add that whenever Japanese developers try to imitate a Western game, it mostly results in a sub-par experience quality-wise. According to Matsuda, there’s an inherent charm in a game developed in Japan with a recognizable art style and sound design- which is what ultimately ends up being appealing to its overseas audience.

“Nowadays, the games market is globalized,” Matsuda explained (via VGC). “The domestic market used to be big, but now it is behind China and the US. If you are not recognized globally, you are not in business.”

“But interestingly, if Japanese developers try to imitate Western games, they cannot make good ones. The designs of the monsters, and the visual and audio effects, are all still somewhat Japanese. And players around the world know that this is what makes Japanese games good.”

While Square Enix’s Japanese studios seem to have continued to adhere to this school of thought for the longest of times, the publishing giant also has a few Western studios under its best, such as the likes of Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal- which have found critical success in creating their own different brand of experiences.


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