Jean Pierre Kellams, the international co-ordinator for PlatinumGames, developers of Bayonetta and the upcoming Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, stirred some debate on Twitter with some interesting comments about Japanese games.
“The problems with Japanese games aren’t that they are JPN games or that they are Westernised games,
“Most of them aren’t very good games. People don’t buy those. Most games from anywhere aren’t good. That’s why exceptional means exceptional,” said Kellams.
He continued to discuss the marketing constraints of Japanese games, compared to the big-budget spectacle of the west.
“Most Japanese publishers/developers can’t invest money/manpower enough to compete with exceptional Western productions. Risk is too high. It costs money and sweat to make things stand out, but it also raises the risk. Then marketing is crazy expensive after that.”
That’s not where the similarities end either, according to Kellams, it’s also a cultural thing. Apparently every game is about mass appeal, leading to some games feeling condescending and players frustrated.
“Culturally, Japanese design is about being inclusive. They don’t want anyone left behind, so they will add friction to an experience. Except then you move at the pace of the slowest one in a group. It bogs the experience down for people who already get it.”
So, what do you think about Kellams’ comments? Are Japanese games simplistic compared to their Kafka-esque counterparts? Are most games rubbish? Shall we all just give up and go home?