The quirky Japanese director talks about a revived outlook for the industry.
The last generation of consoles tended to be a rough one for Japanese companies, big and small. As gaming itself exploded, both financially and technologically, a lot of even the behemoths of the Japanese industries struggled. Whether it was chasing trends, issues with internal engines, or the shifting tastes of consumers, many undoubtedly hit a lot of speed bumps.
Over the last few years, it feels like most have settled back into their groove, slowly but surely. Probably the prime examples are Capcom and Bandai Namco, both of whom have seen their primary franchises revitalized with sales and profits being steady. What’s led to this new outlook? Well, Japanese developer SWERY (Hidetaka Suehiro) has some thoughts- mainly that the Japanese industry finally got over some of its biggest flaws.
In an interview with Wccftech, SWERY was out to promote his upcoming game, The Good Life, but also mulled over the current Japanese game industry revival. When asked what he thinks led to that, he said it’s as simple as Japanese creators taking a hard look at the market share they’d lost and reevaluating what they needed to do to get back on track.
“This is the result of what Japanese creators have been doing for the past five years, which is realizing that they were starting to lose their status in comparison to the West,” he said. “The Japanese market, people in general populace didn’t realize that. The creators did. So they really started studying the new methodology for games, utilizing the West and that’s finally starting to come to fruition.”
Another aspect he thought was helpful was the fact that a lot of Japanese companies have gotten over the need for custom game engines, as many of the bigger companies have switched to using Unreal or Unity, which are both western standard engines. One issue that led to ballooning budgets last generation was seemingly every major Japanese company wanting its own custom game engine, something only Capcom still does by and large.
“Yeah, so that tends to be a thing in the Japanese game industry, where you want to make this exclusive tech and then hide it for yourself, then you get the advantage ultimately,” said SWERY. “But these engines that you’re speaking of, they started to become the big thing. So there was no more point in hiding your tech, you had to catch up with the rest of the world. So that’s why creators switched over to other engines.”
SWERY’s next game, The Good Life, is a Kickstarter project coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can check out more about it here.