Japanese Game Favouritism?



  • I get the sense that Japanese games are getting more acclaim and attention than a lot of triple A mainstream games. Don't get me wrong, games like Yakuza, Persona, Monster Hunter and Nier are fantastic and super-stylish as well as flamboyant-but I am starting to feel that even these Japanese games are starting to repeat the same mix of ideas. Of course it's best to repeat what works and what makes money but all these sequels and follow-ups that from the outside make some of these games look as though they haven't changed one iota, shows that the reliance on familiar ideas is still preferred over riskier new projects that deviate too much from what we're used to. What do you think do you believe Japanese games are favoured by critics over mainstream and indie titles?



  • Depend on the lens you are looking through. Plenty of mainstream publications scoff at mobile gaming which has a massive market in Asia and is growing rapidly worldwide. I personally know friends or coworkers who consider everything Nintendo does to be a rehash.

    I see Western critics give Madden—a broken buggy mess—an annual 80+ review score. So I don't really think there is an overall Japanese favoritism. It really just depends on the angle you look at it.

    You hit the nail on the head with risk aversion. The investment in the first game is meant to speed up sequels and no single company around the world avoids doing this. Investment in The Last of Us pays dividends in Uncharted 4 which pays dividends in The Last of Us Part II. Designing Yokohama in Yakuza: Like A Dragon is also an investment for Lost Judgement.

    Budgets are getting massive with cost of living increasing world wide. Getting a budget approval is harder than ever and the pie chart where funds come from is being split into smaller slices from all sorts of different places. Companies will do whatever they can to avoid risk without getting stale. Personally, I think that's backfired in the Activision world where COD is just getting boring, but I like what SEGA is doing with same Yakuza, different story.



  • Think most are just tired of dramatic cinematic shooters....

    Really, this just plagues the AAA space. Indie games from all over are doing interesting things, but people tend to laser focus on the AAA space. As far as that goes, sure Japanese developers aren't always constantly innovating on their games either, but they're still doing a better job collectively offering variety compared to elsewhere. Like even though the examples you named are long running franchises now (well if you count everything before Nier that's kinda protoNier), they're still all vastly different from one another.

    Then you look at games not developed in Japan in the AAA space, and for the most part they're either Shooters, Sports Games, or Racing Games. Sure, you have First Person Shooters, Third Person Shooters, Competitive Multiplayer Shooters, Looter Shooters, etc. but end of the day they're all games where your everyman, strong but attractive female lead, or created avatar is going around shooting things. At best they also have melee or stealth options, but that tends not to change the nature of the game much.

    This isn't a challenge for people to go and cherrypick the exceptions. I know there's exceptions. They aren't frequent in the AAA space, and even most of those are long-running series now like Assassin's Creed or The Sims. I feel like this topic always comes up when people get salty over Hall of Greats or some other top video game list that happens to be littered with lots of Japanese entries.



  • Was thinking about this the other day, Don't have time to go into my full thoughts, but short version.

    Were finally seeing Japanese studios reclaim thier thrones (so to speak) most of the major studios have finally gotten pass the growing pains of transitioning into the HD era. That said I also feel Japanese devs (other then Square Enix probably) have gotten smart enough about when/when not to reuse assets, character models, ect. See Persona 5 blanking out NPCs, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios reusing cities, Nier Replicant using the PS3 models for NPCS that are not in cutscenes (at least I'm pretty sure they're the same as PS3 models). I'd also say to a extent other then graphics they are still making "PS2" games by which I mean there's a bit more variety amongst games, settings, gameplay mechanics , ect. Hell on of the reasons I loved DMC5 so much is because it is basically a "PS2" game just with a modern coat of paint.



  • Nah.
    I think that, for a while actually, Japanese games fell behind Western games in terms of quality and innovation for the most part.
    There were still notable exceptions and genres that Japanese developers maintained the standard in (mostly Character Action), but from the last PS2 era to late PS3, I find that Japanese games were struggling to keep up or even really find their footing.

    I'm glad that finally turned around as, contrary to what a few people around her think, I don't like to see any developers doing poorly.

    Honestly, for me, as long as a game is good and well made, I don't care where it comes from.



  • @mbun said in Japanese Game Favouritism?:

    Then you look at games not developed in Japan in the AAA space, and for the most part they're either Shooters, Sports Games, or Racing Games. Sure, you have First Person Shooters, Third Person Shooters, Competitive Multiplayer Shooters, Looter Shooters, etc. but end of the day they're all games where your everyman, strong but attractive female lead, or created avatar is going around shooting things.

    Idk man I think that's pretty a reductionist view. COD, BF, and Halo are all Western AAA FPS games and they play completely different from one another to the point that guns and shooting is the only thing in common with one another. The "nature" of those games are so wildly different from one another despite all being in the shooter genre. Throw a looter shooter like Destiny 2 and, again, I'd find it difficult to argue they are naturally similar or offer little differentiation.

    I think relatively unchanged sequels and homogenization of gameplay systems might bite western devs in the ass if every game has the same run speed, TTK, movement mechanics and flow from game to game, but that isn't the case currently. There is a risk though as we're seeing with BR-genre.



  • @dipset You can make the same argument for other kinds of games, but end of the day they're still all at the core the same kind of game, which can quickly become tiring no matter how different they are from one another.



  • @mbun I'm just not sure how that applies to Western games any more than it does Japanese games.



  • @el-shmiablo Like I said in my post before, among the spread of AAA Japanese games you tend to have more different types of games, compared to mostly some form of shooter, or sports or racing games, which likewise people tend to either be down for or not at all interested in.



  • @Mbun which one do you prefer? West or East.



  • @scotty Indie games are good all over. I probably prefer AAA games from places like Japan and Korea though. There's some exceptions, but I can probably count them on one hand.



  • @mbun And like Dipset said, that's a very reductionist way to look at it.
    You could say the exact same thing about Japan's contributions to gaming, but just switch out shooter for JRPG, sports for Musou, etc.



  • @el-shmiablo said:

    You could say the exact same thing about Japan's contributions to gaming, but just switch out shooter for JRPG

    Nope, but you tried. Being prominent in the genre isn't the same as only servicing that genre.



  • @mbun Tried what?
    I agree with you about that, and thank you for proving my point.



  • The latest Frame Trap seems to have addressed my problems at e-mail 3.



  • The latest Frame Trap seems to have addressed my problems at e-mail 3.



  • The latest Frame Trap seems to have addressed my problems at e-mail 3.