While I may be struggling to bring myself to complete Final Fantasy XIII-2, the comments pointed at Japanese game development overall at this week’s Games Development Conference were less than stellar. Particularly in the case of one Phil Fish.
Jumping onto Twitter during my lunch break, I was surprised that Fish, an indie developer, had decided to say outright that Japanese games “suck”. Seriously, the lack of real explanation on his part as to why he thought this was pretty appalling.
The crazy part is any western developer thinking that their development culture is any better than the Japanese one. After all, the same pressures that have been puling out creative thinking in the Japanese industry are becoming real issues this way as well i.e. board members, share holders and marketers who are only about proven market cases and hate creative risks.
Those same factors are also noticeable in current manga and anime. To say it’s the fault of the actual developers, who don’t have hordes of their own wealth to work on projects, is just wrong. And as I’ve suggested, western games and media in general are also beginning to seriously stagnate in terms of creativity.
And there are Japanese titles still coming out that are genuinely good. The recent Binary Domain for example.
It’s all good and well for an indie developer like Phil Fish to mouth-off what he did, but he needs to remember that as an indie he doesn’t have to bow to the creative pressures of the traditional developer-publisher environment.