When you think about Capcom alumni and rants about the state of the Japanese Games Industry, it’s usually Keiji Inafune doing the ranting. This time, however, it’s Shinji Mikami. He believes that Japanese developers aren’t going big enough — they should be making video games like Hollywood makes movies.
According to Mikami, the budgets are simply too small to compete with blockbuster AAA titles being released in the west, but singled out Hideo Kojima as someone heading in the right direction.
“Hollywood spends like 200 million dollars producing a movie, and you can make an incredible movie with that sort of money,” said Mikami, talking to CVG. “But Japanese movie studios don’t spend anything like that. The difference in [the] scale of the budgets [is] the same in games. Japan needs to make games like Hollywood makes movies. I think Capcom and Hideo Kojima’s team are trying hard on that front.”
Mikami took issue with the kind of games being made, claiming Japan is too inward looking in terms of the games it produces.
“Yes, there are amazing games, just not enough of them… So many are based on anime or fantasy – games that only appeal to Japanese people. Most gamers overseas aren’t interested in anime.
“We made Okami at Clover. It was such a breathtaking game, yet it didn’t sell. If that’s the case, westerners obviously don’t like that sort of game. Maybe they prefer something a little more straightforward.”
Personally, I think Okami is a bad example. For the life of me I don’t understand why that game didn’t sell — I certainly don’t think it was because it was ‘too Japanese’. It’s interesting that Mikami thinks that Japanese developers aren’t going big enough, whilst Western developers appear to be struggling to find financial success in the ‘AAA’ area.
Perhaps spending more money on production isn’t necessarily the answer to Japan’s problems, if you think they have a problem to begin with.