MGS Creator: Japan Lacks Motivation

A popular theme of late is how Japan has lost its edge. The country isn't where it should be. But, says one game developer, it isn't technology that is holding back Japan. It's ambition.

Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima expressed his opinion after watching a TV program on foreign students studying manga in Japan. He was impressed at how driven the foreign students were.

"The Game Industry is very similar," Kojima tweeted. "The West is very motivated. The younger generation of Japan is losing. The designers and to-be-designers in the West have the focus, ambition and ability to make their dream become true. So it is not the Japanese technology or culture that is losing, we are lacking the motivation."

Kojima also notes that fewer and fewer Japanese studying are studying abroad. There just doesn't seem to be the gumption.

In the Post War Era, Japan had no shortage of get up and go. That generation rebuilt the country back up from burning rumble. Of course, Japan didn't do it alone, but the country did do it.

The next generation, likewise, worked hard and helped propel the country towards economic dominance. This generation was born after their war, and their parents had experienced the hardships firsthand.

The current generation was born during Japan's "Bubble Economy" and came of age during the country's "Lost Decade" of economy stagnation. Is it this generation that lacks motivation?

The Game Industry is very similar [Twitlonger via Twitter via Eurogamer][Pic]


    I still think it comes down to how they handle their next game. New Japanese developers do new and interesting things, but if the game is successful the company pours everything it has into making that same game again (but better). Each time they do another game they'll focus more and more on the parts they see as making the game successful while ignoring the lesser aspects, which should make the game better than the original.
    By the third or forth game you end up with a game that is just massive combos with a big sword, or just really well done cut-scenes. They don't seem to appreciate the importance of the lesser praised stuff and as a result it gets refined out of the sequels in favour of more of the trademark stuff.

    Funnily enough I think it comes from their games having more substance to begin with. Western developers struggle to hold gamers attention so they have to be constantly watching the reaction to not just their game but all games. Japanese developers do it right the first time and earn a certain amount of loyality from gamers. That loyality results in the game having flown off the rails before anyone even mentions that the series is losing direction.

    Obviously that's not to say all Japanese developers work that way, I think Capcom for example does a better job than they give themselves credit for, but its the pattern I'm seeing. It doesn't always go badly either. Some of the greatest series out there are essentially just expansion packs, but I think in a lot of those cases it comes down to less ambitious developers who aren't trying to make better games.

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