Ever since this console generation kicked off in 2005/2006, Japanese developers have become increasingly irrelevant to the purchasing habits of many Western gamers. There are plenty of theories as to why this is. And Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki has one.
"In Japan, in this industry, they are lacking not just in technology, but the important thing is the creativity and ingenuity" the outspoken developer told Gamasutra. "They're lacking in that. So they complain a lot, they say a lot, but then they don't take action. So before they say anything bad or complain — 'Do something!' is what I want to say."
"It's important to have the skill to express what you're doing, what you want to do — you know, express yourself", he adds later. "I'm talking about social skills. I'm sure you're interviewing a lot of people, and maybe you meet people at parties, Japanese developers. Japanese developers, they don't have the necessary social skills. The American social skills, European social skills."
"You know, maybe they don't have humour; they don't know how to joke around. Maybe it's a problem with their manner. So if those people don't have those necessary social skills, and if those people are the ones who are developing the game, no matter how much they try to make globally accepted, globally popular games, that work in different cultures, that might be very difficult.
Does that make sense?"
It's one interesting theory amongst many. At least he mentioned the technology aspect, which is where I think anyone not called Nintendo has fallen down: too many Japanese games for the 360 and PS3 are built, and feel, like they were made for a PS2, as even major studios have failed to take advantage of advances in engine technology.
From Ninja To Viking: Tomonobu Itagaki Speaks [Gamasutra]