Dynasty Warriors Developer Says Japan Should Stop Trying To Copy The West

The Japanese games industry hasn't been at its height for some time now, and while developers may be looking for ways to remedy this, the production lead of Dynasty Warriors, Kenichi Ogasawara says that the solution does not lie in copying the West.

Speaking to Gamasutra, Ogasawara said that attempting to replicate the success of western game development has not worked out for Japan.

"We've looked at the way Western developers make and present their games, in terms of the cut scenes, the graphics and all of that, and we've tried to take that approach in development," he said.

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to get the result that we wanted."

Rather, Ogasawara believes that Japanese developers should focus on what Japan can bring to the games market, iterating and enhancing what they have to offer instead of replicating the designs of a different culture.

"I think as a Japanese developer, we have to think about how we can actually improve the original game system, rather than copy what other people are doing," he said.

"There are a lot of elements of our culture that we still haven't shown to the world; a lot of things are still kept at home. These are things that we can actually show in a proper way, that the global market can understand."

Ogasawara admitted that it is difficult for Japanese game developers to not be influenced by Hollywood, but he said the strength of Japanese game development lies in Japan.

"For us, I think the best way to stand out in the competitive market is to use our culture to our advantage."

What do you think of Ogasawara's ideas? Should Japan look to other cultures for inspiration? What do you think they need to do to lead the games industry like they once did? Let us know!

[Gamasutra]


Comments

    It is an interesting conundrum.

    The Japanese film and animation industry took the idea of western filmmaking and animation, ran with it, and was rather successful. Outside of Japan though, it's generally been a niche thing with only a few mainstream breakthrough successes.

    Games have had quite the opposite journey. Everyone started out on the same playing field, and it was quite hard to impart a cultural identity as a crucial part of the early forms. Now, that's not to say that an American would have created Pac-Man. Cultural identity certainly went in to the creation of the games, but representation of the culture basically didn't.

    It is quite fascinating as a result that the more of a culture that's been put in to a game, the harder it's become for them to be successful in opposite markets. US games not selling well in Japan has been going on for a while, and Japanese games haven't been selling so well in one strong international markets.

    I'm thinking the answer isn't in trying to force Japanese culture on to markets that traditionally aren't receptive to it, but instead looking at what markets other culturally-entwined forms of media perform strongly in and consider expanding games to those markets.

    (If they haven't already)

    I definitely agree that Japan should stop copying Western design. I don't want Western design, it's why I play Japanese designed games.

      i don't believe it's Japan game, looks like chinese game

    honestly, when eastern games try and copy western games, they are either terrible, or completely awesome.

    i think goichi suda (suda 51) is the greatest eastern games developer, who makes western games. all of his games are much more targeted at western countries, and those games are fantastic! like no more heroes, it's slightly japenese crazy, but obviously is influenced a lot by american culture.

    however, i don't think anyone should take tips from the people who have been making the exact same game over and over again for nearly 20 years (i think)

      Yeah, you can make a game for a western audience without making it a "western game".

    I don't think people ever had a problem with eastern games, just that they started to feel like they were still in the same place they were 5-10 years ago and started to feel dated. Meanwhile Western games have kept developing and evolving. The place Western games has gone is not the only place left available, I agree that Japanese games should just keep working on what they do best, but atleast try to bring on some newer, more unique mechanics.

      really? western games have been "developing" ? A lot of western game franchises are basically the same thing over and over and over again with reused assets, the same bug/problem existing over multiple games etc (a lot of japanese franchises have the exact same problem though). Unless you're talking about indie developers, in which case I do agree that there have been a lot of great development in that area, but that is true of the japanese indie developers too. IMO, big companies = lazy, uninspired games no matter where they're from. Indie companies = interesting ideas that don't always work but provides a lot of variety, no matter where they're from

    I'm guessing this only applies to "hardcore" games.

    When I think about Nintendo I don't think about Mario, Pokemon or Zelda as either "eastern" or "western", rather they are games that play to all (most) humans' basic desires and emotional responses.

    In my opinion I believe that is what all game designers should pursue - games that defy cultural dependence. Not to say that culture can't be included and obviously some games only care about certain audiences. I think the window for 'universally appealing games' is actually quite small.

    Different countries are always going to favor different sports and styles of music, that's just the way it is. So for me the question is less about East vs West and more about "Deeply Mechanical RPG's and Combo-Heavy Action Games" vs "Generic Shooters and Hollywood-Style Blockbusters". (East and West, respectively)

    Demon souls and dark souls seem tobe an exception to this rule

      Can't say I agree. Can you really see a western developer green lighting a big budget game that can be summed up as "so hard that hardly anyone will be able to finish it"? Those where game that had western aesthetics but a completely eastern design philosophy.

    But considering Dynasty Warriors is the same cr*p retreaded again and again shows that modifications to the original is stale and needs a right kick in the nether regions, try something new, take some inspiration from Western games but implement in a different way.

    Don't get me wrong I love a game where I get to kill (knock out) and 1000 guys in a battle but after playing 5 versions it is really getting a bit samey.

      Same could be said about any military-based first person shooter.

      There aren't any non-KOEI games out there that do the "1 versus 1000" style anywhere near as well as they do.

        In Japan, only 1 company makes Dynasty-Warrior-like games. But in the west, tons of companies make military FPS with auto-replenishing health.

          Couldn't it be said that in the west only one company makes Fallout-like FPSRPG games while in Japan tons of companies make games with spikey haired heroes using turn based battle systems even though Ocarina of Time happened almost 15 years ago?

          If you don't play them Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 look like the same thing. If you do play htem they're entirely different games (plotwise they have a similar theme, but gameplay wise they're apples and oranges). The same thing happens with iconic Japanese games.

          Neither side is better. They just have different stats.

    I think the mistake a lot of Japanese developers make is that they try to copy things they don't completely understand. They'd benefit a lot more from simply playing Modern Warfare, learning what makes it tick and then just letting that new knowledge influence the way they make their games and help shape the way their ideas form.
    Although learning what makes MW tick is a bit complicated. It's not just MW but knowing what makes it go comes from playing the games that made it what it is and the games like it that completely missed their marks.
    Without that sort of context it's too easy to say Americans love big tits, big guns and tons of blood because they're just simple like that.

    As long as the japs keep pumping out games like Dark Souls, which they make not to aim at an eastern or western audience, but because they find that kind of thing fun, I'm sure they'll be able to make an impact in both the east and the west.

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