I’m a big fan of Japanese games. They’re crazy, beautiful, and usually touch on genres and themes that western developers wouldn’t even approach, in the FPS-centric market today. But as great as those games are, they’re kind of targeted towards more niche markets, with titles not always selling spectacularly in foreign markets, which is where all the real money is.
One gameplay factor that many a Japanese game is missing, is multiplayer, and I’m not the only one who thinks that. Cliffy “Gears of war” Bleszinski feels the same way, and recently spoke about how Asian developers need to make their titles more social.
Speaking to Gamasutra, Bleszinski soke about how those developers could gain new ground in the market, with multiplayer. “My advice to Japan is that in a disc-based market right now, you cannot [ignore multiplayer],” Bleszinski said, although he was quick to point out that online play wasn’t a solution to everything.
“I’m not saying tack multiplayer onto every game.”
Using Shadows of the Damned as an example, Bleszinski spoke about how that game could have benefited from a little online attention;
The dialogue had me laughing out loud, just even the key-door systems in there; it was a beautifully crazy game with really fun gameplay, but no multiplayer co-op experience in there. I’m not saying tack on versus; there’s a billion different ways you can do some sort of ‘players interacting with other players.’
And if you’re going to make a third-person shooter, the fact that Vanquish didn’t have a multiplayer suite was a crime.
Vanquish, despite being developed by Shinji Mikami as well, and having enough action in it to be confused for a third Expendables film, also failed to make much of a dent in western markets.
That IP, it was pretty good as far as being Western, but the gameplay was great, the vibe, and I’ve often said on record that if Gears is the kind of Wild, Wild West coal train chugging along, that Vanquish is the Japanese bullet train, with style and everything.
And there is absolutely no reason I shouldn’t have been zipping around, doing the mega slides, diving up in the air in an arena with other players.
Bleszinski however, feels that at least one big Japanese game got with the times, and created a fantastic online presence, as he felt that Demons/Dark Souls was “one of the most innovative games” and that it was going to “continue to inspire a lot of Western developers to figure ways that you can have connected elements in campaign games, and have more of a blended experience.”
Cliffy B has some very valid points up there. Japanese games need to make a profit in order to survive the current gaming industry climate, and the only way to do that, is to create a title that can combine eastern and western ideas, in order to have a future in both of those consumer-driven markets.
Last Updated: May 15, 2012