While Japanese developers have long dominated the market with series like Final Fantasy, Mega Man, and Castlevania, they began to be seen as decadent sometime in the 2000s. According to Hironobu Sakaguchi, one of the creators of Final Fantasy, this happened due to a change in the way the console market worked.
In an interview with IGN, Sakaguchi explained that, for a long time, Japanese developers had an advantage over others due to communication barriers.. According to him, it became much easier for them to contact Nintendo and Sony to get details of their hardware and create higher quality games. “As a result, Japanese games were considered more fun, but when it became easier to develop for hardware, things changed quickly.“, He explained.
Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi agrees with Sakaguchi, stating that Western developers gain the upper hand as console hardware catches up with PC. “Japanese developers could no longer rely on their specialties as console developers and had to master PC development.“, he stated.
Cross-platform games also affected developers
Another reason for the perception that there has been a drop in the quality of Japanese games is the fact that cross-platform releases have become more frequent and necessary. As a result, developers no longer had a way to specialize in a single platform and learn to deal with its limitations.
Sakaguchi also argued that cultural differences contributed to this perception and differentiate the types of games that are made in each country. According to him, while Western children often have their own spaces from an early age, in Japan it is more common that “the whole family sleeps in the same room”.
“These small cultural differences can be seen in the games we make today. […]. I think celebrating my Japanese cultural background is what draws people to my games in the first place.“, he stated. Sakaguchi left Square Enix in 2003. and since then he has dedicated himself to the Mistwalker studio, whose most recent work is the RPG Fantasian, currently exclusive to Apple Arcade.
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Source: Adren Aline
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