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Ogasawara: Emulating Western Development Hasn't Worked, Japanese Culture A 'Huge Treasure'

Matt Gardner
Development, Dynasty Warriors, East vs West, Japan, Kenichi Ogasawara, Tecmo Koei

Ogasawara: Emulating Western Development Hasn't Worked, Japanese Culture A 'Huge Treasure'

Dynasty Warriors' production lead Kenichi Ogasawara has called for Japanese developers to realise that their country's culture is a "huge treasure" in the crushingly competitive market of the games industry, and to stop trying to "copy" Western development models.

"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."

Ogasawara suggested that developers should look to improve their own game systems, looking at how they can make their own material and retain originality instead of simply copying the methods of others.

"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 stated.

Moreover, for the Tecmo Koei man, Japanese culture should be embraced and utilised as something of a treasure trove of unique possibilities.

"In Japan there has been a rise of third-person action games, but something Japanese developers still have as a huge treasure in our industry is our culture," Ogasawara continued.

"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."

He conceded that competing with Hollywood and big-budget American titles in the global market was difficult, but that cultural differences and unique cultural qualities can be used to stand out, particularly in saturated genres such as the action market.

"We're looking for ways to portray our culture in an easy-to-understand way, in a captivating way. Obviously in the action market there are influences from the Hollywood industry in the presentation, and it's very hard for us to compete with that," he adds. "For us, I think the best way to stand out in the competitive market is to use our culture to our advantage." [Gamasutra]

Add a comment 1 comment
JonLester  Feb. 17, 2012 at 12:38

I couldn't agree more. Examples abound, but Final Fantasy XIII, Ace Combat Assault Horizon and, by what we've played, Ninja Gaiden 3 are all attempting to pander to what Japanese studios think us Westerners want from our games (straightforward action, mainly)... and that's a sad state of affairs.

When I think of Japanese games, I think of Okami, Jet Set Radio, Panzer Dragoon, No More Heroes, The World Ends With You and any number of exciting, innovative and visually distinct games - though I'm idealising of course. I hope that the uniqueness of Japanese culture and development philosophy can continue to provide us with new and different game experiences.

Which, interestingly, is something we now expect from Western indie studios.

Last edited by JonLester, Feb. 17, 2012 at 12:43

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