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Japanese Game Design

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Japanese Game Design

Unread postby Gaius » 26 Aug 2014 07:36

In this thread we can talk about and link to content discussing:

  • How Japanese videogames differ from ones made in other regions.
  • How the Japanese approach to videogame design and development is different.
  • The cultural factors that influence the aforementioned topics.

To start of with I saw this interesting post on NeoGAF a while back by someone who says they worked on Bayonetta: ... t118740251

PlatinumGamesJP wrote:Being the only one in this thread that worked on Bayonetta, I don't think that God of War is for frat douches, or is "cinematic gameplay." That's just ignorant vitriol.

To me: Bayo is a mechanically-driven game, God of War is a level design-driven game. They both do what they set out to do extremely well.

In Japan, a game designer is a "planner" and spends a huge amount of time on mechanic design. We don't really have a tradition of game design-driven levels. Instead, you have the environment team making levels as essentially "stages" for the mechanics. In the US, many designers are either Level Designers doing their own scripting/engagements or have come from that background. God of War is more successful because it is easier to understand good level design than it is to understand a deep combat mechanic.

Having gotten insanely drunk with a few members of the GoW team over the years, I think that many would agree with the summary above.
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Unread postby Helios » 19 Feb 2017 17:06

This is precisely the subject of a certain interview.

East vs. West: Interview with Keiji Inafune and Hiroyuki Kobayash ... vswest.htm

This was my favorite part.

HG101 wrote:Do you find that American gamers tend to focus more on open-endedness and exploration? It seems like many Japanese games are pretty linear.

Inafune: Culturally speaking, Japanese culture is firmly rooted in wet-rice agriculture and its status as an island nation. Japanese want to be able to plan, they want to have guidance, they want to have focus. To put it simply, Japanese people feel uncomfortable with the unknown and not understanding the future. RPGs illustrate this well - It is your turn to attack, it is the enemy's turn to attack. You pick a magic spell and you have a predictable result. You progress through the game with clearly defined goals. Japanese enjoy having these clearly defined goals, and it progresses all the way through to the actual game implementation. Japanese game designers focus on the concept of triggering and proceeding through gameplay "flags" or "dip switches". Japanese people don't like just being dropped into a sandbox with no guidance. If you tell a Japanese person they are free to go anywhere, often times they will choose to go nowhere. Westerns, on the other hand, seem to be excited by the unknown. For instance, as a hunting and trapping society, an American may go deer hunting and encounter a bear. Japanese would be scared by this encounter, whereas the American will probably shoot the bear and go back excited that he got a bear instead of a deer. The unknown encounter becomes even better than the known. I feel this is the key difference.
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Unread postby Bread » 19 Feb 2017 18:36

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Unread postby earthboundtrev » 01 Feb 2019 16:29

This is an interesting article about the development of the original Resident Evil 2 that includes quotes from Hideki Kamiya and Shinji Mikami: ... eki-kamiya

In the article Kamiya mentions his general development process, which I'll paste here:

Alex Aniel wrote:When asked about his feelings the moment Resident Evil 2 was officially canceled and whether he had any particular regrets about the experience, Kamiya unambiguously argues that starting over was the correct decision. “It truly was a piece of shit. It was boring, devoid of vision, and a poor excuse for a horror game,” Kamiya colorfully describes. Armed with a strong choice of words, Kamiya appears steadfast and confident in a way that only someone with the requisite experience could be. “To be honest, I was actually relieved when we canceled the game,” Kamiya admits. “It was my first time sitting in the director’s seat, so I was quite inexperienced. I like to experiment with different ideas to see what works and what does not. Another thing that contributed to the failure of the game was my lack of vision. I do not usually have a specific vision going into a project. I like to experiment and see what sticks.”

That's exactly the same approach to Japanese development that was discussed on the first Insomnia Podcast. I was immediately reminded of the Podcast after reading the quote for the first time.
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Unread postby recoil » 05 Mar 2019 16:28

A nice documentary on Devil May Cry 5 and RE2make.


toco toco - Devil May Cry 5, Resident Evil 2 Remake Directors special:

Via ... l.1473129/
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