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January 17, 2010

Comments

feitclub

That "no save points" suggestion should be applied to ALL games at this point. Even New Super Mario Bros restricts my ability to save, why? Does 2ch have a response to that? I doubt it.

jpmeyer

As a counterpoint, the recent article at Gamasutra about the mechanics in Final Fantasy XIII (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/26643/Analysis_The_Conundrum_of_Final_Fantasy_XIII.php) mentions that the Amazon Japan review rating for the game right now is only averaging 3 stars.

MattAlt

>>That "no save points" suggestion should be applied to ALL games

A lack of save points drives me crazy, too -- it basically translates into a lack of freedom to me.

This isn't any grand revelation to anyone who's spent any amount of time around Japanese gamers, but there has traditionally been a subset of J-gamer who takes a masochistic pleasure in perfecting their "technique" and making it to the end of a game despite all obstacles -- you see this a lot in the side-scrolling shoot 'em ups. "King of Kong" and the quarter-muncher era aside, I really don't see that drive as much in foreign gamers. I think that attitude still informs J-game design to a certain extent.

David Cabrera

Dragon Quest IX, the Japanese old faithful, also has a 3-star review average on Amazon (though that game is a series anomaly with a very troubled history).

The entire IGN article takes Bethesda and Bioware RPGs as the ideals: these are good games in theory and on paper, but every time I play them for more than six hours or so, I get deathly bored. Haven't finished one yet, and I've bought a couple. You know, cause they sound so good on paper. I could go on for hours about why this is, but in short the combat has no impact and Bethesda games are populated by script-reciting robots.

I'd still rather play them than the average JRPG. The genre's come to a full stop: the last thing I played that was really adventurous in the genre was The Last Remnant, and it was still so deeply flawed that I stopped about halfway in.

jpmeyer

The last RPGs that I've played with any real strategy to the combat could very well have been Baldur's Gate 2 (I'm thinking of the times when you had to fight enemies like dragons or wizards), and both of those are 10 years old now. I was about to include Deus Ex, until I realized that the fact that you can get through the game with barely ever fighting if you'd like shows how the combat in most RPGs is basically filler.

Jeremy Neiman

I much prefer most western RPGs to Japanese ones. I loved Fallout 3, Oblivion, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, etc. These games all are very well polished with great stories. Where Oblivion and Fallout both have have a ton of freedom (and they truly do have a sense of exploration) games like Dragon Age or Mass Effect have very well developed and interesting characters.

I've played a lot of Japanese RPGs and I can never finish them. The only Final Fantasy game I've finished (besides Tactics Advance) is FFI, and I've played a bunch of them. One of my favorite game is Tales of Symphonia, but that wasn't quite your standard RPG format. Frankly, I have no clue why I can't finish those games. It's not like I don't enjoy them while I play them - I do - but just out of the blue I lose interest, as opposed to a game like Dragon Age, which got me completely addicted while I was playing it.

sumguy

"Japanese RPGs are created for the express purpose of letting one experience the blooming of their full powers from a total zero starting point. They're necessary for keeping public order in Japan."-LOL

But seriously if jrpgs could reduce crime then I guess we should throw in a copy of a jrpg free with every purchase of MW2 or GTA4

thomas

I find the 8th point in the IGN article rather moot. Because the "fully animated, interactive dialogue sequences" in Western games often involve horrible acting that could better be left out, and when you ignore those it isn't much different from the JRPG dialogue sequences. Frankly, I'd rather look at some static screen than watch some dipshit in military fatigues do his stereotypical thing (whether motion-captured CG or live-action - they both tend to suck).

Also, their 5th point is a fallacy, as they mention themselves that the problem is not the Japanese voice acting (for the JP audience), but the US localization that tries to imitate the JP voice acting. And that can be remedied by whoever does the localization.

MattAlt

There seems to be a huge cultural divide here. In my experience, Japanese gamers -- many of whom aren't exactly wilting violets -- are incredibly ambivalent about the increasingly realistic violence being portrayed in Western games. They just don't seem to get the same charge out of it that a lot of non-Japanese gamers (including myself) do. There's a thesis in here, I'm sure...

BIGmog

Western gamers see themselves as the protagonist. Think about the character creation feature of Fallout and the Elder Scrolls. You could spend hours just customizing the look of the character.

Japanese gamers prefer to play as another character. Character design becomes extremely important and artists like Toriyama and Amano become a key selling point.

This also explains why FPS games are not as popular in Japan. After all, you don't actually see the main character because western gamers like to think that THEY are the main character. I'm speculating that 3rd person shooters sell better in Japan.

Billy6guns

:/ Frankly as an american... i perfer JP styled gaming. American made games i find dull and pointless with no sence of acheivment. The worst of all american rpg's happens to also be an mmo.. FFXI is soooo much better than WoW

MattDark

Love how most of the problems they list arent just limited to JRPGs, or even just mute their own point.

Even in western rpgs, people say the same thing, ohh look, theres a whole host of dialouge choices, but in the end it all ends up being limited to the same thing. The guards in oblivion for example, hell even in Dragonage, alot of NPCs would just have a single line repeated by other characters, so long as they were not part of the story.

And the filler? Isnt that just like the grinding in american rpgs, along with the sheer amount of quests that are there just to make the game seem olnger then it is?

Aside from the few RPGs, there arent many games that let you save whereever you like, still using checkpoints as a semi-savepoint.
Plus, being able to save at anytime kind of takes the challenge out of it, because you can quickly load a save and do something differantly, rather then going to a certain point, which acted as a punishment for just rushing in.

Rerorerorero

THIS JUST IN: JAPANESE 4CHAN COUNTER-TROLLS AMERICAN TROLLS.

sdf

Seems like both are ignorant.

c

x

chrono

jrpg,fighting the same mosters over and over just to Level-Up is boring

Glenn

Hey Matt !

If you want the low-down on cultural differences in computer games between Japan and the West, then i believe this article from 1up.com might be the one you need to read = http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3155815 (Clash of the Cultures)

A short summary -> the article lays down the differences of game design in Japan and US, and how technology, esthetics and how perception of games differ when gamers play them, and how gamers make/apply their own expectations and preferences when playing games made by Japanese/Western game developers.

I recommend others to read this as well.

Kaycee

Do any of the Japanese comments discuss Bioware RPGs at all? It looks like the translated ones are focusing on Bethesda's RPGs. Bethesda and Bioware do American RPGs a bit differently. It would be like comparing Namco Bandai (Tales series) to Square Enix (Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest). Bethesda's games seem more focused on open ended exploration and don't have as much of a detailed storyline. Bioware RPGs are a bit more linear in comparison to Bethesda, but the stories are deeper and there's much more character development.

Personally, I like both, but a lot of recent JRPGs haven't really held my interest. I've been playing JRPGs since the late 80's, over 20 years now, and I haven't seen much evolution. JRPGs have a lot of overused cliches that are still overused. And Final Fantasy XIII sounds like the Final Fantasy for newbie gamers - so extremely linear it sounds like they're practically driving you through a tunnel on a Disney ride. Eh... unless JRPGs start doing something interesting, I'd rather play other genres.

tissuekins

In Japan, they really focus on the aesthetic in games, and I think in general. This is even seen in the anime industry, where the concept of Moe is basically built on this ideology (or a part of it). Personally I find the problem to be that culturally, the games may not appeal aesthetically. This is what I find with american rpgs, that and they are boring to play. The thing is that alot of them are fantasy themed, so alot of people may not want to play them. Sure you can say that jrpgs are fanatasy themed, but they are such a mix of different things that's hard to tell the theme's ass to it's face. I think what needs to happen is we need to combine Japanese aesthetics and American game systems with more freedom, so that all those people who don't give a fuck, can go on playing their shooters.

That Guy

Dammit Japan, we have more games than the FPS... they're called THIRD PERSON SHOOTERS. Also, Madden. But seriously, give me more Mario and Luigi games and I'll be cool.

Glenn

@kaycee:

Your statement that JRPG hasn't evolved is shared by Dr.Greg Zeschuk, co-founder of Bioware.

http://www.destructoid.com/bioware-co-founder-jrpgs-suffer-from-lack-of-evolution--155782.phtml (Destructiod)

Hell, even the Bioware Forums have a thread about putting JRPG elements to make Dragon Age: Origins slightly better. Small world we live in. XD

Thread here --> http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/9/index/528993/1

Alan

Demon’s Souls on PS3 has raised the bar in
may opinion and Its head and shoulder with
Fall out 3 or Dragon Age

Sprocket

"Hey foreigners: we find your first-person shooters boring as shit. What do you say to that?"

You're not alone?

Yeah, neither side is 100% right, but it's hard for me not to be biased, as I haven't been interested in video games like my peers since western games rose to prominence in the last decade, and damn if I wasn't hardcore into gaming early and for a long, long time.

Ozuma

I agree with Sprocket. I don't think either side is 100% right, but my interest in games seems to dwindle as games developed in the west become more and more prominent.

My problem with a lot of western games? They seem so obsessed with reality. Everything has to be real, look real, reflect reality just like a mirror. We'll get post-apocalyptic futures and war scenarios and medieval fantasies. The settings seem to be based so heavily on our world.

Meanwhile, Japanese developers seem to take the mirror and go, "Well, how can we twist this?" With the result being RPGs that take place in environments that resemble our world in some ways and differ vastly from it in others. I mean, look at Final Fantasy X. Can you really say that game is scifi or medieval fantasy? It's entirely its own thing.

I have yet to see a western developer do something like that. The focus on reality just makes games feel dull and drab to me. And is it just me, or do they love the browns and greys in their games, too?

If the future of gaming is for western games to become even more prominent, then I doubt I'll be much of a gamer in that brown and grey future.

t.k

ニュー速クオリティからきますた。
日本の反応はというと

1.屈強なオッサンだらけのRPGなんかしたくありません><

2.んなこといったら俺は何回、テロリストに制圧されるエアフォースを見たことか。

3.海外展開なんてしなくていいから今のままでいいわ

4.ゲームなんてもんはいかに無駄な時間を楽しく過ごせるかどうかなんだから
長過ぎとかどこでもセーブ出来るようにしろなんて言うほど忙しいならリアルが充実してるって事だろ、ゲームに頼る必要は無い

だそうですはい

MattAlt

日本語のレス、ありがとうございました。外国人が読めるように翻訳をさせて頂きます。

Thanks for the Japanese-language response. Please allow me to translate it so that non-Japanese can read it too:

"The general Japanese attitude [towards the original article] can be summed up as follows:

1) Who wants to play a RPG filled with big brawny men?

2) I've seen more than enough games featuring the air force suppressing terrorists or whatever.

3) If foreign development isn't a priority, why not keep doing things as-is?

4) Games are designed to waste time in an enjoyable way. If you're so busy that you're complaining about game length and save points, your life's obviously full enough that you don't really need to depend on games."

Sprocket

Ozuma, you say it far better than I could. It's like when I was playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare with a friend, and it immediately struck me how boring it is to go through a war-torn version of an urban surrounding. Whee, it's like the Bronx after it's been bombed, how exciting. Not to mention how every major game release has to feature a grizzled, muscular protagonist, body armor and helmet optional.

Welcome to Western game design, where the inspiration is Heavy Metal Magazine with a lot less imagination and no hint of irony whatsoever.

Mika

JRPGs = story > gameplay

Yuki

I much prefer JRPGs to what I've played of WRPGs, to be quite honest. It feels to me like Western RPGs are more focused on what feels to me like FPS gameplay, with an emphasis on random sidequests rather than a main storyline. (I've not played a lot, honestly, but I've played some of Fable and its sequel, I played the first Baldur's Gate, and I've seen Fallout 3 videos and I've looked through the strategy guide.)

What I like about RPGs is that they're like playable novels, and I absolutely love to read. They can be cliched, yeah, and it's unfortunate, but I like them nonetheless, especially things like Persona and Shin Megami Tensei (though I prefer Persona) that tackle more mature subjects than simply "WE NEED TO SAVE THE WORLD!", though those sorts of games are fun as well.

Strill

1.屈強なオッサンだらけのRPGなんかしたくありません><
1) Who wants to play a RPG filled with big brawny men?

People who come from a culture where that's a big part of the definition of masculinity. Although it could be argued that stoicism is a more important masculine trait, which would explain why characters like Samus are also popular and why emo JRPG protagonists aren't. Basically, westerners see JRPG protagonists the same way they see Shinji from Evangelion-annoying whiny little girls.

Personally I don't agree with any of these views, but that's just my take on it.

jerry

First off, I want to say that Bioware's RPGs are the only RPGs I've ever enjoyed. While their gameplay is extremely simple and nothing to write home about, the writing quality keeps me glued to the game until completion. So I have a problem with the blanket term "Western RPG." For one, Bioware's chief writer is typically the same guy: Drew Karpyshyn. Also, Bethesda's RPGs are utter trash to me. They have a very generic, factory-produced feel to me, and I cannot remember any interesting things happening in either Oblivion or Fallout. So it really just boils down to this Karpyshyn fellow for me. Not "Western RPGs" but "Karpyshyn RPGs."

Anyway, I don't think it's likely that Japanese writers will be able to write an RPG story that will appeal to North American gamers in a way that Bioware's writers (aka Karpyshyn) can. Just look at Amazon.com USA's top 100 fiction books and there are probably few, if any, Japanese writers there. Writing a popular story is more akin to writing a popular song, or making a critically acclaimed film. Not as easy to cross cultural boundaries there, as it is to make a fun game like football, baseball, or Super Mario. These games are much more enjoyable universally.

Also, I'd really like to see some statistics about the average age for gamers in Japan vs the USA. Looking at the games that come out in the US and become popular, it really seems like the popular age range for AAA games is in the 18-35 year old category. Americans seem to want to play games well into their adult lives. I don't get that impression from Japanese games, where the stories are all about high school age people going on adventures.

I also get the impression that many North American gamers grew up with JRPGs and lament the fact that their favorite franchises didn't grow up with them, expecting them to becoming more complex in game mechanics and in story. To me this makes little sense.

jerry

hmm i should say that Karpyshyn's RPGs are pretty much the only recent RPGs I've enjoyed. Deus Ex was great, but is so old I'm not sure it's relevant now. Valkyria Chronicles 1 was great, but it's more of a tactical wargame than a straight up RPG.

You know, I really think Bioware needs to just fire all of its art team and just hire the Square Enix art and music team. Make Karpyshyn the lead writer and BAM... you've got the ultimate RPG game. Beautiful looking, full of style, great music, and a "page-turning" story to boot.

MattAlt

"Americans seem to want to play games well into their adult lives."

Not "seem" -- it's definite! But I think a big part of this is the multiplayer culture in America (and other countries) that makes gaming more of a sport than a solitary activity. Sitting around in your skivvies playing FF-whatever at age 30+ might seem a little sad, but getting together with your pals online to play Halo/Call of Duty/etc or in person for Rock Band or whatever feels like a social activity. I don't think many (any?) Japanese games have really successfully tapped into that zeitgeist yet.

Jagger

MattAlt: Have you forgotten about the huge success of the DS and Wii? Japan has a large casual gamer market that outnumbers hardcore gamers by a wide margin. The Japanese gaming market is mainly dominated by handhelds (DS and PSP), mobile phones, arcades, and mainstream consoles like the Wii, rather than hardcore consoles like the PS3 or X360, hence why we don't see as many Japanese games on the PS3 or 360 today. The Japanese gaming market has changed significantly over the past decade, possibly due to Nintendo's huge success with the DS and Wii. Most Japanese games today are usually produced for the Wii, handhelds, and mobile phones, rather than the PS3 or 360.

As for the article: Generally speaking, I think the reason Japanese gamers tend to prefer linear and/or easier games is because they just want to finish them in a single playthrough and move on. Western gamers, on the other hand, tend to prefer games that they can play over and over again, thus they prefer non-linear and/or harder games in general. This is what I've noticed as far as Western and Japanese preferences for single-player games are concerned. However, when it comes to casual games, Western and Japanese casual gamers are a lot more similar to each other.

John

I am fed up with the number of Japanese gamers that have been on Red Dead Redemption since PSN returned from being hacked. They are hated just as much as the French and the Mexican cheaters. The vast majority of them either camp or cheat. The campers are annoying but that is all part of the game. I have been accused of camping several times, although I have to disagree with the accusations. The Japanese cheaters are the ones that are the most annoying. I can just see a slanted eye Japanese teenager with glasses sitting in front of his Plasma TV playing an Americanized western. All the while pretending that he was John Marston. That image just cracks me up. Back to the Japanese cheaters. Why are there so many of them? Sony needs to put them back on their own servers. The fact that they cheat on our game makes it so much worse. They use modded Playstation consoles with aimbots and modified controllers. They are not even discreet about the fact that they are cheating. As you can probably tell when it come to gamers, I hate the Japs. This morning I played for a couple of hours and ran into several Japanese cheaters including K-RIDER-DENOH, K-RIDER-SHOCKER, K-RIDER-AMAZON, T-K-AKI_444, Rikiya1205, liquidtension123, xxKYO_xx, RS0927, BOZU_y and beniyasky. I have never met a legitimate Japanese gamer.

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