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Inafune calls Japanese industry ‘very closed-minded’

Inafune calls Japanese industry ‘very closed-minded’

Keiji Inafune gives a GDC talk on Japanese game development, suggesting that it needs to build new brands rather than relying on the old ones.

Steve Watts

March 8, 2012 9:15 AM16

Former Capcom designer Keiji Inafune has been vocal about Japanese game development for quite a while. The creator of Mega Man left Capcom amid sharp criticism that the Japanese games industry was creatively stagnating. Inafune’s talk at this year’s Game Developers Conference, titled “The Future of Japanese Games,” was no less critical of his home turf.

“Back in the day our Japanese games were used to winning and achieved major success,” he said, according to a report from Gamasutra. “By not accepting that fact we have arrived at the tragic state of Japanese games. The Japanese game industry has become very closed-minded.”

Inafune said that people in Japan were critical of his comments, but these days they are “beginning to run out of steam” and see some merit to his prediction. He claims he wanted to “light a fire under the Japanese game industry before it was too late.”

“I am ashamed to admit it but when I travel overseas I feel as if Japanese games are becoming a blast from the past,” he said. “They have become great memories and little more. But there is a limit to how much business you can do trading on past glories. We rarely see new creations from Japan. So we stick to our memories and we ship an HD version.”

He suggests that the Japanese industry should create new brands and foster talent that will be interested in creative control. “Thanks to [our predecessors], here we are today. But leaders of the Japanese game industry must think about developing and rebuilding the brands, not simply maintaining or sustaining the brands.”

Inafune is getting back into original game creation himself, having announced Kaio King of Pirates and the social mobile game The Island of Dr. Momo.

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