Keiji Inafune is a legend in the Japanese gaming industry, having worked on franchises like Mega Man and Onimusha at Capcom. He’s also well aware of the situation of the Japanese gaming industry, which is reinforced every time he comes out to E3.
“Every year that I come to E3, year in and year out, the one thing I’ve noticed is that it seems like the Japanese game developer share seems to be getting smaller and smaller,” said Inafune. “If you look at the major titles, they’re now primarily Western. If you look at all the different signs and all the billboards, most of those are Western titles. A lot of the key announcements are also Western titles. I think to myself sometimes, if we keep on this course, the Japanese gaming market will disappear totally. That is one of the valid concerns that I have, which is why as a Japanese publisher, as Capcom, we really want to fight the good fight, and try and make our games work within this more primarily Western market.”
“So, of course, we can’t just rely on our own skill, our own Japanese developer skill and know-how, to steer us through this dark time,” Inafune continued. “It’s going to have to come through collaborative efforts and co-operation. It’s our U.S. staff, our European staff, working closely with them. Of course we are working with a lot of different Western developers as well. It’s being able to share their knowledge and information, to collaborate with them on a very in-depth level, that’s going to allow us to grow as a company and to be able to understand how the market is changing in the West, and allow us to be competitive in those markets. That’s going to be essential for us.”
“While Western developed titles like Dark Void and Bionic Commando haven’t turned out the way Capcom would have liked,” Inafune asserts that Dead Rising 2 will be different.
“With Dead Rising 2, right now, we have finally reached it. We have learned what areas work, what areas don’t work, and that has helped us to create Dead Rising 2, which looks very much like the first one, feels like it’s got that Capcom essence to it, yet there are a lot of ideas and concepts in that game that a Japanese development staff would not have come up with. So it does take the best of the West and the best of Japanese game aesthetic design,” said Inafune. “Now that we have that knowledge, we can use that in future Western titles going forward. It’s not an easy process. It took some growing pains, but we finally got there.”
“The other thing that’s changed is that come this last April, I became the global head of all R&D throughout the world for Capcom. Now I’m able to give them sound advice to all the development teams, as well as synch them up so that we all are collaborating and we’re not separate companies just because we’re on different sides of the globe. I think that’s helping a lot, too,” he added.