The press is too soft on Japanese developers, claims the creative director of Assassin’s Creed III.
Alexander Hutchinson feels elements of Japan-made games, particularly their narratives, are often flawed but regularly forgiven.
“I think there’s a subtle racism in the business, especially on the journalists’ side, where Japanese developers are forgiven for doing what they do,” he told CVG in an interview.
Hutchinson went on to say that the alleged preferential treatment that Japanese developers receive is “condescending”, as all developers should be treated equally.
He explained: “Just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish. Literally gibberish. There’s no way [a western developer] could write it with a straight face, and the journalists say ‘oh, it is brilliant’.
“Then Gears of War comes out and apparently it’s the worst written narrative in a game ever. I’ll take Gears of War over Bayonetta any time.
“I just think the simple question should be: is the story any good?”
Later in the interview, Hutchinson praised Nintendo for “reinvigorating their franchises, as have other Japanese companies”.
At GDC in March, Phil Fish, the co-founder of Fez developer Polytron, told a Japanese games developer in front of an audience that “your games just suck”.
There has been no shortage of comments proclaiming the decline of the Japanese games industry for the last four years.
However, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy and Capcom’s Resident Evil and Lost Planet franchises are just some examples of Japanese games that have received a lukewarm reception from the specialist press.