The culture of the Japanese games industry needs to change to encourage more creativity from developers, says Keiji Inafune.
Speaking to Gamasutra, the former head of Capcom R&D said there were a lot of talented young developers in Japan, but they often hadn’t been given a chance to prove their skills or take a leading role in game creation.
He explained that there needed to be a new system to help foster more talent into the ailing industry, similar to what he was doing at The Last Story developer Marvelous.
“There are a lot of very talented creators in Japan, but often they aren’t in a position to use that talent, or the developer they’re working for hasn’t noticed that talent,” said Inafune.
“So I think there needs to be a system that allows them to be more creative in their work; that would help them a lot. I think we’re seeing that in my work with Marvelous; I’m digging up a lot of talent working for them.”
Inafune added that one of the problems affecting games development in Japan was the culture of aspiring industry professionals looking to join a publisher rather than a developer.
He said it had become difficult for some studios to attract the best staff, unlike Western studios which were able to build up faster.
“Even what independent developers there are here essentially follow orders from their client publishers,” he said.
“There really aren’t a lot of rights given to them. As a result, you don’t really see companies on the orders of hundreds of employees that try to make a name for themselves via making good products.
“With outfits in the US and Europe, it’s more of a case of the developer really trying to make their own successes and reap the rewards – that’s why you see inspired people entering developers instead of publishers, and that’s why it’s easier for developers to build up people pretty quickly.
"Meanwhile, in Japan, the idea’s often that you enter a developer because you couldn’t join a publisher, so it’s harder for them to attract people.”