Japanese developers are shunning "Western" design concepts and returning to their cultural roots, according to Namco Bandai's Hideo Baba, producer of the much-loved Tales RPG series. Good news if, like me, you think companies like Capcom need to stop obsessing over the buying habits of North American and European audiences.
"I feel like a lot of Japanese developers, especially ourselves, we've really taken an effort to go back to our roots," Baba opined in an interview with Shacknews. "We look at what we started with and what we're good at, and we really tried to make an effort to strengthen what our foundations are."
"With regards to the Tales franchise, we've never made an effort to 'westernize' it," he went on. "We feel that Western developers are good at certain things, while Japanese developers are good at other things. Rather than us trying to copy Western developers, we really try to look within ourselves and try to improve ourselves. The Tales franchise has been a personal struggle to better ourselves and the franchise."
Baba's words echo those of PlatinumGames president and CEO Tatsuya Minami, who issued an impassioned call for a "Japanese games revival" in April 2011. "Not so long ago, Japan lead the world's games business, and it was not a stretch to call games a uniquely Japanese speciality," he wrote. "However, now it appears that Japanese games companies have lost their vigour."
The most recent Tales title on Xbox 360 is Tales of Vesperia, a charming, beautifully produced and fast-paced adventure. Any fond reminiscences to share?