His beliefs that Western developers are superior is a bit troubling. Am I the only one who noticed that we seem to be hearing frequently disparaging remarks lately from Japanese developers?
I wonder if this is an affliction caused by the deeper problems in the economy, because I doubt many of us who frequent this website would agree with him (correct me if I'm wrong). I read that, after the bust in 1989-90, two decades of decline have brought a sense of hopeless resignation among Japanese, and the sentiment is widely in a state of acquiescence to decline and a feeling that the best times are behind them.
As I understand it, consumer optimism is vital to a thriving economy (living in China and being inundated with optimism everywhere I go, it's not hard to see why the economic rise here is meteoric), so the state of mind among Japanese is just reinforcing and perpetuating decline.
@Matt I'm not familiar with Japanese economy, do you have any suggested links to read up on it? The Economy of Japan wiki is a bit daunting. Do you think the current US economic area might have a similar effect in the future, if it hasn't all ready begun?
As for more on the article, I don't doubt Infune's criticism of the Japanese industry, but whether the Western development style is the way to do things leaves me wondering. What Western developers certainly have that the Japanese don't is an understanding of Western culture. There's not culture gap to cross, but at the same time I don't think it's actually led to better games for the West. If feels like a lot of Western games try very hard to be INSERT POPULAR GENRE FLICK and not something of their own. Even in the all of anime inspired Japanese games, I rarely feel like it's really ripping off any one particular anime I've seen (a notable exception is Xenogears and Neon Genesis Evangelion), even if themes or plot devices are similar (or the exact same). I get that feeling from so many of the most popular Western titles (actually a good sign of whether I'll like a Western title is if I can't associate a movie with it, e.g. Blizzard games).
@Matt Well I'm no expert on any economy, that said you don't have to read far to find out that the anime industry is in a dire situation. The whole worldwide financial thing really hit it hard, and that's why so many shows that are made at the moment are made to a specific demographic that they know they can sell content to. That's why there is very little in the way of groundbreaking and/or risky titles that people get so excited about.
If this situation is similar in most markets in Japan (most likely, I don't think their economy is rocking at the moment) then I imagine most workers aren't super happy at the moment.
He mentions the notion of the 'salaryman' - people have lost their passion and are just working because they have to (especially from what he said) - pretty disheartening.
I get the impression unlike anime videogames still sell well (especially console games because they are less easy to obtain illegally) but perhaps not anywhere near as well as they used to. It becomes hard to balance 'making what sells' against 'making what's cool' - I guess he feels unhappy being stuck in a job where his creativity is no doubt stifled.
That's my impression anyway, and I'm certainly not trying to pretend I know exactly what's going on.
Edit: And huzzah to posting something that sparked a discussion!
From what I understand, despite a rough time getting the motor back up and running, the US economy is much more vibrant than Japan's was 20 years ago. It still has, by far, the most innovative people and organizations in the world. The workforce is young and the birthrate is high whereas Japan has a rapidly declining birthrate and an aging population. The best and the brightest still aspire to come to America, creating a competitive spirit, while Japan is virtually shuttered to immigrants. And unlike Europe, we aren't prone to retire early and drain the treasury with pensions for 20 or 30 years (though pensions are still contributing to mounting US debt).
Not to mention the stock market has made a huge comeback in the last 18 months, something that never happened in Japan. The NIKKEI index is a quarter of the value of it's peak in 1989; In the US, DJI and S&P are only about 80% of their peak 2007 values, and are on the major upswing at the moment.
The only thing that is troublesomely similar is the creeping feelings of inadequacy that seem to be setting in now that emerging economies like China and Brazil have weathered the crisis and are now back on track to major growth. I hope the similarities with Japan stop there.