A Nintendo community
for the fans, by the fans!
Browse    1  
Pros and cons of Western and Eastern (and European?) game development? [roundtable]
 
What are your perceived advantages and disadvantages of each territory? Feel free to include anything, from genre strengths to artistic values to game length to polish to narrative to development efficiency to WHATEVER. I'll chime in later (with a predictable response).

URL to share this content (right click and copy link)
Posted: 01/21/11, 19:49:49
[ Share ]
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
I thought European was part of Western developers...
Posted: 01/21/11, 20:11:09
I think Eastern developers bring more original, fresh ideas to games and gaming. I think this is because of cultural differences and different perceptions on different subjects. In the west we seem to have a very clear-cut idea of what things are and what they mean, there doesn’t seem to be much room for flexibility.

Western developers, however, have taken eastern game types and ideas and moved them forward (such as RPG's). Eastern developers seem to stick to traditions within game types a bit too much sometimes.
Posted: 01/21/11, 20:22:47
@Paleo_Orca
Yeah, I just thought I'd throw it in if people wanted to make the distinction between America/Canada and Europe (as I feel the games from each region ARE fairly distinct). There just weren't enough words to explain in the title.

Anyway, the topic died, so I shall take my turn forthwith!

Western Advantages: Efficiency, potentially coherent storytelling (particularly the ENDINGS, which the Japanese always fuck up), technical graphical quality, online multiplayer, UI, open-world design, simulations, FPS, RTS, MMO.

Eastern Advantages: Polish, load times, art and character design (by a large margin), music, linear design, game balance, quirky games, action games, arcade games, puzzle games, visual novels, dating simulations.


That's my take, generally. Totally non-controversial?
Posted: 01/22/11, 16:48:23
...I got nothing. I generally agree?
Posted: 01/22/11, 19:35:43
anandxxx said:
@Paleo_Orca
Yeah, I just thought I'd throw it in if people wanted to make the distinction between America/Canada and Europe (as I feel the games from each region ARE fairly distinct). There just weren't enough words to explain in the title.

Anyway, the topic died, so I shall take my turn forthwith!

Western Advantages: Efficiency, potentially coherent storytelling (particularly the ENDINGS, which the Japanese always fuck up), technical graphical quality, online multiplayer, UI, open-world design, simulations, FPS, RTS, MMO.

Eastern Advantages: Polish, load times, art and character design (by a large margin), music, linear design, game balance, quirky games, action games, arcade games, puzzle games, visual novels, dating simulations.


That's my take, generally. Totally non-controversial?

I pretty much agree with this entire post. That said I don't know if I'd give modern arcade or puzzle games to the East. There is an absolute shit-ton of those types of games coming out of the West.

Secondly two of my favorite genres, turn based strategy and city building/trade simulations like Anno 1404, Tropico, Sim City, Cities XL, etc are definitely better in the West.
Posted: 01/23/11, 00:14:00
Yeah, I was kind of iffy on arcade and puzzle. Indie developers in the West have had some good output. I also didn't give platformers to the East, because besides the Big N, what do they have?

I don't think city building even exists in Japan. Turn-based strategy is stronger there, though, I would say. Especially if you consider Civ "city-building". What are the big turn-based strategy franchises in the West these days?

@Pandareus
That's no fun.

But I don't think many would disagree strongly with my points for each side. I think, like many things, it just comes down to a matter of priorities. I prefer Japanese games, but I can see how someone who is looking for different things could easily prefer Western games. I don't really get the whole "Japanese games are shit now, Western games are crushing them" thing, though.
Posted: 01/23/11, 02:30:30  - Edited by 
 on: 01/23/11, 03:41:56
I think Eastern games for the most part suffer horribly from childish storytelling that is truly painful, not just embarrassing, to listen to. Western games in general aren't at some Shakespearian level or anything, but they tend to less often fall victim to deus ex machinas or random, indecipherable nonsense endings. JRPGs are one of my favorite genres, but good GOD they need to stop treating their audiences like 3-year olds. We can remember things in stories, we don't need a flashback every 10 seconds, we don't need a character to give a detailed description of their every intention, we don't need that crap!

GRRRR IT MAKES ME ANGRY JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.

But I love games from everywhere. From Two Worlds 2 to Super Mario Galaxy 2, from Super Meat Boy to Recettear. It's a great time to be a gamer. <3
Posted: 01/23/11, 02:42:13
@anandxxx

Well Civilization is a western game and that's probably the most famous TBS game on the planet. The Total War series is half TBS. Then you have Galactic Civilizations and XBLA games like Greed Corp coming out constantly. Then you have the entire Heroes of Might and Magic offshoot TBS games like Kings Bounty, all the HoMM (obviously) games, etc.

Japan has made the FF Tactics games and I did love Disgea last generation however outside of that and games like Fire Emblem and Advance Wars I think the TBS category handily goes to the west as far as quality and quantity is concerned... not to impune games like Disgea however, which are admittedly fantastic.
Posted: 01/23/11, 02:45:23  - Edited by 
 on: 01/23/11, 02:49:28
Western games are where it's at right now. I was reluctant to give in to this idea, but after Final Fantasy XIII came out, it was the last straw for me. Western and lots of Euro-developed games are trying more new things and are actually good at it.

Japanese developers just seem stuck in the sand. I'd rather they stick to what they know they're good at (Street Fighter IV for instance) than to try to reinvent themselves (FFXIII....damn) until they really get it I guess.
Posted: 01/23/11, 03:39:26
@Xbob42
A recent 8-4 podcast had an interesting take on this. Their thought was that a lot of the stuff you mentioned just comes down to how Japanese people speak. Or perhaps just how their dramatic storytelling works. Like, lots of repetition, lots of saying another person's name, lots of long-winded and seemingly unnecessary explanations.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, you are a racist.

The ending thing, though, is inexcusable. The Japanese manage to screw up almost every conclusion in every medium. That's one of the first things you should decide!

@Oldmanwinter
Oh, I thought you were including Civ in the city-building stuff, perhaps. I'm familiar with a lot of the games you mentioned, but most of them are from years past, right? I was kind of speaking of the present situation. And have the 4X games really changed much over the years? I guess you could argue that Japanese TBS stuff hasn't changed much, either, but the market seems much more vital over there, and I think there are still a decent amount of innovations in the genre. Just look at Luminous Arc and its wedding dress system!

One interesting thing to note is that Japan has totally taken over the classic dungeon crawl and roguelike. I guess Wizardry was really huge over there, or something.

Oh, and also, the creator of X-Com is heading up that Ghost Recon TBS for the 3DS.

@Paperclyp
You can't eat your cake! Do you want Japanese devs to try new things or not? I would disagree with what you said, anyway. I think that the amount of 'innovation' in mainstream Western games is overstated and that there are still a ton of innovative, interesting games coming out of Japan. Maybe not in the Final Fantasy brand, though.

But my dose of quirk is still coming mostly from Japan. I mean, look at all of the crazy DS and PSP games. That's another thing that people often ignore. A lot of Japan's best and brightest are actually working on handheld platforms, so judging them by their home console output might not be fair.
Posted: 01/23/11, 04:26:49
@anandxxx

Haha - yeah I basically want SE to go to its room until it can come out and not make a horrible game in my favorite franchise.

But I look at RPGs and what companies like Bioware and Bethesda have done - the Japanese developers can't touch that right now.

LBP2 is fresh in my mind and that game has blown me away.

I don't take online multiplayer gaming lightly, and Japanese impact there is basically zero. I think devs are just beginning to figure out some amazing things you can do with online, and I struggle to think of a single Japanese-developed game that I want to play online.

But perhaps I was too hard on them. They do have Team Ico, probably the most intriguing development team in gaming IMO. You could argue that Nintendo took the biggest gamble we've seen in a long time with the Wii and the direction of a lot of their games (Wii Sports) and damn did that pay off.
Posted: 01/23/11, 04:48:30
I'm not really seeing that Western innovation. What are we talking about? Merging RPG and shooter? Merging game and movies (though the Japanese kind of started that trend, Americans are just much better at it)?

I'm not trying to poo-poo on Western developers, but I think the same way you can look at Japanese games from 10 years ago and Japanese games of today and say "Yep, same thing, just prettier", you can do the same with Western games.
Posted: 01/23/11, 05:08:09
Pandareus said:
I'm not really seeing that Western innovation. What are we talking about? Merging RPG and shooter? Merging game and movies (though the Japanese kind of started that trend, Americans are just much better at it)?

I'm not trying to poo-poo on Western developers, but I think the same way you can look at Japanese games from 10 years ago and Japanese games of today and say "Yep, same thing, just prettier", you can do the same with Western games.

Open world games, online innovation - taking something that's a fairly new concept and doing new and different things with it. The J-devs seem almost afraid of online.

Previously mentioned LBP - that game does several new things I love, including kind of taking the Youtube theme and adding it into video games.
Posted: 01/23/11, 05:30:07
I've generally favored Eastern-developed games, but I've enjoyed Western games a great deal as well (the Mass Effect series is one of my favorites of all time, and I've liked other games too like Heroes of Might and Magic III and Ascendancy). I think what I usually enjoy most though are Japanese-developed games that have a Western style or feel to them. Not like what you see from Capcom nowadays, but series like Contra, or Resident Evil (pre-Resident Evil 5), or Dead Rising, or Deadly Premonition, are all Japanese games with a Western feel/influence to them, and I enjoy them all a great deal.

Overall, it's possible for me to enjoy something by any developer, regardless of what mindset they have when developing. I think both Western and Eastern developers have their pros and cons, as has been previously stated. I don't like playing Western games that fall into the pitfalls generally associated with Western-developed games, nor do I like playing Eastern-developed games that fall into the pitfalls generally associated with them. They both have their tired cliches, and it's detrimental regardless of where it's coming from.

@Xbob42 I agree; I find those aspects of JRPGs really annoying whenever I encounter them.
Posted: 01/23/11, 08:58:12
Pandareus said:
I'm not really seeing that Western innovation.

Western innovation, much like Eastern innovation, isn't always found in the mainstream, and when it is - it doesn't always work out.

Spore for example.

Tons of indie games like Braid, Super Meat Boy (Though SMB is a culmination of the new N+ style of games, but it has cool ideas.) and Aquaria take new paths for certain gameplay ideas.

Portal/Portal 2!

For as much as everyone likes to try to punk Crysis as being some tech demo, it's a great game with a lot of cool ideas. Thanks to its fantastic AI the destructable/manipulate-able environments, many cool and original battles are had.

Not sure if many other games did it, but Mass Effect's decision carry-overs really impact the experience.

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series is fantastic and unique.

The Penumbra games and Amnesia are very unique and terrifying takes on the horror genre.

The Adventure genre is dominated by the west, and they love to try new things all the time. <3 Machinarium.

Altitude is fun!

Gishgishgish

World of Goo

Shattered Horizon is an awesome game, if small.

VVVVVVV

Zeno Clash!

Just cause you personally may not like some of these games doesn't make them lack innovation or quirk!
Posted: 01/23/11, 10:10:31
@Xbob42

Can't say I have played most of those. I know of them, though, but I don't like shooting down games or arguing about games I haven't played myself.

I guess I'll amend what I posted earlier and say "I don't see Western developers are supposed to be so much more innovative than Japanese developers".

Yeah, Square seems stuck in a rut. Even Nintendo sometimes, especially when they can't seem to know what else to make than 2D platformers. But the same can be said about Ubisoft always remaking Rabbids and Assassin's Creed games, EA always making the same franchises, Activision, etc.
Posted: 01/23/11, 10:25:52  - Edited by 
 on: 01/23/11, 10:27:56
Oh I don't think it's much more if any more at all, I just think they can be just as innovative, but not always in the same way. I know a lot of what everyone sees are just the big brown shooters, but that is so not what Western gaming is about!
Posted: 01/23/11, 10:28:25
IGN (Australia) has actually put up an interesting piece that's relevant to this discussion, Japan's Decline, I think people here should check it out. It's actually a pretty in-depth look at the differences between Easter and Western development (but also at the difference in audiences, and several other factors).
Posted: 01/25/11, 01:46:14
Why is Australia writing about Japan? Off to read.

(I don't like the title, unless it refers to the health of the industry.)
Posted: 01/25/11, 02:22:34
Browse    1