The new Xbox One has just been announced, and PS4’s first press conference revealed all but the console’s looks and pricing in February earlier this year, what will happen to the Japanese game developers in the next console cycle?
Many people relate the following genres to the typical Japanese console gaming experience – Role-Playing Games, 2D & 3D fighters, rhythm games and platformers like Mario. To the general public, the Japanese games scene has been pretty lacklustre since 2008. However, Konami – rather, Kojima Productions – came about relatively unscathed, with the huge response netizens gave during their Metal Gear Solid 5 teaser and the success of its new Metal Gear Rising series.
Both the Xbox One and the PS4 are confirmed to be using the Blu-Ray disc format, by far still the medium with the largest storage capacity in a disc thus far. However, current generation games already have difficulties in cramming as much visual and sound data into the disc, a limitation Metal Gear Solid 4 encountered. Sadly, WiiU didn’t make the cut,
Here are some scenarios that Japanese game developers may encounter in this upcoming console cycle:
1. Much lesser will to innovate than before
The upcoming consoles are rumoured to support 1080p gaming at 60 frames per second on top of anti-aliasing filters and other effects based off Unreal Engine 4. As more work is needed to render and produce high quality graphics and effects, game developers will spend less money to develop or hire good story writers and producers who can create games that engage their intended gamer target audience. This may cause a vicious cycle to develop that can spiral downhill.
However, with the release of gesture related games using the improved Kinect and Smartglass, who knows what doujin (indie) developers can do with the software. The issue would be that the current Kinect didn’t do as well as it should.
2. More re-releases of existing games
Fun games created before the PS3 might be re-released as HD editions for the upcoming console cycle. The Resident Evil franchise may go with it, possibly with a remake of Resident Evil 2 and 3. Other possible ports or sequels may include games involving Gundam or Naruto, and maybe a new Final Fantasy game.
3. (Potentially) Kill off support for Xbox One
Many Japanese games reward their hardcore fanbase with really good limited edition versions that can only be obtained through pre-orders, and a great deal of Japanese gamers want these limited edition items. Since Xbox One moves most (if not all) of their games to the Cloud, that could effectively alienate these gamers. It is known that the PS3 has obtained fair more support from game developers compared to the Xbox 360. Hideo Kojima’s response to the omission of the Japanese version of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance from the Xbox 360 clearly shows that.
4. Fun multiplayer games that don’t follow Call of Duty
More and more games are taking the multiplayer route in hopes to increase the longevity of their games, but not many can survive, even AAA Western games such as Max Payne 3 and Tomb Raider fail to engage their players despite their robust single player experience. Japanese game developers have yet to truly jump into the multiplayer bandwagon – with the exception of music, versus and fighting games – even with the current generation consoles. If games such as Phantasy Star Online goes to the console, there may still be hope, since the Playstation Vita version was developed.
5. Give in to the allure of DLCs
Since their Western counterparts have been earning tons of cash from DLCs, why not? In fact, Japanese developers have already been having their way with some games, such as Idolm@ster 2 and Hatsune Miku: Project Diva. Even Super Robot Wars is going towards the DLC direction with their recent and upcoming releases.
What sort of changes do you foresee Japanese game developers taking steps to ready themselves for the next generation of consoles?