Ero game overload – a rant on the state of the Japanese game industry
May 31, 2006
Having been inspired by Digikerot’s comment on the Negima game I was blogging about a few days ago, I was considering the real enigma that’s bugging me about the Japanese game industry. Obviously, I don’t pretend to know the answer, so I would be very happy to hear people’s comments about this.
As everyone knows, Japan is the mother of all gaming – Most of the biggest gaming companies; for example, Sony and Nintendo, hail from that country and most of the games they have produced are now part of gaming legend. Japan not only gave rise to definig console, but also to defining game genres, such as the rise of the rhythm game in Parappa the rapper and later, Dance dance revolution. Not to mention the Role Playing game – Japan still managing to release benchmark games for the international market.
Even in 3D gaming Japan has been at the forefront. Although first person shooter type games such as Halflife and Doom were due to American developers, Japan dominated the 3D isometric platformer market with titles such as Super Mario 64.
Anyway, let me get to the point, through my inane (and no doubt inaccurate) rambling. If Japan can create such beautiful masterpieces of games such as Final Fantasy, how come the anime game industry is dominated by dating sims and ero-games??
Surely fans of anime are, if anything as likely to want to play as their favourite anime character in a 3D platformer, or RPG, for example, rather than a plain old visual novel, with very little actual gameplay – You might as well start releasing more manga ^_^. I know that the number one explanation for this is that “3D platformers and RPGs cost so much more to make than a dating sim with no moving pictures and text only”, and up till recently, I fully supported that view.
However, reading the blog of the Negima game changed my mind.
The Negima project is undoubtedly backed by huge amounts of money. Akamatsu is probably one of the most famous mangaka, not only in Japan, but all over the world, therefore the money backing this project must be stupendous. However, the second Negima game just takes the biscuit. If you have enough money to make a lame mini-game based fanservice beach game in 3D, then surely you have enough money to make a full 3D adventure? Even a short one would satisfy me. Or even a 3D battle game of some variety – I’m sure that wouldn’t have taken much development.
This rant comes even fuller force after reading about the doujin group (Tasogare Frontier and 07th Expansion) who produced the visual novel for Higurashi no naku koro ni (The anime of which I am greatly enjoying at the moment). As I read about recently, the same circle has recently released a demo for Higurashi daybreak.
Now if even a doujin circle not backed by hundreds of thousands of yen can make such a great looking game, then where does the Japanese game industry stand?
My second question is an obvious one: why is it that the Japanese anime industry and Japanese game industry have rarely joined forces to produce good games based on anime. The only games that come to mind are several based on Sailor Moon and other “vintage” anime (which were far from good), but recently, very very few at all. Have the anime and game industry fallen out for some reason?
All I can hope for is that some day, otaku like me will be able to purchase quality action and adventure games based on the anime we love.