Sakaguchi: To Succeed Internationally, JRPGs Need to Change
Posted by Trevor Chan
Will Last Story lead the way by example?
There have been many Japanese games that never made it out of their own country but far from publishers being lazy or concerned that localisations won't be profitable enough for the hassle, perhaps the reason genres like Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) sometimes struggle to find success in the Western hemisphere is because the developers have forgotten what made them popular in the first place.
In an Iwata Asks session with Xenoblade director Tetsuya Takahashi and Last Story director Hironobu Sakaguchi, the panel discuss a variety of topics, one of which was the difficulty in producing a JRPG that sells internationally as well as it does in its home country. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata suggests that one of the reasons why JRPGs aren't as successful outside of Japan is because their creators are simply repeating the same patterns and conventions that have been utilised before, to which Sakaguchi agrees:
Because of this, RPGs need a change.
Although welcoming something different, Sakaguchi also notes that Japanese-developed titles are good examples of games that put emphasis on feelings and details, and if developers can apply attention to these core values, it's more likely they will be accepted around the world. One observation that all three agree on is the acceptance of foreign films in Japan, despite the cultural differences. It's a sign that there are things people from different countries and cultures can universally find interesting. If developers can tap into this universal curiosity, then it clearly makes it more likely JRPGs can succeed in the world market.
Oh, and news just in... people are still waiting for localised versions of Xenoblade and Last Story to be announced.