I hope your quota of weird things people say on the internet when they don’t seem to know better hasn’t been filled today. Because an article on Kotaku reports that the creative director of Assassin’s Creed 3,Alex Hutchinson, thinks that Japanese gaming companies get a free pass when it comes to developing new IPs.
I’ll let that sink in for a bit.
According to Kotaku, Hutchinson says:
“You want my real answer? I think there’s a subtle racism in the business, especially on the journalists’ side, where Japanese developers are forgiven for doing what they do. I think it’s condescending to do this….”
“Yeah. Just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish. Literally gibberish. There’s no way you could write it with a straight face, and the journalists say, ‘Oh it is brilliant’. Then Gears of War comes out and apparently it’s the worst written narrative in a game ever. I’ll take Gears of War over Bayonetta any time.It’s patronizing to say, “Oh those Japanese stories, they don’t really mean what they’re doing”.
The first part of that quote is actually in reference to why he believes Nintendo can just release the same franchise year after year, and the second part I can only assume was said him foaming at the mouth with his head on fire because first of all, when does Nintendo get away with that? I understand that I might spend more time on the internet than he does, but I hear way too often “Urgh, Nintendo just releases the same thing year after year, when are they going to come out with a new IP”. This of course conveniently forgets a lot of new Mii centric IP, but I digress.
So I guess this situation stemmed from something along the lines of “You guys release an Assassin’s Creed every year and Activision does the same thing with Call of Duty. Why do you think people hate you for doing that but not Nintendo or Capcom?” Of course that would be a loaded question but to imply that there is racism in the journalists is taking such a 5 year old over-simplified approach to the situation. First, let’s look at some Japanese companies like Capcom. People do get mad at them. Journalists, bloggers, and just regular net citizens don’t like it but buy that stuff anyways. The same way they buy Assassins’s Creed and Call of Duty. For other companies like Nintendo and Square Enix. I buy almost every Mario game and they are often very different experiences from each other. Same with Kingdom Hearts form Square Enix. I’ve played all of them and I can not only tell you which is my favorite, but probably write a short novel and with some help a Broadway musical explaining why because they are all really different (btw, it’s Chain of Memories for the GBA). And not like, oh they just better some thing better different, I mean like this isn’t even the same game different and it keeps the games feeling fresh.
As for Japanese stories being literally gibberish? He does realize that his game has a machine that reads your “genetic memory” that puts you into a video game/holodeck like experience of your former selves in order to defend the world from a secret cult and maybe aliens? Or what about the game where John Adams is really an alien conspiracy leader and in the end you’re saved by the former Presidents of the United States? Oh how about the one where you fight a dragon who is going to eat all of time? Yeah, gibberish.
But seriously, something like that stinks of racism itself. Gears of War 3 is the only I played and it had one of the most asinine narratives I’ve ever experienced. An appreciation for Japanese media (read: anime) is something that must be acquired in the west. The western Otaku is a kind of subculture that coexists peacefully with the gamer, and such anime inspired games filled with Japanese tropes and cliches are not only acceptable, but down right expected.
So I guess the tl;dr version of this is get over yourself Alex Hutchinson.