I was thinking about Brink and the Japanese gamer demographic today, and I realized there are several reasons why Brink could not only do well here in Japan, but could also be the foot-in-the-door game for wider adoption of first person shooter gaming in Japan. I am not saying it will do well, or that it will be the game to help convert JRPG gamers over to the joys of FPS gaming, but there are several factors that could make it an influential game here, more than for any other territory.
First, here are some gross [sic] generalizations about Japanese gamers, based on experience living in Japan and my interactions with students, elementary through university, over the past 21 years.
1. Many are nervous about interacting with others online especially if voice and or a foreign language is involved; they are indeed “shy”.
2. They haven't already adopted FPS gaming like North Americans, Europeans or even South Koreans.
3. Via manga and anime, they are culturally predisposed to appreciate stylized art over realism.
Now, take all the bullet points that we have been hearing about Brink for the past year (listed below) and hold them up to these generalizations. Specifically and most significantly, one of the guiding principles in Brink’s design was sanitizing the online experience of all negative aspects including inevitable confrontations with “Total F..kwads”. While Splash Damage’s design decisions were made to benefit all gamers, in some respects, the “Japanese Gamer” is in a position to benefit the most - if one could only get them to put down their mobile devices for a minute. ;)
For those who haven't been following the game, here is a re-cap of just some of the game design bullet points for Brink.
*Seamless transition from single player “campaign” to co-op to online 8v8 multiplayer, with bots filling and vacating available spots as needed.
*VOIP off by default – with a “context sensitive automated communications system” supporting different languages, communicating vital game information in each gamer’s language.
*Extensive customization of characters portrayed through colorful, hyper-realism art.
*It is not a platform exclusive, unlike the popular Halo, or Killzone series. While the Call of Duty series is similarly platform agnostic, it doesn't have stylized art design and it appeals to a very specific cross-section of gamer: the twitch, precision-aiming, lone-wolfing killing machine. With teamwork, class-based, no-boundaries (parkour enhanced) gaming, Brink potentially appeals to the widest FPS gamer base possible.[img]