Keiji Inafune's GDC talk, titled "Meanwhile, In Japan..." opened by addressing a comment he made a couple of years back during another GDC talk. He was quoted as saying "Japan is over" back then. Today he was asked if he still believes that things have improved since then.
"To be completely honest, not in a big way," Inafune admits.
"The energy level has still not come up yet. Overall, we still need to make a huge amount of effort to get back to where we used to be."
But his talk was not all negativity. Inafune still believes that Japan can lead in other ways, setting a new path for the future somehow. He hopes that this way will emerge soon.
Perhaps this new way is the start of the move toward independent development, a path he has already started down. Inafune says that he draws energy from this indie side these days.
"I feel that my heart and soul are a lot more healthy," Inafune added.
Inafune says that he's feeling "the full passion and shine in the eyes of the Japanese indie developers."
"We are truly having fun making games this way."
All is not lost for Japan, it seems. I hope Inafune is right.