There has been a lot of talk lately about Japanese studios "going West" and "appealing to Western gamers" as the Japanese market allegedly sinks into decline. While chatting with Square Enix about The Crystal Bearers, we took the opportunity to ask game producer Akitoshi Kawazu what he made of the whole "go West" movement.
"The presence of Japanese games is not as strong within the international market these days, and as a business that creates and sells games, the reception in the Western market is naturally a point of interest to us," he explains. "However, when developing a game we do not separate our target audience into categories like 'Japanese' or 'Western.'
"We look more to player preferences, such as those who like higher difficulty levels, those who enjoy more of a collection element, those who look for more freedom in a game, those who like to have set objectives, and so forth. I do feel that one major difference in the Japanese and Western gamers’ preferences lies in the art style."
Do you think that Japanese and Western gamers can be easily distinguished, or do you believe that it's better to do as Square does and classify them by gameplay preferences? In any case, it's an interesting discussion to have as more and more Japanese studios look to Europe and North America in order to make a profit.