Gamasutra has a really interesting interview up with Sonic co-creator and former Naughty Dog (currently Namco Bandai) designer Hirokazu Yasuhara, discussing his approach to level design, the “freedom from fear” that motivates a gamer and the differences between Western and Japanese players. He discusses some fascinating design philosophies, focusing on how a gamer is driven primarily by the removal of stress and fear, and how that removal is obtained by Eastern and Western markets:
You see some cultural differences come to the surface with this, too. For example, a lot of Japanese people attain a feeling of security via creation, or making themselves look nice, or saving money. Not that Americans or Europeans aren’t like that, but Americans may be more likely to take a more “destructive” process toward feeling safe.
I think a lot of that is because the things that you “fear” can be very different between nations — not real, palpable fear, but more the lack of feeling at ease with yourself.
Do check out the full interview, as it’s worth a read. What do you think of Yasuhara’s summary of the different audiences, however? I must confess that I’m definitely a destroyer, and I find that a round of Dynasty Warriors or any similarly mindless action game is enough to help me wind down after a frustrating day. What about you? Are you a creator or a destroyer?