Europe Loved Tokyo Jungle, But America Didn’t, Says Director

By Robert Ward . May 2, 2014 . 12:31pm

Siliconera recently spoke with Yohei Kataoka, director of Tokyo Jungle and producer on Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day. During our conversation, I asked Kataoka how he felt about Tokyo Jungle’s reception outside Japan, and his answer was interesting, to say the least.

 

“Europe loved it, and we got a lot of great feedback from that audience, but [in] America… that simply wasn’t the case,” Kataoka replied. “We received a lot of negative feedback for the game.”

 

“It takes time to make an unfamiliar audience understand something like ukio-e, right? So it might take something like travelling around an abandoned Tokyo as a Pomeranian a little bit of time to sink in, too. At least, that’s how we saw it.”

 

Kataoka then talked about how he views Ranko Tsukigime the same way.

 

“Now that I think of it, that’s really something I’d say I’m trying to accomplish with Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day,” Kataoka said. “I want to bring some of these unfamiliar cultural elements into a familiar setting and try to convey them in a way that makes sense. For example, I mentioned ukio-e earlier, and that’s something I actually incorporated into the visual style of Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day. You’ll see this when you hit enemies that produce these ‘crazy’—or I’d say ‘unfamiliar’—visual effects.”

 

He clarified, “This unfamiliarity, I feel, is what makes the game feel kind of ‘crazy,’ or maybe ‘surreal’ like you mentioned earlier, but that’s not necessarily our original intention.”

 

“The reason I decided to go with the action-platforming genre was because it’s easy to pick up, even for people who don’t play games very often,” Kataoka explained. “We lowered the difficulty of the game, too, to make it accessible. Another thing I’d like people to know about it is that, like the films, I want viewers to learn something about Japan.”

 

“By defeating enemies in the game, there’s a lot of rich visual effects, but those visual effects will actually hit other enemies and cause a sort of chain reaction. Each of these visual effects describes an aspect of Japanese culture—like ukio-e or even just anime—and that’s what we hope gets through to the game’s audience.”

 

Rangko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is available in Europe and Australia. The game will also be made available in North America sometime this Spring. Kataoka let us know that Bandai Namco are also working on having the four Short Peace films shown around theaters in North America.


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