East versus West: Has the game industry shifted to the west?

GoNintendo pointed out a fairly balanced article that is bound to spark debate (possibly hate) on GameDaily about whether or not we need Japan in the video game industry anymore. On one side of the coin Chris Buffa says, “The game industry has shifted and the West leads the charge. Cut scenes, voice acting, music and game play will demolish anything that comes from the East, especially if it involves spiky haired adolescents and talking wood. Japan is stuck in this time warp in which it still thinks gamers love its antics.” Robert Workman counters with, “Even with the rise of internal U.S. developers and independent game makers, Japan will continue to play a huge part in the video game industry. Miyamoto is overseeing the production of Super Mario Galaxy, which should serve as a great one-two punch with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Mizuguchi seems unable to do wrong, what with Every Extend Extra Extreme on the way and a rumored Rez sequel in the works. I know Square Enix’s teams will have a few great RPG’s on the horizon, including a possible return of the Chrono franchise and more Final Fantasy goodness.”

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There is truth about the J-RPGs having too many carbon cutout archetypical heroes as protagonists and there are some great Western developed games on the shelves (God of War II comes immediately to mind). But is that enough reason to say Japan is going the way of the dinosaur? The industry needs as many developers with different ideas as it can get to make original games like Ouendan / Elite Beat Agents or more of the same if that is what consumers want. And while we’re at debating Japan versus the West bring on more developers from around the world like Nibris from Poland and Nexon from Korea. Each nation has different cultural ideas they infuse in their games and end up creating their own style of art we call video games.

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