We’ve seen plenty of developers share their top games of 2016, but here’s a little something we put together that shows top Japanese games selected by Western developers.
You can read the full list over at GameInformer, but for now we’ll check out which Japanese games made it onto the top-5 list of developers from the West.
It should also be noted that I’ve included Pokémon GO, which is developed in the West by Niantic, but it’s still Pokémon and I thought it was quite interesting seeing how many developers had it on their top-5 for 2016, so we’ll let it pass.
Cory Davis (Tangentlemen / Here They Lie)
4. Final Fantasy XV – Final Fantasy is quite possibly the strangest mix of extreme AAA production value and over-the-top, no-holds-barred, gonzo creative direction ever to grace us with its twisted, bedazzled maw. I can’t get enough of the quirky boy-band squad, the exhilarating combat system, or the absolutely unpredictable, seemingly cocaine-driven campaign these fellas are on.
Mathijs de Jonge (Guerrilla Games / Horizon Zero Dawn)
2. The Last Guardian – It’s wonderful to return to a world like that of Shadow of the Colossus (one of my all-time favorites) and solve its puzzles. I adore the unique atmosphere, and Trico is brought to life with incredible craftsmanship.
5. Monster Hunter Generations – This is a game I come back to regularly. It feels very complete in terms of options and content, and it’s good to see that the series was made more accessible without affecting the core Monster Hunter gameplay.
Rex Dickson (EA / Madden)
4. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC – I am a JRPG fan boy and have been for a long time. The trails series on the PSVita really blew me away with story and character development. The relationship between the two lead characters (Joshua and Estelle) was as powerful and memorable to me as Cloud and Aeris back in FF7. I think I sunk well over 100 hours into this franchise and loved every second.
Neil Druckmann (Naughty Dog / The Last of Us)
1. The Last Guardian – My GOTY. Another beautiful tale of a bond created through interaction by Team Ico/genDESIGN. Trico is a masterclass in creating a believable, living creature. By the end of the journey I was wiping away tears – the first time that has ever happened to me in a video game.
3. Super Mario Run – Nintendo simplified Mario down to one mechanic, jump, while still retaining much of the depth of its 2D predecessors. Once I started I couldn’t stop playing until I had all the secret coins on each level.
Steve Gaynor (Fullbright / Gone Home)
5. The Last Guardian – I don’t think any of us were sure if we’d ever get to play this game. But it finally arrived, and by god, it was worth the wait. The incredible technical wonder of what has been achieved with Trico – an independent, utterly convincing simulated creature, living there on screen – and his relationship with the player, both interactively and through the events of the game’s story, is simply breathtaking. The Last Guardian is one of the grandest, most human, most impressive feats of game-making in many, many years. Thank heaven the work of Fumito Ueda has returned to us after all this time. To call The Last Guardian a masterpiece is an understatement. It is the rare game I feel truly grateful for.
Drew McCoy (Respawn Entertainment / Titanfall)
3. Pokémon GO – Not much “game” to play here, per se, but there’s tons to love about my time playing it as I look back on the summer and fall walking around with my wife and kids catching Pokémon in as many new and interesting places as possible. I’m still upset they all happily caught Mr. Mime in Switzerland while my phone was dead and could only stand by to watch!
Arthur Parsons (TT Games / Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
3. Pokémon GO – Many people may scoff when I write Pokémon GO, however it was a special game in 2016 for me for different reasons to those that people may think. It is a game that came out and managed to bring my entire family together. All of a sudden the kids were asking if they could take the dogs on a walk, asking if we could all go for a walk out in the forest, asking if we could spend time together, in the outside!!! Unbelievable! So yes bizarrely we spent many an hour trekking around the countryside catching Pokémon, laughing and joking, and having fun. So Pokémon GO has to come on my list purely on the basis that intentionally or not it made us all venture outside together in a shared interest, and even made us take the odd midnight Poke-walk in the forest! Kudos!
Alx Preston (Heart Machine / Hyper Light Drifter)
5. Dark Souls III – Yes, it’s more Dark Souls, remixed. It still remains a deeply satisfying and punishing formula that I can’t get enough of. Also, who doesn’t like throwing dung pie at other players?
Tommy Refenes (Team Meat / Super Meat Boy)
4. Pokémon GO (before they ruined it) – When Pokémon GO first came out my wife and I would walk around and catch Pokemon and it was awesome. Then they changed a bunch of stuff and now it sorta blows because I can’t get PokeStops anymore while riding in the car so I can’t catch Pokemon. I swear they just need to lawyer up and stop trying to make the game “safe” for everyone in every circumstance. I can snapchat while I drive, why can’t I get PokeStops while I’m riding in a car?
Harvey Smith (Arkane Studios / Dishonored)
4. Pokémon GO – Despite the problems, both technical and conceptual, I love this little game for its global nature. I’ve caught Pokemon in L.A. and London, but also in Zatec, Czech Republic. And it really provided us with one of the few non-horrifying cultural moments of 2016.
Tim Willits (id Software / Doom)
4. Pokémon GO – I admit I don’t have this game on my iPhone, but all three of my kids do. Spending time with my kids driving around looking for Pokemon has been a lot of fun for me and a great father / kid experience. One day we drove around the Texas State Fair grounds with the top down on the car trying to hatch eggs and hunt for Pokemon –great memories. Games that can deliver experiences like that deserve to be on any top 5.