Square Enix president says Japanese studios should not “imitate Western games”

"If Japanese developers try to imitate western games, they cannot make good ones"

Square Enix‘s president, Yosuke Matsuda, has said that Japanese developers shouldn’t try to make games for the west via emulating how the west make games.

In a new interview with Yahoo Japan (with translations by VGC, and Exputer via DeepL), Yosuke Matsuda stated that Japanese development studios shouldn’t try to recreate western games despite Square Enix’s global success.

“Nowadays, the games market is globalised,” Matsuda said. “The domestic market used to be big, but now it is behind China and the US. If you are not recognised globally, you are not in business.

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“But interestingly, if Japanese developers try to imitate Western games, they cannot make good ones. The designs of the monsters, and the visual and audio effects, are all still somewhat Japanese. And players around the world know that this is what makes Japanese games good.”

A new ‘Tomb Raider’ game is coming, made in Unreal Engine 5
Tomb Raider. Credit: Crystal Dynamics.

Square Enix employs its western studios to develop games such as the Life Is Strange series, Tomb Raider, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, while its Japanese studios are responsible for the games considered JRPGs (Japanese role-playing games) such as Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Final Fantasy 14, NieR: Automata, Octopath Traveller, and more.

This split between Square Enix’s developer base suggests that Matsuda’s quotes are referring to the studio’s strictly Japanese games, and how these shouldn’t attempt to appeal to further audiences by westernising themselves.

“I believe that playing is a sign that one is a person,” Matsuda continued. “As it is said that people are creatures of play – homo Ludens – and without entertainment, I believe the mind would die.

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In other news, Naoki Yoshida, director and producer of Final Fantasy 14, has provided clarification on the game’s ongoing housing lottery bug.

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