Remnants of various cultures are etched into the video games we love and cherish. Colossals of video game developers like SQUARE ENIX illustrate a specific region throughout their alluring titles. For instance, Ghostwire: Tokyo is among the title that flew under the radar this year compared to Elden Ring or Kirby and the Forgotten Land. That action-adventure game incorporated the post-apocalyptic version of Tokyo beautifully. It gave players the taste of how real-world skylines can be preserved in the medium of video games.
SQUARE ENIX is amidst the giants that express the fragments of Asian culture through their stellar titles. It has crafted fantasy-oriented titles that have jerked the video game industry throughout the decades. When executed the right way, staying true to a specific culture can make video games immersive. This point was pressed by none other than the President of SQUARE ENIX, Yosuke Matsuda.
In an interview with Gendai Business (through Yahoo Japan), Yosuke Matsuda discussed that SQUARE ENIX could not make good games by just imitating Western developers. Yosuke Matsuda stated (translated through DeepL), “Interestingly, however, even if Japanese imitate Western games, they will not be able to produce good ones. The drawings of monsters and the visual and audio effects are all somewhat Japanese. And players around the world know that this is what makes Japanese games good.” Yosuke Matsuda articulated, “Overseas markets are important, but it is not enough to develop for them.”
The interview centered around the dialogue of SQUARE ENIX’s future possibilities in light of gaming’s steady climb in the charts, initiating a brief nod to how important gaming is to some. “I believe that playing is a sign that one is a person,” he stated in the interview. “As it is said that people are creatures of play – homo Ludens – and without entertainment, I believe the mind would die.” Yosuke Matsuda returned to the topic with more vital points, “Nowadays, the game market has become globalized. The domestic market used to be large, but now it is spoiled next to China and the US; If you are not recognized even globally, you cannot do business.”
SQUARE ENIX, however, is developing titles that are not wholly Japanese-based, contradicting its point. For instance, the upcoming title, Forsaken, is set to launch on October 11th for PC and PlayStation 5. The game’s aesthetic and mechanics will intertwine the “Japanese flair” cited by Yosuke Matsuda, while its story will be authored by Western writers, Gary Whitta and Amy Hennig, Allison Rymer, and Todd Stashwick. Perhaps, the studio is trying to mix the unique flair alongside the westernized writing to engage a bigger audience.
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