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VGC: Sony is winding down Japan Studio

YeulEmeralda

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Aug 8, 2020
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I‘m not sure the Japanese audience has completely abandoned consoles. We see that the OG Switch is still the preferred Switch version by a wide margin. We also still see titles like Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, etc... perform well on consoles, including Sony consoles.

My question is if Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, and others can sell a million units on consoles how would Sony consoles perform in Japan if they focused more on projects like those. Instead it seems they just give up on Japan without even trying to appeal to those consumers.

Well if Japan Studio actually made more appealing mainstream games instead of whatever the fuck Gravity Rush was supposed to be they'd still be around.

Make weebshit not glorified indieshit.
 

BabyYoda

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Sep 9, 2020
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With the variety we have now of indie games, mid-tier games and AAA titles there's something for everyone. There's been loads of indie games I've enjoyed and I can't wait for Silksong!
On top of that, if no other games were released ever again, I would still be set up for life with my backlog...

It's gotten to the point that I've had to by necessity become incredibly picky in my tastes, there's just so much released and so little time!

I have around 130ish alone on the Epic Game Store, all free!
 

Varteras

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Well if Japan Studio actually made more appealing mainstream games instead of whatever the fuck Gravity Rush was supposed to be they'd still be around.

Make weebshit not glorified indieshit.
I mean at least they are still around. Just downsized and centered around the only team they had that was producing anything of note and not wasting Sony's time and money. And yeah, I agree with your sentiment. People wanted Japan Studio to be Sony's Square Enix or Capcom or Konami. Instead it was acting like exactly as you described it. A glorified indie studio. The studio that brought us The Legend of Dragoon all those years ago was giving us Knack today. I'll give Toyama's team a little credit. They at least tried to give us something approaching what people were asking. Even though they never really succeeded.


On top of that, if no other games were released ever again, I would still be set up for life with my backlog...

It's gotten to the point that I've had to by necessity become incredibly picky in my tastes, there's just so much released and so little time!

I have around 130ish alone on the Epic Game Store, all free!
Yeah, it's not like we lack options thanks to other developers. Sony doesn't need a large studio dedicated to creating smaller experiences that never sell. They already have Pixelopus for those kind of games and it's likely that they'll eventually grow beyond that. As I said in a previous post, if Sony is spending good money on you then they want whatever you're making to either generate buzz around their platform or make them a bunch of money. Preferably both. You don't get to keep existing with multiple teams where only one of them is producing results. At least Team Asobi existed because had they not then Sony probably would have just shuttered the whole damn studio.
 

Woopah

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Jun 15, 2019
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On top of that, if no other games were released ever again, I would still be set up for life with my backlog...

It's gotten to the point that I've had to by necessity become incredibly picky in my tastes, there's just so much released and so little time!

I have around 130ish alone on the Epic Game Store, all free!
I've got quite a few backlog things to go through myself. Won't be running out of games to play anytime soon!
 
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SSfox

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Jan 7, 2018
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Japan is nintendo land. No point in sinking money on niche titles that never sell. PS is making record revenues and profits year after year due to their pivot to the west and western AAA gaming. Japan studio was just worthless baggage that dragged PS down. Best to leave them and Japan to nintendo/switch and move on. Jim Ryan is cut throat but he's no fool.
With that way of thinking, playstation would have never existed, Sony would have told themselves "console home gaming is Nintendo and Sega, let's give up on making a console"

But instead and fortunately that wasn't the way of thinking of Lord Kutaragi, and so then released a Sony console called "Playstation" that did better than both Nintendo and Sega consoles in all possible areas.
 
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DeuceGamer

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Well if Japan Studio actually made more appealing mainstream games instead of whatever the fuck Gravity Rush was supposed to be they'd still be around.

Make weebshit not glorified indieshit.
Right! Instead of giving up and leaving they really should try to create projects that capture the Japanese consumers interests.

Its not like we don’t have examples of successful titles on Sony consoles in Japan. Final fantasy, Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, and more. They should look at bringing titles like those to market, which will help build a consumer base for the small and midtier projects. Instead those projects will continue to jump ship.
 

CamHostage

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Right! Instead of giving up and leaving they really should try to create projects that capture the Japanese consumers interests.

Japan Studio was around for 30 years, you don't think that was long enough to consider having tried?

Sony can still make the games people want from Japanese developers. They can still take some cash over to Level-5 or Acquire or FromSoft or Q-Games or Dimps/Shift and have them make whatever game those developers are pitching. We will have to see if there's a downturn in Sony contracting those games without Japan Studio producers, but nothing about this stops them from taking bids and signing publishing deals with established/upstart developers. The difference is, there are no longer in-house game makers to create Open Me or Tokyo Jungle or Kung Fu Rider or Knack or Gravity Rush, all the weird stuff that they were making instead of the AAA types of games you mention. (BTW, all the games you mention are already on PlayStation, so they don't need a company to "bring titles like those to market," FF and DQ and MH are done brung.

The tragedy of Japan Studio is not all the lost AAA games that they have been struggling to (not) make for so long now that financials forced this to happen.

The tragedy is the loss of all the obscure, intriguing stuff Sony's Japan Studio could make (under the safety net of a big company that, for a while, held the studio as too sentimental to disrupt.) These were games that not everybody played and not everybody liked but that some people loved.
 

Keihart

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The tragedy is the loss of all the obscure, intriguing stuff Sony's Japan Studio could make (under the safety net of a big company that, for a while, held the studio as too sentimental to disrupt.) These were games that not everybody played and not everybody liked but that some people loved.
This so much, i've always considered Sony the cool guy because of this. Indies are cool and all, but having indie like teams making weird shit with a financial safe net it's the real deal.
I mean, just considering the Last Guardian, what an amazing game with such beautiful production values, something that you wouldn't ever see from an indie developer nor a AA or AAA developer either, that could only have been breed in a Studio like Sony Japan within WWS. I don't think that the new management values this tho, i find Death Stranding to be in the exact same place, the production of it went way smoother but the spirit it's the same, insane production for a concept only reserved for indie studios usually.
 
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Termite

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Japan Studio was given a big chance to prove themselves on their own with Gravity Rush 2 and they showed conclusively that they don't have what it takes to deliver a good mass-market game.

Even as someone who loved the original on the Vita, the sequel was just unacceptably poorly designed and substandard in almost every way. It felt like a game made by artists without any gameplay designers or programmers. The second I beat it I thought "well, this kills this franchise", but I didn't realize it'd help kill the dev as well.

I can't cry for them as a result but if this means we never get another Everybody's Golf then that's a tragedy.
 
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kyliethicc

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Japan Studio was given a big chance to prove themselves on their own with Gravity Rush 2 and they showed conclusively that they don't have what it takes to deliver a good mass-market game.

Even as someone who loved the original on the Vita, the sequel was just unacceptably poorly designed and substandard in almost every way. It felt like a game made by artists without any gameplay designers or programmers. The second I beat it I thought "well, this kills this franchise", but I didn't realize it'd help kill the dev as well.

I can't cry for them as a result but if this means we never get another Everybody's Golf then that's a tragedy.
Don't worry Clap Hanz made Everybody's Golf. Japan Studio just helped.


They'll probably make another eventually. Maybe just for VR.
 

Termite

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Don't worry Clap Hanz made Everybody's Golf. Japan Studio just helped.


They'll probably make another eventually. Maybe just for VR.
Yeah Clap Hanz will continue but I don't think they have the Everybody's Golf IP. I think they trademarked "Clap Hanz Golf" which is the shittiest name ever.

However as long as it plays well it's all good. Whoever was in charge of the club grinding / microtransactions in the last game needs to be shot into the sun. It totally ruined the game until they introduced the "lone elite" setting almost a year later so that it played how it originally should have.
 
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Shadowstar39

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WTF.....

I have been waiting for a port of Tokyo Jungle, Trash Panic and The last Guy for PS4/PS5 forever, guess that is a wash.

Why couldn't they of just ported the code. Now these two games will be forever stuck on ps3 which will eventually die like hardware is prone to do.

So many games that only got ps3 releases never made it to last gen (i know nothing to do with japan studio but still): cloudberry kingdom, Shatter, Gravity Crash, Dyad, Velocity Ultra, fat princess... etc...
 
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Shadowstar39

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Yeah Clap Hanz will continue but I don't think they have the Everybody's Golf IP. I think they trademarked "Clap Hanz Golf" which is the shittiest name ever.

However as long as it plays well it's all good. Whoever was in charge of the club grinding / microtransactions in the last game needs to be shot into the sun. It totally ruined the game until they introduced the "lone elite" setting almost a year later so that it played how it originally should have.
Honestly Their golf games haven't been that good since they removed "Hot Shots" from the US titles. I think the last good one was on the vita. "Hot shots golf World invitational".

The one on the ps4 was horrible. MMO like travesty. Didn't have cool characters either. I didn't like the create a character only method, and the game just felt souless. I loved the psp and vita games. They were built for full featured single player first with mutliplayer as a bonus. That is the problem. These games today are made multiplayer first and single player as an afterthought. Sad.
 

Shadowstar39

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Kaz is yakuza. But yes Kaz was way better. Even Shawn Layden was better.
KAz and Jack Tretton were the best, imo. I felt they went down hill with Layden. Started pandering and censorship in his later part of the admin. Also seemed they dropped indie support/curation as a priority. This new guy and holst are even worse as they keep quiet and do things in the background.
 
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Shadowstar39

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If for some reason you don't consider games the Astrobot games (I think at least the VR one should), then the most recent games completely developed inside Japan Studio are Knack 2 and Gravity Rush 2, both released in 2017.

Until now, studios like Sony Santa Monica or Japan Studio produced, localized, handled IPs etc (even incubated some of them) of externally developed games like Journey, Sound Shapes, Hohokum, Unfinished Swan, Bloodborne, the Bluepoint remakes, Everybody's Golf, Patapon and many other ones.

Now Sony will centralize this production, localization and IP management of externally developed games, so this job now will be more productive, less redundant and made with a more global focus instead of focusing too much on a single territory, while at the same time they free resources to their PlayStation Studios like Santa Monica or Japan Studio to make sure they can focus on their internally developed games.
Oh you mean "Global focus" so censorship for China and San fran sjws all at the same time. Not good. Japan was the last bastion against all the bs.
 

yurinka

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Oh you mean "Global focus" so censorship for China and San fran sjws all at the same time. Not good. Japan was the last bastion against all the bs.
With global focus I mean worldwide, which traditionally means a main focus on the top dozen or so countries, who generate almost all the total revenue of the world. As I remember in consoles it doesn't include China. China is top 1 country in gaming due to mobile and PC F2P but it's a minor market for consoles.

Companies are used to adapt their products to the 'censorship' in China, USA, Japan, Germany and so on. They do it because they want money, to get money they need to sell in the biggest markets, and each country has its own regulations/censorship/age rating (in some countries like USA certain big retailers don't accept games with certain age rating).

Regarding China, outside consoles it's the top 1 country in revenue in basically every market, so they adapt to publish their products in China when publishing mobile or F2P games there. In the same way they 'censor' console games when publishing on Japan to remove gore or genitals, some other stuff for Germany, some other stuff to get certain ESRB rating for USA because some people hates to see boobs in games, etc.

Regarding Japan and 'censorship', I have some indie friends who had to 'censor' a 2 pixels long dick to release their Switch port in Japan:



I think it's this scene. No sex related, the context is that some bodies appear there, and after reading the character's profile you have to decide which cyborg implant. One of the bodies has a visible (micro) dick and seems to be an issue for some people.

If you ask my personal opinion, I'm against all kinds of direct and indirect 'censorship'. The one that forbids your game to be approved to be published in the country, the one where puritanists retailers don't accept games with certain age rating, the ones that generate social media bullying or cancellation like the stupid sjw stuff, etc.

Example: like when sjw media bully and try to cancel a supposed transphobic game because it features a trans character and whatever, whithout knowing the game was made by three people, who turned out to be a threesome (I don't know the English word: like a couple of boyfriend/girlfriend, but three people instead of two) being them a man, a woman and a trans. Which means it's impossible that they can be transphobic. But even if the game was transphobic/sexist/whatever, I think people should be free to do it, in the same way others should be free to make criticism (but without canceling it, because the ones who make the game should be free to earn money to live).
 
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Shadowstar39

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Apr 25, 2018
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With global focus I mean worldwide, which traditionally means a main focus on the top dozen or so countries, who generate almost all the total revenue of the world. As I remember in consoles it doesn't include China. China is top 1 country in gaming due to mobile and PC F2P but it's a minor market for consoles.

Companies are used to adapt their products to the 'censorship' in China, USA, Japan, Germany and so on. They do it because they want money, to get money they need to sell in the biggest markets, and each country has its own regulations/censorship/age rating (in some countries like USA certain big retailers don't accept games with certain age rating).

Regarding China, outside consoles it's the top 1 country in revenue in basically every market, so they adapt to publish their products in China when publishing mobile or F2P games there. In the same way they 'censor' console games when publishing on Japan to remove gore or genitals, some other stuff for Germany, some other stuff to get certain ESRB rating for USA because some people hates to see boobs in games, etc.

Regarding Japan and 'censorship', I have some indie friends who had to 'censor' a 2 pixels long dick to release their Switch port in Japan:



I think it's this scene. No sex related, the context is that some bodies appear there, and after reading the character's profile you have to decide which cyborg implant. One of the bodies has a visible (micro) dick and seems to be an issue for some people.

If you ask my personal opinion, I'm against all kinds of direct and indirect 'censorship'. The one that forbids your game to be approved to be published in the country, the one where puritanists retailers don't accept games with certain age rating, the ones that generate social media bullying or cancellation like the stupid sjw stuff, etc.

Example: like when sjw media bully and try to cancel a supposed transphobic game because it features a trans character and whatever, whithout knowing the game was made by three people, who turned out to be a threesome (I don't know the English word: like a couple of boyfriend/girlfriend, but three people instead of two) being them a man, a woman and a trans. Which means it's impossible that they can be transphobic. But even if the game was transphobic/sexist/whatever, I think people should be free to do it, in the same way others should be free to make criticism (but without canceling it, because the ones who make the game should be free to earn money to live).
I agree with that sentiment. Make the game sell it, and if people want to buy it they will. If it has inapproriate stuff, its probably not going to be advertised in reputable places anyway. Also age ratings I think are great. If the game is M it should be able to have the same thing as any "R" rated movie. Just because its a game doesn't mean kids will get to it. It's up to the parents to know better when they buy them something.

Wait a second, Japan removes gore and genitalia? Than how do they get away with all the hentia games and videos? Is that stuff censored? I don't partake, so don't know what its like. I know some steam vr games aren't censoring anything (personal research cough....hrmm...cough)
 

Termite

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Dec 9, 2020
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Honestly Their golf games haven't been that good since they removed "Hot Shots" from the US titles. I think the last good one was on the vita. "Hot shots golf World invitational".

The one on the ps4 was horrible. MMO like travesty. Didn't have cool characters either. I didn't like the create a character only method, and the game just felt souless. I loved the psp and vita games. They were built for full featured single player first with mutliplayer as a bonus. That is the problem. These games today are made multiplayer first and single player as an afterthought. Sad.

Totally agree that EG 7 was soulless as fuck and the create-a-character sucked, but that Vita game you mentioned (which was awesome and the best one yet) was EG 6. And it was even better when they ported it to PS3. So it's only really one bad game that they've made. EG 7 had a horrendously long dev time for a company that typically churns out quality games, so I'm sure something was happening behind the scenes. When the trailers focused on everything else you could do INSTEAD OF golf, I knew there was trouble brewing.

And I'm European so I have no idea which Hot Shots game is which, I always have to look that up, lol. I think it was the correct decision to unify the names.
 

Zeroing

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Sep 19, 2019
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I don’t think it’s about caring about Japan. Like I said in another thread for years we saw articles how the management of the studio kept changing and how they worked in a ton of projects and most didn’t even released!
 
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