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Why are there so few 'characters' in the Western video game industry compared to the Japanese one?

Bakkus

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Japan has the likes of Hideo Kojima, Suda51, Hideki Kamiya, Tomonobu Itagaki and if you go further back, Kenji Eno (rip), or if not characters per say people who are insanely dedicated to their craft like Masahiro Sakurai. The western market seems to mostly have your stereotypical computer nerds being the big directors with very few exceptions (at least not anyone I can come up with). Is the reason for this because our industry has a very nerdy staple in the west wheras in Japan it's mainstream, certainly not anymore nerdy than the movie industry, and we know there are a lot of characters among directors there in Hollywood.
 

MvCSpiderman

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This is a console gamer problem. Consoles gamers overrate japanese dev names loudly so they circulate the same 5 or so names over and over for years. That's why even people who didn't buy his games know who Suda51 is or heard of him, and know what games to associate with him.

On computers everyone knows who Williams, Garriott, and Meier are. If it wasn't for Xbox console gamers wouldn't know who Molyneux is. Just like without iPods and iphones most wouldn't know of Steve Jobs.

Several of the Japan devs were influenced by American "characters" but console gamers dont know them because they keep stroking Kojima walking sims or putting Miyamoto on pedestals for games he doesn't even design.
 
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MiguelItUp

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I dunno... There are plenty of "characters" in the western video game industry. Previous and current. It all just depends on the person being asked that question. Off the top of my head there's people like...

Ed Boon, Tim Cain, Ron Gilbert, David Jaffe, Todd Howard, Tim Sweeney, Cliff Bleszinski, Ken Levine, Tim Schafer, Warren Spector, Peter Molyneux, Gabe Newell, Richard Garriot, John Carmack, Adrian Carmack, John Romero, Will Wright, Sid Meier...

The list goes on, and on. Sure, some are "nerdy" per se, but I don't think that means any eastern developers aren't "nerdy" as well. I feel like the idea of who is and isn't nerdy can be pretty subjective in some scenarios.
 

Spidey Fan

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Give me a japanese dev that can make the witcher series, the elder scroll series, fallout series, Call of duty series, Battlefield series.

We overate Japanese too much honestly. Most of their games are being screamed too loud by minorities. The only Japanese devs i will respect are those who made Nintendo games, Metal gear series.

Majority of western like western games.

The only advantage Japanese had was early consoles. People grow up with them. But once the xbox and pc gaming started, it gave us alot of western talents. And by now, Japanese market is slowly losing their market. Sega is doing meh. Konomi went out. square is milking their final fantasy series, to a point of making Avengers a garbage game. Capcom doing capcom things, like nintendo.
 
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UnNamed

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I dunno... There are plenty of "characters" in the western video game industry. Previous and current. It all just depends on the person being asked that question. Off the top of my head there's people like...

Ed Boon, Tim Cain, Ron Gilbert, David Jaffe, Todd Howard, Tim Sweeney, Cliff Bleszinski, Ken Levine, Tim Schafer, Warren Spector, Peter Molyneux, Gabe Newell, Richard Garriot, John Carmack, Adrian Carmack, John Romero, Will Wright, Sid Meier...
And with this we can close the thread.
 

Ezquimacore

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This is a console gamer problem. Consoles gamers overrate japanese dev names loudly so they circulate the same 5 or so names over and over for years. That's why even people who didn't buy his games know who Suda51 is or heard of him, and know what games to associate with him.

On computers everyone knows who Williams, Garriott, and Meier are. If it wasn't for Xbox console gamers wouldn't know who Molyneux is.

Several of the Japan devs were influenced by American "characters" but console gamers dont know them because they keep stroking Kojima walking sims or putting Miyamoto on pedestals for games he doesn't even design.
The last western developer that made a legendary game was Ken Levine. You're even mentioning Molyneux while "talking shit" about Miyamoto and Kojima. You just need to say phil fish is the best developer ever to be a certified lunatic.
 

MvCSpiderman

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The last western developer that made a legendary game was Ken Levine. You're even mentioning Molyneux while "talking shit" about Miyamoto and Kojima. You just need to say phil fish is the best developer ever to be a certified lunatic.
This comment shows what I'm talking about, you likely know nothing about Molyneux before Xbox and Fable. Likely Fable 3 too.
 

Bakkus

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I dunno... There are plenty of "characters" in the western video game industry. Previous and current. It all just depends on the person being asked that question. Off the top of my head there's people like...

Ed Boon, Tim Cain, Ron Gilbert, David Jaffe, Todd Howard, Tim Sweeney, Cliff Bleszinski, Ken Levine, Tim Schafer, Warren Spector, Peter Molyneux, Gabe Newell, Richard Garriot, John Carmack, Adrian Carmack, John Romero, Will Wright, Sid Meier...

The list goes on, and on. Sure, some are "nerdy" per se, but I don't think that means any eastern developers aren't "nerdy" as well. I feel like the idea of who is and isn't nerdy can be pretty subjective in some scenarios.
Thanks for that counter list. I don't know much about many of these, but the ones I do know something about. Tim Shafer, Peter Molyneux, Warren Spector? Those seem pretty nerdy to me who are quite outspoken on some subject matters. Molyneux seems to just be very deluded about how his works are gonna turn out. Carmack and Romero, yeah those are characters, I agree, but they failed to make anyone their bitch..

But compared to the likes of Tarantino and Kubrick on the movie side, not so much.
 
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BPX

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MiguelItUp

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Carmack and Romero, yeah those are characters, I agree, but they failed to make anyone their bitch..
I mean, as being part of the team that birthed Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, and Quake, I beg to differ. But again, I feel it's pretty subjective. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Also, what do you mean by making someone their bitch? Maybe I'm not understanding the topic, lmao.
 
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01011001

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because there are very few game designers on the level of a Kamiya, Mikami, Miyamoto or Miyazaki in the western game industry... the ones that are are usually indy devs and not part of a bigger company.
also those who are actually good and western, often are social recluses that aren't often seen in the limelight.

we had more back in the day for sure tho, like in the 90s to early 2000s... nowadays they get rarer as games become more homogenous... like, if you are the creator of Doom 1 and 2, of course you want the attention and the praise for that... but now imaging if you are the director and brain behind fucking... I don't know... Assassin's Creed Valhalla... I mean... yeah... not really a game you would get away with swinging your dick around telling everyone you are the guy who came up with all that filler shit to keep engagement and MTX sales up!
 
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MvCSpiderman

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I know about molyneux, fable 1 and 2 are fantastic games just like black and white 1 and 2. And that's why I said "the last western developer that made a legendary game"
You said the last one to make a legendary game was Kevin, not Molyneux, then attacked me for bad mouthing Kojima. You compared me mentioning Molyneux to Phil fish.
 

Represent.

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People in the West dont appreciate greatness when its right in front of them.

Neil Drcukmann gets shitted on.
Ken Levine not appreciated.
David Cage called stupid.

OK.. stick to your cookie-cutter, basic ass writing, fortnite baby artstyle video gamey bullshit then.

The great game designers will move onto film where their talents can be better appreciated.
 

MvCSpiderman

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because there are very few game designers on the level of a Kamiya, Mikami, Miyamoto or Miyazaki in the western game industry...
Actually the truth is those are really the only Japanese devs worth anything. Except miyamoto who has been credited for things he didn't work on in recent years.

Western devs that produce great games are higher in number. That's why console guys hype Suzuki, Suda and others even after they put out meh or bad games. Yuji naka needed Balan to happen for people to wake up on him.

Most people who play games dont know who Kamiya is. It's really a console issue for those who grew up on Nes and Snes.

You can count big 90's jp devs on one hand, while you have a few pages listing western 90's developers that were critically acclaimed.
 
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packy34

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People in the West dont appreciate greatness when its right in front of them.

Neil Drcukmann gets shitted on.
Ken Levine not appreciated.
David Cage called stupid.

OK.. stick to your cookie-cutter, basic ass writing, fortnite baby artstyle video gamey bullshit then.

The great game designers will move onto film where their talents can be better appreciated.
i really hope this is a shitpost
 

01011001

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Actually the truth is those are really the only Japanese devs worth anything. Except miyamoto who has been credited for things he didn't work on in recent years.

Western devs that produce great games are higher in number. That's why console guys hype Suzuki, Suda and others even after they put out meh or bad games. Yuji naka needed Balan to happen for people to wake up on him.

Most people who play games dont know who Kamiya is. It's really a console issue for those who grew up on Nes and Snes.

You can count big 90's jp devs on one hand, while you have a few pages listing western 90's developers that were critically acclaimed.

"critically acclaimed" is something I wipe my ass with. Game critics are mostly terrible, so that badge has no meaning to me.

imo, most of the western devs that are known don't deserve the praise. there's not a single western game as good as Dark Souls 3 or Bloodborne, so Miyazaki wins by default... Ed Boon didn't make a single good fighting game in his entire career of only making fighting games for 30 years... even the overrated Yoshinori Ono beats his ass easily...
I can't think of many western developer personalities that actually are good at what they are doing tbh. some had maybe 1 or 2 decent games in the past (often FAR into the past) some like Tom Hall and John Romero actually made amazing stuff, but those are the exception not the rule.
then we have David Cage, who barely makes videogames at all... I would give his best game, Detroit... maybe a 7/10 and that's the one of his I actually liked.
 
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YukiOnna

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I'm sure there are plenty. But I don't care about them much and only know a couple due to memes on the quality of their games or because I actively looked them up. Otherwise my interest is mainly in Japanese games, so naturally I will only really know them. Just depends on the person and where you look tbh.
 
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Fbh

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Do japanese devs have their own musicals though?



People in the West dont appreciate greatness when its right in front of them.

Neil Drcukmann gets shitted on.
Ken Levine not appreciated.
David Cage called stupid.

OK.. stick to your cookie-cutter, basic ass writing, fortnite baby artstyle video gamey bullshit then.

The great game designers will move onto film where their talents can be better appreciated.

Yes.
PLEASE let them move onto films...PLEASE
(I like Ken Levine though)
 

Kenpachii

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Japan has the likes of Hideo Kojima, Suda51, Hideki Kamiya, Tomonobu Itagaki and if you go further back, Kenji Eno (rip), or if not characters per say people who are insanely dedicated to their craft like Masahiro Sakurai. The western market seems to mostly have your stereotypical computer nerds being the big directors with very few exceptions (at least not anyone I can come up with). Is the reason for this because our industry has a very nerdy staple in the west wheras in Japan it's mainstream, certainly not anymore nerdy than the movie industry, and we know there are a lot of characters among directors there in Hollywood.

U only care about them because u like there games

I wouldn't consider any of them legendary
 

01011001

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People in the West dont appreciate greatness when its right in front of them.

Neil Drcukmann gets shitted on.
Ken Levine not appreciated.
David Cage called stupid.

OK.. stick to your cookie-cutter, basic ass writing, fortnite baby artstyle video gamey bullshit then.

The great game designers will move onto film where their talents can be better appreciated.

lol... watch movies then? neither Druckmann nor David Cage made a single well designed video game in their entire career (ok Jak 3 was... decent... but that's about it)
 

Represent.

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i really hope this is a shitpost
Case.
Yes.
PLEASE let them move onto films...PLEASE
(I like Ken Levine though)
In.
lol... watch movies then? neither Druckmann nor David Cage made a single well designed video game in their entire career (ok Jak 3 was... decent... but that's about it)
Fucking point.


Lmao.. Soon as a game has a great story its criticized for being a mOviE gAmE... Ok go play Left 4 Dead clone #4000

Developer makes great story in game.. He should leave games and go do film.
Game has great story... Its a Movie not a game

This is why games have SHIT ass stories generally speaking. Gamers cant appreciate good writing.

Also TLOU 2 has better level design than your fav game. Ill put it up against anything you name.
 
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Fbh

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Case.

In.

Fucking point.


Lmao.. Soon as a game has a great story its criticized for being a mOviE gAmE... Ok go play Left 4 Dead clone #4000

Developer makes great story in game.. He should leave games and go do film.
Game has great story... Its a Movie not a game

This is why games have SHIT ass stories generally speaking. Gamers cant appreciate good writing.

Also TLOU 2 has better level design than your fav game. Ill put it up against anything you name.

David Cage....great story
michael jordan laughing GIF
 

Krappadizzle

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Tim Schaefer made the best adventure games ever made and one of the highest rated games to boot in Grim Fandango amongst his other super fantastic games.

Two John's and Tom Hall invented the single most popular genre ever with Wolfenstein/Doom and Carmack's tech goes on to set up other developers to make and expand the genre with Half-Life and Call of Duty.

Ken Levine/Warren Spectre/Harvey Smith made the blueprint for Immersive Sims and arguably some of the best examples in the genre that essentially no one else can do well enough, so pretty much nobody else even attempts them.

Todd Howard was/is head of the studio that made the best selling RPG of all time and Master of being Meme'd.

Gabe Newell has a cult personality all around him.

Sid Meier has a ton of examples

Will Wright as well.

Cliffy B. too.

There are plenty of examples to name, but the point is, is that there are plenty of examples.

Japanese devs. aren't better or worse, they just seemed to be more influential in the 8/16-bit era and that has lasted all this time. I'd even argue that American developers have more of a Rock Star status now more than even Japanese developers. There's a Mount Rushmore of gaming and Miyamoto will always be on it, but it wouldn't only be Japanese Devs. on it either.
 
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kingkaiser

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I don't know how much the rest of you know about western culture (I'm an expert), but team play and humility are huge parts of it. It's not like it is in Japan where you can become successful by being an egocentric asshole. If you screw over your coworkers and put just your name on the game package and credits like you own the whole thing in the West, you bring shame to yourself, and the only way to get rid of that shame is repentance.
 

Danjin44

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I don't know how much the rest of you know about western culture (I'm an expert), but team play and humility are huge parts of it. It's not like it is in Japan where you can become successful by being an egocentric asshole. If you screw over your coworkers and put just your name on the game package and credits like you own the whole thing in the West, you bring shame to yourself, and the only way to get rid of that shame is repentance.
 

Krappadizzle

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I don't know how much the rest of you know about western culture (I'm an expert), but team play and humility are huge parts of it. It's not like it is in Japan where you can become successful by being an egocentric asshole. If you screw over your coworkers and put just your name on the game package and credits like you own the whole thing in the West, you bring shame to yourself, and the only way to get rid of that shame is repentance.
 
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MvCSpiderman

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"critically acclaimed" is something I wipe my ass with. Game critics are mostly terrible, so that badge has no meaning to me.

By fans, but I guess you only think outlets can praise games for some reason.

Imo, most of the western devs that are known don't deserve the praise. there's not a single western game as good as Dark Souls 3 or Bloodborne,

And more hardcore games, casual gamers and outlets disagree with that.

So if we are using opinions than a metric discussion is pointless yet that's how this piece of the conversation started.

(often FAR into the past) some like Tom Hall and John Romero actually made amazing stuff, but those are the exception not the rule.
then we have David Cage, who barely makes videogames at all... I would give his best game, Detroit... maybe a 7/10 and that's the one of his I actually liked.
If these are the names you can think of you weren't really gaming much outside of consoles years ago.

David Cage is literally a product of consoles. His one PC focused game was funny enough, the only real game he made. He got his cinematic non-game stuff from the Japanese devs you like.

Case.

In.

Fucking point.


Lmao.. Soon as a game has a great story its criticized for being a mOviE gAmE... Ok go play Left 4 Dead clone #4000

Developer makes great story in game.. He should leave games and go do film.
Game has great story... Its a Movie not a game

This is why games have SHIT ass stories generally speaking. Gamers cant appreciate good writing.

Also TLOU 2 has better level design than your fav game. Ill put it up against anything you name.
If you can't tell the difference between a game with a deep story and a nearly non-game there's a problem.
 
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MvCSpiderman

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Also there is more of a focus on teams in the west too mixed in. Many japanese devs have their name slapped onto projects that they barely did anything in. That plus a 800 work week explains the depression and other issues that country has.
 
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NinjaBoiX

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“Hardcore” nerds like to throw around certain names to make them seem all cultured and shit, it’s the same thing you see with any interest.

“You should really know about ‘X’ guy, but you probably don’t because you haven’t played all of these obscure games like I have because you’re an uncultured swine and stuff.”

It’s bullshit posturing most of the time, it’s laughably transparent.
 

Northeastmonk

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I think there are a lot of western names. Buy a book about the history of video games. A lot of it started in the west, but Japan saved the industry from over saturation with little innovation. Japan gave the West competition after it brought it back from completely phasing out. I think you have a lot of history with western developers. I can honestly say you just need to pick up a video game history book to get an idea. Do you still play Civilization or King’s Quest? How about DOOM? I think it has become a billion dollar business and a business is what you’re seeing. I think you have to look at the culture. A lot of it is probably (I say probably because I’m not 100% sure) due to their culture in Japan and how they stay at their employer for years and years. I think they also made good money. Look at the west. We have people in charge of game companies who own mansions and could retire at any time. I also think there’s a different history that’s written today than back then. For example, just look at game series like Sonic and Final Fantasy. Look at the creators of Resident Evil, Street Fighter and other games in the series. A lot of them have moved on. In the west you still have game designers from the golden era making games to this day. The west has a similar thing where a developer makes the next AAA series and they move on to something else. I have a book about Japanese developers in the 90’s and a lot of them couldn’t sell the games they wanted to make. In the west you’ve had countless PC developers close their doors. You have games made by people you never hear about everywhere you look.

I feel like the names of the people who make games has become too massive to remember. Which is why there are people with closer ties with the higher ups than anyone else. You have entry level college students trying to make games and people who do it on their own.
 
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packy34

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by video game stories they are great.

one fo the few who actually tries something fucking different.

who do you like? Miyamoto? :messenger_loudly_crying:
David Cage's writing is trash by middle school standards.

Trying to be different =/= good. He sucks.
 
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MvCSpiderman

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I think there are a lot of western names. Buy a book about the history of video games. A lot of it started in the west, but Japan saved the industry from over saturation with little innovation.
Maybe you should buy a book on the history of video games so you can know how crazy this statement is.

What's better is you mention kings quest which was on machines that japanese were barely on.
 

Fbh

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by video game stories they are great.

one fo the few who actually tries something fucking different.

who do you like? Miyamoto? :messenger_loudly_crying:

Dude virtually anyone else that makes story heavy games. I'd take the crappy yearly Ubisoft games over having to sit through another David Cage games.
Hell even within the "interactive movie" genre, which isn't too big to begin with, every single TellTale game has better writing than anything David Cage has ever worked on.
 
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Yoboman

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Honest answer:

Japan was a lot more prominent when games were made by smaller teams where the directors vision was what really drove the game

The Western devs really took over in the last few gens but this is also the time where games were more about design by committee. A game like Call of Duty can't be put down to a single visionary. Heck Ratchet and Clank has 3 directors. We recognise a lot of creators from decades past like Carmack who we can credit like this

There are still a few exceptions in the modern era, I would say Cory Barlog and Neil Druckmann are examples of directors rising to prominence. Cliffy B if we go back a little further

Also developing a hit game is probably one of the hardest accomplishments around. And you probably need to do it multiple times before your name is out there as a director of note. Eg nobody knew Miyazaki from From Software until he kept making hit after hit

Last point is you need to put yourself out there. Kojima is all about putting his name and face to the product. Yoko Taro does all sorts of weird antics to make himself stand out. In the West, Barlog and Druckmann engaged heavily with the media and fans and became synonymous with the product. For a lot of devs they dont do this. The Housers being a famous example of very private creators - i couldn't tell you what they looked like if you put them in a line up
 
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Northeastmonk

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Maybe you should buy a book on the history of video games so you can know how crazy this statement is.

What's better is you mention kings quest which was on machines that japanese were barely on.
I mentioned those as Western games with game designers that are still well known to this day. There is a modern King’s Quest that has a lot of recnognition. I didn’t know that telling someone to buy a book was so offensive? They did though. The Atari was basically the same console years and years after its release and then Space Invaders and the Famicom console came out. It wasn’t really going anywhere until Nintendo and also Sega came into the picture.

In most books they’ll have a large move in direction when they mention Nintendo. Nintendo was a dominating force and it was a force from Japan.

I like to look at the books sometimes it because it’s interesting to see how much has changed. I think you have to sell your product and Japan does a good job at letting stigmas/stereotypes in as a social norm. In the west they’re not exactly as accepted as well.

Anyone can put on a suite or a mask. They can make a prop gun and run around the room with it. I guess it’s your own definition of “normal”. I’m sure there are just as many eccentric game designers in the West as there are in the East.
 
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