Famed Capcom game developer Shinji Mikami, the father of Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and a number of other top game franchises, has weighed in on the supposed decline of the Japanese RPG in the west in rather frank terms.

He had this to say in an interview:


“I think it is because Japanese RPGs were really never all that popular in the west to begin with.

I think the best way of interpreting things is that they aren’t getting less popular; they weren’t very popular from the start.”

Although this is being widely interpreted as a “frank” statement by Mikami, in fact it is rather evasive – critics such as Bioware never actually said that they were speaking about JRPGs in the west, but were rather speaking generally about a genre which even in Japan has not been enjoying spectacular success of late.

Had he addressed the issue of why Japanese designers have allowed the genre to stagnate to such a degree, his answer might have been all the more interesting.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    00:57 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    people like him are the reason why jrpg are in decline.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:28 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    maybe they should import some of the good shet so i can start playing it already.

    Avatar of DualStorm
    Comment by DualStorm
    00:21 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Simple. In order to get more people buying JRPGs, port everything from the PS 1 to PS3,computers,Xbox,Wii and every console of today. Bring back the sega genesis or dreamcast. And make everything have a PC port. Its not that they werent popular in the west, is the lack of availability, (i remember the times that PS1 games and N64 games from Japan wont work for consoles made in the west... you need to buy a console there due to regional restrictions...)

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:25 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Partly true, having grown up exposed to western and eastern rpg games back when I was much younger. My preference always goes to the more humanistic and simple in their manner of story telling presented by JPRPGs while westerns ones is "mostly"(trying not to make a blanket statement) about guts, glory and individual heroism.

    Japanese RPG art designs for their character and the world the stories are taking place in, though very outlandish is always too incredible and beautiful to describe while alot of the western art works looks very 70s and too hippee for me to digest...I meam come on, why is my heros and heroin wearing a leather amour that looks like they just bought some second hand custumes coming straight "that" porn production. Haha.

    But now, the west are actually getting better with both story telling,dark fantasy with a bit of humanistic element and decent plot is making JPRPG looking kinda lacking. Not to mention hiring alot of art designers exposed to western and eastern art. Alot of them are actually asians too.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:16 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Do the Atlus games do very well for western sales? I thought they did =/

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:50 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Even yahtzee the asshole video game critic who hates everything liked the snes jrpgs.....

    Avatar of PrinceHeir
    Comment by PrinceHeir
    04:44 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    it's a bold statement i agree. not to mention final fantasy X sold like 6 million last 2004 don't know what the figure's are today. still jrpg is still popular in west just not in the US(if that's what he saying i agree) i think this all started when bioware started talking shit about games like FFXIII(even though their game mass effect barely has rpg elements) bioware should just stfu since they barely had an impact on rpg's remember blizzard? at least they had a tremendous impact on the rpg scene and yet they don't try to compare there games on anyone. and to the people saying japanese are now falling in the industry? they pretty mastered every genre to date(except fps). how many fighters does western have?(only mortal kombat reboot is coming) how many hack and slash do they have? do they have the impressive artwork of okami? or the stunning boss fights of shadow of the colossus? or the quirkiness of metal gear solid? the mindfuck that is killer 7? and the fapping lightsaber of travis touchdown? sooo many to list. the east have an incredible amount of contribution to the gaming scene. so bioware if your gonna compare east or west try to provide umm you know facts? instead of your bullshit you have been spewing over the past months?

    Avatar of moebius22
    Comment by moebius22
    12:41 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The most recent Final Fantasy games starting with 7 have been higher than the norm, which has been historically low for U.S. as well as worldwide sales. Sales for Final Fantasy after 7 have been dropping with the last Final Fantasy being near the end of the scale.

    Avatar of moebius22
    Comment by moebius22
    12:46 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Final Fantasy 7 was an enigma when you look at the series history, becuase before then the sales were relatively low in the U.S. and worldwide. After 7 sales started to drop with the most recent Final Fantasy doing the poorest.

    http://www.vgchartz.com/worldtotals.php?name=final+fantasy&publisher=&console=&genre=&minSales=0&results=50&sort=Total [http://www.vgchartz.com/worldtotals.php?name=final fantasy&publisher=&console=&genre=&minSales=0&results=50&sort=Total]

    Avatar of Hyra911
    Comment by Hyra911
    22:41 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Simply put, they (most Japan's game and anime company) recent production are like this: more quality less quantify, shallow, cheap fun and way too overrated (Naruto,K-on,FF13 for exam). Still there are alway some good gems that bring great enjoyment but they usually damn hard to find and most of them never have an English translation.

    Avatar of Sukunai
    Comment by Sukunai
    22:40 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Something gets beaten to death, and they wonder why it isn't doing so great any more?

    A LOT of things were great in the 90s, but, it hasn't been the 90s for a decade. JRPGs are hardly the only done to death industry out there that is 'in decline'. I think a lot of things need to stop being beaten on as if the gravy train never actually runs out.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:12 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Every genre gets stale eventually, the main offender is the shooter, you've shot one guy, you've shot them all. Of course, there will be a game that just magically wipes your boredom away, this differs by opinion of course.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:31 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    blame SQUARE ENIX

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:19 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    In this generation, the majority of people who own a "next-gen" console are older. They don't want to sit through a 60+ hour game. They just want to shoot shit and kill things in a short time.

    Avatar of Hyra911
    Comment by Hyra911
    23:59 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Nope, if I wanna shot shit and kill things in a short time I would play CS with my friends. If I want to sit through a 60+ hour game I chose a game which I can customize my character, make in-game decisions that make me feel I'm in change, play in a way that make me feel like a tactician, not something like force me in a re-created shit-head and only one route to the final destination that I can't stray from (I'm not a elementary schooler!!!). And I bet most people feel the same way I do.

    Comment by PhillB
    05:56 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    He's wrong about the part that JRPGs were never popular. SNES is the proof.

    Hate me if you want, but I blame the PlayStation for the JRPG decline. As soon as J-devs realized the multimedia capabilities of the new console, they leaned on FMVs and got careless about the game experience.

    Avatar of moebius22
    Comment by moebius22
    23:24 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The PlayStation saw the highest sales of JRPGs ever, even when they dropped.

    Avatar of pwx
    Comment by pwx
    06:24 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't know if I necessarily agree with that, but I do agree that technology has made a negative impact with companies who try to do the most cutting edge graphics rather than trying to make unique gameplay experiences.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:58 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I propose longer and more open (as in widespread and announced) beta testing for some of these RPGs. It's not realistic, but usually the fans have much better ideas. It might be a waste of time (money) to make 25-50 copies of an unfinished game to send to applicants, but if they end up with better ideas to make the games sell more, then it'd be a worthy venture.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:06 14/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    10:04 14/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    What makes a JRPG a JRPG is the "J" which stands for Japanese. Meaning it's a role playing game that was made in Japan. If JRPGs were popular in the west that doesn't mean they would no longer be JRPGs.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:18 15/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    J means that it belongs to the whole different
    and unique culture which CAN'T be possibly
    popular in the west .

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:46 14/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think is that developers are way more concerned for profits than ever before.
    They do massive polls to see what every gamer likes and try to put all that in one game. Before all that they just locked themselves up in a studio and think up shit and just wing it.

    It's like try to write a good novel, you don't go out and ask people what they would like in it but just write the damn thing with every thing you can then just hope people like. Now its just "oh they like pretty boys, toss a few in" , "GUNS, cant get enough of those", etc.

    Now its more about the money than making a good original product, remember that just because someone likes a particular idea it doesnt mean you can just force it in.

    If they would just focus on the game itself and let the artists, writers, designers do as they like and apply their talent unhindered, a true work of their hearts and minds, then we will get those old JRPGs that we loved and remember.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:51 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    09:49 14/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Chrono Trigger is just one game and look how long it's been since it came out (originally). I'm not saying Chrono Trigger was a bad game, though. Don't get me wrong. I thought it was pretty damn amazing. Better than Final Fantasy, I'd say.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:03 14/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    What I really don't get is that why everyone just basically wants to make JRPGS the EXACT SAME AS WRPGS!

    Look at the comments

    "Oh just take out all your culture relevant character designs, story, morals, and general pacing of the game"

    "Just remake a bunch of games even though 5 minutes ago we said rehashing is what's killing the genre"

    "Take a page out of the totally different WRPGS developers and mindlessly copy all thier mechanics for success"

    How is just changing the product to a western one helping it? I mean despite what the general opinion is FFXIII STILL sold well, into the millions well. It's the same with Bioware even though I hate thier new direction and attitude, I can't ignore thier sales and track record that is fact, my opinion is subjective. But speaking of Bioware even though they have a good track record which of thier games has been able to recapture THIER glory of the 90's? I love Planescape, BG, and NWN as much as anybody else, but like the old SNES JRPGS, these are also OLD by at almost a decade now.

    They're not bad games, they're old games, released ages ago, by, as previously stated, people who have left the company, so those with the "magic" are gone as well. And about all the people complaining about how "There are so many good games they don't translate!" well why do you think that is!? It's because of people whining and complaining about everything unique about thier product like characters, story, and build for almost EVERY DAMN GAME THEY RELEASE. Its just basic logic, why keep releasing games into a market that won't buy them?

    Why keep making expensive investments on people who only just bitch about everything your culture stands for and asks you to change it to thier specific likings? Has anybody ever heard of the phrase "You can't please everyone" it's still relavent. I mean it's funny how so many people just say "Oh just have a mixed team with the Americans creating the meat of the product while we have the funny Asians add some controlled pre-screened wackiness to it" and then just have a western game with a viel of anime art so it can be "Japanese" it's still western. Not that western is bad, its just that if I wanted a western game I would buy it from a western developer. The same problem lies in localization, which so many people suggest for JRPGS to have them "listen to thier fans", it causes the product to lose everything unique about it in favor for being marketable.

    Which is why I like companies like Atlus and N1 because for the most they defy every "JRPG sterotype" while still remaining very eastern. Look at Persona, SMT, and even thier "western products" like Etrian Odyssey and Disgaea both which use a western perception (EO is high fantasy western, Disgaea is a western mythos) but still are made very well, oh and most Atlus games are TURN-BASED, the supposed "archaic, old, boring" formula of gameplay. And why does it still work, because of the mechanics that go into it, the parts make a good machine, not just how many parts you have. I find it REALLY hilarious because in the comments someone suggested that having craploads more armor and quests, suddenly make the game better, and how another person said how most Japanese industries prefer quanity over quality. It's funny because it seems that what the WRPG auidience more everything in the game to make it "awesome".

    Look how so many people mock otaku obsession, yet when I look at the list of "requirements" for a WRPG it looks a little more creepy than an otaku. These are pretty much summed up as "I want to BE the character, I want to FEEL like I'm that awesome because I am" essentially making it one big ego trip for you the player. While otaku obssesion is weird, it distingushes between fake and real, 2D and 3D, but not for WRPGS which have to be some odd form of hyper-escapism for the player, which I thought was a negative stigma for games but I was wrong looking at all the "YOU ARE FREAKING AWESOME" games like COD and WRPGS. Really all these people complain about how railroaded JRPGS are yet, are ANY games not just set to follow a path with some forks and resets? Look at Mass Effect hereled for "being able to do what you want" yet you just have 3 branches at each specific junction all clearly labled for you, if the JRPG fan is on a leash, the WRPG fan is a rat in a maze (Also Persona has braching endings as does Devil Survivor).

    And for games like Fallout, what difference does it make in the ending when all that happens are some minor variations (Like in DS the 7 endings are pretty similar except for dialouge). And in games like Fallout why is there a meter which tells you "karma" and why is it so easily reversable!? In games like Persona with the exception of save-scumming if you screw up you SCREW UP, if you break a Commu or S.Link you have to take valuable time to fix it (which was toned down in P4 but it still happens)not just go do X for X and BAM you're suddenly a good guy! WRPG fans don't want choices they want easily reversable consequences, they want to be a total dick yet still be a "Saint" so many times I see people complain that, "Oh that's not fair I killed his brother and now I get the bad ending" WELL WHAT DO YOU EXPECT, people complain about "lost forever" in JRPGS (Subverted well in TWEWY a JRPG)but that's what it is a CONSEQUENCE. While I agree P4 had a "Guide-Dang It" true ending it still held true to the GAME'S moral of "Don't take the easy way out" in trying to find the true culprit, and asking you to look beneath the surface, not just take in what is blatently presented to you.

    To me that's why I don't like ME or DAO's "Cool allies and friends" because it's either you LURVE them to odd levels or you're apathetic, kinda like the "choice system" dick or self-rightous. Because I have to care about the characters, it essentially limits my ability to like the game because it's so heavily based on me having a certain response, if I don't have that response I lose large amounts of enjoyment. While I firmly believe characters are the main focus, and are rightfully so, they should drive the story and emotions within the world not you, otherwise you end up in a crutch situation like DAO or ME. Take P4 for an example, I CERTAINLY care more about what happened there that in ME, because I chose to care the game didn't make me, and that is what "important decisions" should be. While the people in P4 were different and sometimes off, while there was an emphasis on the S.Links it wasn't entirly vital, just highly reccomended.

    You didn't have to hang out with everyone, you didn't have max out every link, you could just just spent every day grinding the game was fine with that it just mentioned how much more diffucult it would be in doing so without trust and teamwork. And then you could have chosen if you cared about thier problems or the bonuses you recieved, they didn't say "HEY YOU CARE ABOUT ME" it was "HEY YOU DECIDED TO COME SO THIS IS THE RESULT" it DID give the option to be a dick, ALONG with a VARIETY of other options. And Overall I find it funny when no one mentions Atlus because they know it pretty much blows thier whole argument out of the water. I find it funny that people are so quick to declare the market dead, because if it's dying it's only for what they ship here back at home they probably have plenty of products not translated, not because of developer ignorance but because of the WRPG auidience.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:53 16/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Take successful anime STORY(FUCKING)LINE concepts
    Take successful game action concepts

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:39 16/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Bioware has produced some decent stuff over the years but they are overhyped and overrated. I would take pretty much any Megami Tensei game over their whole catalog without a second thought.

    Avatar of Kou
    Comment by Kou
    11:15 18/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'd say a decline would be from people having less money and maybe because we need more variety, if anything. It could also have something to do with the way they are released over here. (Such as skipping games in a series!)

    As far as I'm concerned jrpgs are pretty much the only video games. I know that's personal preference, but I like the game play style and having an interesting story to keep me playing.

    I've yet to see any good rpgs made by western companies...

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:13 15/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pokemon is the last hope of JRPG and nothing good besides Pokemon (exception of that Atlus games are also good)

    Final Fantasy sucks and you suck for liking it!

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:40 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Bullshit, Mikami.

    JRPG's aren't popular in the west right now because most of them suck ass. This console gen has been HORRIBLE for JRPG's.
    Of course, considering how expensive JRPG's usually are to make just due to the actual process itself, combined with JRPG's typically being new(er) IP's/not-sequels, and the general cost for developing an the PS3 & the 360...this might be understandable to a point.

    It's no wonder the DS is the de-facto JRPG champ this generation. Cheaper to develop = less risky if the game BOMBS.

    The west would love JRPG's if Japan didn't design them to suck. So here's an idea: Take a look at what made your games popular in the past, include what fans have been BEGGING for for years (no random battles for starters, for Gods' sake), dump idiotic fetch quests that have you going everywhere over and over and over again (Nier), then LISTEN TO YOUR FANS SOME MORE, DUMBASS!

    Can't be that hard to make a good JRPG this gen. I mean, there are like 3 or 4 decent ones on the 360/PS3...

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:29 14/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This console gen has been HORRIBLE.

    Avatar of caiooa
    Comment by caiooa
    07:06 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    man, this guy don't know what he is talking about. Just search anyware for the number of seeled copys of crono trigger, ff 6 and ff7. And in that time, piracy was extremely easy compared to now. I knew there's some stagnation, but say that the genre have never been popular in western to begin with is completely wrong, lol. A really bad excuse.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:25 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Bioware didn't have an impact on RPG's? Ever heard of Baldur's Gate 1 and 2? No? Ever heard of Neverwinter Nights? Infinitry Engine Games?

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:05 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Bioware used to be a decent company, but their JRPG-hate crusades as of late mean I piss on anything they make from now on - they aren't getting a damned dime from me.

    Avatar of PrinceHeir
    Comment by PrinceHeir
    10:32 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    most of the people who worked on those games are already gone by now. and neverwinter nights declined after the 1st one. still i like baldur gate games. i just hate how they act they're the shit. really? people like these wonder me why are they even on the industry. i would definitely want to see if they try to criticize blizzard. they mave some faults but at least they still deliver they're high quality games(not sure about WOW though some like it some don't) wait for starcraft II mass effect 2 would probably be off in the radar by then.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:37 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Devil May Cry and Resident Evil are the only games that I played,play and will play from Capcom

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:56 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They'd be more popular if they translated more into english.
    Finaly Fantasy isn't the only RPG series.
    There are a lot of others that don't get translated that are really good.
    The problem is that nerds look to G4 for game info when they only make fun of the JRPGs instead seriously recommending games.
    Search for a good JRPG blog that might have good reviews.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:16 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I guess Shinji doesn't look at the interwebz.

    Avatar of moebius22
    Comment by moebius22
    09:53 13/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    He's correct. Go to these links which have the sales all the Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy games and look at the dismal numbers.

    http://www.vgchartz.com/worldtotals.php?name=final+fantasy&publisher=&console=&genre=&minSales=0&results=50&sort=Total [http://www.vgchartz.com/worldtotals.php?name=final fantasy&publisher=&console=&genre=&minSales=0&results=50&sort=Total]

    http://www.vgchartz.com/worldtotals.php?name=dragon+warrior&publisher=&console=&genre=&minSales=0&results=50&sort=Total [http://www.vgchartz.com/worldtotals.php?name=dragon warrior&publisher=&console=&genre=&minSales=0&results=50&sort=Total]

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:01 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I have to say, they are really getting less popular, not unpopular to start with

    Avatar of UraSapMrJap
    Comment by UraSapMrJap
    16:29 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Japan should retire from RPGS altogether. I don't think I enjoyed a JRPG since the PSone days.

    Either that or just sell their RPG scripts to the game-makers in the west. Problem Solved. Better looking games that are actually fun to play which are also made in half the time.

    Avatar of El Chaos
    Comment by El Chaos
    22:57 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Better yet, assemble a diverse group of developers in order to take the best of both worlds. Japanese take care of the game world's aesthethics and general tone, Westerners ensure that the main characters aren't totally gay. Japanese develop an interesting and sometimes weird plot (remember the entirety of FFVII, including Cloud's intrusion into Don Corneo's, lol), Westerners insert alternatives and meaningful deviations. Both can compose the music and do other stuff.

    But given the current game company map, it doesn't look very likely... we'll have to wait for Deus Ex: Human Revolution and see how that one turns out.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:19 16/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    > Westerners ensure that the main characters aren't totally gay


    waiting for deus ex - hope it will be as good as the first one.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:36 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Very true, JRPGs were always a Niche.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:39 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    No one has commented on Tifa's pantsu yet? Is Sankaku off it's meds tonight or something?

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:28 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    JRPGs are simply stagnant for, what, decades. It's always the same story of a 16 year old idealistic kid with the same rag-tag group that comprises of a saucy onee-chan, a loli with amnesia who has the super secret key to the mystery, some gruff veteran with a painful past.

    Then there's always the same crap about the "heroes" wanting to protect everybody. Sigh, boring. Modern JRPGs are just a new coat of paint over the same old crap from the 80s.

    Avatar of El Chaos
    Comment by El Chaos
    22:47 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Or a variation thereof.

    More important than these (because NEWSFLASH: yes, for a game to be popular it has to be sold as a good game in addition to an original story... or otherwise be a Nintendo-developed non-game, it seems), JRPGs always play the damn same, and the basic mechanics requirements in order to fit into the genre essentially guarantee that all additions to them won't make them any less boring and samey.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:51 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    *Look at Atlus rpg*

    What are you talking about?

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:22 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Really now. Explain valkyrie profile. Idiot.

    But yes, you describe western RPGs very well. Completely stagnant, always the same wannabe-tough guy mainchar with boring partymembers nobody gives a shit about.

    If Bioware hadn't ripped off Dating sims and added sex, nobody would remember those recent Bioware games, because they were just the same rehashed old shit western RPGs have hashed out for decades.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:23 12/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    There are a lot of other JRPGs bedise the Tales series, you know.

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