Fallout 3 and Oblivion maker Bethesda’s honcho Todd Howard has said Japanese RPGs are “not realistic” compared to western ones.
Todd Howard, executive producer at Bethesda, gave an interview in which he politely rubbished the Wii and 3DS as platforms unsuitable for Bethesda games, stated that Red Dead Redemption is “a great RPG,” and also weighed in on Japanese RPGs:
In terms of the RPG genre, you guys do a fantastic job and a lot of the western developers are leading that charge now; maybe Japan is a little weaker in that area.
Final Fantasy XIII is selling pretty well, but it seems whether it’s you or BioWare, or Peter Molyneux with the Fable series, there’s just a really strong western RPG presence.
Do have any thoughts on the state of the Japanese RPGs? Do you play them personally?
I don’t. I look at them. Artistically, I think they’re really, really good.
I’ve never been one to draw lines, though I think it’s easier in this case to say, “these are the western and these are the eastern ones.” I think, by and large, if you look at Japanese games, overall their mindset is way more fantastical, even if it’s not an RPG.
Personally for me, sometimes I like that and sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my hands around it. A western game… again I’m generalizing, they’re more realistic.
Even if it’s post-apocalyptic America Fallout, there’s this filter on it: well, this could really be happening. It’s got this somewhat of a suspension of disbelief, even when we do fantasy stuff.
If you compare the sci-fi in Mass Effect to the science fiction in a million Japanese games, it just gets really, really out there. I think the two sensibilities break down more like that.
Apparently he never played Morrowind.
Whilst being much more circumspect than other western developers, it does seem apparent Howard does not hold Japanese RPGs in great esteem.