Yoishi Wada Thinks Japan's Weak Spot Is Core Gameplay
Wada, Square Enixs’ president, divides game design into three distinct pillars: “the core gameplay element, community features, and the hardware platform it’s for.” While he thinks Japanese developers have the latter two down pat, he thinks improvements could be made for the former. Core gameplay is “the area the Japanese creators are struggling with right now, trying to explore in new ways,” says Wada in an excerpt from a recent interview with Gamasutra. “‘I don’t think we can say Japan’s strong” in core gameplay,” he says. Moreover, he contributes more to the East Vs West debate when he says “Western developers have become much stronger, during the past five years, in this aspect — the game element.”
I find this interesting when looking at, say, Final Fantasy 13. If I were to complain about something about the game, it would be exactly that: the core gameplay. Everything else in FF13 is par for the course when it comes to JRPGs. Then you start to consider the gameplay, and the fact that it’s such a fresh–but flawed!–approach for this genre begins to make sense. They’re trying to find an answer to what they consider to be their biggest problem: gameplay. While their efforts should be commended on intentions, the fact still remains that every encounter became a battle of a thousand cuts. This made most battles an a boring exercise in repetition for me, almost a chore. But, here’s hoping that they don’t rest on their laurels and that they continue to try to innovate the genre…..though hopefully they also realize that the biggest problems JRPGs face are not just gameplay elements…but Tom can tell you more about that!