Oh how the mighty have fallen. Capcom, Square-Enix, and Konami all struggling to make a profit. In the light of lackluster sales figures the talk on the interwebs is that Japan, with regards to game development is doomed to fade into obscurity. Meanwhile other regions such as Canada, Europe, and the USA are destined to dominate the video game market. Whether you consider this well wishing or a warning it is my firm belief that the time of The Land of the Rising Sun has not yet come and gone.
Looking to the recent past Persona 4 and Demon's Souls stand as examples that the Japanese gaming industry can still produce quality titles. "But what of the future?" you might ask. To which I say Dark Souls, The Last Guardian, and Metal Gear Solid Rising - all innovative titles on the horizon.
Just recently (at the time of the writing of this blog) The Last Story made it's debut in Japan and was well received for its innovative battle system. Now confirmed for an overseas release, Catherine proves that Japanese companies can break the teenagers-save-the-world mold by making a relationship driven story about thirty-somethings, parenthood, marriage and being faithful to a partner all set to a box puzzle game mechanic. Original? Yes. Interesting? I don't know, but I think it's safe to say smaller Japanese developers are trying new things which is essential to survival in the games industry.
If anything big dogs like Activision and EA should take heed of what is going on across the Pacific unless they want their bread and butter titles like Madden and Call of Duty going the way of Final Fantasy.