Eurogamer: Perhaps Dead Rising 2 will help to redress the balance?
Keiji Inafune: Yeah. It would be great if we can wake up some of the journalists and creators in Japan. Especially Dead Rising 2, this is a complete core development. It's developed in Canada, but this is a Japanese game. I came up with the original concept. It happened to be in Canada for the development, but it's almost like a made in Japan game. We take it in that way. If Dead Rising wakes up some of the people that would be great.
Eurogamer: Has the lack of success of the Xbox 360 in Japan prevented Western games from gaining popularity?
Keiji Inafune: Possibly. But on the other hand, Japan being a small island, especially in the videogame industry, we had the golden age of eighties and nineties, and people are still living in that glorious time. They're trapped in a time warp.
Also people are very conservative. They admit that the 360 is a great console, the functionality and everything, but it's made in America. Therefore they're suspicious. They're not really jumping on foreign merchandise in comparison to Sony. That attitude applies to Western games as well, I think.
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Eurogamer: Your role as head of global research and development means you're in charge of saying yes or no to new game ideas. What must a game have before you say yes?
Keiji Inafune: It's interesting. Lots of ideas are coming out just picking on an interesting point - this will be interesting in a game, this will be entertaining in a game. But if you think why and how that is interesting, and you pursue the questions: who would be the target audience, when is it going to come out, how will it be realised in the game, not many people can back up their own ideas.
You have to think about all these little puzzles. Say, Red Dead Redemption was a huge hit. Probably, we could do the same thing in different circumstances, in a different universe. But if that game comes out three years later, would that be still interesting? Would the users be engaged with it?
Especially in Japan, lots of Japanese people have the impression of Western games where you can do lots of things. There is no restriction on the gameplay. You can walk down the street and hit the people. They think there is violence and gore - that's a Western-looking game.
Unless you understand why it's interesting because you can hit passers-by, it's not really interesting, is it? Most of the ideas are very shallow. I suppose it's like a Hollywood film pitch, isn't it? People come in with all sorts of ideas, but haven't got any background information to back it up.
Eurogamer: Finally, at gamescom Yoshinori Ono told me that you told him it would take a million requests before you'll say yes to a new Darkstalkers game.
Keiji Inafune: We're asked this question quite a bit. Ono-san understands lots of people are waiting for Darkstalkers. However, the difficulty about fighting games is we had a boom and it went down. So most of the developers went out of the business or moved on to some other types of games.
Apparently creating a fighting game is not so easy. You really need the talent and skill and balancing ability to sort the games out. So at the moment there aren't the resources to create another fighting game. However, I recommend you ask the same question again and again and again whenever you meet Ono-san.
Dead Rising 2 will be released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on 24th September. The PC version will be released on 28th September.