Mega Man creator laments "tragic state of Japanese games industry"

Keiji Inafune promises to "introduce a new hero from Japan".

Mega Man creator and former Capcom R&D boss Keiji Inafune has unleashed another bitter condemnation of the state of the Japanese games industry.

Inafune told an audience at GDC in San Francisco today that Japanese publishers are guilty of complacency and laziness, and lack any fighting spirit.

Referring back to his 2009 statement that the Japanese games industry was "finished", Inafune said "Everyone in Japan gave me the stink eye for making such a bold statement. How dare you say our industry is dead! However, some of those folks are now starting to run out of steam.

"They realise that perhaps my prediction was true. Maybe Inafune was right."

He went on to argue that Japanese publisher have lost the "desire to want to win and come out on top".

"It sounds obvious but we the Japanese have somehow forgotten all about that.

"Back in the day Japanese games were used to winning and were used to success. We celebrated all sorts of victories. However at some point these winners became losers. Not accepting that fact has led to the tragic state of Japanese games today."

Inafune suggested that the Japanese games industry's early run of success went to its head and resulted in a toxic epidemic of complacency and creative bankruptcy.

"It's almost as if we're living in the Edo period dressed in kimonos with hair up in top nuts. But nobody around us in Japan seems to think it's strange or weird.

"When I look at Japan from the outside I feel we're behind the times. There's a limit to how much business you can generate with just those memories.

"I feel like we rarely see new creations from Japan. We stick to our memories and up-res a game or ship out an HD version. I feel like that's the upper limit that we're showing to our users today and that's not what they want."

The solution? Inafune called on his countrymen to knuckle down, get their hands dirty and breathe new life into rusty old brands.

"Japanese leaders today must think about rebuilding the brands rather than just sustaining them," he said.

"They need to do so now. It will be too late when our brands hold no equity and no power. Time is running out and we should have realised this when I made that bold statement a few years ago."

He insisted he was doing his bit with new start-up Comcept, which is currently developing 3DS RPG King of Pirates alongside some social titles. He also hinted that the studio is working on a Vita game.

"A year ago I chose the hard route. I could have stayed at Capcom and taken the easy route and I'm sure it would have been fairly easy, at least temporarily.

"But I realised that's not what I wanted. I said goodbye to 900 staff, left the building and formed a new company with a very small group of people - just 20. I know it was the right thing to do. I'm confident. I'm working freely and enjoying doing what I do."

He concluded his talk with a promise to "introduce a new hero from Japan".

"And when I do we will do battle again."

The Japanese industry has had a rough ride at this year's GDC, with Fez developer Phil Fish blurting out that all of its recent efforts "just suck" following a screening of Indie Game: The Movie earlier this week.

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