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Bayonetta's Hideki Kamiya believes Japanese developers should be "proud" of JRPG term

It "should be celebrated moving forward."

Hideki Kamiya, creator of Bayonetta and Devil May Cry, believes Japanese developers should be "proud" of the term JRPG.

Debate around the term recently resurfaced following comments from Final Fantasy 16 producer Naoki Yoshida in an interview with Skill-Up. Yoshida stated the term "wasn't a compliment to a lot of developers in Japan" and was seen as "discriminatory".

Kamiya, however, is more positive about the term, believing it reflects the "unique sensitivity" of Japanese creators in the games they make.

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In an interview with VGC, Kamiya cited the difference between Bayonetta and the original God of War as an example of cultural differences.

"When you look at God of War, you have Kratos," he said. "He's muscly, he's huge, he's bald, he looks really kick-ass, basically. So we thought, 'okay, we have games like this which are becoming more popular globally, could we create something similar from a Japanese standpoint?'

"We discussed this internally, and the conclusion was that no, we obviously can't, because this is something that's not unique to us as Japanese creators. So in order to make an action game that would stand out we needed to create something that expressed our unique sensitivities as Japanese creators, and Bayonetta was a result of that.

"When you look at Bayonetta as a character, she doesn't look strong like Kratos, she doesn't look like she could take on these massive demons, but she was very unique in the way she was created, in the way we view action game heroes, from a unique Japanese viewpoint."

Continuing, he said: "So when it comes to the term 'JRPG', this is something that ties into this - these are RPG games that, in a sense, only Japanese creators can make with their unique sensitivity when it comes to creating these experiences.

"I think it's certainly something that should be celebrated moving forward, and someone should actually aim to make a 'king of JRPGs' game to express that. As Japanese game creators, we're very proud of the actual term JRPG."

Kamiya was then asked if he would be offended by the term J-Action to describe his games, as a JRPG equivalent.

"On the contrary, I'd be very proud if you used that term," he said. "It's more focused than the broad genre of action, and it highlights the unique elements that only Japanese developers can make. So yeah, if you wanted to do that, go for it, we'd be proud more than anything else."

The term JRPG was originally used in the 90s to broadly differentiate between PC RPGs (mostly by Western developers) and console RPGs (mostly by Japanese developers). Since then it has sometimes been used as discriminatory language by critics and developers.

Yoshida's comments sparked a new wave of debate as to whether the term JRPG was simply used as shorthand for a particular set of characteristics typical of RPGs made in Japan, or if it's a derogatory term that should no longer be used.

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