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Articles by Ian Milton-Polley

    Something about Japan: Suda 51 on selling Grasshopper Manufacture

    at 04:39pm February 9 2013
    Lollipop Chainsaw review

    We look at what’s next for Grasshopper after its acquisition by GungHo Online and the state of the Japanese game industry in this week’s Something about Japan column.

    Something about Japan: critics dazzled by Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Hitman Absolution

    at 01:43pm February 2 2013

    Our man in the East reveals Japanese critics’ responses to two blockbuster releases in this week’s Something about Japan.

    Something About Japan: DmC wows critics as Monster Hunter hits the mainstream

    at 05:32pm January 26 2013
    DmC Devil May Cry review

    Our man in Japan takes a look at the critical response to the Devil May Cry reboot, the Monster Hunter phenomenon and the latest sales charts.

    Something About Japan indie special: 4Gamer’s best of 2012, and highlights from Comiket 83

    at 11:37am January 16 2013

    While the Japanese gaming industry was still creaking back into gear after the New Year’s break, this year’s set of IGF finalists was announced, showcasing some of the best and brightest western indie talent. Famitsu covered the news, calling them “a whole load of creative games you’ve never heard of!” This week, I’d like to return the favour and highlight a few exuberant and experimental indie games from Japan you almost certainly won’t have heard of, first from 4Gamer’s review of the year in indie games, and then from the Comiket convention in December.

    Something About Japan: what the critics are saying about Yakuza 5

    at 11:30am January 9 2013
    Yakuza 5

    Released on the 6th of December and selling 357,000 copies in its first week on shelves, Yakuza 5 seems to be a genuine step forward for the series. Series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi has likened the title to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in terms of scope, and indeed the GTA comparison is an apt one, as the game is, bigger, better, and packed with even more things to do than its predecessors, and even treated with the same reverence in Japan as GTA is in the west. It’s been a success at retail, of course – the series always has been – but what are the press saying? Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu bestowed Yakuza 5 with a coveted 40 out of 40, and as we find out, Impress Watch was similarly impressed. Sega, sadly, currently has no plans for a western localisation.

    Something About Japan: Inafune, Itagaki, Nagoshi and many more name their games of 2012

    at 03:09pm January 2 2013

    At midnight, December 31, at Buddhist temples all over Japan, a bell is rung 108 times, each solemn toll warding off one of the 108 human sins of worldly desire. To ring in the new year over at 4Gamer, they asked 112 Japanese industry figures to each pick the game of 2012 they most admired, or that shocked them most. Here are some of the more interesting answers.

    Something About Japan: a new kind of MOBA, and what critics think of Hotline Miami and To The Moon

    at 03:45pm December 19 2012

    As far as competitive gaming goes, in Japan the fighting game has long reigned supreme. This week, though, instead of looking at the gargantuan list of tweaks Capcom has planned for Street Fighter X Tekken, we’ll be looking at one studio’s attempt to adapt the MOBA for a Japanese audience. We’ll also be taking a look at Japan’s take on some of the most notable western-developed PC indie games, both new and a little bit old.

    Something About Japan: Wii U’s Tokyo launch, and Square Enix on Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII

    at 04:02pm December 12 2012

    I’ve got a little information about Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII to share, and don’t get too excited, but I have two words for you: time management. I know! Before that, though, let’s turn our attention to Nintendo, whose Wii U console finally launched in Japan this week. It’s odd, given that Wii enjoyed much more goodwill from eastern critics and press than from those in the west, that Japan should be the last of the major territories in which Wii U is released. After a fairly tepid western start, then, how has the console been received in Nintendo’s home country?

    Something About Japan: Black Ops II beats Animal Crossing; Warfighter praised; Metal Gear Rising latest

    at 01:17pm December 5 2012
    Something About Japan: Black Ops II beats Animal Crossing; Warfighter praised; Metal Gear Rising latest

    This week we’re tackling Japan’s take on the genre that’s come to define this console generation, in the west at least: the military FPS. Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Medal of Honor: Warfighter are both out now in Japan, and we’ll be investigating their critical and commercial results. We’ll also take a glimpse at Platinum’s uncompromising attitude to working in the Japanese game industry as we listen to what the Bayonetta studio has to say about working with Kojima Productions on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

    Something About Japan: Square Enix on Luminous Studio and “pushing back” against the west

    at 02:18pm November 26 2012
    Agni's Philosophy

    With the use of thirdparty engines more prevalent than ever, Square Enix’s creation and use of Crystal Tools in games such as Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X marks the company as one of a select few to work on proprietary tech – something Hashimoto has much to say about. “In reality, when trying to do something a little unusual [using a third party engine], it becomes necessary to engage in negotiations with the company who created it, perhaps asking them to improve or extend some of the engine’s capabilities,” he explains. “The process is inefficient, and becomes a shackle to the artists. Therefore, with the technical side of Luminous Studio under our control, we can fashion an environment which allows our creators to let loose their full capabilities.”

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