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

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.

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Halo 4

Keiji Inafune, CEO and ”concepter”, Comcept

So much Halo in this Halo! It was upon playing the first Halo game that my son and I started to appreciate western games, so I was glad to see such a faithful sequel.

 

Journey

Yohei Kataoka, director, Tokyo Jungle, Crispy’s

Until now, the three games that have influenced me most were Duck Hunt, Earthbound, and Steel Battalion.

Duck Hunt was my first gaming experience. I lived in Boston when I was small, and going over to another person’s house and playing it was revelatory to me. At the time, my language skills were yet unformed, and I wasn’t particularly close to any friends, but playing with the ducks and laughing dog smoothed over any differences we might have had. Playing it made me fall in love with games. Earthbound became my next favourite, teaching me the power of words. Who knew words alone could stimulate even my sense of smell!

Despite being completely fictional, the mad Steel Battalion realised my dreams of operating giant robots. And when you died, your save data was erased, which I feel must have influenced Tokyo Jungle’s design. However much my life changes, these will always be what inspired me to make games.

Just as when I encountered the games above, playing Journey made me feel I was touching on a whole new world of gaming possibilities, making me recall those times. I’m glad I played it. This is how you go about creating ‘experiences’!

 

Journey

Yuji Abe, Game Design Director, Square Enix

I’ve always wanted to try making a game which doesn’t use words, and after this came out I think the idea is a good one! From an industry perspective, to give shape to this kind of project takes a wonderful team.

 

Journey

Yuji Korekado, Kojima Productions Creative Producer, Konami

I started playing on my lunch break and saw it through to the end. I forgot all about my work as I was totally absorbed in the excellent game design, wherein the player’s goals are set, and emotions are conveyed, all without explanation.

 

Guild Wars 2

Naoki Yoshida, Final Fantasy XIV Producer and Director, Square Enix

A title somewhat unfamiliar to Japan which surprised and interested me. It’s a world many years in the making, overflowing with challenging systems. Mainly revolving around the World vs World PVP element, the lack of class restrictions and implementation of Dynamic Events, which even casual players can join in with, are great, as is the balancing. Considering the payment scheme and the way the game is operated, I’ll be watching this title closely. It’s a strong rival!

 

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy

Takumi Iguchiya, Director, Arc System Works

I thought the ‘brave’ and ‘default’ system was marvellous. To be perfectly frank, I’ve avoided Square Enix games up until now. It might be that I’ve always rooted for the underdog, but I always thought of them as games for middle schoolers, or those stuck in that mindset.

I can only apologise. The strategic, yet easy to understand battle system, combined with the wealth of character customisation options, is great fun. With well-paced boss battles and exciting ability unlocks, the motivational cycle between character development and battling is brilliantly matched. And I think Idea-chan is cute!

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