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



Gravity Rush

Shoji Meguro, Director and Chief Composer, Index

While many games fought for attention in 2012, one of the few I saw through to the end was Gravity Rush. The gravity manipulation was completely unique, and surprisingly unlike the sensation of being in outer space or suchlike. After playing for a while I’d want to use gravity to manipulate my PC windows, or use it to climb the stairs and other weird things!

It’s not just the mechanics that made it great, though: you could tell the balance was carefully tuned, and the quality always shone through. In many ways, it’s set the high watermark in Vita development.


Earth Defense Force 3 (Vita)

Tomonobu Itagaki, CTO, Valhalla Game Studios

Well, I’m a big fan of the series. I don’t have a particular reason… (haha). It’s fun to play 3 player co-op with my family.


XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Takayuki Katsuro, Director, Tri-Ace

While this isn’t quite the game that I most admired [or that] shocked me the most in 2012, it is the game I most enjoyed. Though a remake, the deep strategy and difficulty remain, as does the enduring entertainment value. The previously unpolished parts now glisten, making the game far more accessible. On the other hand, the simplicity of the controls did leave me somewhat unsatisfied. Still, it’s definitely worth playing.


Phantasy Star Online 2

Toshihiro Nagoshi, Yakuza Series Director, Sega

A game that really shows off the might of online games. It’s been a great success both in terms of business and as a game, putting pressure on the future of traditional game consoles in a lot of ways. A double threat.


Fire Emblem: Awakening

Tomoya Asano, Producer, Square Enix

A new spin on an old series, beautifully done. The marriage system is truly effective. It’s a really fun game, and the DLC opened up a host of new possibilities.


Persona 4 Golden

Shuhei Yoshida, president, Sony Worldwide Studios

The pacing, direction, characters, story, social gaming elements, mechanics, and even the hidden bits are all of a very high standard. Though I barely play any Japanese RPGs these days, I was hooked, putting in over 80 hours. I felt it also played tremendously to the Vita’s strengths. Following its recent US release, reading the tweets of American players and critics talking about their favourite Persona girls speaks to the quality of the localisation.


Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Hiromichi Tanaka, consultant, GungHo Online Entertainment

Just overwhelmingly full of content. This is what Nintendo is capable of when it gets serious! The online element has changed from previous installments, advancing enough to allow huge numbers of fellow players to communicate and interact. I wonder if Nintendo have finally turned a corner in their approach to online integration.

4Gamer also asked those surveyed about the people (from any industry) they had been keeping an eye on in 2012. Arc’s Daisuke Ishiwatari said Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Jeez, he’s cool alright? The way he talks is the best. I’m excited about his return to the silver screen.” Grasshopper Manufacture CCO and Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka went for Psy, the South Korean rapper behind global smash Gangnam Style: “He sings in his own language and still enthrals. I’d like for a Japanese artist to have the same power to grab worldwide attention in that way.”

Two fine choices. Oh, and who was uppermost in Tomonobu Itagaki’s thoughts last year? “Me. Tomonobu Itagaki.”