In a particularly candid interview with Wired magazine, Keiji Inafune gives a particularly in-depth look into how he views the Japanese gaming industry. Inafune typically has his quotes torn apart for the sake of sensationalist headlines, but here Keiji makes sure to explain his thoughts in detail. It's not as simple as Inafune disliking the Japanese scene, and he does a wonderful job of stating how close he is to the subject and what it means to him, without being confrontational.
"Let’s say your mother’s birthday was coming up and you wanted to get her something that would make her happy. And you came to me and you asked me, what can I get my mother that would make her happy? What’s the specific thing that I should buy her?
Someone who doesn’t know your mother might tell you that should send your mother on a vacation. But they actually don’t know whether or not it’ll make your mother happy.
This is an analogy for what I’m saying about the Japanese industry. If you ask me, “What should I get my mother?” I will tell you, “Chris, you need to appreciate your mother.” If you don’t have that feeling of appreciation in the first place, even if you send her on a vacation or give her a present, your mother won’t be happy."
This wonderful little analogy does a great job of showing Inafune's personal investment in the industry. "Mother" raised him and all Japanese developers, and Inafune believes it's currently unhappy. There are steps to make her feel better, or as Inafune is implying, steps to fix the industry and make it stronger. First, through appreciation and respect. How though, in more concrete terms, can you do that with an entire industry?
"You’re being too nice to Japanese games. You should be harsh when you feel the standards aren’t living up to what we had in the past. You should tell the truth about Japanese games not being what they used to be. Unless they get that criticism, Japanese game creators are just sitting on the glories of the past. They won’t get the message that the Western audience is turning its back on us."
You might say western gamers have been doing such a thing for quite a while now, but perhapsInafune's comments are directed more towards Japanese gamers. After all, it's one thing criticize your own mother, but someone else's?
Inafune goes on to discuss his views on the growing social and mobile market in both North America and Japan, and his work with his new studio. Inafune has been criticized for being all talk and no action in the past. Now that he has broken apart from Capcom however, he is free to pursue his ideals. Starting in a social medium allows him to bring a variety of people together in new ways. After all, if you can't persuade an industry to change through discourse, perhaps you can lead by example.
Check out Inafune's full interview at Wired, I'd recommend giving it a read because it provides a deeper look at the growing creative rift growing in the Japanese gaming industry.