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Tokyo Jungle: Europeans loved it, but Americans... not so much

"We received a lot of negative feedback for the game," says director Yohei Kataoka about the cult-hit that, apparently, didn't make a splash with American players after all.
"Europe loved it, and we got a lot of great feedback from that audience, but [in] America... that simply wasn’t the case. We received a lot of negative feedback for the game."
- Yohei Kataoka, director, Tokyo Jungle, in a new Siliconera interview Tokyo Jungle made a splash among the gaming intelligentsia when it was released -- after it was brought to the West on the back of unanticipated success in Japan. The game, published by Sony for the PlayStation 3, is a survival sim where you play as various animals in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo. Odd as it may sound, the game captured the imagination of a lot of players -- Leigh Alexander even wrote a piece for Gamasutra trying to get to the bottom of why they seemed to love it so much, because it generated so much buzz. Turns out that any plaudits from Americans represent a vocal minority. In a new interview with Siliconera, director Yohei Kataoka reveals that American players, by and large, weren't taken with the game, but that it did well in Europe. That was not his expectation at the time: "Although the scene is local in Tokyo, we felt that the 'animal survival concept in an abandoned world' would be a universal theme which would be accepted globally," Kataoka told Gamasutra in 2012 -- a bit ironically, in retrospect. Kataoka's next game is also a PlayStation 3 download title: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is already out in Japan and Europe, and is soon headed to North America, courtesy of Bandai Namco. It's a collaboration with Grasshopper Manufacture (No More Heroes). Kataoka went in-depth into the development of Tokyo Jungle at GDC 2013, and you can watch his talk -- newly available for free -- on GDC Vault.

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