Japan-based video game publishers like Konami, Sega and Capcom are working towards making their games more globally-appealing, with gameplay, characters and settings that they see more suited for Western audiences.
But Takeyasu Sawaki, the Japanese director behind Ignition Entertainment's PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 action game El Shaddai
, wants his game to embrace Japanese conventions and overall feel.
"As a Japanese creator, I want to make something that only Japanese people can make. I don't want to follow the European people's way," he told Gamasutra
in a new feature interview. While his studio is based in Japan, parent Ignition Entertainment is headquartered in the UK.
The game is based books from the Christian Apocrypha, books considered by Protestant Christians to not be part of the Biblical canon. El Shaddai
is essentially a Japanese imagining of parts of the Western religion. The main character in the game is Enoch, a very pure former human that is now working for God.
"I read, of course, the Book of Enoch, and I also read a lot of other people's books dealing with those two characters. I think all of those books were boring," said Sawaki, who also worked at Capcom on Devil May Cry
. "I think my image of Enoch is closer to the original Enoch. Because I read a lot of information, and based on that, I drew this Enoch."
Sawaki said that he still wants to reach as large as an audience as possible with El Shaddai
, and continues to learn cultural lessons. "I was surprised when I realized that, because this company has given me a lot of experience working with people from other countries, I'm more able to communicate with people at other companies," he said.
"And I think, for example, Americans, or English people, are very straightforward, and they insist their opinions as much as they can. I think that's very different from the Japanese."
Sawaki still has to answer to a UK-based company, so his decisions, to an extent, still meet with a Western filter. "I have my own idea, and now... I have to accept a lot of other ideas coming from other companies or the UK office. So, I'm just struggling with what's good for me," he said.
For more from Sawaki on Japanese game development, his opinion on Western games and the latest on El Shaddai
read the full Gamasutra feature interview