The latest issue of Japanese consumer magazine Famitsu has printed interviews with a number of leading Japanese third-party game developers regarding their take on the three next generation formats, in remarks translated by consumer site GameSpot.
Although many of the comments are expectedly diplomatic, a few interesting trends are evident, with Japanese developers appearing to be least convinced by the Xbox 360, and also curious about the Nintendo Revolution, despite appearing not to know any more about it than consumers.
Akihiro Hino, president of Dragon Quest VII
developer Level 5, voiced a common concern when he suggested that developers may have difficulty in trying to meet high expectations for PlayStation 3 titles brought on by the various trailers shown at E3. Fatal Frame
(aka Project Zero
) producer Keisuke Kikuchi appeared to agree, with the latter saying of the PlayStation 3: "It has a very attractive high machine spec. It may be difficult to design a system that can balance out the use of its power, but it should be worth the effort."
Masanori Takeuchi of From Software, an overt supporter of the Xbox in Japan, had perhaps the harshest words for the PlayStation 3, saying: "To be honest, it's still full of unknown factors, and it's difficult to comment on. In my own opinion, it doesn't seem like hardware that will make games more fun. It's being called a 'supercomputer', so I guess it's like a set top box which functions like a PC. My impression is like, 'It can also play games, which is good.'"
Although the company’s relationship with Microsoft is uncertain after Xbox MMORPG True Fantasy Live Online
was cancelled, Akihiro Hino’s comments that he did not see anything 'fresh' about the Xbox 360 was also echoed by others. However, Hino did acknowledge that the larger number of Japanese developers, in particular Final Fantasy
creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, working on the format would deliver some stiffer competition for the PS3 in Japan.
Like many Japanese developers, Sonic The Hedgehog
creator Yuji Naka was particularly interested in the Revolution’s virtual console, even going as far as to say that he hoped Sega-developed games would be playable on it - though Sega had rival consoles, a number of its titles were converted to the NES.
Square Enix's Akitoshi Kawazu, producer of the Romancing SaGa
series had a slightly different outlook from others, saying that he was primarily interested in how much memory the new consoles had, rather than other specifics of their hardware.
"When the machines evolve this far, they lose characteristics. As a developer, I'm most concerned about how much memory they're equipped with - the more, the better. The other specs aren't that important. I don't think that their graphic capabilities are too far apart from each other. Of course, their specs haven't been finalized yet, and we won't actually know how difficult it is to develop on them until we try it out," Kawazu said.