Hideo Kojima is the latest prominent Japanese game industry figure who has stepped forward to weigh in on why Japan's game development has seen an arguable decline in prominence in recent years. According to the acclaimed Metal Gear
creator, it's a simple question of motivation.
"The West is very motivated. The younger generation of Japan is losing," Kojima wrote in a lengthy series of Twitter posts
"The designers and to-be-designers in the West have the focus, ambition, and ability to make their dream become true," he continued. "It is not the Japanese technology or culture that is losing; we are lacking the motivation."
According to Kojima, Japan's game development community may also be suffering from an insular mentality as well as a relative deficiency of young blood with the background needed to make games.
"The number of students that study abroad from Japan has decreased," he said
. "There are very few Japanese students at the prestigious Harvard University, and in MIT...zero. The engineering population in Japan may be in jeopardy. We should first review our education system here in Japan."
But it's not just the younger generation, said the designer. It's important for experienced game developers to maintain their passion, motivation, and enjoyment of the medium itself.
"It doesn't matter where they are from; working with highly motivated individuals is the only way to move forward," Kojima wrote in another Twitter post
. "I am tired of taking care of people who do not have the passion."
He pointed to examples of employees at his own Kojima Productions who, by contrast, demonstrate their devotion to the enjoyment of creative forms like books and games: "A programmer in our studio reads while he is walking, and finishes two novels a day. Another genius programmer we have plays [Call of Duty
during lunchtime, and] eats his lunch during break."
"The reason why the programmer plays [Call of Duty
] during his cherished lunch time is because he likes gaming more than anything," Kojima explained. "Even if I am busy, even if I have to sacrifice something, I would...for movies and books."
"Saying you don't have time because of work, using work as an excuse, will not help you grow," he said. "Creating abilities, at its core, is reliant on your love for the creation."