'Western studios better at project management than the Japanese'

'Western studios better at project management than the Japanese'

By Ed Fear

October 17th 2008 at 3:55PM

Western studios 'well built to handle large-scale development', says iNiS co-founder Yano

Japanese developers are currently wont to mention their lag behind the West in terms of game development - and in the final part of our extensive interview with iNiS' Keiichi Yano, he points specifically to project management as an area where the West has begun to excel.

"Where Japanese game development lacks possibly is in process," he told us. "I think that North American and European process is much more sophisticated, and recently very well built to handle large-scale development. Japanese process, I mean, I can’t speak for every company, but I think that’s where a lot of people are feeling the pain."

iNiS has a multicultural staff made up of many Japanese and non-Japanese staff, and Yano says that this approach helps them examine practices from a global perspective and pick those best suited.

"We try to incorporate North American and European process with Japanese game design aesthetics, but we also try to think about game design in a more North American way, and then mix that with Japanese graphical style. So we really try to meld the best of the two worlds into our unique kind of thing. I believe that being based in Tokyo has its advantages – we’re on the cutting edge of a lot of things – but at the same time, I think there’s a lot of things we can learn from North American and European developers."

It's because of this that Yano is encouraged not only by his own experience working with Microsoft, but also the recent deal between EA Partners, Grasshopper Manufacture and Shinji Mikami as being a way to share more practices cross-culturally.

"We want to do games that we can simultaneously ship across the world – that’s a big deal for us – and that requires us to have a level of discipline that I know for us at least that we’ve had to learn, definitely, and are still learning. I hope a lot of other Japanese developers can do the same – you know, like Grasshopper and Mikami-san working with EA now, I hope that works well for them. There’s opportunities for Japanese developers to learn more, and I think if we can all do a little bit of that and take a bit back to our development community in Japan that can be a good thing," he concluded.

For more of Yano's view of how Japanese developers are coping with the current generation, and his assertion that Nintendo's innovation stems from its insistence on 'doing its own thing regardless of the environment', check out the final part of our Keiichi Yano interview here.