Japanese games industry “pushing back,” Square Enix tech director says

The Japanese games industry had the final word in video games for years, but this console generation has seen its publishers’ and developers’ global relevance fade. EDGE translated a 4Gamer interview with Square Enix technical director Yoshihisa Hashimoto about how Square plans to keep producing relevant and riveting triple-A games 20 years in the future.

“From my perspective, I think Square Enix exists because of the high end,” Hashimoto said. “I would like for more lavishly made games to still be around. For example, I think 20 or so years from now, we’ll still have 2D card games, and casual puzzle games. The demand won’t go away, so neither will the games. In the same way, the demand for triple-A games won’t disappear either, though I feel we’ll have to work hard to ensure their survival.”

He said Square Enix’s next-gen Luminous Studio engine, which was demonstrated in a video dubbed Agni’s Philosophy, is a sign of self-reliance when others reach for externally produced tools. He said this frees up developers to pursue their own vision instead of compromising to match with others.

The first game on Luminous Studio is in production, but Hashimoto couldn’t offer anything more about it. He did say that the engine will be useful for a range of games and platforms, not just triple-A console titles.

“I believe Japan is capable of producing interesting games, but looking at the influence, we are being pushed around by western games without a doubt,” Hashiomoto said. However, seeing renewed Japanese efforts, like the Fox Engine powering Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, is inspiring.

“Recently, it feels like the Japanese game industry hasn’t lost, and is gradually pushing back,” he said. “For us not to lose, we really have to exert ourselves… But, I feel encouraged.”

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