Japanese developers have not handled the transition into high-definition particularly well. Development hell and exaggerated cycles have become common-place for many of Japan’s biggest exports. That’s left a lot of the region’s biggest publishers looking for a solution.
See, while Japan’s been spending five years rebooting and redeveloping high-budget games, Western developers like Naughty Dog have been knocking out gems on a two-year timescale. It’s a big problem that’s exclusive to Japanese development, and that’s left many questioning the management and culture at said studios, rather than the core workforce talent.
One publisher that agrees is Sony. Hidden in an interview with Game Informer, Sony Worldwide Studios executive, Shuhei Yoshida, dropped an absolute gem regarding the current status of Sony's domestic Japan Studio.
In terms of the state of the studio in Japan, we have a new head of studio, Allan Becker. He’s been with PlayStation from the beginning. He founded Sony Santa Monica studio. I asked him to move to Japan to instill his philosophy of making games. He's also bringing these two different cultures together. He started in April last year as the head of the Japan studio and has already made a big impact.
It doesn’t sound like much, but this is actually big news. If Sony can successfully install a Western culture into its Japanese studios, then there’s hope we might see future Gran Turismo and Team ICO projects developed on a shorter timescale. And that can only be a positive thing.