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Japanese games industry can be No.1 again - Naka

Sonic creator says Japan must catch up to the West in terms of tech first

Yuji Naka thinks the Japanese games industry can bounce back to surpass the West by focusing on local specialities.

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Acknowledging that the once-dominant Japanese industry has lost its leadership position, the Sonic creator told us: "I agree that Japanese game development is quite behind the West, especially in terms of technology. Japanese game developers need to catch up to the West in terms of tech first.

"At the same time we have some areas that can only be done by Japanese developers, that can't be done by our western counterparts," he added. "Japanese developers need to emphasise these areas more."

The Prope boss, who was in London promoting Wii and DS game Ivy the Kiwi?, went on to suggest that Japan will eventually catch up to the West.

"Japanese development still has the chance to catch up and even be better," he said. "That's one of the reasons I wanted to set up Prope. Instead of sticking to older IP such as Sonic I needed to leave to set up this new studio and come up with new IP that can't be done by Western competitors. I'm hoping this move will encourage Japanese developers to do something different and as a whole compete more with Western developers."

Keiji Inafune, head of R&D and global production at Capcom, has suggested that Japan is five years behind the West, and that Japanese devs need to partner with US studios in order to survive.

Naka also told us he's "hoping to work on Dreamcast 2" one day, but that he has "no intention to go back to Sega or be involved with Sega projects in the future".

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