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7 games Japan should give to western developers

Franchises that could do with a new lease of life

"Japan is absolutely rubbish at making games! Our industry is finished! We're five years behind the West - and the only way we can catch up is to partner with western developers!"


Those are the words coming out of Japan, from a few select yet significant voices. Sure we've added a fair bit of dramatic impact - but the sentiment is still intact.

Before his departure from Capcom, the publisher's head Kenji Inafune got the ball rolling - handing over development of Dead Rising 2 to Canadian studio Blue Castle Games and revealing that Cambridge based Heavenly Sword and Enslaved developer, Ninja Theory, were creating the next game in its treasured third-person action franchise Devil May Cry.

Keiji Inafune is a smart man so, when he starts making moves towards the West like that, we take note.

We've put on our thinking caps and come up with seven Japanese franchises that we think would be given a new lease of life under western development.

Go on Japan - Give 'em a shot.

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MONSTER HUNTERCRAFT
Most gamers have never played Monster Hunter; in the West Capcom's loot-gathering monster-slaying hybrid has been appreciated by the few and ignored by the many. But head over to Japan and Monster Hunter is a certified phenomenon.

At this point, Godzilla could show up and we'd bet enough citizens have played enough MonHun to kill, skin and spit-roast the poor mutant dinosaur before he can lift a leg for his first building-kick of the day.

Despite numerous releases, Monster Hunter has failed to catch fire in the same way in the West. Although games such as Monster Hunter Tri have included control tweaks and introduced features that 'should' appeal to a western audience, their sales and pop-culture impact have still been comparatively insignificant.

So who do we think they should hand it off to? Blizzard. Yes, Blizzard.

Blizzard's experience with World of Warcraft makes it the perfect western studio to not only make Monster Hunter more western friendly, but to make it as popular as it is in Japan. The basic gameplay conceits of Monster Hunter are identical to World of Warcraft.

Players must work in groups to take down large monsters for missions while earning loot to upgrade their character's attributes and abilities. The online aspect of Monster Hunter has always been a bit of a stumbling block for Capcom. However for Blizzard, well - World of Warcraft has earned it enough cash to buy a country. That's something we like to call 'success'.

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REMEDIAL EVIL
Ever since Shinji Mikami breathed new life into the decayed Resident Evil framework with Resi 4 the series has slowly shuffled more and more into a western designed shooter framework.

However, while a new over-the-shoulder viewpoint and co-op gameplay certainly opened the series up to a broader audience, games like Resident Evil 5 proved that the series is still bogged down by a few odd - distinctly Japanese - design decisions.

Historically, the Resident Evil games have opted to forgo evolutions to the shooting aspect of the gameplay in order to maintain strict control over how the environment was presented. Awkward camera angles in service of getting cheap scares were common place in Resi games.

But, since Resident Evil 4, the series has struggled to strike a balance between creating tension, getting scares and giving the player modern action-game mechanics.

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