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Assassin's Creed 3 director: Games journalists are too soft on Japanese devs

Alexander Hutchinson says preferential treatment is 'condescending'; Wants all studios to be held to the same standard

The creative director of Assassin's Creed 3 believes that games made in Japan are too often given an easier ride in the press than their western counterparts.


Alexander Hutchinson told CVG that certain elements of Japan-made games, particularly their narrative, are often flawed but routinely forgiven.

"I think there's a subtle racism in the business, especially on the journalists' side, where Japanese developers are forgiven for doing what they do," he said.

It is likely that the meaning behind this claim is that Hutchinson feels there is a positive discrimination towards Japanese developers, as opposed to a "subtle racism".

In a comprehensive and candid interview with CVG, Hutchinson said that the alleged preferential treatment that Japanese developers receive is "condescending" to their sector, as all developers should be held to the same standard.

He explained: "Just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish. Literally gibberish. There's no way [a western developer] could write it with a straight face, and the journalists say 'oh it is brilliant'.

"Then Gears of War comes out and apparently it's the worst written narrative in a game ever. I'll take Gears of War over Bayonetta any time.

"I just think the simple question should be; is the story any good?"

Elsewhere in the Assassin's Creed 3 interview, Hutchinson shared praise for Japanese developers.

"Nintendo has been great at reinvigorating their franchises, as have other Japanese companies," he said.

But his claims regarding positive discrimination add to a long-running debate on the health and stature of the Japanese games development industry. Former Capcom development executive Keiji Inafune triggered the discussion in 2009 when he infamously declared Japan's games industry as "finished".

In March the debate flared up again after Phil Fish, the co-founder of Fez developer Polytron, told a Japanese games developer live on stage that "your games just suck".