In this week’s issue of Famitsu, Masahiro Sakurai dedicated his regular column to the development of Japanese games. One fan wrote to Sakurai asking why titles seem to take so long to create in the country.
Whether it’s domestic or international, development speed is a case-by-case scenario, so I feel this may be a biased opinion. I think the Yakuza team is quite fast considering the scale of their games, and some foreign games can take over 5 years from initial proposal to the actual product release.
However, the fact that someone asks this does seem to indicate that it’s not completely unfounded. If I were to guess, it seems that foreign studios have the appearance of a stricter product schedule and organization. Then again, in some cases, even if the development period is long, the development staff can be small, so the entire picture is a mystery.
Also, the time between announcement and release does not necessarily equal the development period. In most cases, when development actually started is never publicly announced.
In any case, whether it’s cost-effective or not is what’s important. Whether the development period is long or short, the real questions is if the man-hours spent can bring about a profit or results. Of course, this is also a case-by-case scenario.
Sakurai gave an update on the pain he’s been dealing with as well. Unfortunately, it’s not good. Likely due to the heavy amount of hours put into making the new Smash Bros. titles, his condition – originally affecting his right arm – has now spread to his left.
“The tendon sheath inflammation symptoms in my left forearm are especially hard to deal with. I’ve been moving the controller as gently as possible. And losing at Smash Bros….”