Yoshinori Kitase, Producer for Final Fantasy XIII, recently discussed in an interview with Xbox World 360 (Magazine) the problem he has with reviewers in the west and how his team tries not to listen to them too strongly.
While Kitase does make some very good points, it feels a little like he’s stereotyping the entire industry in North America as a whole opposed to what it really is.
“We try not to listen to the critics too much. Most of the criticisms have come because the first half of the game is very linear,” states Kitase. “But we’ve got a story to tell, and it’s important the player can engage with the characters and the world they inhabit before letting them loose…”
“We think many reviewers are looking at Final Fantasy XIII from a western point of view. When you look at most Western RPGs, they just dump you in a big open world, and let you do whatever you like… [It] becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you’re given that much freedom.”
Though he is accurate that that much freedom does make it difficult to tell a compelling story (which is evident by the lackluster story behind such games as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout), it’s absolutely ridiculous that he thinks just because a western reviewer is reviewing a Japanese RPG, he’s doing it with a western point of view.
As far as I’m aware, most of the guys reviewing JRPGs (on a consistent basis — there are some one-timers I’ve seen review the genre), are fans of the genre on an overall level and have been playing games from the company he works for, for years.
Do you guys feel that Western reviewers can’t appreciate a Japanese RPG for what it is solely because they’re from North America?