Talking to Gamasutra, Square Enix president Yoichi Wada says he believes game design can be split into three axes: the core gameplay element, community features, and the hardware platform it's for. According to Wada, while Japan is in good shape in executing on the latter two, "I don't think we can say Japan's strong" in core gameplay.
"Western developers have become much stronger, during the past five years, in this aspect -- the game element," he tells Gamasutra in a new feature interview
. How to define this primary aspect? "For example, is it a sandbox game? An FPS? A cover action kind of game? This is the game's main element."
Wada also serves as the chairman of Japanese publisher association CESA, and has been very vocal in the past about the state of the Japanese industry, saying that the country had "lost its position" at the forefront of game development at a speech
delivered at the Tokyo Game Show in 2008.
Wada also said that the core game element is "the area the Japanese creators are struggling with right now, trying to explore in new ways."
Strong motivation is coming from within the industry, he suggests: "Those who are in the creative, production side at publishers are exploring what they can do to become the leader again, but they have not found the answer to that," he says.
The full, feature-length interview with Wada, which spans Square Enix's performance, its acquisition of Eidos, and more, is live now on Gamasutra