What was going on with Japanese PS2 games?

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Marissa Moira

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The chart was also missing a few Japan Studio titles from the prior eras like the Boku no Natsuyasumi (My Summer Vacations) which were developed by Millenium Kitchen under Japan Studio/SIE. Admittedly, the chart isn't mine but I concede its flaw you pointed out although it does present even SIE's input focus more on AAA titles since the PS4 rather than the smaller and experimental titles of the early PS days.

I won't also deny that I personally focus more on japanese games than the (modern) western games. If all you mainly cared for from PlayStation are their (big) western games, you really should be safe, those aren’t going anywhere. But the business tactic of excluding Japan entirely (in spite of still being the 2nd or 3rd largest game console market as an individual country and which saw growth over the last years) is why the Playstation situation is grimier and really unfortunate. And the Famitsu sale charts really do portray a current poor reception of the japanese public towards the PS5, both in game sales and hardware units sold, lowering the likeness of the small and weird japanese stuff to come over if the situation persists.

I do think you should hold your expectations into moderation, but I'm not one to judge and decide what others should look forward to. The most important thing after all is to have fun.
They're not excluding Japan dude, that's very much untrue. Sony made deals with a ton of Japanese devs for exclusivity deals be they limited or long term than both nintendo and Microsoft

The playstation 5 has demand in japan but their stock has sold out every time. There's only so much stock to go around and the only images of a bunch of PS5's sitting around come from Walmart who had to hoard them and even then every unit was sold. The machines are not exactly shelfwarming. The PS3 shelfwarmed in japan for eons and every other country it was in because it was deemed too expensive and had low demand(it only did around 3-4 million units in it's first year). This isn't the case with the PS5 where it's main problem is demand can't be sated.

We're at the point where even older consoles like the PS4 are being bought for around full price MSRP on the secondary market. The PS5 digital is the next step up from this at a higher price point and even that is entirely sold out. Even then console sales are down all around from where they were last year because they can't make enough stock and quarter 1 of 2022 every manufacturer is saying they've had to reduce stock output numbers because there's not enough parts to reach them.

The sales charts from Famitsu show that the Japanese are buying first party Nintendo games, which has been basically true for decades. It's nothing out of the ordinary and that whole narrative that there's some kind of spite or agenda against them is false. They're incorrectly framing what's going on with the supply chain issues. Hell Pokemon killed Legend of Dragoon in Japan and they had to wait for the western release to recoup costs.
 
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Dom Cruise

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You definitely can't overlook the supply chain issues, I've not seen a single non-second hand PS5 being sold since it's been out for over a year now, the thing is total vaporware.

So it doesn't mean people aren't buying it because they don't want it, but because they can't.

I will not act like Sony is perfect, but I feel they are really trying a lot more than they did during PS4. I can understand the skepticism, but I have a good feeling about 5, especially if Sony does get their shit kicked in and has to do the PS3 scramble again.
In my opinion the PS4 was in many ways better than the PS3, PS3 had a lot of issues, graphics that really weren't all that great, lots of blurry, muddy textures, some janky shit like Lair.

To me the PS4 was a breath of fresh air that brought some of the PS2/PS1 magic back for Sony.

I hate to do this, but I will defend Sony on this one. Jaffe was developing a new Twisted game since Black in 2001. He had numerous scrapped games prior to 2012, and had developed and defunct multiple studios in that time. Jaffe himself was sort of his own undoing, as he could never pull a sequel together for nearly a decade. By the end, all Jaffe wanted to do was gut the series entirely of its single player content and make it a PSN title, which to be fair, Sony did ask of him. All of the mechanics were working before Sony’s fuckery, the game was perfect gameplay wise, Sony just added complication by asking him to add a story mode in a year so they can sell retail price. Jaffe made it more complicated by wanting it to be cinematic rather than comic panels like old games, since he said Infamous looked like shit by using comic style in the 7th gen. So they filmed a movie in a year, meaning that Twisted went from a typical 12 characters to 3, angering fans.

Honestly, the end product was still solid, the gameplay was great and the new bosses were super ambitious. Fans just couldn’t handle the focus being more on online than story.

Other issues that killed the game were PSN costing money in 2012, killing the player base. The races were also a turn off as Twisted was not built for them, but Jaffe did not want to upset their best programmer by saying his racing mini game played like ass.
That's fair, but if Sony wanted a story mode, it should have released around fall or at least late summer 2012, not early in the year.

I still don't understand why Black's direct sequel was canceled and I can only assume that was Jaffe's failing, that should have been a sure thing.
 
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murgatroid

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Also, while I'm talking about the PS2, the "spirit" of games of this era did live on briefly after the PS2 with 360 games like Dead Rising and Ace Combat 6.

Dead Rising especially is absolutely a game within the zeitgeist of what Capcom games of the PS2 era were like, just with more advanced tech, which is why it's one of my top all time favorite games, it's like getting a glimpse of what could have been.

Ace Combat 6 is also very much like the PS2 entries, just with slightly more advanced tech as well.

And of course Dark Souls maintained that vibe and it continues on with From games today.


David Jaffe really breaks my heart, used to be a big fan of his, I don't know why we wound up such a retard.


As much nostalgia as I have for the magazines of the 2000s and as much as they were preferable to gaming journalism today, gaming journalism has always had some bullshit in it.

Essentially all those critics would slam Japanese games like Haunting Ground for simply being different, for not being like a Halo or whatever, missing the point entirely that being different was what made them cool.


They would engage in some pearl clutching even back then too, I distinctly remember OPM gave Drakengard a bad review mainly because the critic was offended by an aspect of it's story, which makes the huge following Yoko Taro has today all the more deliciously ironic.
Also a lot of PS2 era games were re-released on the PS3/360 in HD. Ico, Shadow Of The Colossus, Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3, Okami, etc. Not to mention the actual re-makes.

Funny I always had the impression game "journalism" wasn't critical enough and they always hyped garbage.
 

Marissa Moira

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As far as Sony taking on big projects, there's certainly enough room for them in many genres.

Horizon looks like it's being formed into a direct competitor to bethesda's own games like Fallout.

People have noticed that Aloy's model seems to be different in game from the initial movie reveal of Forbidden West suggesting that the covid delays did wind up have significant work being done on the game and it wasn't just to optimize the PS4 version. and there's a whole write up about the assorted clans and their unique armor styles and weapons that can only be found within specific areas.

aloy.png

The one thing they did not reveal yet is the leveling systems. Now in the original leveling up only granted you 10 extra HP and gave you a perk point or two. Not really that deep when it comes to RPG systems. Now fallout 3 and New Vegas had a ton of areas and quest possibilities be branching with stat checks on top of a perk system. Zero Dawn had a very basic dialogue tree system but it never lead to anything all that different with choices. But it's sounding like the gear in Forbidden West may be a source of perks and abilities like Monster Hunter's armor.

There's certainly a good amount of space in WRPGs when it comes to having series compete with each other. There's like 2-3 more Horizon titles in development supposedly as well. This also wouldn't be the first time Sony wanted an exclusive to compete with a Bethesda title, Demon's Souls was originally supposed to counter Elder Scrolls.
 
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Dom Cruise

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Also a lot of PS2 era games were re-released on the PS3/360 in HD. Ico, Shadow Of The Colossus, Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3, Okami, etc. Not to mention the actual re-makes.
That doesn't really count as those are not all new games, unlike an all new game (Dead Rising) or an all new entry (Ace Combat 6)

Certainly it's nice that they've helped make games like available for younger generations of gamers though.

Funny I always had the impression game "journalism" wasn't critical enough and they always hyped garbage.
They always complained about the combat in horror games, missing the point that they were not action games and the combat wasn't supposed to be a breeze or play like Halo or whatever, true awful combat came from stuff like Silent Hill Homecoming or Silent Hill Downpour trying to "fix" things and only making it worse.

In the case of Haunting Ground I'm especially left scratching my head, I'd have to go back and read what exactly critics wrote but I do remember them not giving it great scores even though there was literally nothing wrong with the game, I think it's just because they were too busy sucking Resident Evil 4's cock that any horror game afterward that wasn't like it got slammed for not being like it.

People have noticed that Aloy's model seems to be different in game from the initial movie reveal of Forbidden West suggesting that the covid delays did wind up have significant work being done on the game and it wasn't just to optimize the PS4 version. and there's a whole write up about the assorted clans and their unique armor styles and weapons that can only be found within specific areas.
I'm glad if they've made her less ugly, if female characters in games can't be "break out the vaseline, boys!" worthy there's no reason to make them flat out ugly, there should be a healthy medium.
 

Marissa Moira

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I'm glad if they've made her less ugly, if female characters in games can't be "break out the vaseline, boys!" worthy there's no reason to make them flat out ugly, there should be a healthy medium.
A lot of it just has to do with limitations on tech or time constraints. Bethesda's characters all looked like potatoes due to how their character creator functioned, Forbidden West's first reveal was due to probably how the mocap data was recorded and that it's not easily able to be redone without re-recording mocap data. Stuff like Excessive bloom or overly shiny skin is due to how engines handle lighting which can lead to stuff looking blown out or waxy.

That's always been the issue with realism is that they tend to start with perfecting one singular element and others may get tossed by the wayside just because what they have running can't handle every element to the same degree or it gets very time intensive to the point where they can't work on it anymore. Like tomb raider reboots put a lot of time into hair animation, but there's still points where enemy characters will spawn with a T pose for a few seconds.

The Souls series is another one where there's a ton of cut characters because they were never able to be finished modeled or properly animated or had to change directions midway through. The most noteworthy one was the giants where they had actual faces at one point and had in game models made but had to change them to gaping holes.

Facial scan technology still isn't perfect and is something that's very temperamental. A lot of 3d programs are not exactly known to be stable to begin with which is why they have robust save features just incase of a crash.
 
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Dom Cruise

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A lot of it just has to do with limitations on tech or time constraints. Bethesda's characters all looked like potatoes due to how their character creator functioned, Forbidden West's first reveal was due to probably how the mocap data was recorded and that it's not easily able to be redone without re-recording mocap data. Stuff like Excessive bloom or overly shiny skin is due to how engines handle lighting which can lead to stuff looking blown out or waxy.

That's always been the issue with realism is that they tend to start with perfecting one singular element and others may get tossed by the wayside just because what they have running can't handle every element to the same degree or it gets very time intensive to the point where they can't work on it anymore. Like tomb raider reboots put a lot of time into hair animation, but there's still points where enemy characters will spawn with a T pose for a few seconds.

The Souls series is another one where there's a ton of cut characters because they were never able to be finished modeled or properly animated or had to change directions midway through. The most noteworthy one was the giants where they had actual faces at one point and had in game models made but had to change them to gaping holes.

Facial scan technology still isn't perfect and is something that's very temperamental. A lot of 3d programs are not exactly known to be stable to begin with which is why they have robust save features just incase of a crash.
You're not wrong in some cases like Oblivion, but I sincerely doubt a Sony game in Current Year had an ugly female character by accident, it's just that at some point cooler heads prevailed.

Returnal has a purposely ugly female lead, no excuses about technology can be made there, it was by choice and is why I refuse to play it.
 

Marissa Moira

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You're not wrong in some cases like Oblivion, but I sincerely doubt a Sony game in Current Year had an ugly female character by accident, it's just that at some point cooler heads prevailed.

Returnal has a purposely ugly female lead, no excuses about technology can be made there, it was by choice and is why I refuse to play it.
Returnal just looks like their previous games from a style standpoint but they put more emphasis on their main character's facial animations since the dying mechanic is part of the main campaign and she's way closer to the camera since it's a single player third person game. They just cranked up the detail because prior they didn't bother adding wrinkles or having very elaborate facial animations.


 

TurkishOreo

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Rule of Rose deserves a remake with a better combat system.


That scene aged pretty well
 

Smaug's Smokey Hole

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From what I understand there was an issue with how Japanese devs made games, they would use a lot of their own in house tech, often restarting development when they ran into a wall and would start from scratch when starting to develop a new game instead of using resources they already had.

This combined with devs trying to capitalise on the new power the 360 and PS3 offered with bigger more ambitions games all led to a massive increase in game budgets.
I've said it before but I think that the switch from the PS2 generation to the 360 generation really fucked up how Jap devs work. They were used to throwing everything out and starting fresh every new generation and learn the bullshit of the new hardware that Nintendo/Sega and Sony had cooked up. They also had a head start in that the console(s) had been released earlier in Japan AND all the technical documentation was natively written in Japanese instead of translated to English by someone who was likely not a programmer. Initially crappy documentation for the sdk was always a complaint in the west.

Japanese developers benefited from all of that. Then the 360 arrived a full year before the PS3(that ALSO had crappy documentation in the west). The 360 had a Radeon derived GPU from ATi(now AMD), it used pixel and vertex shaders and ran on pretty much Direct3D while the PS3 would have a GPU from ATi's rival Nvidia and run on an API derived from OpenGL. Cool. Western devs had been working with that on PC and the Xbox since 2001, two platforms Japan had largely ignored ON THE HIGH END LEVEL MARISSA and english was the native language the documentation was written in.

Inafune gets a lot of shit but he was right when he pushed Capcom to develop and adopt MT Framework as their inhouse engine and in addition to that go hard on the 360 from the start to learn the ins and outs of a modern GPU. Most of the early Japanese PS3 games looks like absolute trash, Genji, Gundam and Armored Core 4 could have been PS2 titles.

I haven't mentioned the use of a multicore cpu in both system, that was a challenge to everyone at the time. The first consumer dual core PC cpu had been released some months before the 360, so the playing field was relatively even on that front, no one was using multicore for games(John Carmack had written and released a dual cpu capable version of Quake 3 as a novelty, that's it as far as I know. At that time it was possible to run a very powerful dual cpu setup on the cheap thanks to a couple of Intel whoopsies).
 
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Dom Cruise

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Rule of Rose deserves a remake with a better combat system.


That scene aged pretty well
It absolutely does and I think if it did it'd be a financial success, the game has garnered a reputation now where a lot of people have heard of it but not many can play it, it would capture people's curiosity and be a hit I think.

The market's way more friendly to weird Japanese games now than it was then ala Nier etc, I feel like there could be a second golden age of games like this if investors would be a little bolder.

I've said it before but I think that the switch from the PS2 generation to the 360 generation really fucked up how Jap devs work. They were used to throwing everything out and starting fresh every new generation and learn the bullshit of the new hardware that Nintendo/Sega and Sony had cooked up. They also had a head start in that the console(s) had been released earlier in Japan AND all the technical documentation was natively written in Japanese instead of translated to English by someone who was likely not a programmer. Initially crappy documentation for the sdk was always a complaint in the west.

Japanese developers benefited from all of that. Then the 360 arrived a full year before the PS3(that ALSO had crappy documentation in the west). The 360 had a Radeon derived GPU from ATi(now AMD), it used pixel and vertex shaders and ran on pretty much Direct3D while the PS3 would have a GPU from ATi's rival Nvidia and run on an API derived from OpenGL. Cool. Western devs had been working with that on PC and the Xbox since 2001, two platforms Japan had largely ignored ON THE HIGH END LEVEL MARISSA and english was the native language the documentation was written in.

Inafune gets a lot of shit but he was right when he pushed Capcom to develop and adopt MT Framework as their inhouse engine and in addition to that go hard on the 360 from the start to learn the ins and outs of a modern GPU.
I knew there had to be a reason why Capcom was one of the few Japanese devs/publishers to still be worth a darn during the 7th gen.

For me Capcom's golden age ended with Dead Rising, but from 2007-2015 though there were some shitty games it was overall not THAT bad of an era for the company, although they got better with the start of the 8th gen.

Konami meanwhile just went to shit, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't MGS4 and MGS5 the ONLY console games developed in house post 2006?

Most of the early Japanese PS3 games looks like absolute trash, Genji, Gundam and Armored Core 4 could have been PS2 titles.
To be fair a lot of early western developed PS3 games looked like shit too, like Lair.
 

Judge Dredd

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To me the PS4 was a breath of fresh air that brought some of the PS2/PS1 magic back for Sony.
Strongly disagree there. Granted, I've not bought a console since my late era PS3. My impression of the PS4 was the old "it only plays Bloodbourne" type memes, and for me a lot of the magic was not directly related to the consoles themselves. Walking around GAME and Game Station picking up weird obscure games for cheap, talking about those games that everybody know (like Metal Gear Solid) or swapping stories of weird oddities someone picked tried and recommended. Things that never happen now.

As a result, some of that PS2 experimentation and weirdness is available on PS3/Xbox 360 (Tokyo Jungle, Deadly Premonition, that weird Japanese Gears of War knock off I forget the name of where you throw your female sidekick at enemies Quantum Theory, Binary Domain), whereas I can't think of any games fitting that description for PS4. Maybe they exist, but I don't know them if they do.
 

Dom Cruise

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Strongly disagree there. Granted, I've not bought a console since my late era PS3. My impression of the PS4 was the old "it only plays Bloodbourne" type memes, and for me a lot of the magic was not directly related to the consoles themselves. Walking around GAME and Game Station picking up weird obscure games for cheap, talking about those games that everybody know (like Metal Gear Solid) or swapping stories of weird oddities someone picked tried and recommended. Things that never happen now.

As a result, some of that PS2 experimentation and weirdness is available on PS3/Xbox 360 (Tokyo Jungle, Deadly Premonition, that weird Japanese Gears of War knock off I forget the name of where you throw your female sidekick at enemies Quantum Theory, Binary Domain), whereas I can't think of any games fitting that description for PS4. Maybe they exist, but I don't know them if they do.
I was talking about Sony's own first party games, you're right that PS4 didn't really have those oddball third party titles.
 

Mortin Shart

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If it hasn't been mentioned already, one thing that came about leading to the PS3 era was a focus on literal open world games rather than an overworld rpg random battle system. And I mean one that loads relatively fine as opposed to the GTA shit that had severe render issues. Seems every dev had to put one out after GTA and these tightly crafted narratives got dropped so fucking fast. As for the PS4 era, it seems these "wacky" oddball titles were offloaded to some sort of indie dev system that allowed utter trash to clog up the digital store. It's been a literal race to the bottom now as devs pump out Call of Duty and Fortnite clones.
 

Marissa Moira

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As a result, some of that PS2 experimentation and weirdness is available on PS3/Xbox 360 (Tokyo Jungle, Deadly Premonition, that weird Japanese Gears of War knock off I forget the name of where you throw your female sidekick at enemies Quantum Theory, Binary Domain), whereas I can't think of any games fitting that description for PS4. Maybe they exist, but I don't know them if they do.
The experimental titles you're talking about switched over to VR. You have stuff like Robinson: The Journey, Summer Lesson, Paper Beast, Moss, and a slew of others like that. The indie scene also encroached majorly on those smaller titles which made having a big studio make them seem redundant when smaller teams did just as well making games of similar quality with seed money.


 

Anon88

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Remember when Silent Hill was good? Me neither. Because it wasn’t.
What don't you like about them? The first three are pretty good and even the fourth one isn't that bad at worst maybe the controls take a little bit to get used to but that's the case for all survival horror games.
 

DDBCAE CBAADCBE

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What don't you like about them? The first three are pretty good and even the fourth one isn't that bad at worst maybe the controls take a little bit to get used to but that's the case for all survival horror games.
The first game had tank controls, that’s about as ass as controls can possibly get. Then up to the 6th game all had the stop to shoot mechanic which was frankly just as ass. The story really doesn’t help matters seeing as it’s all just a repetitive mess from game to game full of ridiculous leaps in logic and nutty retcons. At least the 5th installment was so bad it was good.
 

The Ugly One

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What happened is that each console generation, development costs go up 5x-10x, which means that the most talented teams have to work on increasingly pedestrian stuff in order to hit mega-sales and monetization targets. Ace Combat 4 sold 2.64 million units. That was a blockbuster in 2001, but in 2020, that's barely getting by.

Here's a crude way to think of it:

PS2: 32 MB RAM
PS3: 512 MB of RAM
PS4: 8 GB of RAM

Each generation, more than a 10x increase in RAM. That means to take advantage of it, even just to do the same kind of game you did before, you've got to produce about 10 times the asset fidelity. This means hiring more artists, more programmers, more testers...you get it.

In my opinion the PS4 was in many ways better than the PS3, PS3 had a lot of issues, graphics that really weren't all that great, lots of blurry, muddy textures, some janky shit like Lair.

To me the PS4 was a breath of fresh air that brought some of the PS2/PS1 magic back for Sony.
Really? I felt completely the opposite way. The PS3 was kind of a silver age of gaming. Not as many new ideas, but enough power to take ideas that were kind of janky on the PS2 and really polish them. The PS4 was just incredibly lackluster. Every single game I played seemed to be a PC port, and Gran Turismo, COD, and Battlefield all shit the bed. So I switched to PC gaming.
 

Dom Cruise

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What happened is that each console generation, development costs go up 5x-10x, which means that the most talented teams have to work on increasingly pedestrian stuff in order to hit mega-sales and monetization targets. Ace Combat 4 sold 2.64 million units. That was a blockbuster in 2001, but in 2020, that's barely getting by.

Here's a crude way to think of it:

PS2: 32 MB RAM
PS3: 512 MB of RAM
PS4: 8 GB of RAM

Each generation, more than a 10x increase in RAM. That means to take advantage of it, even just to do the same kind of game you did before, you've got to produce about 10 times the asset fidelity. This means hiring more artists, more programmers, more testers...you get it.
That's one of the fundamental issues, even Walt Disney ran into a similar issue where the animation budget for each new movie kept going up, because he had to keep wowing people, but the same people were seeing his movies, so each new movie was actually making less profit, which is one of the reasons why he branched out into stuff like theme parks.

Really? I felt completely the opposite way. The PS3 was kind of a silver age of gaming. Not as many new ideas, but enough power to take ideas that were kind of janky on the PS2 and really polish them. The PS4 was just incredibly lackluster. Every single game I played seemed to be a PC port, and Gran Turismo, COD, and Battlefield all shit the bed. So I switched to PC gaming.
I don't know, when I think PS3 I think of ugly looking garbage like Haze, which was such a downgrade over the devs' previous Timesplitters games.

There some gems on PS3 like Uncharted and God of War III, but overall I never liked it an iota as much as I liked the PS2.