NIS America, and now the new Spike Chunsoft PR team, are both bringing quality titles to the West with names like Danganronpa, Zero Escape, Rose in the Twilight, and One Piece: Burning Blood to name a few. These are games that have a decent following in Japan and have hit some impressive sales marks. It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to see these same games, albeit with slightly different names at times, do well here. If you haven't played a Danganronpa game and had fun with that bad ass, evil bear Monokuma, you are missing out.
It's more than just a comeback, I think. Japanese games have become really accessible, resulting in heightened interest across the globe. Looks like the country's developers and publishers have found the best way to tap into markets they hadn't explored and at a time when people are generally craving something different. Well done to them.
Japanese devs are coming back and kicking asses in a huge way! While maintaining their classic style, they have somehow managed to finally grab hold of what the world wants out of games after a lull that has lasted too long. They still have a special niche, but they do it in a way that everyone can get into. Purists might hate it, but for the rest of us, there's a beautiful world of games that we're finally getting access to.
I think they have finally started to find that perfect spot where they stay Japanese while adding just enough Western flavor.
There have been some absolutely amazing games by Japanese developers this year (NieR: Automata and Persona 5 are two of my favorite games in quite some time), but I don't think this really speaks to the quality of development as a whole. If you look at the examples of top-notch Japanese developed games, they aren't surprising. Atlus made another great RPG. Yakuza 0, while undeniably rad, is also a step down from Yakuza 5 in both quality and ambition. As far as NieR goes, Platinum Games makes great combat systems (see Bayonetta 2) and Yoko Taro is a genius, so it's not surprising that it turned out well. The only thing that comes as a surprised is really Resident Evil 7: biohazard, and that's a flawed experience that gets outdone by horror indie games in a lot of aspects. So, no, Japanese development isn't magically of a higher quality now, and it's way too early to act like some renaissance is happening, just a bunch of good games came out in a short time period (which was helped by Persona 5 and Yakuza 0 taking months to be localized) from very talented developers. Great Japanese games never went away, and they'll continue to release a few times each year. It just so happened that the majority of 2017's released early on.
Finding that sweet spot where they're able to appeal to an international audience without sacrificing their core Japanese heritage goes a long way, as Cam mentioned, and even Final Fantasy XV is a good example of a JRPG infused with western sensibilities. Granted, FFXV was a long time coming — ditto for Persona 5, Yakuza 0 and even Nioh — so I think it's more a case of good timing than anything else. You wait for a bus and suddenly...
Compared to previous years? Hell yeah! I think it's more of Japanese developers now "getting" just what makes gamers tick from all over the world.
While some of the big JP games are still quirky, they're not to the extent that will alienate those who just want a good game. Thankfully for us, these games (RE7, Nioh, Nier, etc.) are just damn good games on their own right.
Are JP games back? Yeah, I like to think so. I did notice that more and more people seem to be tired of the same old shooter and Western RPG, and playing more and more games that have that Japanese flavor to 'em. And you know what? I'm definitely happy with it.
Games are the real winners here, right? And I'm damn excited to see what's next.
It's fantastic to see so many great games coming from Japanese studios, and they are sure to please both hardcore fans and newcomers. Persona 5, Nioh, Yakuza 0, and Resident Evil 7 have all impressed me, and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next!