Long-standing Final Fantasy producer Yoshinori Kitase wants to know what we all think represents a "European-style" game, because at the moment, he's struggling to tell the difference between an American game and a European one.
"Recently I get a lot of questions that treat the term "J-RPG" in both positive and negative lights," Kitase told Play Magazine in an interview, via Nowgamer. "Whether the term is used for better or worse, I feel that the fact that it recognises these games as being distinctly "Japanese" can only be a good thing. I often hear the term "Western style" being used as a comparison or counterpoint to "Japanese style" but am fascinated by this comparison and would really like to ask if there is a distinct "British style" or "European style" or not?
"For example," he continued, "in the world of cinema there is the Hollywood film and then as a comparison there is say British or French cinema that clearly have different personalities and unique characteristics to them. If we look at music then British rock and American rock are also quite different.
"It is the same for sports... for example in say, motorsport the flavour of Indy car rallies is very different to F1 circuit racing. So basically for all other fields of culture, art and sport etc., even if they use that "Western" term to lump everything together, it is still understood that the character of North American works and European ones are distinct. Even Japanese people get that when we look at it.
"However, when it comes to games, I do not feel that there is a great deal of difference between North American and European productions. I cannot help but think that everything has become confined to an American style, as shown by most FPS and TPS style games.
"I personally think that for the games industry to spread and prosper as a form of art or culture then it needs to place value on diversity across different local regions. In that spirit I want to continue bringing out the unique flavour in our Japanese style of games.
"I would really like to hear from Europeans the name of the one game title that they feel really represents European games and is strongly rooted in their culture and am intrigued as to what that game would be. Please, I really want to know!
"Incidentally, the game that I personally felt was the most "European" in character out of all those I have played was Alone in the Dark, released by Infogram 20 years ago."
It's a pretty interesting debate. Japanese games have such a distinctive style that they're almost always immediately distinguishable from titles from other parts of the world. But then, I'd say Dark Souls, a Japanese franchise, has a distinctly European influence.
Do you feel European developers are assimilating American style aesthetics and themes into their games too much? How could they otherwise stand out?