Hideki Kamiya has voiced an opinion that rather than being dirty word, the “JRPG” label is something be proud of.
Earlier this year, the use of the term came under fire by Final Fantasy XVI director Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P) who felt the term was “discriminatory“.
Yoshida claimed that the term had created “bad feelings” among Japanese developers. There’s some truth to this, as some western gamers have used the term JRPG pejoratively for games with slower turn-based combat, anime aesthetic, and/or simply being developed in Japan. Any of these reasons can get a game labeled as a JRPG and considered apart from the greater RPG genre.
In an interview with VGC. Kamiya was asked about his own thoughts on the term JRPG. He offered a thoughtful response about how Japanese and Western games are products unique to the environment they’re made in and gave an example using the design of Kratos from God of War and Bayonetta.
“When you look at God of War, you have Kratos… He’s muscly, he’s huge, he’s bald, he looks really kick-ass, basically. So we thought, ‘okay, we have games like this which are becoming more popular globally, could we create something similar from a Japanese standpoint?
We discussed this internally, and the conclusion was that no, we obviously can’t, because this is something that’s not unique to us as Japanese creators. So in order to make an action game that would stand out we needed to create something that expressed our unique sensitivities as Japanese creators, and Bayonetta was a result of that.”
After giving his explanation, he was asked about possibly using the term “J-Action” to describe games like Bayonetta. His response was in stark contrast to Yoshida’s, with Kamiya saying he’d be “proud” to use that term, as it’d imply his work offers that unique perspective only a Japanese studio could offer.