Super Smash Bros creator Masahiro Sakurai has addressed a fan’s concerns in his semi-weekly column for Weekly Famitsu. The fan asked why Japanese games supposedly take longer to develop than western games. The fan asked the following question: “It appears that the time it takes to develop a game differs between Japan and other countries, so why do people say that Japan takes a lot of time on development?” Here’s what Sakurai had to say on the matter.
“Whether it’s domestic or international, development speed is a case-by-case scenario, so I feel this may be a biased opinion. I think the Yakuza team is quite fast considering the scale of their games, and some foreign games can take over 5 years from initial proposal to the actual product release.”
“However, the fact that someone asks this does seem to indicate that it’s not completely unfounded. If I were to guess, it seems that foreign studios have the appearance of a stricter product schedule and organization. Then again, in some cases, even if the development period is long, the development staff can be small, so the entire picture is a mystery.”
“Also, the time between announcement and release does not necessarily equal the development period. In most cases, when development actually started is never publicly announced.”
“In any case, whether it’s cost-effective or not is what’s important. Whether the development period is long or short, the real questions is if the man-hours spent can bring about a profit or results. Of course, this is also a case-by-case scenario.”