There’s been a lot of talk recently about Japanese developers and publishers being out of touch with the gaming world; especially with the Western market, which makes up the vast majority of the world’s gamers. In his efforts to defend the early, surprisingly underwhelming reviews of his highly anticipated RPG, Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama may have just shown us the best example of this yet.
Speaking with Xbox World 360 Magazine, Toriyama says, "We think many reviewers are looking at Final Fantasy XIII from a western point of view," adding, "When you look at most Western RPGs, they just dump you in a big open world, and let you do whatever you like... [It] becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you're given that much freedom."
So not only is Toriyama essentially disregarding the entirety of western gaming critics, he apparently doesn’t have faith in Japanese outlets, like Famitsu, who also pointed out the game’s linearity as a negative. The last time we heard someone whine about the critical reception for their game was Tony Hawk, who stated that reviewers had unfairly written off his mess of a game before playing it. I expect this from Tony Hawk, not from an accomplished game director.
Perhaps more telling of Toriyama’s lack of understanding is his statements about Western RPGs. To imply that stories in Western RPGs are inherently less compelling than Japanese RPGs is utterly ridiculous, and a little bit insulting. Especially when you consider the unforgettable, epic narratives found in Knights of the Old Republic, Fallout 3, and the Mass Effect series. And ESPECIALLY when you consider that Toriyama also directed Final Fantasy X-2.