A portion of a Gamasutra interview with Koei president Kenji Matsubara…
GS: It’s been said for a long time that the Japanese market is shrinking, but Nintendo has challenged that perception. Is it important to innovate like that in order to expand the market again — and do you think Japanese companies will just wait for Nintendo every time?
KM: I think it’s very important to stimulate and challenge to expand the market. Thanks to Nintendo’s success, we’d like to follow Nintendo’s market. As we know, Nintendo expanded the game fan into seniors and also females with the DS and the Wii. But still, especially for the Wii, only Nintendo titles can make a profit from this market.
GS: In the Japanese market, or globally, you think?
KM: In Japan, especially. I think in North America and Europe, there’s something different about the similar situation. Nintendo titles like Brain Age and such are dominant in Nintendo consoles.
But for the DS, Nintendo first opened the market, but two or three years later, third-party titles can be profitable in many genres. So for Wii, it’s the same thing. We announced Samurai Warriors 3 is going to the Wii platform — that’s what we discussed with Nintendo for a long time. Nintendo would like to have titles for our game users.
GS: Right, because that’s not their strength right now, or they need help with that right now.
KM: That’s why they asked us to provide Koei’s action titles. That’s why we decided to number the title Samurai Warriors 3 for the Wii platform. That’s a challenge for both sides — Nintendo’s challenge, and our challenge.
We understand that if we provide new-generation console machines, Samurai Warriors can be popular in Japan, so we know that. But instead, we chose Nintendo’s platform. I understand Nintendo’s challenge. That’s why we agreed with Nintendo.
Nintendo’s way is to expand the game platform and extend to these people to come into the traditional game way, and the core game way. But I understand that there are many, many casual game players, so we’d like to provide our titles to this fan. But this is not to say this is not Samurai Warriors… It’s a Japanese history adventure game, quite different from the traditional Koei style.