Assassin’s Creed Director to Game Media: “That’s Racist.”
In an interview over on CVG today, Assassin’s Creed creative director Alex Hutchinson talked a bit about story and writing in video games, specifically his perception of the way the industry’s media treats Japanese games’ writing versus that of the West’s. His view?
“I think there’s a subtle racism in the business, especially on the journalists’ side, where Japanese developers are forgiven for doing what they do. I think it’s condescending to do this. […]
Yeah. Just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish. Literally gibberish. There’s no way you could write it with a straight face, and the journalists say ‘oh it is brilliant.’
Then Gears of War comes out and apparently it’s the worst written narrative in a game ever. I’ll take Gears of War over Bayonetta any time.
It’s patronizing to say, ‘oh those Japanese stories, they don’t really mean what they’re doing.’ [...]
I just think the simple question should be; is the story any good?”
I don’t think he’s completely off base here…but I would hesitate to say he’d be safe if he were tagged up at second, if you know what I mean. Sure, I do think that, to a certain extent, Western journalists can be more forgiving of Japanese narratives and their potential failings, but I think there’s a certain question of context that has to enter into it. It’s harder for me to judge writing that’s “good” or “bad” if it comes from a culture that’s so very different than my own, and with such different literary and artistic traditions.
But to say that not pouncing on “gibberish” is racism…against the Japanese, I guess?…is going a little too far, I think.
And, food for thought, I said that Persona looked “weird” the other day, and then a commenter on our post said that this made me “sound like a boring tw@t.” So, you know, you get it both ways, Mr. Hutchinson.