CVG had a chance to recently sit down with Alex Hutchinson, the new lead man on the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Alex had a lot to say about Assassin’s Creed, the shoes he is filling… and the apparent subtle racism journalists are showing towards Nintendo in comparison to other non-japanese studios.
CVG: Why do Nintendo get it right? It releases a new edition of the same franchise every year and no one bats an eyelid. Why?
AH: You want my real answer? 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.
AH: 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 patronising to say, “oh those Japanese stories, they don’t really mean what they’re doing”.
CVG: You feel there isn’t a fair universal standard?
AH: I just think the simple question should be; is the story any good?
Alex clearly has a very intense view of the gaming industry. For starters, not all Japanese developers are given a free pass. Square Enix and Capcom, as an example, have been under heavy criticism in recent years for their lack of creativity, originality, and odd development cycles. It’s true in a sense Nintendo has been given a pass as a game maker. However, it’s not like they are just pumping out the same franchise and getting a lot of praise. As an example, we get a boatload of Mario games every year but very few of them are rated much higher than average. They are just pure fun, and different fan bases enjoy they for various reasons so they continue to sell. Mario is sort of an enigma of the time.
That being said, Bayonetta may or may not be better than Gears of War (subjective opinions of course), but I apparently must be a racist because I do think Bayonetta’s story is vastly superior to Gears of War. In fact, it’s not even close in my book. I think it’s a great insult as well to call Bayonetta’s story, or a lot of the Japanese stories, as complete gibberish. Really? I guess I fit right into the mold he speaks of. Of course, I also think Assassin’s Creed is one of the best “newer” franchises around. I sing it’s praises all the time. I think when you use the term racism you need to tread a bit more carefully. I understand not liking the current trends in gaming journalism but it’s not like Ubisoft is viewed in a bad light. In fact, many of us are loving what they are doing right now. Just odd timing to speak so strongly against the people that cover your company.