Alex Hutchinson, former journalist and current Creative Director for Assassin’s Creed III accuses the gaming press of bias when covering Western and Japanese games, going so far as to call it “subtle racism.”
In a wide-ranging interview with CVG, Hutchinson talks about the challenges of delivering regular installments of Assassin’s Creed while avoiding audience fatigue. When interviewer Brian Crossley asks how Hutchinson thinks companies like Nintendo are able to successfully sequelize their titles every year or so, Hutchinson attributes it to game journalists’ bias towards games coming out of Japan.
Citing Bayonetta and Gears of War, Hutchinson made the charge that the press gave the former a pass while lambasting the other’s story in reviews. It should be noted in this specific example, Gears is the higher-rated game with an average Metacritic score of 94% versus Bayonetta’s 88%.
Here’s the relevant excerpt from the interview:
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?
Hutchinson: 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.
Hutchinson: 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?
Hutchinson: I just think the simple question should be; is the story any good?
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