It seems that Japanese developers are trying to move away from the JRPG moniker that’s been around for decades. However, iconic game designer Hideki Kamiya of Bayonetta and Resident Evil 4 fame feels that Japan should try to embrace that moniker more.
Speaking with VGC, Kamiya was asked about Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida’s comments about JRPG being a derogatory term. Yoshi-P previously stated that he didn’t like the term JRPG during the pre-release hype of Final Fantasy 16.
Kamiya feels the opposite, as the legendary game developer said they should be embracing that term. While Yoshi-P thinks it’s somewhat insulting to the Japanese, Kamiya feels that the term can be endearing. The Bayonetta creator feels this term can be about things only the Japanese mind-set can achieve.
“So when it comes to the term ‘JRPG’, this is something that ties into this – these are RPG games that, in a sense, only Japanese creators can make with their unique sensitivity when it comes to creating these experiences,” Kamiya stated. “I think it’s certainly something that should be celebrated moving forward, and someone should actually aim to make a ‘king of JRPGs’ game to express that. As Japanese game creators, we’re very proud of the actual term JRPG.”
When Kamiya was asked if he would be insulted by the term J-Action, a genre he’s more familiar with, the developer was open to it. Like his JRPG statement, he feels that it would be an endearing term that would separate Bayonetta or Devil May Cry from God of War.
Funnily enough, Kamiya isn’t often associated with JRPGs. Although PlatinumGames helped with the development of Final Fantasy 16 and developed Nier: Automata for Square Enix, the company is often associated with the action.
Yoshi-P’s comments about distancing Final Fantasy 16 from the JRPG term comes from years of semi-racist insults that were popular in the ‘2000s. Games like Final Fantasy 10 would be made fun of because their male characters looked feminine or their plots were confusing. Although many fans do love the term JRPG, Yoshi-P still remembers these insults and still has to deal with toxic fans online.
Final Fantasy 16, an unconventional JRPG, is available now on the PS5. Bayonetta 3 is also readily available on the Nintendo Switch.