After the recent acquisition of the entire Hudson group by Konami, Hudson Entertainment will be shutting down within the month. Before you get too upset that you may never see another Bomberman title, there are a few things that need to be cleared up.
Hudson Soft is the company we all know and love behind titles such as Mario Party, Excitebike, Ice Climber and most recently, Lost in Shadow. Hudson Entertainment was the American publishing arm of Hudson, the folks who brought those games over to our shores.
Morgan Haro, on his tumblr blog Experience Points, has outlined not only the reasons for the untimely closure of Hudson Entertainment, but also why he believes that this is just another sign that Japanese game development is truly lacking something that has led to the current trend of Western domination in the gaming industry:
"As the industry continues to march towards the drum of Western game development, Hudson became for me, a symbol of why Japan has fallen behind when it comes to bringing world-wide hits to gamers. The act of producing and developing a game in Japan, and then bringing that game over to the US to compete in an increasingly competitive market is more and more [an] incredibly tough proposition."
Haro continues to broaden his post when he begins discussing the "business" of game development. Hudson is not just a company behind a few classic Nintendo games. Their history is also sprinkled fairly heavily with casual games, some more well-received than others. Deca Sports was one of their first Wii titles, and the truth behind the game, while not surprising, is refreshing to hear from someone directly involved with the title:
"From the Wii generation on, we had success with the first Deca Sports due to its ability to fill a hole in the then hot ‘omg it’s like Wii Sports’ category, but we failed to innovate when it came to the sequel, and the sequel’s sequel."
As Activision can surely tell you, money is sometimes an even greater object than respect in an explosively expanding industry such as that of video games. Sacrifices have to be made for a company to stay in business, even if that means an occasional "quick cash-in" (Haro's words, not mine), such as Oops! Prank Party.
Hudson was a developer stuck somewhere in the middle, and as Haro remarks, there isn't currently a place for those in the economy of the video game world.
"And while Hudson has been around for years, it’s clear that we didn’t have the money muscle to bring on big talent, and create big experiences. In this current landscape, it’s tough now to have companies that find a place somewhere right in the middle. You’re either a hit, or an indie developer looking to be a hit."
It is always sad to learn of yet another closure, but Morgan Haro has given us one of the most honest and candid looks inside a company we have ever gotten, and by doing so may have swayed others headed in the same direction to rethink their paths. We wish all those at Hudson Entertainment the best of luck with their futures. We need people like Haro in the industry, a gamer who works for gamers to provide the games we all want, and games that developers can be proud to put their monikers on.
"For all the flaws that Hudson Entertainment as a company had, our team never lost the love of the game, of the industry, and for everything that gaming culture represents. It’s who we are, and what we do. Let’s hope it stays that way."
Source: Experience Points