In a recent interview with Computer & Video Games, Ubisoft's Alex Hutchinson, the creative director of Assassin's Creed 3, said that games journalists are engaging in subtle racism when they give Japanese games a free pass on bad or odd story-telling while putting Western games through the ringer. When asked about why Nintendo can get away with endlessly reiterating the same basic stories with games like Super Mario Bros., Hutchinson offered a blunt response.
"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 said. "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," he continued. "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'."
We'll have to wait and see if his words come back to haunt him or if other Western developers agree with his assertion that Japanese-developed games somehow get a free pass for storytelling…