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Translated: Keiji Inafune’s Exit Interview

Translated: Keiji Inafune’s  Exit Interview (photo)

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Gentle readers, before you say, “More on Inafune, Narcisse?!,” consider this: the man created Mega Man.

Mega Man.

He worked at one company for more than two decades, steering it to great success in the hyper-competitive Japanese video game market. And he walked away from all of that. That doesn’t happen everyday.

So, the most telling things about the three-hour interview wherein his separation from Capcom gets explained are the notes of futility and angst that Inafune strikes when speaking of his tenure. The translation comes by way of the NeoGAF forums [], home to the most dedicated gamer communities on the web. The interview originally ran in Japan’s 4Gamer magazine.

KI: The reason why I’m quitting is basically because I think that the game industry itself must change the way it goes about making games. You might think I’m being hypocritical, but the really big wall that the Japanese game industry is hitting is the changing of its creators into salarymen.

4G: I think I know what you mean, but please elaborate.

KI: Well, when I was about 20, I was really passionate and entered the game industry, but now I’m in my mid-40s. It’s a matter of my age. My generation is, for better or worse, holding the game industry back.

4G: Do you mean that the system of companies committing to employ for life is spoiling people?

KI: That’s right. There are a lot of people who take their company’s commitment for granted and don’t work as hard as they should. This could be said of the entire industry, and of course Capcom is no exception.

In a previous post about Inafune’s exit, I speculated that he might head west for his next venture. But, in the translated interview, he states rather fervently that he’d never do that:

KI: So if I can, I want to change the Japanese game industry. I don’t want to abandon it. After I leave Capcom, I don’t want to, for example, just work for EA, Activision, and Rockstar. That would be abandoning Japan.

I only know Capcom as a publisher, so I want to see the good and bad parts of other publishers in Japan and overseas, and based upon everyone’s feedback about the Japanese game industry, go about changing it.

4G: So you’re taking on the role of triggering change in the Japanese game industry.

KI: There’s already a first trigger (ed: Inafune-san has long respected Hino-san of Level 5, so this may be who he’s talking about.), and I want to draw on that and be a further driving force.

So to get back to the prior discussion, in many ways I want creators to be more self-aware and quit just being a salaryman. If all of the creators feel the same way, the industry will definitely change. It just takes a change.

One of the more intriguing takeaways from the piece is the fact that the anti-salaryman model Inafune’s looking for already exists. Developers like Hothead Games are staffed by people who left corporate game development behind, people who have found a quicker, more creatively satisfying method of creating interactive entertainment.

Any way you slice it, the article’s a fascination portrait of a storied game-maker at a crossroads. Interestingly, the Capcom blog post where Inafune announced his exit has been taken down. Nevertheless, this 4Gamer interview is also a trove of information on dev studio head counts, profit and loss considerations and the corporate culture of one Japanese video game company.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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