After 23 years of service, Keiji Inafune left Capcom in 2010. Since then, he's commented on the declining health of the Japanese gaming industry — one that he helped create many years ago.
The icon also launched his own studio, Comcept, and recently, he announced his first game as an independent developer. The Island of Dr. Momo, which might end up being the most adorable game ever, tasks you with creating the cutest thing in the world. This free-to-play experience features micro transactions and will be released on mobile platforms.
The creator of Mega Man and producer of other popular titles like Resident Evil 4 is now dipping his toes into “freemium” content, and I think it's a good move. This is a man who disagrees with the current philosophy of mainstream game development in Japan, criticizing it for becoming too focused on the almighty yen. Inafune's new venture allows him to work in a more intimate environment where he can truly create.
Other big names in the business have been doing this for a while. Tim Schafer and Double Fine dedicated themselves to smaller projects after producing Brutal Legend. Sid Meier released Civilization as a Facebook application.
The gaming landscape is changing. While we all love the big-budget releases that come out during the holidays, very few people can honestly say that, with the exception of a few titles, quality has improved. The experiences are shorter, more stagnant, and simplified to make things accessible to all audiences.
Inafune's latest endeavor isn’t a concern because I know the same passion and talent that went into the Mega Man series will live on through his upcoming projects, and I probably won't have to pay $60 to enjoy each of them.