Alea iacta est!

"The die has been cast," Julius Caesar exclaimed, according to Plutarch, before crossing the Rubicon and plunging Rome into a civil war that would shape Western civilisation. And, in a move with exponentially less significance, it is also what I say now, as I have finally decided to lay down arms and hand in my resignation. After a long decade of working in video games development, the majority of which in Japan, I have found that reaching my full potential, the dreams I pursue, to create amazing art through hard work, dedication and study, to work on great games that bring many people joy, to work in a professional, streamlined working environment...are all pretty much impossible here, for a variety of reasons.

Some of these reasons point the finger of blame squarely at myself, of this I have no doubt. I don't for one moment believe I am the "misunderstood genius whom nobody listened to". I certainly could have done more to better my situation, but I gave up. Other reasons, though, are very much to do with the state of video game development in general, especially in Japan. These reasons I will mull over at length in an upcoming series of posts dedicated to the subject. But the end result is: I throw in the towel. I simply cannot ever do any good (enough) work as a wage slave in a Japanese company. I'm out.

To say I feel liberated is possibly somewhat of an understatement. In fact, this decision was made a while back but due to circumstances out of my hands I had to bide my time. One can imagine having this particular carrot dangled in front of me for months on end was a very rough and emotionally turbulent trek.

So what's next for me? Sadly, unlike the West, in Japan one usually works out their notice period to the last second. Having already had my reserves of motivation depleted it'll be a difficult last month, dragging myself to work. But after that, I've been looking into the possibility of doing some freelance work, indie projects, some other business ideas, doing some art for art's sake. I need to realign my spine and coax some life back into my joints by exercising, possibly swimming in one of the tiny local pools usually clogged by ancient women doing aquarobics. Learn to knit. Study something, possibly another language. Work through my backlog of unplayed games. Do a bit of traveling to see friends and family. But mostly, and foremost, I will have a sleep for a month orso.

Japanmanship will continue for as long as I have things to write about and spurious opinions to proclaim. Aside from the series of in-depth post-mortems I have planned I'll now be able to look a little more closer at typical Japanese games that usually don't make it to the West, as well as the many trial and tribulations of the freelancer or indie developer. Theoretically, aside from the post-mortems, the tone of the blog should take a turn for the optimistic, or, if things don't go well, the self-loathing, as I'll have noone to blame but myself.

31 comments:

  1. G'Day JC, good luck with the new venture, and I'm happy to hear you're continuing blogging all things games/Japan.

    Cheers, Thomas

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  2. Sorry to hear you're in the dumps - but I hope everything works out for the best. Are you leaving Japan and taking the wife with you, then?

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  3. Cheers, guys!

    @plaf: no plans on leaving no. Whatever new game-related business I end up doing will be done here! Living in Japan is still pretty damn good, compared to other countries (if you're that way inclined, which I am)

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  4. Good luck with your new adventures!

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  5. Well it definitely sounds like the right decision based on your apparent relief - wish you all the best mate!

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  6. Good luck!
    I must say I'm a freelance artist since July now, and it feels good. I plan to keep doing games related stuffs, but working in other fields is really refreshing (and working with real adults is kind of new to me too)
    S.

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  7. Okay, cool... going freelance, what are your specialties and how much do you charge?

    You have some previous work you can show? A resume?

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  8. I've enjoyed the blog and am sure it'll be equally interesting from outside the office as inside. It's been a valuable window on working over there. (My love of Japan does not exceed my love of England.) Best of luck!

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  9. Wow, that was surprising, but having so much opinion must've signaled your move way earlier, I guess. Anywyas, good luck, and just wanted to let you know, I'm greatly enjoying reading your blog. Hope you keep it updated! :D

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  10. Best of luck. Being a publisher myself (although a probably different genre ^_^) I know how the stress levels can be. Hope you get some good direction soon!

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  11. Whatever mystery company you worked for will surely miss you. Glad to hear you'll still be posting as everything you write is worth reading. Best of luck!

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  13. Best of luck and success to you!!!

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  14. Congrads on your "graduation" from Japan - the black hole of the spirit(tm).

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  15. Hey JC,
    when I first discovered this blog in the middle of this year, I found it so tremedously interesting that I just had to go back and read every single bit you had ever written before. It all just felt so very close to me (although I'm not working in the Japanese games industry). Oh, and I think your mom was right, you really are a talented writer. (Feel free to brush this off :) )
    Please let me thank you for sharing your experience (so far) in this refreshingly blunt and honest way.
    I think now is the time for me to step out of the dodgy group of silent blog readers and to wish you best of luck with your move.
    I'm really looking forward to hearing more from you in the future, whatever it may bring.

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  16. Well that was a bit unexpected. Best of luck JC and do keep posting, getting your take on Japan is always entertaining. I hope you get the time to do some of those indie projects you were muttering about earlier too!

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  17. If the decision makes you happy, then it was obviously the right one. I wish you a speedy end-of-job month and a leisurely in-between time. Just don't leave us hanging!

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  18. Well if you do end up freelancing I hope you will share your experiences here! I am interested myself but getting a work visa for it looks pretty much impossible. You don't seem to have those troubles though :). Well, good luck to you!

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  19. Hey JC,

    Just want to let you know that I feel fortunate to have stumbled across your blog some months ago. It took me a while to work through the archives, but your discussion on games, Japan, and best of all Japanmanship are well thought out and amusing to no end!

    I look forward to your followup posts!

    ~ Christopher

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  20. Good luck on whatever you choose to do next, JC.

    I was bummed out when you tried to stop blogging last year, but you came back! So hopefully, you'll have many more wacky adventures to blog about in the future.

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  21. Good luck on your new career direction, I've been reading your blog for long time and I appreciate your hard work.
    Hope everything works out.

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  22. Echo back previous well wishes and thanks. Your blog has been a great source of insight, and humor for me for a while now, and I look forward to it's continuation especially now that I am in Japan as well for the year!

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  23. I'm late to the party here, but best of luck to you good sir!

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  24. Does this mean you'll be able to reveal which company you work/ed for? I've always been so curious about where you work.

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