A while back, I wrote a piece comparing and contrasting how the work place was represented in New Game and Re: Life. Although I greatly enjoyed New Game, I found Aoba Suzukaze’s experience at her first job to be a little unrealistic. However, I live in North American – I really have no idea how things are in Japan.
Fortunately, I came across an article on Crunchyroll that gave in-depth answers about the gaming industry in Japan by interviewing M. Ian Graham, who currently lives in Japan and works as a game developer.
My Reaction and Summary
I found this article to be very informative and helpful. It sheds some light on Eastern business practices and helps me understand and appreciate New Game more.
One thing I was skeptical about was how Aoba got hired by a gaming company directly out of high school. As someone who lives in America, I was incredulous – you need a ridiculous amount of experience to get any decent (or not so decent) job. But Ian explains that Aoba getting hired is a possibility. Like anywhere in the world, credentials are important. However, since Aoba’s job is art-based, her drawing skills and artwork are going to be considered more than her lack of experience. The interview says that getting hired right out of high school is still rare in Japan, but not unheard of.
Another issue that fans and myself debated was how Aoba was told to make 3D models from scratch, even though she had never done so before. Many fans did not believe that the company would allow her to do this right away. According to Ian, training like this is standard practice in Japan, even outside of the gaming industry. Companies do this because they want employees to know the fundamentals. Taking the time to train someone will help them learn the necessary skills and stay with the company on a long term basis.
This is a good thing. In my experience, some Western companies don’t train their employees very well. It takes up too much time and too many resources. At my first retail job, I was thrown on the floor with no training and was often left alone in my section for hours with no one to help me with the cash register, returns, online orders, etc. I learned it eventually, but some guidance would have been nice. I definitely would have felt more appreciated. And this just doesn’t go for retail. The same thing has happened to me numerous times, including during my first “real” job.
And some Western companies don’t seem to hire for the long term. They barely train you, give you minimal hours, and can let you go whenever it’s convenient for them. Having job security is wonderful. No one would get anxiety over whether or not they have health insurance (which happens a lot in the USA) or enough money to support themselves.
Now for some negatives. One of the recurring themes in New Game was how employees needed to stay overnight to finish up their work. And apparently New Game glossed this over. According to the interview, people in the gaming industry regularly spend long periods of time staying over at work, even when a deadline isn’t near. I have heard many times how the balance between work life and personal time is very difficult to maintain in Japan. People are expected to work long hours and devote themselves completely to their jobs.
As much as I would love to live in Japan, this is something that worries me if I were to ever move there. I need time to rest and relax – otherwise my anxiety builds up. Anyway, another issue with the workplace, according to Ian, is that the management practices are very antiquated. This concerns me as well because the way things were managed at my previous jobs were not effective. But Japan is even more outdated than the US? It’s scary to think about…
Even before reading this article, there was one thing that I found very unrealistic in New Game, and Ian says it perfectly: “There are no assholes.” You’re always going to meet amazing and supportive people throughout your career, but you are also going to run into an equivalent amount of jerks. Aside from Umiko who was a little rough around the edgesat first, everyone in New Game was extremely nice.
There’s almost always going to be at least one person who’s competitive, envious, lazy, and/or derogatory. Especially the higher-ups at corporate companies, who expect everything to be done perfectly. Ian helped to confirm what I already expected: there’s always going to be that one person who is difficult to work with. (In Season 2, Aoba gets somewhat of a rival and has some negative experiences, so it does get a little more realistic.)
Again, this interview helped me get a better picture of how the gaming industry works in Japan. Although it definitely sugarcoats some things with its all-female moe cast, Ian says New Game does do a good job of portraying Japanese gaming companies. Apparently things really do run that way.
How has your working experience been? What did you think of New Game and the how things are run in Japan? Comment below!