Report: Hudson Entertainment Closing

By Jeff Mattas, Feb 08, 2011 3:30pm PST According to a lengthy blog post by Mogan Haro, Hudson Entertainment's Brand and Product Manager and Producer of all online entertainment, Hudson Entertainment is closing up shop. Hudson Entertainment is best known for creating both the Bomberman and Bonk series, and most recently released the Wii-exclusive Lost in Shadow. The closure follows the recent acquisition of the entirety of the Hudson Group by Konami.

Haro's post, titled "Hudson Entertainment is Closing - A Perspective," is ostensibly a postmortem analysis of the company, providing some interesting high-level insight into factors contributing to the closure. Hudson Entertainment's primary goals involved bringing Japanese-produced and developed titles to market in the US, a task that Haro views as increasingly difficult "as the industry continues to march towards the drum of Western game development." "Hudson became for me, a symbol of why Japan has fallen behind when it comes to bringing world-wide hits to gamers," writes Haro.

"Minimal communication and stifled collaboration," as well as "countless missed collaboration opportunities between the US and Japan" are cited as key contributors to Hudson Entertainment's downfall. Haro explains:
By the time we had received the game design document for any given title, development was more than likely well underway, usually past the point of the dev team able to make any major changes. Usually, a green-lit concept would have some redeeming ideas, but from my perspective, there were countless opportunities our titles weren't taking advantage of. Numerous trends to not only watch out for and adapt to, but possibly start as well. It was only at the start of 2011 did an air of change come to that communication process. But it appears it was too late.

And while it seems a bit too late for the lessons-learned to save Hudson Entertainment, Haro does offer up some solutions that might help other developers in similar predicaments.
All together, the key to better success for Hudson needed to be grounded in higher communication and collaboration on a game's development from beginning to end. I could go more into detail about specific points for specific games, but speaking from a general level; bring the development out from isolation and use the creative resources we had here stateside to engage in a more collaborative development process.

We have so many fun titles that could have benefited from our collective passion. So many franchises that we could have created and improved upon to make gamers sit up and pay attention. In fact, it was an initiative I had wanted to see through by going to the corporate office in Japan with the above mission in mind. But without taking measurable steps to bridge the culture, communication, and collaboration gap, we end up swimming in our own kiddie pool, watching the cool kids rush through the awesome waterslides on the other side of the fence.

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