Pro tip: when two Japanese video game designers are your co-panelists, mind your references to the atomic bombing of Japan. It makes talking about future game development... weird.
Unfortunately, Fallout 3 designer Emil Pagliarulo from Bethesda Softworks unintentionally referenced that very subject during today's "Evolving Game Design: Today and Tomorrow, Eastern and Western Game Design" panel at GDC. It was an innocent poor choice of words, of course, an unintended flub that was both instantly cringe-worthy and darkly comedic.
After sarcastically revealing that he drinks cold medicine to find game design inspiration, Goichi Suda asked Pagliarulo whether Bethesda was planning on "a Japanese version of Fallout" to which the Fallout 3 designer said, "Well, what can we destroy in Japan?"
After processing that post nuclear destruction and an awkwardly long pause, Suda simply said "Wow..."
"I just realized how stupid it was of me to say that!" Pagliarulo said, surprisingly understandable with foot in mouth. Obviously, he didn't mean it that way, but it made the room a bit more ill at ease.
As Fallout 3 is already available in Japan and sold relatively well for a Western-style RPG, Suda wasn't asking for a localization, but one in a more Japanese style setting apparently.
Guess we need to be careful what we ask for.