How does Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama explain the difference between Japanese-designed role-playing games and their western counterparts? By pointing out the divide between classic RPGs like Tomb Raider, Hitman and Final Fantasy.
I know what you're thinking. "Tomb Raider and Hitman aren't western RPGs!" But Toriyama's argument was that western gamers—or, more specifically, players of Eidos games that let players control a singular protagonist—play from their own perspective. Japanese gamers play from the perspective of their character, comfortable playing as a third-party participant with a bird's eye view of the action.
Sure, it makes a strange slide and Toriyama's generalizing theory may have some huge holes in it, but there you go. Square Enix's perspective on the matter.