PlatinumGames

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PlatinumGames
Native name
プラチナゲームズ株式会社
Private
Industry Computer and video games
Interactive entertainment
Predecessor Clover Studios
Founded August 1, 2006
Founder Shinji Mikami
Atsushi Inaba
Hideki Kamiya
Headquarters Osaka, Japan
Key people
Kenichi Sato
(President and CEO)
Products MadWorld
Bayonetta series
Vanquish
Number of employees
200
Website http://platinumgames.com

PlatinumGames Inc. (プラチナゲームズ株式会社 Purachina Gēmuzu Kabushiki Gaisha?) is a Japanese video game development company. Notable games developed include Bayonetta and its sequel, Bayonetta 2, Vanquish, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and The Wonderful 101

The company was founded under the name Seeds, Inc. on August 1, 2006 by Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya, former key members of Capcom's Clover Studio, and employed lots of former members of the studio. The company merged with Tatsuya Minami's Odd Ltd. to form PlatinumGames in October 2007. Few years after the company's establishment, video game publisher Sega announced that they would be publishing four different unique properties developed by PlatinumGames, including MadWorld, Infinite Space, Bayonetta and Vanquish. Their partnership later extended to include Anarchy Reigns. However, none of these were a commercial success, even though most of them received high critical praise.

While the company's core goal is to create new and original intellectual property, the team shifted to create more licensed titles. In 2013, the company released Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance for Konami. The company also partnered with Activision to create licensed titles based on The Legend of Korra, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers. The company worked with first-party game publishers, such as Nintendo with The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U. Both of these titles were commercially unsuccessful . The company is currently working on two major projects: Scalebound, a Xbox Play Anywhere title for Microsoft Studios, and Nier Automata for the PlayStation 4.

History[edit]

2006-2007: Founding[edit]

Atsushi Inaba is one of the company's founders

The company was founded by Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya on August 1, 2006 as "Seeds".[1] Prior to establishing the company, the three of them worked for Capcom, and were key members of the Osaka-based Clover Studios, which specialized in making new and creative intellectual properties.[2] Three of them worked together closely in developing popular Capcom franchises including the Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe and Ōkami. Most of these titles received critical acclaim from critics, but they under-performed commercially, leading to Capcom's decision of closing Clover and reabsorb it back into Capcom.[3] Prior to the closure of Clover, the three founders had left the studio to form their own company in mid 2006. In January 2006, the company expanded to 51 employees, including more Capcom's former employees such as Masami Ueda, composer for the early Resident Evil games, and Mari Shimazaki, Ōkami's artist. Yusuke Hashimoto and Kenji Saito, who would eventually became PlatinumGames' directors, also joined during the establishment period. The new company launched its website, revealing its existance in February 2007.[1]

Tatsuya Minami founded a video game company named Odd Ltd. in February 2006.[4][5] Similarly to the founders of Clover, Minami worked in Capcom prior to founding his own studio. He joined Capcom for 20 years and was involved in titles such as Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts and the Mega Man franchise. However, he decided to leave as he get tired of making countless sequels.[6] Odd Ltd. was later merged with Seeds in October 2007, forming PlatinumGames. Minami became the studio's head and focused on the company's management and administration, while Mikami, Inaba and Kamiya remained the positions as director or producer.[4][7]

2008-2012: Partnership with Sega[edit]

The company had not revealed anything about their upcoming project for a year, until 2008, when Sega announced that they would be publishing four PlatinumGames' titles.[7] According to Minami, the titles were unique and creative, and that Sega was courageous to publish these risky titles. Minami further added that the partnership with Sega allowed them to bring these titles to the Western markets. The three games include MadWorld, Infinite Space, and Bayonetta.[8] All these three games were released in 2009. All the intellectual properties created by PlatinumGames as part of the partnership are owned by Sega.[9]

MadWorld was the first game released. Produced by Inaba, the game was designed to appeal to western audience and had an unique artstyle inspired by that of Sin City. The original story was written by Yasumi Matsuno, who had previously worked on Square Enix's Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics, while PlatinumGames and Sega jointly localized the title for the West. The team created the game with a vision of bring the Wii a unique game.[10][11] One of the game's main theme is violence and brutality. As a result, it led to controversy regarding it destroying the family-friendly image of the Wii console.[12] While the game received positive reviews, it was a commercial failure, with the game selling poorly in both Japan and the west, despite Sega's heavy marketing.[7][13][14] Despite the game's failure, Sega added that the sales was "encouraging",[15] and that they would continued to make mature games for the Wii, and released the Welcome To Violence pack, which bundles MadWorld with House of the Dead: Overkill, and The Conduit, all of which are commercial failures.[16] In 2010, Sega announced that they would cease publishing mature video game for the Wii, wit the disappointing sales of MadWorld being a contributing factor. However,PlatinumGames announced several few days later that they would like to do a sequel to the game.[17]

The company's second game is Infinite Space. Announced as Infinite Line, it is a role-playing video game with real-time strategy and space simulation elements.[18] Inspired by works of Arthur C. Clarke and Greg Egan, Platinum closely collaborated with Nude Maker when developing the game.[19] Produced by Inaba, the title was released in June 2009 in Japan, and its localized release for western territories were made available in March 2016. The game was a moderate success in Japan,[20] but sales of the game were not satisfactory in the West. Platinum blamed Sega for not producing enough copies of the game, as the game "sold out instantly".[21]

That's how games are. Teams kind of burn themselves out and then they get all that feedback and they get recharged and then people say that they're ready to do it again. And Bayonetta was a really, really strong example of that.

— Atushi Inabai on Bayonetta's development

The third game in the Sega-Platinum partnership is Bayonetta, an action game "evolved" from the Devil May Cry series. The title was directed by Kamiya, who originally pitched several "casual" projects for the studio before starting the development of Bayonetta.[22] The game features an original story, with inspirations drawn from Scandinavian mythology, while the design of the titular character was based on Kamiya's own vision of an "ideal woman".[23] The development team was credited as "Team Little Angels", as opposed to Devil May Cry's "Team Little Devils". The game received critical acclaim upon release, with critics praising the game's action, describing it as "genre-topping", as well as its characters and innovation.[4] However, according to Inaba, the team had set an overly high standard for themselves, and become extremely frustrated by the end of the project's development. Inaba added that the game's development nearly "broke PlatinumGames". The team's morale was restored after hearing the players' positive opinions on the game.[24] More than 1.35 million units of the game were shipped,[25] but according to Minami, the company was disappointed with the game's sales. He added that he would rate the game's sales as "a C or even a D"[6][26] An animated film based on the game, called Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, was later released by Gonzo.[27]

Shinji Mikami led the development of Vanquish

The Sega-Platinum original partnership announcement teased a mysterious fourth game from Mikami.[8] The title was later revealed to be Vanquish.[28] The team drew inspirations from Casshern when creating the game's visuals. Mikami decided the game's third-person perspective through trial and error, and hoped that through the perspective, the team could increase the game's gameplay pace.[29] It was once designed to be an open world game, but the idea was later abandoned and the game's direction shifted to become linear.[30] Upon release, the game was positively reviewed, with critics calling the game's innovative for introducing new elements into the shooter genre. Sega added that the company was encouraged by the game's first-day and second-day sales.[31] After the game's release, Mikami left Platinum and formed a new company, Tango Gameworks. According to Minami, Mikami "always wanted to be his own man, and his own developer".[4]

In late 2010, Platinum revealed that the company is in discussion with Sega to extend their partnership. Inaba added that Sega is a publisher which allows the team to have lots of creative controls over their games.[32] In 2011, PlatinumGames announced that they had extended their partnership with a new title called Max Anarchy. The game was released in western territories as Anarchy Reigns in 2013.[33] The game serves as a sequel to MadWorld, but it does not feature the Sin City graphical style, though players assume control of MadWorlds protagonist Jack Cayman for most parts of the game.[34] The game received mixed reviews upon release,[35] and it was a commercial failure in both Japan and the West, partly due to Sega's insufficient marketing as they feared that it would be a "waste of money".[36] Anarchy Reigns is the last game developed by PlatinumGames published by Sega.[4]

2013-2016: Licensed properties, exclusive games[edit]

In 2013, Hideo Kojima and his studio Kojima Productions were working on a new Metal Gear game focused on Raiden, a ninja equipped with swords. Unable to continue working on the game, Kojima contacted with Minami to request them to work on the game. According to Kojima, PlatinumGames was the only studio capable of working on an action game with sword-based combat.[6] The team added stealth elements back into the game after finding the game's system too boring and straightforward.[37] Directed by Kenji Saito, the game, titled Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, received generally positive reviews from critics, and was a commercial success, but it sparked complaints from fans who lamented that the game's existence was unnecessary. It also became the company's first licensed title.[38]

PlatinumGames developed two games exclusively for the Nintendo Wii U within 2 years.

The same year also saw the release of Platinum's second game, The Wonderful 101 for the eighth generation of video game consoles, the Wii U. While Kamiya was the game's director, Minami offered creative advice. According to Kamiya, inspirations were drawn from classic tokusatsu series like Power Rangers, and that the game was designed to appeal to all types of audiences.[39] The game was originally planned for the Wii, and was set to feature classic Nintendo characters. However, as the team found that it is difficult to use these characters creatively, the game was put on hold temporarily. The game's development was restarted afterwards, with 50 original characters being featured in the final game.[40] Nintendo also give feedback during the game's development, with the hope that the game can reach a larger audience.[41] The game received critical acclaim. It was considered as one of the best games in the Wii U library,[42] and was voted as one of Nintendo favorites by the community.[43] However, the game's underperformed in Japan,[44] being outsold by Pikmin 3, which had already been released before the launch of The Wonderful 101.[45] Some critics attributed the game's failure to the low sales of the Wii U.[46]

Their partnership continued with 2014's Bayonetta 2, which sparked controversy for being a Wii U exclusive due to its predecessor being a multi-platform title.[47] According to Inaba, the company worked with Sega to create the game's sequel, but was later cancelled in the middle of the game's development, until Nintendo offer an opportunity to work with the company to revive and fund the project.[48][41] Sega only served as the game's advisor.[49] Inaba added that Nintendo did not actively interfere the game's development, and compared its role to an observer.[50] Kamiya, who originally did not expect a sequel to the game,[49] served as the game's supervisor. Replacing Kamiya as the game's director is Yusuke Hashimoto. Hashimoto focused on refining the original's combat, and extending the game's replay value.[4] Bayonetta 2 received critical acclaim upon launch, with several gaming publications awarding the game a perfect score. Though Nintendo did not comment on the game's sales, the title sold only 38,828 copies in Japan in its first week of release, faring much worse than the original.[51] It became the seventh best-selling retail game in the UK in its first week of release, but sales declined significantly in the second week.[52]

The company gradually developed more and more licensed titles based on existing properties. Their partners grant them creative freedom while creating these games' gameplay.[53] Their first licensed title is The Legend of Korra (2014), based on Nickelodeon's animated series of the same name. Published by Activision, the game's story was written by Tim Hedrick, the show writer.[54] The game received a mixed reception upon launch. Following The Legend of Korra is Transformers: Devastation, based on Hasbro's Transformers: Generations. Directed by Saito, the game was designed to look and feel different from previous Transformers games.[55] The title received favorable reviews when it was released in 2015. The third licensed title, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan was released in May 2016. According to game designer Eiro Shirahama, the team watched the TMNT animated series and also played the old TMNT games for the Super Famicom while working on the game so as to understand the universe and the characters.[56] The game was met with negative reviews from critics upon release.

In 2013, Kamiya revealed that he would like to have an opportunity to continue their partnership with Nintendo, creating new properties or working on extending the universe of their existing franchise, such as the Star Fox franchise.[57] Producer of Star Fox Zero, Shigeru Miyamoto expressed his desire to work with external developers so that their projects can have a shorter development cycle.[58] The team was requested to serve as the game's co-developer after Nintendo saw the Arwing stage of Bayonetta 2.[59][60] Zero, along with its spin-off tower defense game Star Fox Guard, was released in April 2016 to mixed critical reviews.

The company is now currently working on Nier Automata for Square Enix for the PlayStation 4, and Scalebound for Microsoft Studios for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One.

Games developed[edit]

Year Game Publisher Platform(s)
2009 MadWorld Sega Wii
Infinite Space Nintendo DS
Bayonetta PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U
2010 Vanquish PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2012 Anarchy Reigns
2013 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Konami Digital Entertainment PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Shield Portable
The Wonderful 101 Nintendo Wii U
2014 Bayonetta 2
The Legend of Korra Activision Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
2015 Transformers: Devastation
2016 Star Fox Zero[a] Nintendo Wii U
Star Fox Guard[a]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan Activision Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
2017 Scalebound Microsoft Studios Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
Nier: Automata Square Enix PlayStation 4

Philosophy[edit]

"I'm not really interested in working for a studio that isn't kind of a noisy, loud, clanking machine of people bumping into each other and trying to do their best, so if it's just kind of a machine that's there to make money and there to make games efficiently, it's not something that interests me"

Atsushi Inaba, game producer of PlatinumGames

According to Inaba, the core goal of the company is to make new and original intellectual property, and that taking risks is a crucial part of video game development.[61] However, the company later also worked on licensed titles, as the team considered creating original titles "difficult", and that they are sometimes too risky, in which their sales figures were unsatisfactory for the team. According to Minami, by working on both licensed properties and original games can provide the company stability. Despite having a new focus, Platinum retains their original vision of making games and that the team hopes that they will become one of "the three top game studios in the world".[62] While Platinum is a Japanese development company, the development team also attempts to add elements to their games that would attract to a large global audience. He later added that the company is keen to work with both Japanese and western first-party and third-party publishers.[6]

According to Inaba, the company values the idea of "change", and that "the people who are not looking for constant change are not necessarily welcome in what I think the company should be".[63] According to Minami, Platinum only made games that the development team are passionate about. Inaba described the studio as a "loud" studio, as every one in the development team are allowed to express their opinions on their projects and their visions will not be compromised. The studio also invites employees that are not involved in game design, such as artists and programmers, to provide creative input to their projects.[64] Seito added that every game that company developed has a "Platinum taste". While the company developed an expertise in action games, Saito claimed that the studio learnt from every projects they made and will apply these knowledge on their new games and genre.[63] The company also hopes to innovate by introducing new elements in both original titles or licensed games. According to Platinum, a good action game should be "passive" and feature an "unique selling point", replayability that allows players to hone their skills, and a strong leading character. In addition, they should not follow conventional design philosophy.[64]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]