PlatinumGames’ wonder duo Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya issued a rallying cry in Croatia today to convince Nintendo to get The Wonderful 101, a wonderful game and Wii U exclusive, on Switch.
The rallying cry came during the duo’s Reboot Develop 2018 talk. Kamiya, who’s very fond of The Wonderful 101, asked how many people in the audience had played it and then the translator relayed:
“We’re going to knock the audience participation up a bit. They’re still trying to negotiate with Nintendo whether a possible Wonderful 101 Switch release could happen but it always helps when the people in the audience at Reboot clap if they’d actually buy a Switch version of Wonderful 101. So anybody who would buy that, please clap…”
And the whole room did.
In an interview after the talk I followed the topic up and asked how far The Wonderful 101 conversation with Nintendo had progressed. Atsushi Inaba, co-founder and executive director, replied (again via translator):
“From their perspective obviously there are things they can’t talk about, about dealings they have with Nintendo. Certainly they can say everything they said during the speech, which was, ‘Hey, we should do that.’ But whether that is a ‘we are going to do that’, and what the likelihood is of that happening, is just going to have to be something you wait to find out.”
Platinum and Nintendo’s close relationship – The Wonderful 101 was a Wii U exclusive, and Bayonetta 3 is a Switch exclusive – bodes well.
On Bayonetta 3, Inaba and Kamiya were tight-lipped. But during the talk, Inaba said Bayonetta 3 represents a turning point for the company in how they make games, though he didn’t further explain what he meant. He did say Bayonetta 3 would be a linear core progression action game, which is no surprise, but also Platinum wanted to do something new, add new gimmicks and new ways to play the game.
“Bayonetta 2 was a fantastic title and they need to make sure this is leaps and bounds above that,” the translator relayed. “They know that the fans expect crazier, better, tighter action games. If they’re going to put out Bayonetta 3, it’s going to have to raise the bar.”
But Bayonetta 3 is far from the only game in development at the studio. Martin travelled to PlatinumGames recently to see new mobile game World of Demons, a kind of spiritual successor to Okami, and a more substantial project than it sounds. There are also two other much more secretive projects in the works – games announced earlier this year as self-published new IP. This, however, might have been misconstrued.
Inaba’s reply to me, via translator, was: “The definition of self-owned IP can be looked at from a lot of different angles. When they mentioned those two, what they’re trying to say is maybe one of those is a game only they can create, therefore it’s their IP in that way but it may be funded from somebody else.”
One of those games has a core team of six people getting very excited, apparently. “Right now they’re currently rapidly discussing a very interesting concept,” the translator relayed during the talk. “Whether it’s action or a totally new style of genre that nobody has heard of before or seen, it’s really hard to put their finger on, but the ideas are there. Currently there’s about six of the core staff that every day passionately discuss this idea, and it’s so cool for them. This is something very innovative and has most of the studio very, very excited for what this could be.”
Incidentally, don’t worry about PlatinumGames making a mobile game. This isn’t a wholesale shift in focus for the studio so much as an experiment.
“We don’t want people to look at that and think all of a sudden there’s a gigantic shift in the sort of games we’re going to make,” Inaba reassured me. “It’s important to be flexible and try a wide variety of genres and business models. At the end of the day, a good game is a good game, so we just wanted to see what it would be like to do a mobile game, but that doesn’t represent the fact that we’re going to just do that from now on. Please let the fans know they don’t need to worry: we’re still going to make the core experience for the core games.”
PlatinumGames is very busy then, though they wouldn’t tell me exactly how many games were in development because “people would probably shit their pants”. Nevertheless it’s a relief after the dejected figure PlatinumGames cut roughly a year ago after the cancellation of Xbox One exclusive Scalebound.
“The reality is this,” Inaba told me. “Any time you make a game for that long, you love it and you put your heart and soul into it. Ultimately not all games pan out, so when it didn’t, we also felt very much like you: very disappointed we couldn’t get it out into the hands of the users.
“A lot of the details were under NDA and we can’t discuss them. I’d love to be able to give you more information about it but at the end of the day you can only say what you can say, and unfortunately those are areas we can’t go into detail about.”
Scalebound being Microsoft’s IP also means PlatinumGames can’t reuse or salvage any of the work it did.
Nevetheless, Inaba refuted rumours the cancellation brought PlatinumGames to its knees and the studio nearly closed. “I’ve heard that rumour too,” he told me, “and it’s totally unsubstantiated. We’re not a one project studio, we’re a balanced studio. If any of the fans heard that rumour and then were worried about us or upset we feel very sorry.
“We’re totally fine,” he added, “and we were totally fine then too.”