According to the newly appointed president and CEO of PlatinumGames, the current direction of the video game market will most likely lead the company to shift their development focus from such “one-off” games as Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance towards “games that can be enjoyed and loved for a longer period of time.”
PlantinumGames co-founder Atsushi Inaba briefly touched upon the studio’s future during a recent interview given to Famitsu regarding his January promotion to studio president and CEO following the resignation of previous title holder Kenichi Sato.
Touching upon the studio’s outlook for “game development in the future,” Inaba – as translated by former PlatinumGames Creative Producer and de facto go-between for English fans and the studio’s main Japanese staff – explained “I feel that, unlike up until this point, it will be key to create games that people can fall in love with and play for a longer and longer amount of time.”
“Of course, we want to keep making, and keep close to our hearts, smaller games full of ideas like Sol Cresta, or titles in the vein of Bayonetta, that feature fully realized one-off stages that you enjoy playing through until [getting] a game over,” he said. “But when we think about the types of games we are creating for the future, I think it will be something quite different to those sorts of games.”
He added, “When I think about how the market may change over the next five years, I think this will be an absolute must.”
“I know that is a pretty ambiguous answer,” he conceded to Famitsu, “but that’s all I can really say at this point.”
Though Inaba did not outright state that the studio will begin putting their efforts towards development of a live ops game – a title such as Honkai Impact 3rd or Genshin Impact that constantly receives updates and events rather than full sequels – many fans have found his above outlook for the developer’s future worrying, particularly in light of Sato’s 2020 promise that “From here on, PlatinumGames will be facing the challenge of developing live ops titles for consoles.”
“Platinum has already achieved a supportive fan base making packaged console games,” he said in promotion of PlatinumGames’ then-upcoming opening of their Tokyo studio. “On live ops titles, finding a following for the title is an important step, so Platinum definitely has an advantage here. And I believe this can also be a change to introduce a new wave of fans to PlatinumGames’ titles. It’s exciting to think how we might be able to expand the playing field here.”
Sato then attempted to reassure fans, “Having worked on both console and mobile, package and live ops has opened me up to understanding both sides of development. I hope to be able to blend these two mindsets together to create some truly amazing games.”
“Since I have spent nearly half my career in project management,” he continued. “It’s my hope to be able to provide an environment where the development team feel free to follow their creativity.”
Inaba himself further added at the time, “So far, the name PlatinumGames has been nearly synonymous with single-player action games. But going forward, we’re looking to expand into new genres and styles of play.”
“One of these new challenges for us is console live ops game development,” he said. “These aren’t games we’d work on until they were done, and that’s all – rather, we’d continue working on them to provide new content long after release.”
“We want to explore this ongoing development pattern in the home console space.” Inaba concluded. “PlatinumGames Tokyo is home to both developers interested in refining PlatinumGames-style gameplay and developers who are interested in exploring live ops support. They’ll be hard at work on electrifying content for you soon.”
Players’ fears have also been incised by the fact that they have also seen actual evidence of PlatinumGames’ turn towards live ops games, as their currently-in-development Babylon’s Fall was discovered to be such a title following its full reveal at E3 2021.
Notably, such a turn would not be the first instance to reveal that PlatinumGames would not be able to maintain it’s luster forever.
In January 2020, Sato informed fans that the studio had “received a capital investment” from Tencent.
“We hope to use this capital to strengthen our foundation as a business and expand from game development into exploring self-publishing,” they explained. “We also hope that this partnership can give us a wider global perspective, while still creating high quality games that stay true to our name.”
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