(NOTE: This post originally appeared on the Japanese Bayo-blog on October 13, 2009.)
Been a long time, huh? Kamiya here, pleased that I was able to turn my recently purchased CD box set of the latest Beatles digital remasters, 20 years since they first appeared on CD, into MP3s. However, you know I’d really love to hear them on an excellent stereo system.
A little while ago, on the PlatinumGames homepage, our CEO Tatsuya Minami spoke about the PS3 version of Bayonetta. We’ve also received many opinions from users via the comments field. What I can say with complete conviction is that we want to tell you as much as we can as best we can, and above all, we want you to play our games. The demo of the game was also released on October 8 in Japan. Since we first revealed the game, I’ve always been talking about the “feeling of the game.” I never say, “I want you to buy our game.” Instead, I keep saying, “I want you to try our game!” I sincerely hope that everyone experiences what it feels like to play Bayonetta, and then make your decisions from there.
This is the only way I can broach the subject, so my apologies on that. As for this blog, there are plenty of things to cover, so let’s go through them one by one. First of all, there was Tokyo Game Show. I was busy with many things, so the novelty of a TGS report might have worn off; however, I still think I’d like to take a crack at writing one in obscurity.
Along with Hashimoto, I went to TGS for all four days, both the business days and the days open to the general public. Kai-san already mentioned it in his entry, but the Bayonetta booth was an incredibly success! Once the doors opened to the hall, there was already a 2 hour wait and the accompanying queue-controls, so there must have been tons of people who said “I came to check out Bayonetta, but I didn’t get the chance.” I really feel bad about what happened. While I was happy to see long lines, on the other hand, I really wanted everyone who wanted to play to get the chance, so I felt sad over this situation.
This TGS also holds a special place in my heart. Last year, we showed off the first gameplay footage of Bayonetta in a trailer only presentation, so there obviously wasn’t a Bayonetta booth proper. Even I didn’t really have a place to hang out, so I would just loiter around the show floor and then get dragged up all of a sudden. When we were on our way back, Hashimoto said to me, “Next year, we are going to make TGS Bayo’s.” I nodded broadly in assent, and this idea struck me as I pondered where we would be a year later.
So that brings us to this years TGS. Bayonetta had her own booth with a huge banner furled out for all to see, along with rows of demo stations lined up within. There was an indescribable feeling when I realized that this day had finally arrived.
Of course, I went to TGS to see people playing Bayonetta with my own eyes, but I also had a lot of media requests to take care of. To see so many people paying attention to Bayonetta, an original title, is something to be truly thankful for.
Picture: A shot of the chaos at the Bayonetta booth. The booth was placed right at the entrance to the hall, with a huge screen showing the Bayonetta trailer for all to see, so perhaps many people got their first dose of Bayonetta from walking by.
We did some press with media personality Hatsune Matsushima, who came by the booth to do a booth report with Hashimoto and I providing commentary. (This was for Famitsu Wave DVD.)
It was a bit out of line, but I thought to myself, “I know she is kinda… No, she’s really cute, but having to put up with giggling girls who play around while knowing nothing about games is a pain in the butt.”(Sorry!) So I ended up letting Hashimoto do most of the commentary while I stood in the back and watched. When the game started up, she was recommended to go for Easy Automatic, but Matsushima-san brushed that aside and said, “I’ll play on Normal.” I looked over at her with disdain and thought, “You can’t handle that…” (I’m really sorry about all this…)
…Then she played. Once the game started up, Hashimoto gave her a quick controls tutorial, and then Matsushima-san unleashed tons of combos without any problems at all. Then she starts trying to dodge enemy attacks and pull off “Witch Time!?” Once she pulled off Witch Time, the fight actually tightened up, and the enemies in the game pushed her to the brink of death – one more hit and she was a goner. But she got through it beautifully! Then Beloved, the stage mid-boss, appeared and Hashimoto and I were all sweaty palmed with excitement thinking this might be the end after such a wonderful fight. But then right in front of us, Matsushima-san pulls off Witch Time over and over, with the end result being Beloved’s defeat. She didn’t even take any damage!
I found out later on that Matsushima-san is actually rather well versed in games. So well versed that she calls Okami “god-like,” and seems to know quite a bit about me. The fact that I kind of mocked her left me on my hands and knees in a fit of apology and soul-searching. I’m sorry… I’ll go ahead and get in the Iron Maiden now…
You can check out her blog entry (in Japanese) at the link below…
Comedian duo America Zarigani both stopped by to play Bayonetta, but I was handling a press request so I wasn’t in the booth to actually say hello. However, when I came back their filming was over and they were taking a break, so I took that chance to chat them up. I’ve been really looking for an opportunity to speak with Yanagihara-san from the group. Reason being is that Yanagihara-san picked Okami as one of his favorite games in a Famitsu interview series with celebrities that took place quite a while back.
I thought… I just have to say thanks! Which led to my first near miss with Yanagihara-san at last year’s TGS. He walked right in front of me, but since he was filming at the time, I didn’t get the chance to try and talk to him. My second near miss came on the first business day of this year’s TGS. I was trudging my way to a meeting room for an interview when I saw Yanagihara-san right in front of me! But I was so flustered to suddenly see him that I just let him walk on by… I ended up going back to the hotel beating myself up for being such an idiot…
Which brings us to the second business day of TGS: I finished up the interview and came back to the Bayo-Booth where, miraculously, I was finally able to make contact with Yanagihara-san. Yanagihara-san was incredibly kind to me, even though I walked up to him all weird introducing myself all of a sudden as, “I’m Kamiya, the director of Okami.” Thanks so much, Yanagihara-san!
Besides Bayonetta, there was also another fun event to report. It was the stage event for Ghost Trick, by the Ace Attorney series’ very own Shu Takumi (AKA Takushu). Takushu and I know each other because he joined Capcom at the same time I did, and we were both “brought up” by Shinji Mikami in the old Production Studio No. 4. Takushu got ahold of me personally, and I ended up being a guest for the Ghost Trick stage event. The stage event was held once a day for each of the two public days, and each time, I ended up getting excited talking about all sorts of memories that I have no idea if they ended up helping the game or not. (LOL) Since I was a surprise guest, I wasn’t able to make an announcement about things ahead of time; however, I suppose a few of you figured it out and came to see me, right?
While I often go out for drinks, and hang out with Takushu in my private life, standing officially on the Capcom Stage really stirred up some deep emotions, and I came away with strong feelings of hope Capcom and PlatinumGames can strength this sort of relationship and do something interesting together in the future. Thanks to Takushu for asking me to be a part of this, as well as a special thanks to producer Hironobu Takeshita and all the people who gave it their all to make the stage event happen.
As for Ghost Trick itself… It would seem disingenuous of me to heap praise on it here, so I will spare you details (for those, check out the game’s official homepage), but what made me very happy was that our game, Bayonetta, and Takushu’s game Ghost Trick, were both announced as winners of the Japan Game Awards 2009 Future Awards at TGS this year.
We were so thrilled, that during the awards ceremony, Takushu and I agreed that we should take our trophies out with us for the next stage event. Well, they engrave the logo of the game onto the trophies, so they are the kind you have to give back after the ceremony, but kind of overdid it a bit and borrowed them for a while. Takushu and I then took the trophies out with us for the Ghost Trick stage event that took place right after the awards.
The Future Awards are given to titles that haven’t been released but are on the show floor and have garnered the greatest amount of anticipation. This year, the award was given to 12 titles, including our game. I’m not really all that interested in awards; however, when you are going out there with an original game, what becomes truly important is that first step of getting people to know the product. To receive this kind of an award, and possibly have even more people be aware of the game, is something I am thankful for.
Even though the award is labeled “Future,” of the 12 games to receive it this year, only 3 were original titles. It is indicative of the present and future of the games industry, and it makes me feel very sad. Thus, for Bayonetta and Ghost Trick to hold on and be included in the limited number of original titles make both Takushu and I happy from the bottom of our hearts. When I was on stage with Takushu holding our trophies together, I was almost moved to tears. I held out though, because if I would have cried right in front of Takushu it would have ruined my reputation. LOL.
Since our game, Bayonetta, is already a part of the defined genre of 3D Action, I think that labeling Ghost Trick as a game of the “Future” is truly appropriate, as everything in the game feels completely fresh. As a fan of the Ace Attorney games, I’d feel like I’d love to see another Takushu Ace Attorney game, but since he is one of the few creators to be able to come up with something strong enough to establish a brand, I want to look forward to his new game, and I want to put my hopes in… No, I want to support Takushu himself, as a strong willed creator who will look after the future of the game’s industry. .
Picture: Kai-san mentioned it on his blog, but I (went rogue) and made an original t-shirt which I wore on stage. Kai-san was picky about the pose to make sure it was a show of love to the original that inspired it, and Shimazaki was picky about the logo to make sure it was a show of love to the original that inspired it. I printed it out, and had my Dad iron it on to a t-shirt for me back home. It is a treasured “original Kamiya.” My Dad decided that he wanted one too, so we made an extra.
I met lots of other people at TGS as well, like Masahiro Sakurai, who stopped by the booth. We chatted for a bit, and he gave me some words of support. Thanks so much!
The famed “Koba,” now on the Sengoku Basara and Devil May Cry series, along with Devil May Cry 4’s Hideaki Itsuno also stopped by the booth. Koba told me that, “Hideo Kojima has something to talk to you about regarding Bayonetta.” I was worried that he was going to give me a lecture and I’d get depressed, so I didn’t end up going to say hello. (Sorry…)
Picture: Bayonetta in the background with Hiroyuki “Koba” Kobayashi. We will do something together one day.
At the SEGA booth, I was able to have a chat with Shuntaro Tanaka from Valkyaria Chronicles. He was showing his latest game, Valkyaria Chronicles 2, at the show, but I was surprised to hear that he went to college with Takushu! Shuntaro-san and I talked about lots of things, but they will have to remain secret for now. (LOL) Shuntaro-san, I’m not the kind of guy to say narrow-minded crap like “Well, the world’s are different, so I’m not so sure,” so if the users will have a good time, let’s put that plan into action!
The girls filling the role of “booth companion,” helping players through the demo, also seemed to take a liking to Bayonetta. I thought it might have been just lip service at first, but then I was asked for my autograph, which got the cherry boy in me excited. Basically, when a girl lends me words of support, I want to believe they are true. Guys are like that. Now if only I had written my email address along with my autograph…
But the thing that left the most lasting impression was getting to get in touch with with all the fans who took time to come to the booth. This is the best part of the show! Since I don’t really have a chance to talk to everyone except at these kinds of events, but getting to meet face-to-face and hear everyone’s words of support is a really big source of encouragement. It also my reward for sacrificing my youth in the service of all the games I have made over the years. (LOL) And taking pictures with female fans, you know I wrap my arm around their shoulder… Hehehehe…
Picture: A bottle of adult beverage I received from a fan. It’s called “Kamiya”!? I also got lots of tasty treats from other fans.
Well… There were lots of great things that happened, but I was so wrapped up in Bayonetta’s appearance at the show, that I didn’t really taken many pictures. Kind of a waste, huh… But for a game show that spawned so many memories, there is no way I could forget it. I don’t know how many years it will be until I get another opportunity to go to the show with my title having its own booth, but for now I just want to ruminate on the memories of this year’s show and look forward to Bayonetta’s release.
So that wraps up my TGS report, but there was something else I want to bring up. The day after TGS finished (September 28), I was asked to record a web radio show called Gaming Diner Table, so I went along with Hashimoto-san to the recording. We were joined by host and media personality Tomomi Isomura-san (AKA Isochi), and we got to cover lots of topics regarding Bayonetta, so I hope you are looking forward to listening to the show. Blogs tend to end up being some kind of stiff reports, and since I want to be as close to our fans as possible, I try to speak like you are here with me, whether it be this radio recording or otherwise. Whether it was Isochi-san creating an environment where it was easy to talk about things I don’t know, but I think I might have been a little too direct. (LOL)
The first airing is on 10/8 and it will be broadcast for 4 straight weeks. Even I’m looking forward to it.
One more thing. I wanted to tell you about the In-Store Demo we held on 10/3. Starting on this day and continuing forward, you’ll be able to play Bayonetta around the country at various in-store events. Since it was the first day of the series, Hashimoto-san and I decided to check out four stores in the Tokyo area to see how things were going. First up we visited Sakuraya in Shinjuku, along with Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera, both also in Shinjuku. It seemed like it rained in the morning, but even so, a great many came to the events and they were very lively.
Picture: We first went to Sakuraya. Here is what it was like. It was actually raining a bit during the event, but thankfully, it didn’t rain too hard. It was lunchtime, so maybe that is why people seem sparse, but right after this a nice line formed.
Picture: And here is what Yodobashi Camera was like. It was around 3PM, so more people were out and about on the streets. People walking by would stop and watch what was happening on the screens.
In the evening, we went to Kasai, and a local game store there called Games Ma-ya. Games Ma-ya holds a really special place in my heart because they also held an in-store demo for Okami. With Bayonetta, it is a much easier game to grasp the concept of, and it is highly anticipated, so there are many stores participating in the in-store demos; however, with Okami, there were only three stores that signed up. Games Ma-ya paid attention to Okami back then, and gave it a really big push at retail. That’s why these days, I could never ever turn my back on Kasai.
Ma-ya did a wonderful job of supporting Bayonetta for us. During Okami, only 2 or 3 people came to check things out, so I was able to watch them playing quite carefully (LOL), but this time, the Bayonetta event was so crowded that I wasn’t even able to get near the monitors because of so many people in the shops. The inside of the store was covered with Bayonetta posters and Bayonetta displays, which kind of made it seem like the day was another place where we “made it Bayonetta’s.”
Picture: Hashimoto gazes on the Bayonetta display. It looks like he is having an emotional experience. There were also Bayonetta flags.
Picture: One side of the store was all Bayonetta! There were tons of people inside as well. Thanks so much to everyone at Games Ma-ya.
On the same day, there was also an event in the Kansai region of Japan (Western region which includes Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe). Sofmap’s Namba Saurus No.1 store held the event, which unfortunately I was unable to attend. But members of the Bayonetta team did sneak-in incognito to check things out. It seems like there were tons of people at this event, too. Getting to experience these things personally is a really emotional event for the staff involved. These events are, of course, for our users to have a good time; however, they are also a source of excitement for the development team as well.
Picture: This was the event in Osaka. If you pre-ordered at these events you got a special mouse pad; however, there were so many people that it seems some stores ran out. My sincere apologies to those who weren’t able to get one.
There was so much I had saved up to write about that this blog ended up incredibly long. It’s now October, and the release of Bayonetta is knocking at our door. Of course, we’re getting really excited here too. If there is anything new I can report, I will try to do it as quickly as possible. Well, that wraps it up for now.
P.S.: I forgot to mention the train station ads that are up in the Kanto region (Eastern Japanese region including Tokyo/Yokohama). They are up in 36 stations along the Yamanote train line for a total of 44 ads! They will be up from 10/1 until 10/31, so I absolutely want you all to take the chance to see them for yourself! (Actually, I haven’t even seen them yet, so I will check them out the next time I am in Tokyo on business.)
Picture: The model we used in the ads is a Ukrainian model named Olena. She is devoted to her studies, so once her job here was over, she returned back to her hometown in the Ukraine. Maybe it was because working as Bayonetta was excruciating… I don’t think so, at least.
P.P.S: I went back home before TGS, so I figure I’ll give a little promotional time to Shinshu.
Picture: The inside of Matsumoto Station. This is the Soba noodle shop on the Ooito Line platform. Inside they do have seats, but I like standing at the counter and slurping my noodles while feeling the Shinshu breeze.
Picture: I picked the tempura and egg soba bowl. The uneven thickness of the noodles give the food a rich texture that really piques one’s appetite.
Picture: Which is why I ordered another bowl.
Picture: A meal from Tenhou, a shop in Matsumoto that tends to its student clientele. Vegetable stir-fry, gyoza pot stickers, a half-boiled egg, soup, kimchi, and rice all for only 680 yen!
Picture: A Swiss-style cream-puff from Masamura. I eat this every time I return home. The down-home plate that my Mom used to serve this really brings back nostalgic memories for me.