10 Years of PlatinumGames!

Platinum Games

Filed: Community, PlatinumGames

Hello, everyone. Ten years have passed since PlatinumGames was founded in 2006!

Even though our company was founded by a group of people with a decent amount of experience in the video game industry, our name recognition in the beginning was obviously nonexistent. We weren’t really in the position to make a big fanfare about establishing our company, either. I distinctly remember setting sail quietly, without really being noticed by consumers. But our goal right from the start was to create high-quality video games, and we’ve been working towards that goal ever since.

We released our first title in 2009. We used the publicity for that product to introduce ourselves to the world, and by the time the game was on shelves, we’d finally managed to establish a clear profile as a company. I strongly feel that we are still able to take our straightforward stance towards game development today thanks to a decade of support from the many fans who play our games. I am very grateful to all of you for this support.

In recent years, perhaps slightly presumptuously, we’ve adopted the slogan “Taking on the World as the Representative of Japan.” Japan used to lead the worldwide video game industry, but we can’t help but feel that it has lost some of its vitality in recent years. Yet we are using this state of affairs to motivate and inspire ourselves. If there is any conclusion that can be gleaned from this statement, it’s that we are dependent on the continued support of our fans. We will keep up our fighting stance. We will keep working hard to bring even more high-quality entertainment to all our fans all over the globe.

PlatinumGames has a bright, shining future ahead of itself, and we hope you’ll come along with us to see it.

Tatsuya Minami
President and CEO, PlatinumGames Inc.

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Celebrate this milestone with us with this anniversary wallpaper by PlatinumGames artist Yong-hee Cho! Get yours at your preferred resolution below:

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An Update from the Scalebound Team

Platinum Games

Filed: Games, PlatinumGames, Scalebound

Hi everyone,

We hope you had a great New Year’s!

As we enter into 2016, we want to provide you with an update on Scalebound, the upcoming Xbox One-exclusive action-RPG that lets you fight alongside a fearsome dragon named Thuban.

Development on the game is going well and we’re really happy with how it’s coming together. Scalebound is one of the biggest games PlatinumGames has ever created: an epic adventure filled with exploration and fantasy gameplay, inventive multiplayer, and action-packed battles on an unbelievable scale – all set in a beautiful and evolving world. It’s the game our team has always dreamed of making.

In order to deliver on our ambitious vision and ensure that Scalebound lives up to expectations, we will be launching the game in 2017. This will give us the time needed to bring to life all the innovative features and thrilling gameplay experiences that we have planned.

We know you’re excited to see more and thank you for your patience. Scalebound is a truly special project that’s been several years in the making, and we are very proud and inspired by all the work our team has done so far.

We will be sharing more about our vision for Scalebound later this year and can’t wait to give you a closer look at the world of Draconis and the incredible creatures and experiences we’re building.sb_display

Thank you again for your support and enthusiasm!

Hideki Kamiya, JP Kellams, Atsushi Inaba, and the Scalebound Team

Happy 2016!

Platinum Games

Filed: Community, PlatinumGames

Happy New Year from everyone at PlatinumGames!

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(Our New Years’ Greeting postcard)

2016 will mark 10 years since we established our company.
As always, our resolution is to continue our strongest efforts toward game development.

We hope that this will be an incredible year for everyone.
Look forward to what we have in store!

 

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Platinum running the Honolulu Marathon!

Platinum Games

Filed: PlatinumGames

Hello, everyone. PlatinumGames PR head Kazuyo Tsukuma here!

 

As you may know, PG will be celebrating our 10th anniversary next February. We’ve been hard at work thinking up all kinds of ways to commemorate this milestone over the next year, to show our company spirit and our gratitude towards all our business partners and collaborators – and, of course, our fans.

And what better way to take a running start into our next ten years than by sending an official PlatinumGames team to this year’s Honolulu Marathon?

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Though we’re entering as a team, it’s not a relay, and each one of us will be proudly representing Platinum for the full 42.195 kilometers (that’s over 26 miles).

We’ll show Honolulu just how tough PlatinumGames can be!

 

Without further ado, let’s meet the team!
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Hirokazu Takeuchi, animator
Running experience: Four years
Full marathons: Five
Goal time: Four and a half hours

“When you make video games, you spend the better part of every day sitting in front of a computer. So as part of our welfare package, PG employees have free access to a gym. I started going just to get a bit of light exercise, but here I am four years later, ready to challenge my sixth full marathon.

“Though I’ve got plenty of experience, I still haven’t set the record I’m after.

I’ll be gunning for my personal best in Honolulu!”

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Takahiro Yasuda, visual effects artist
Running experience: One year
Full marathons: One
Goal time: Three and a half hours

“On my days off, I get up early and go for a 10-kilometer jog with my eldest son. We always stop by a park to play together along the way, and swing by a bakery to pick out fresh baked bread on the way home.

I’m having a lot of fun training every day! I hope to be able to play with my three kids to my fullest forever.

“With the marathon approaching fast, I want my kids to see their dad do his very best!”

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Kazuyo Tsukuma, PR
Running experience: Ten months
Full marathons: Zero
Goal time: Five hours

“I’ve gained one kilogram for each of the five years I’ve worked at Platinum – that’s eleven pounds in total! – but this year I resolved to reverse that trend. During my lunch break, I’ve been hitting the gym in our building and running six or seven kilometers a day. In October, I passed 1,000 total kilometers!

Unfortunately, I may have pushed myself a little too hard, and I’ve been out with an injury for a while… But I’m still dead set on finishing the marathon!!”

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With only three weeks left until the marathon, our training is already well underway. Back in October, the team attended an orientation session presented by Mr. Yasuhiro Nakajima, head coach of the Shonan Bellmare triathlon team, and Olympic triathlete Machiko Yamawaki (nee Nakanishi).

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VFX artist Yasuda (left) helps animator Takeuchi with a warm-up stretch. Feel the burn!

 

Since our orientation, we’ve put together a Pure Platinum plan for taking on the marathon. Our coaches said we should train by running long distances at a pace that would allow us to keep up a conversation, so the three of us have been meeting up after work once a week and running together for a couple hours at a time.

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Here’s a view from one of those night runs! That’s Umeda Sky Building, home of PlatinumGames, in the center of the Osaka skyline.

 

It’s easy to get carried away and run out of energy well before the end of the course, so working out a target time and pace for the entire marathon is important. But of course, there’s no point if you forget it during the race itself! To help with this, we’ve put together custom PlatinumGames pace chart wristbands. Here’s mine:

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It’s also important to stay energized throughout the marathon. There are lots of different types of nutrient gel that marathon runners carry with them, with different flavors, calorie counts, nutritional values… I hope we can pick the right ones!

Personally, I’m looking forward to trying “Sports Yokan” – a sports-friendly version of a traditional Japanese bean snack. Actually, just give me a Rambo-style bandolier full of yokan and I’d be good to go…

We’re taking off from Japan on Friday, December 11, and thanks to the time difference, we’ll arrive in Honolulu on the same day. The race begins at 5 AM on Sunday morning, so Saturday will be our only full, free day in Hawaii. That’s not much time to adjust to the nineteen-hour time difference, so I’m warming up my neck pillow to get a head start on sleeping during the flight!

Please cheer us on as we get ready to head to Honolulu!

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Let’s welcome the new recruits!

Platinum Games

Filed: PlatinumGames

The annual rainy season has ended, and it’s finally time for summer in Osaka!

But rain or no rain, at this time of the year, PlatinumGames always organizes a big welcoming party for all of the new talent that joined the company in April, and today we’d like to show you a glimpse of the insanity that tends to go down at these parties.

The first thing that is worth pointing out is that, despite this being a welcome party for the new employees, it’s actually the newcomers themselves who have to provide the entertainment to their seniors and superiors for the evening.

This year we had a total of 9 fresh, new recruits! Last year, it was pretty evenly distributed between men and women, but this year, for some reason, only a group of guys had made the cut.
This meant that some of the existing male employees at the company did not expect much to look at (cosplaying female employees are always popular at these events), but as it turned out, they got an eyeful.

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For some reason, the opening act involved Isao Negishi, who’s been a game designer at PG for 5 years, being summoned to the stage with veteran programmer Noriyuki Ohtani to do a bizarre (and painful-looking) stunt with a rubber band.

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But fortunately, the audience was placated with a pair of pretty legs in a school uniform when one of the guys sang a lovely AKB 48 medley.

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As you can see, it went down a storm.

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And the crowd got perhaps a bit too rowdy.

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Some acts were even more risqué and featured pretty much full frontal nudity.

Don’t worry, he was wearing underwear.

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All in all, the crowd had a blast, and it was a very successful and entertaining event. The new recruits had apparently spent weeks preparing and rehearsing their acts, but fortunately, the pay-off was proportionate.

Thanks everyone, and welcome to the club!

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The birthday event gets an upgrade!

Platinum Games

Filed: PlatinumGames

Remember Lunch with the President, where president Minami treats employees who have a birthday that month to lunch? Well, it got a big upgrade.

Responding to requests for “more time to talk” and “alcoholic beverages”, Minami decided to make it a party with wine and appetizers this year. Instead of lunchtime, it starts at 5:30, so that everyone can fully enjoy their food and drink and then head right home.

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On the day of the party, everyone who had a birthday that month gathered together, joined by the management. From veteran employees to new grads who just joined the company this April, everyone raised their glasses for a toast.

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The conversation topics flew, but as you might imagine, the discussion quickly turned to games. Minami told someone, “That pitch for a new game looked awesome! I hope we get to make it!” A veteran employee gave some heartfelt advice to a new game designer who was worrying about his game designs: “Stressed out? Well, it’s just gonna get worse from here on. Keep thinking of ideas, and don’t give up!”

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Later on, a certain individual started demanding birthday cake! Minami handed a 10,000 yen bill (approx. $80) to company executive Sato and told him to run, not walk, to a cake shop.

From what I hear, the party lasted late into the evening. :)

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Inaba speaks at Bit-Summit

Platinum Games

Filed: Community, PlatinumGames, Uncategorized

Last weekend was the 3rd Bit-Summit, a game festival held in Kyoto where indie Japanese developers are given the opportunity to showcase their latest projects. Last year’s BitSummit saw attendance rise from 200 to 5,000, demonstrating the growing interest in the indie community of gaming in Japan.

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This year also proved to be a success for the show: attendance was high, and there were plenty of interesting titles displayed along the floor. Some were from larger indie teams such as Q-Games, and some were projects developed entirely by a team of one.

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(Even 8-4, the localization company who helped us out with Metal Gear Rising, were extending their scope to the indie scene)

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(Chance meeting with star PlatinumGames game designer Abebe)

In the midst of all of this was a special talk featuring PlatinumGames’ own Atsushi Inaba.

“Having been a producer all these years, I feel indebted to the community, and want to share what I’ve learned with smaller developers who may just be starting out,” Inaba expressed to the crowd.

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“There was a time when I was in your shoes: the original Phoenix Wright was developed with a team size of around six people. Viewtiful Joe only had about 13. Even when we started PlatinumGames, we weren’t the size we are now. We were a small developer that put everything on the line just to  cut a deal with a publisher and try to make the game we envisioned.”

“I can’t say much about the West, but while Japan’s indie market had almost no presence ten years ago, I feel that’s changed now. In Japan, there has always been a stigma towards standing out and being independent. People think joining a large company and becoming part of the system is the correct thing to do. But independent developers continue to expand and make their place in the industry.”

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“I think the most interesting games I saw here today, however, weren’t games that tried to bank off of the indie feel, but games that chased after a truly original concept and wanted to take gaming somewhere that it hasn’t been yet. At Platinum, I discuss the same kind of possibilities with Kamiya on a daily basis. He’s a bit crazy, but I think that in order to be a creator, that should be the norm.”

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It was a brief talk in the middle of a long day, but the speech no doubt made an impact on many of the start-up groups who had assembled at the event.

Individuality in Game Development (Part 4)

Platinum Games

Filed: Games, PlatinumGames

(Continues from Part 3)

Kai: Sometimes it’s not until things have finally taken shape that Kamiya realizes they have to change. I can understand why he feels the need to make those changes at the 11th hour, but due to schedule and budget constraints, it’s not something that is usually done. At the end of the day, however, what he does, he does for the players.

Shibata: When talking about the actual development floor, the topic usually shifts to Kamiya pretty quick, but I think Executive Producer Atsushi Inaba is even more impressive. Even a small change in the schedule or budget can put you in the red, but he manages to steer us through every time.

Kai: After working with him for so long, I couldn’t agree more. Especially at a place like PlatinumGames, where we put so much focus on quality, he allows us to put out games we can be proud of.

Shibata: Putting out games that are beloved by players is one thing, but games take a lot of money and time, and if you can’t keep paying your staff your company won’t be around for long. I respect Inaba for that – if it wasn’t for his management, Kamiya wouldn’t be able to do all the crazy stuff he does.

Kai: The games we produce are a result of them working in sync. Shibata, as a game designer you work as Kamiya’s right-hand man, helping him come up with ideas. But if given full creative control, what kind of game would you like to make yourself?

Shibata: I don’t have a preference about game structure, but I’d love to make a game with a lot of eroticism and violence, things that are usually a bit of a taboo in the real world. I think what games need are an edge, showing the dark side of the world as much as society will allow.

Kai: Why is that?

Shibata: Let me put it this way: there are acts that, in the real world, would be destructive or hurt others that, in games, are perfectly harmless. Of course, you could say the same about animation, comics, novels, etc., but since games allow you to actually take control of a character in that world it somehow makes you want to break the rules that exist in our society. Allowing people to do evil things, rather than things they would be praised for in real life, is a tried and true tenet of game design. In fact, I am always trying to sneak that kind of content into our games. To an extent the director of that particular project allows, of course.

Kai: I didn’t know you felt that way. Games are separate from the real world, so I can understand the desire to make game worlds something that would never be possible in reality.
How do you feel about the recent changes in production environments?

Shibata: Since we’ve started doing everything with 3D CG, every team has gotten more specialized and separated. I’m not a fan of this. Back in the 2D days, there were only two classes of graphic designer: objects and environments*. Nowadays the object group alone has splintered into various groups. You have design, modeling, animation, effects, and so on. Sometimes I feel that having so much granular separation takes some of the fun out of creating. Even if we do have these different categories, I think it’s important to give our young employees a chance to experience a wide range of tasks, to keep them from being pigeonholed into a single specialization.
*Objects: creation of the main characters, weapons, and items that appear in the game. Environments: creation of backgrounds.

Kai: It might be bad for efficiency, but I’m sure they enjoy the variety. When working on Street Fighter II, I remember that the texture of Ryu’s Hadoken and Dhalsim’s Yoga Fire were completely different. It was clear that those two effects were made by two different people, but in a way there was something nice about that lack of uniformity.

Shibata: I understand the need for efficiency, but there is something fun about making an entire character by yourself. It would be great to handle everything from the original design and modeling to the animation and effects.

Kai: For stuff like that, it would be nice to have an environment where we could just pick from a handful of options floating in the air and say “leave this job to me,” and have full control over it. I feel that this is a more healthy approach than doing what you’re told and then waiting until you’re given your next task. Even when straddling multiple sections, I’d like to consistently have the type of attitude where people can just go: “Hey, if nobody is going to work on this, can I give it a shot?” Whether that kind of system would actually be viable is another thing altogether. Back when I was just starting out I had no experience, and I just wanted to do everything, so I would always wonder “why doesn’t anyone give me anything to do?” or “They should just leave this all to me!” Of course, if someone actually HAD given me free rein to do something I’m sure I would have ended up going “wait, I can’t do this at all!” But it is thanks to experiences like those that I became who I am today. I just wanted to try everything that had to do with making games, even if it meant I just had to input quiz questions. I think there are not enough of these types of environments in game development today.

Shibata: Maybe you’re right. My goal from here on out will be to simply leave something for Inaba that will sell really well. Since we live in a time of tight schedules and even tighter budgets, I just want to help Inaba by giving him something that actually sells really well. It’s the really good games that earn their place in history, so rather than focusing on short-term sales, I want to make something that has a lot of staying power. PlatinumGames was conceived as a company that would strive for more than just financial success, but making good games takes money. For that reason I want to make something for Inaba that I think will sell well and survive the test of time in terms of quality. And with the money we earn from that game, we can keep on making more crazy games in the future. That will be my goal for the time being. I’m not as young as I used to be, though, so I want to make a hit in the next 4 or 5 years.

Kai: That’s a good goal to start off with. After all, if we can’t sell any games now, you’ll never be able to make you dream game down the line. And I do feel like I just get to make whatever pops into my head. I always keep in mind that when you aim to create things, you cannot afford to compromise on your vision. We are able to cross those barriers and speak our minds to staff in other sections. We aim to create an environment where people on the development floor are able to share their own points of view, even if they differ from that of the director or producer.

Shibata: To be honest, I’m not really interested in the particulars of the development environment itself. No matter what situation you may find yourself in, those that can manage to keep up will keep up.

Kai: That phrase nicely sums up your stoic approach to making things, haha. However, as someone who learned a lot in an environment that allowed for trial and error, I’d like to ensure that we make our studio that kind of place as well.

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E3 2015 Highlights

NieR: Automata

Filed: Nier: Automata, PlatinumGames, Star Fox Zero, TRANSFORMERS: Devastation

Hello, everyone. Liz from the localization team at PlatinumGames here!

Today I’ll be telling you about my first E3. Getting to go to E3 was actually a big moment for me – something I dreamed of when I was younger. So, did it live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

This was an especially exciting year to be at E3 as a PlatinumGames employee, because we announced three new titles! I hope all of you are excited for Transformers: Devastation, NieR New Project, and Star Fox Zero. We sure are!

Without further ado, let’s get started. Imagine yourself in sunny LA…

The day before the conference, the guys and I had some extra time, so I decided to take them to a video game store. Now, coming all the way from Japan, I didn’t want to take them to any old chain store, so I did some research and discovered an awesome retro game store in Los Angeles.
The folks there seemed to be excited to meet us when we mentioned that we were from PlatinumGames. Platinum games were prominently displayed in the store windows! Looks like these guys are fans.

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We got a kick out of the old consoles, some literally lying around.

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We were also amused by some recent Splatoon-related decorating that went on…
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The next day, it was off to E3.

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I was somewhat overwhelmed by the conglomeration of people lined up outside the halls, waiting to get in on the first day. It was modest chaos. Forget lining up, these guys are just milling around.

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As soon as the doors opened, there was a rush to the Star Fox Zero demo. Lines for this were long throughout the convention.

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In the afternoon, it was time for our very own Yusuke Hashimoto to appear on Treehouse Live with Miyamoto-san and other Nintendo staff to talk about Star Fox Zero.
(Watch here!)

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Hashimoto did a good job on stage, don’t you think?

There were also other Platinum sightings throughout the con. Of course, it was fun to see the NieR trailer playing at the Square Enix booth. Judging from the crowds, many people seemed intrigued.

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On the second day, I watched Kenji Saito (Director) and Atsushi Kurooka (Producer) talk about Transformers on Twitch! They had several appearances throughout the con, so they were pros at appearing in front of the camera by then. Great job, guys!

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Luckily, I also had a fair amount of time to wander around and see what else E3 had to offer.
One thing that made an impression on me was what a big theme VR was this year. It was all over.

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One of my coworkers reported trying it and feeling a little sick, though! I’ll give it a try… one of these days. ;)

Of course, the console makers’ booths were gargantuan.

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But the third parties weren’t far behind!
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Here are a few more sights from around the convention:

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Con-goers also appreciated the retro gaming area:

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Personally, I had a lot of fun at the indie games area. I enjoyed checking out Wattam (a Katamari Damacy successor), and an Alice-in-Wonderland-based game that was actually an interactive pop-up book.

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So, what other games did I play? I mostly eschewed the long lines, but I did find time to check out Fable: Legends, the new Amplitude, and Life is Strange. I spent a long time immersed in the Life is Strange demo. I’m a sucker for mystery/adventure games, probably the result of my childhood obsession with Myst.

Finally, I have to set aside a moment to discuss one of my other loves in life – food. I really had to restrain myself, or this blog post would have been a long parade of food and drink shots. With the excuse of exposing my Japanese co-workers to American culture, we visited a different restaurant each night. They were pleasantly surprised by the California rolls!

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In conclusion:
Well, it’s hard to wrap up such an overwhelming experience in the format of a blog post. I had been to PAX and other conventions many times before, but this was my first time attending an industry event like E3. While the noise, lighting, and sheer number of people were exhausting, the love and excitement for gaming was truly infectious. It was particularly gratifying to see and hear the anticipation for the three new titles we announced. E3 was a great reminder of what this job is really all about. I was also glad to run into many game industry friends and acquaintances and renew some old ties.

So, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this report a fraction as much as I enjoyed attending E3, and stay tuned for more. Next up: more Scalebound news at Gamescom!

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E3 – A Message from Tatsuya Minami

Platinum Games

Filed: Games, PlatinumGames

E3 is the biggest event in the games industry, and I am very pleased to announce our development of multiple new titles during this year’s show.

Each of the titles we announced is a new kind of challenge for our studio. The reason we’ve taken on these projects is simple. We believe that they are all opportunities for us to exercise our strengths as developers, and collaborations like these lead to final products that both we ourselves, and our fans, will find thrilling.

Our forte is innovative and satisfying action mechanics delivered in an exhilarating package. By playing to our strengths, we believe we can help these beloved IPs shine even brighter – nothing would make us happier than giving our fans exciting new gameplay experiences with these titles.

Finally, even though we haven’t shared anything new with you at this year’s E3, we are working full steam on the development of Scalebound, our next flagship, original creation. We’ll probably be able to share some new information with you at this year’s Gamescom in August.

We can’t wait to continue showing you what is next for PlatinumGames.

PlatinumGames, Inc.

Tatsuya Minami, President and CEO

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