PG Inside: Atsushi Inaba & Hideki Kamiya (Pt. 3)

Platinum Games

Filed: Community, Games, PlatinumGames

The Instrument Called PlatinumGames

Kamiya: I feel a certain bond of trust with all of us who entered Platinum the first year it was founded. It makes you wonder why they chose to come to our company in the first place. My team: Shirai, Sada, Ohkura.

Inaba: We couldn’t do the usual recruiting cycle right after founding the company, so instead we went around asking at game design colleges. I was surprised how many hopped on board this brand new company whose name they had never heard. Of course, it’s those very staff who today form the core of our development teams.

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Kamiya: I believe there is something about our company that attracts people who like to try new things, explore uncharted territory. The reason we are able to split up into teams and make games is that we respect each individual’s originality. Of course, this style can cause some conflicts with new hires who are used to the culture of other companies. But there are also many cases where they are able to move past those conflicts and embrace the PlatinumGames way.

Inaba: That’s true, since you cannot expect a company’s culture to change to fit what you are used to. When you are committed to creating brand new games, the individuality of each staff member becomes very important.

When you think about it, in time this leads to the company taking on a personality of its own. For you, Kamiya, if you cater to the users’ every whim and compromise your vision, it will probably be the last game you ever make. That is why you have to let that personal touch permeate your games. If you have an idea you cannot just keep your mouth shut. If you betray the players’ trust, it will come back and bite you in the ass. It is true that from a management perspective it makes sense to forget inspiration and uncharted territory and go for stability with sequels to proven series. But stability is not the be all and end all. There is nothing wrong with a sequel to a great game, but sometimes there are other things you want to do, things that you need to do.

Kamiya: This may not be directly related, but the games I played before entering the industry hold a special place in my heart. They represent something I aspire to, something I devoted myself to more than studying or relationships. To a certain extent there has been a retro revival in recent years, with many games from the 80s being made available on download services like PS, etc. However, many of the minor titles never have a chance to see the light of day. I think this is the one of biggest shortcomings of modern gaming culture. There is a treasure trove of great games out there, but they are being thrown out and forgotten like yesterday’s trash. A lot of those games are no longer playable. This is a challenge that we, as an industry, have to face.

Inaba: I agree. We grew up alongside games – they are more than just a job for us. I am sure there are others out there who feel the same way about video games. Who knows, in the future there may be fans who feel just as passionately about PlatinumGames titles.

Kamiya: If those people, in turn, end up pursuing a career in the game industry, we can really say we had an impact on their lives. Those impressionable years back in middle school ended up determining the direction of the rest of my life. If we can inspire others to devote themselves to games, nothing would make me happier.

Inaba: To make that dream a reality, it is up to me to foster an environment that allows people like Kamiya to continue to express their creativity. At the same time, I have to keep an eye on the next generation, and make sure they are able to produce Kamiya’s games after me. Well, until Kamiya’s career is finished, I’m prepared to keep supporting him as his producer.

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Kamiya: Yeah, I have been getting all self-important about my style as a director, but at the end of the day I’m just happy to be able to make games in a place like this. I mean, there are plenty of companies who keep you on a tight schedule, making sequels to games where they could change the entire development staff without anybody noticing. The only reason I am even able to go on like this about creativity is that I work in this environment. I’m not out there making games by myself – it is thanks to the development staff and everyone at PlatinumGames. I can’t picture myself anywhere else.

Inaba: I agree that our development environment is essential. But for me as a producer, I have to take a more active role in creating and maintaining my ideal office space. I don’t mean that in the sense of a floor plan or anything like that – I see the PlatinumGames environment as an “instrument”, a tool to bring out the best in our employees. In a way, it is a bit similar to a theme park, guiding the experience of those inside. I can’t say I have realized my ideals yet, but slowly but surely I am getting there.

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PG inside: Atsushi Inaba & Hideki Kamiya (PT. 2)

Platinum Games

Filed: Community, Games, PlatinumGames

key-visual10

For the Sake of a Better Game

Inaba: One of the projects I worked on together with Kamiya that I remember particularly well is Viewtiful Joe. He had been a director before for Devil May Cry, but for Joe, I had him do the original game design documents and control the direction of the entire project. I told him, “I want you to work this out alone, without anyone’s help!” In order to give him free reign over the feel of the game world, I oversaw the project as a producer, and kept the team size small.

Kamiya: When I first entered the industry I went right into work on Biohazard. There was already a large team involved, with many experienced staff ready to lend me a hand. But with Viewtiful Joe I was in charge of all the planning and directing from the beginning.

Inaba: I still remember, during the days of Viewtiful Joe and Okami there were times when I thought you had totally lost your way. At one point during the latter half of development, you stopped giving people directions and handed the staff a design document that was basically a blank sheet. I should point out, the way Kamiya makes games is not logical; it starts from a feeling, “This scene looks good.” A director`s job is to fix an overall direction that a game will take, look at what his teams brings him each day, and decide whether it is good or bad. The problem was that there was a while when you weren’t able to make those critical choices. When a director is able to logically oversee a game without any issues, a producer like me can just focus on the people, resources, and capital management needed to deliver a solid product. But back then, I was mostly preoccupied with supporting you and making sure you were able bring things together.

Kamiya: I honestly had no idea what kind of game it would turn into.

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Inaba: I still occasionally reflect on the project. It wasn’t a logical game from the very outset. Whereas with Okami it started with you saying “I want to draw nature,” and I was just like, “Wow, that`s cool.”

Kamiya: I put a large emphasis on the quality of graphics in my games; I want the player to feel like they can almost taste the air around them when they are moving through the game world. Unlike the horror games I had worked on in the past, I wanted players to feel good when they saw the vast and beautiful landscape. That was the thought process that gave birth to the idea for Okami.

Inaba: However, the original concept you pitched back then was impossible to realize on consoles at the time. It would probably still be impossible today. About 2 months into the project we realized this and changed the art style accordingly. Originally “Okami” was supposed to be a game in which players could create realistic drawings through gameplay. It became clear this was just not feasible. However, through this process the concept of drawing a 3-dimensional ink painting was born, so I can`t say we were just wasting our time. That said, even though we had the art style in place from quite early on, the all-important game system itself took much longer to come together. I remember getting pretty angry, not just at Kamiya, but at the rest of the team as well.

Kamiya: Unfortunately, no matter how much I get yelled at I can`t come up with ideas I don`t have; I mean, it`s not like I was just fooling around all day. That said, the work we did at Clover Studio felt like the beginning of a large swell of creativity that continues to this day.

Inaba: The title was already announced and was being held up as the first big original game from Clover Studio. The only thing we had at that point was the promotional footage, but man, did it ever look pretty, haha. I`ve mellowed out quite a bit so I can no longer bring myself to get mad at people who are at least in their seat each day trying their best, but back then I didn’t show much compassion, and I was basically just yelling at people all the time.inside_4

Kamiya: At the time the team got together and we were all wondering if Okami would end up a failure. There was even some talk of it being cancelled. I responded saying that it would be a tragedy to release the game out into the wild in the state it was in; that`s how rough a state it was in for a while. I would start to shudder just imagining the users trying the game and feeling disappointed…if it was going to come to that I`d rather the game be cancelled.

Inaba: Yeah, and just forget the whole project ever happened. The time and love you put into it won’t be returned; those scars remain. But at least the users are spared. In that sense it can sometimes be better to cancel a game.

Kamiya: It`s true that both Inaba and I have a ton of treasured memories about games, but on the other hand we`ve suffered our share of disappointment at the hands of ill-fated projects. Back when we were kids, games were even more expensive than they are now. If you could get even one game per year you were lucky. Make a mistake and you wanted to scream, “I spent my hard-earned cash on this!?”

Inaba: We still face challenges as a small-staffed studio working on high-spec hardware. There are certainly times when we have to cut various features due to limitations on our end. However, I refuse to let challenges on our side dictate the entire course of production; it is not fair to the player. Instead of using these difficulties as excuses for compromising on quality, we just need to be that much more creative.

Kamiya: I`m not the type to organize all the individual moving parts of a game beforehand, so there are often times when I haven`t worked everything into the schedule. I often come up with good ideas in the middle of production, and the finished product ends up even better than I expected. I know it is a bit risky; I often think, “Man, I really came up with that in the nick of time.” But if that idea will make the game better, you have to do what it takes to get it in there.”

inside_5Inaba: Kamiya`s experience combined with a certain logical backbone are what allow him to see how the parts of a game fit together, but he comes out with the wildest ideas at the 11th hour. “Oh hey, I just came up with something!”
We have all come to dread those words. But when it turns out to be a great idea – and as gamers ourselves we all know a good idea when we see one – we just have to pull up our bootstraps and get it done.

Kamiya: It just so happens I was talking about this with a second-year programmer named Hirate today. If we as creators start deciding right off the bat that something is impossible, we will never be able to make anything. Imagine a game designer who is told by his artists and programmers that what he`s asking is impossible. It`s not like he can do those things himself; he`s finished. Good designers and programmers don`t let it end with “impossible.” The type of staff I trust the most are the people who will offer suggestions: “I can`t do that…but what about this?”
I believe that there are many people like that at Platinum. The thing that gets me most annoyed is when people come to me asking for me to okay some decision. I think I`ve broken everyone`s bad habits, but in the past it was rampant. I`d ask them to do something for me, and they`d come back saying “Is this okay?” I`d reply: “Don’t ask me what’s okay, show me what you think is okay!”

Inaba: On the other hand, you’re putting a lot of responsibility on their shoulders like that. But I have to admit that I too, as a producer, most enjoy the moments when someone reports back to me with an idea that exceeds my expectations.

Kamiya: Exactly. As a game fan myself, that joy even rivals that of trying a brand new game. That feeling of excitement takes me back to my experiences as a kid. The games I`ve worked on are filled with ideas that I didn`t come up with, ideas I couldn`t have come up with… in a way that`s what allows me to keep making games I truly enjoy.

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Bayonetta takes the stage at E3 2014!

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Games

Bayonetta is back in a big way at this year’s E3!

Our favorite witch’s adventures take a whole new turn in the Wii U-exclusive Bayonetta 2. Pass through the Gates of Hell and take part in even bigger battles with crazier weapons as we push Bayonetta to the next level. But that wasn’t our only surprise this year.

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Your feedback was loud and clear, so along with announcing more info on the release of Bayonetta 2, we made it happen: the original Bayonetta is coming to the Wii U with all new Nintendo-inspired costumes and added features!!

Both Bayonetta 2 and the original Bayonetta will go on sale in the US in October 2014, and will be packaged and sold together! It’s the perfect way to experience the story of the Umbra Witches in a single go!

Bayonetta, and Bayonetta 2, are both rated M for Mature.

Keep your eyes on this blog for more Bayonetta news in the coming days and weeks!

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The Bayonetta 2 Developer’s Blog Begins!

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2, Games

Hi, this is Bayonetta 2’s director, Yusuke Hashimoto. How are you?

E3 2014 is finally here, and as attendees are trying out our new playable Bayonetta 2 demo, we have even more exciting information to share with you today.

First, take a look at our newest trailer!

 

 

Adding to the bow and arrow we saw in our previous trailer, this newest trailer reveals a set of flamethrowers and one absolutely huge hammer. What did you think?

We also see more of the mysterious boy in this trailer—he seems to know something about the Gates of Hell? Then we take a peek into Inferno itself, see some enemies that definitely aren’t angels, and hear some concerning words from Rodin. Will Bayonetta be able to save the soul of her best friend Jeanne from the grips of Inferno?

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We’ve also learned more info on the game’s release date—Bayonetta 2 will be heading to the US in October 2014!

Every copy of Bayonetta 2 will come with a special Wii U version of the original Bayonetta! See how amazing Climax Action can feel playing with touch controls on the Wii U GamePad! This exclusive Wii U version will also contain a special set of costumes hand-picked by the original game’s director, Hideki Kamiya himself! From hardcore action fan to complete novice gamer, this Bayonetta is guaranteed to be a thrill ride.

All right, let’s bring the discussion back to Bayonetta 2.

Now that the official teaser site is up (http://bayonetta2.nintendo.com/), expect to be getting regular updates of exciting info right up until the game’s release. Be sure to bookmark it! We’ll be posting developer blogs with making of videos and other behind the scenes info you can’t find anywhere else right here, so don’t forget to keep checking us out as well!

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Next blog:

We’ll hear from the director of the original Bayonetta’s Wii U port, Isao Negishi. See what he has to say about how we’ve powered up the Wii U version, the thought process that went into Kamiya’s new costume selection, and a whole lot more. Stay tuned!

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Bayonetta 2 coming to Wii U in 2014!

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2, Community, Games, PGTV, PlatinumGames

Hi, this is the director for Bayonetta 2, Yusuke Hashimoto. Hope everyone has been well.

Did you enjoy seeing Bayonetta in the latest Nintendo Direct? You can check out the newest trailer here:

As we’re using this post to touch base with our fans, why don’t we take a little time discussing what the “2” in our new Bayonetta means. It’s a sequel: we’ve taken the characters, story, and gameplay of the original and built upon them.

In addition to the original’s gameplay system—dodging at the last minute to perform Witch Time, saving up your Magic Gauge to use Torture Attacks—Bayonetta 2 includes a new feature called Umbran Climax. Now saving your Magic Gauge also gives you the option to unleash a combo made of successive Wicked Weave and Infernal Demon summons. This wide-ranged attack can effectively give you free rein over the battlefield.

We’ve escalated the Climax Action in other ways as well, take a look these, starting with the E3 2013 trailer:

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In our playable demo at E3 last year, you got to experience fighting on a jet and taking care of a rampaging Gomorrah. Now we have our new footage of Bayonetta caught in an epic battle of summons with a masked sage. This time the action is going to take you to all different places, be it land or sky. There will be exciting new situations of all types.

Eventually I’d like to talk about the new looks we’ve given the characters, and about the story as well. Stay put until then.

We’re starting to reach the climax stage of development here at Platinum as well. I’m excited to see what you’ll think. See you again!

2/14/2014

Yusuke Hashimoto (Director)

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W101 Blog Ep. 26: Tips & Tricks Part 2

The Wonderful 101

Filed: Games, PlatinumGames, The Wonderful 101

Hey there, it’s Ichi!

So there I was, thinking it might be nice to write some tips & tricks for you, and before I knew it, I was staring at a wall of text of about 4000 words, so I decided to split the thing into 2 parts.
So without further ado, let us commence with Part 2, the sequel if you will, of our Tips & Tricks section.

Whether you’ve already finished the game or if you’re only just starting, these are all tips and tricks that are sure to make you want to replay the game, so make sure to check them out!

- UNITE… D’OH!
I’m sure you’ve all been in situations where you needed to cancel the Wonder-Liner, such as when you messed up when drawing the Wonder-Liner around something or when switching to a different Unite Morph, or when your hand slipped and hit the right stick or something (it happens!).
Normally, you’d press the Y button to restore the team’s formation, but there are some cases where carelessly pressing the Y button could actually put you in danger.

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Both attacking and assembling will result in Unite Claw being dissolved. What is the team of superheroes to do!?

For instance when you’re climbing a wall with Unite Claw. Pressing the Y button will dissolve the Unite Morph, causing everyone to fall.
Or when you have a Unite Hand bathed in flames, or a Unite Sword sizzling with electricity. These special effects will be lost as well when you dissolve the Unite Morph.

If you want to cancel the Wonder-Liner without dissolving a Unite Morph, just keep calm, don’t panic, and press the left stick button. This will allow you to quickly gather all members in your team.

- Keep ‘em Comboing
Unite Hand can be set aflame by catching fire attacks or by touching torches.
A burning Unite Hand isn’t just capable of setting fire to enemies, it can also shoot fireballs to attack enemies from a distance!

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Everything is more awesome when it’s on fire!

What you might not know, however, is that it’s possible to gain this fire element in places where there are no flames. Try to rack up the combo multiplier to 2.5 by continuously attacking the enemy. This will cause the true power of Unite Hand to awaken, creating a flame effect.

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Unite Hand goes up in flames when the combo multiplier reaches 2.5

The same thing goes for Unite Sword. If the combo multiplier reaches 2.5, Unite Sword will be covered in a coating of dazzling electricity.

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Unite Sword gets electrified when the combo multiplier reaches 2.5

The electricity effect causes enemies to be paralyzed for a short while.
Once you’ve become more proficient at the game and learn how to pull off powerful combos, these element attacks are something you should definitely keep in mind.

- Shooting for Style
As you progress in the game, you will reach a shooting stage that uses an isometric point of view.
The enemies don’t mess around here, so I’m guessing a lot of players might have trouble with this particular stage if they’re trying to get the Platinum Trophy.

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You can use a variety of Unite Morphs in this stage, but did you notice that it’s also possible to use Unite Guts by pressing the ZL button?

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The answer to bullet hell, like so many things, is pudding.

Believe it or not, but Unite Guts actually allows you to absorb enemy bullets. Enemy bullets can also be extinguished by using Unite Bomb, but absorbing them actually extends you the tremendous service of filling your Unite Gauge. This shooting stage doesn’t require a lot of Unite Gauge though, so smart players might want to equip the “Energy Converter” Custom Block and see what happens…

But if you want to gain a high score, you’ll need to do more than just avoid being shot down. You’ll have to find a way of earning combo points somehow.
But you’re in luck, because I have just the easy “get combo points quick” scheme you require!

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There are passages where giant weights come crashing down repeatedly.
Normally, you’d just wait for the right moment to slip through, but in fact, the Unite Hammer and its ability to “stop heavy things coming in from above” come in very handy here.

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Stopping the weights will earn you points. We’ve made this too easy for you, really.

The falling weights will not only be reflected, but you will earn bonus points to boot.
Up to this point, the game had been about desperately avoiding the weights, but now you’ll want to position yourself right under there to bounce those weights back and rack up some serious points!

*Bonus*
When your vessel changes direction, exhaust flames will come out of its thrusters.
If you keep waggling the left stick, you can keep a fairly constant stream of flames going, and the nice thing about this is that they actually pack quite a punch.

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Try hitting enemies that come up from behind. You can destroy them easily AND look cool at the same time.

It takes a little bit of practice to actually hit anything, but if you do manage to pull it off, it will make you look like a boss like nobody’s business.

- The Commander is Watching
If, while playing the game, your mom decides that she wants to talk to you, or if you suddenly have to go to the toilet, opening the Status Screen with the + button is a good and easy way of dealing with the situation, but did you know that the game can be paused by pressing the + button and the – button at the same time?

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It has the same effect in that it momentarily freezes the action, but pausing the game via the latter method does not involve the screen changing. Instead, you can just see the action still frozen in the background.
The advantage of this is that it tells you exactly what you were doing when you start playing again, so if you need to pause the game during battle, I recommend you press the + and – button simultaneously.

“Get back here this instant! The world depends on you!” – Commander Nelson

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There’s no escaping the all-seeing eye of Commander Nelson.
His comment is different for every single stage, so fans of the good Commander might want to pause the game even if there’s no good reason, just to see what he has to say.

- See-Through Masks
During dialogue cutscenes, the character that is speaking is displayed on the screen along with a speech bubble that shows what they are saying.

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Top: Regular version, Bottom: Use the ZR button to make the mask transparent.

If you press the ZR button during these dialogues, the mask of the character will become transparent, allowing you to see the expressions of their eyes.
Haven’t you ever wondered what these characters really look like underneath their masks? Even if you’ve seen particular cutscenes lots of times already, watching them again with transparent masks will make them feel fresh and… uh… less masky.

You can also hide the speech bubbles by holding down the L button, and you can hide both the speech bubbles and the character by holding down the R button.

Pink without Text Pink without Pink

Top: Hide the speech bubble with the L button, Bottom: Hide the speech bubble and the character with the R button

This is a nice feature if you want to see what’s hiding behind those speech bubbles.

- Skipping the Skipping Process
If you’re playing the game for the umpteenth time, you might get slightly annoyed by having to press the + button and selecting whether you want to skip a cutscene or not. If that is the case, try pressing the + button and the ZL button at the same time. This will allow you to skip the “Skip this cutscene?” prompt.

- Failure Can Be Fun
Throughout the game, there are QTEs where you are called upon by a Wonderful One to create a Unite Morph.

Unite Gun QTE ng

They aren’t terribly hard to pull off and you get a relatively good amount of time as well, so there probably aren’t a whole lot of players who keep failing over and over again.
Which is a bit of a pity, since we’ve actually gone to great lengths to create entertaining failure scenes. If you don’t feel comfortable making your poor heroes fail on purpose, just save the world once… and then make everything go wrong on a second playthrough! You might see some unexpected sides to the characters you’ve come to know and love.

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There’s even a QTE that you have to fail 10 times before anything happens…

- The Secret of the Sound Gallery
By now, I’m sure you’re all completely smitten with that wondrous theme song “The Won-Stoppable Wonderful 100.”
You can listen to this song until tiny heroes start falling out of your ears in the Sound Gallery that is unlocked after completing the game, but did you know there’s a way of removing the vocals and listening to the instrumental version?

Lyrics

To do so, you only have to press the right stick button while the song is playing. Press it once to have the vocals fade out. Press it a second time to have them fade in again.
This works for both the Japanese and the English version of the song. You can also check the lyrics on the GamePad screen, so there’s nothing stopping you from singing along at the top of your voice (except for your neighbors perhaps).

Also, and this isn’t mentioned on the screen, you can pause/unpause the music by pressing the X button at any point during the track. This is perfect for those moments when you’re enjoying a long track and you get a phone call or a sudden craving for donuts.

And that’s it for today, boys and girls!
Across two separate posts, I’ve introduced some of the tips & tricks I could think of off the top of my head, but I have the feeling that there are still a lot of hidden goodies in the game that I forgot to mention… In fact, I’m quite sure about it.

At the risk of sounding like a strategy guide from the 80s: “You’ll just have to find out for yourself!”

If you’ve finished the game many times already, if you’re right in the middle the story, or even if you’re about to plunge into the battle with GEATHJERK for the first time, I hope this blog post has managed to tickle your desire for adventure a bit.

Until next time!

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W101 Blog Ep. 25: Tips & Tricks

The Wonderful 101

Filed: Games, PlatinumGames, The Wonderful 101

Hello everyone, it’s Ichi!

The Wonderful 101 has been out in Japan and Europe for a while now and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our fans. Thanks, everyone!
And now the game’s finally out in the US too! Yay! We’re looking forward to hearing what our American friends think of the game as well.
And even though it’s been more than 3 weeks since The Wonderful 101 first saw the light of day, we feel pretty confident in saying that probably extremely few people have been able to uncover every single secret so far.
Now that the game is out everywhere, there’s surely going to be an arms race over who can 100% the game first, so you might want to prepare a sleeping bag and a bunch of midnight snacks, because this game boasts more content than you can shake a Wonder-Liner at! (seriously)

For those of you who are just aching to explore every nook and cranny of The Wonderful 101, I have a special blog post today that introduces a lot of tips & tricks that cannot be found in previous blog posts or in the electronic manual.

The list starts off with all of the tips that are most useful when trying to get the most out of the experience, so even those who think they’ve already dominated the game can jump right in and I’m sure you’ll find something that’ll make you want to go back and see if you can improve your performance. So let’s get going!

- The High-Speed Wonder-Liner
Good news for people who like to use the right stick to control the Wonder-Liner!

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If you hold down the L button while pushing the right stick, the Wonder-Liner will move slightly faster than normal.
This is a small trick that you can use right from the start of the game, and if you buy the Speed Liner skill, the liner will move even faster! This might be a little bit too much for novice players, but more experienced players may find an entirely new dimension of gameplay here.

- Make Clever Use of the Dash!
Dashing is very useful when moving through stages and dodging attacks during battle, so you’ll be doing it a lot. I’m sure that a lot of you are probably holding down the Y button while dashing, so you might be surprised to find out that the leader will actually keep on running even if you immediately let go of the Y button after pushing it.

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You’ll keep dashing even after letting go of the Y button.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with holding down the Y button the whole time, but in some occasions this might cause some inconvenience.

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For instance, when you’re trying to aim for a Climb Attack.
If you’re trying to avoid enemy attacks by dashing while at the same time sending out team members for a Climb Attack, pressing the Y button would only result in the members that are climbing the enemy returning to the leader.
(If you hear a whistle, this means the leader is signaling everyone to assemble)

If you want to have the leader dash without interrupting the Climb Attack, just quickly tap the Y button while moving and immediately let go again.

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“Alright, guys, it’s up to you now!” Dashing while sending out buddies for a Climb Attack

If you use this method to dash, only the team members who have nothing on their hands at that moment will follow the leader.
However, the group will not be as tightly packed together as when you hold down the Y button, so all members apart from the leader might be more susceptible to enemy attacks.

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If you hold down the Y button, the party will dash in a more compact formation

On the other hand, if you hold down the Y button, all team members will huddle up around the leader, meaning they are not as likely to be hit by enemy attacks. Even better, as long as you hold down the Y button, your team members will actually dodge enemy attacks automatically! Do take note that they will stop attacking automatically at this point though.
This means you’ll only have to worry about controlling the leader and making sure he or she does not get hit. It does have the disadvantage of Climb Attacks being interrupted, but this movement method is much more suited for avoiding attacks.

The choice is yours: do you let go of the Y button instantly to focus on Climb Attacks, or do you hold down the button to play more evasively? The way you use the dashing function actually adds a new layer to the combat!

- Locking On & High-Speed Homing
As you know, Team Attacks let you hurl your team members at enemies in order to climb them. But this offensive strategy has another function outside of setting up a Climb Attack.

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When a Team Attack hits an enemy, a bright ring appears.
This ring indicates that you are “locking on” to the enemy and that, if you whip out a Unite Attack, it will automatically home in towards enemy.

rising1 rising2

Even skills like Wonderful Rising can hit from a distance.

Pick off the enemy from a distance with long-range Unite Morphs, or use a melee-oriented Unite Morph to instantly move in for a beating.
Even if the enemies are not within reach, it’s possible to defeat one after another at a very high pace without having to walk around, as long as you perform a Team Attack first and then dish out a Unite Attack. This should be a great help in reducing your completion time.
This high-speed homing effect also works on airborne enemies, so if you make good use of it, you might just be able to rack up some crazy air combos…?

- The Right Stick Controls the Cave Camera
There are certain narrow places in the game, such as warehouses and caves, where the action switches to the GamePad when you enter. These places use the gyro sensor of the Wii U GamePad, allowing the player to look around the area by moving the pad around.

souko

However, there are probably a lot of you who play the game while lying down or while maintaining some other state of relaxation that could make it difficult to swing the GamePad around too much. Or indeed, there may be some of you who cannot be bothered with all this new-fangled gyro mumbo jumbo in the first place.
So to the lazier/get-off-my-lawn type of gamer, I would like to say the following: try holding down the R button once the action switches to the GamePad. This will allow you to switch off the gyro sensor camera control temporarily.

Even in this state, the camera automatically adjusts itself to the direction the characters are moving in, so you don’t have to worry too much about it, but it is also possible to use the right stick to move the camera horizontally and vertically, so you should try this out as well. (If you want to draw the Wonder-Liner inside a cave, don’t forget to let go of the R button!)

- The Secret to Taunting
Has it ever happened to you that the leader of the team shouted out something like “We WILL use force!” or “Let’s rock, dudes and dudettes!” out of nowhere?
The existence of the “Taunt” has already been hinted at, but the time has come to reveal all.

bluster1

Successfully pulling off a taunt creates a sparkly effect around the leader. Fabulous!

You can perform a taunt by standing still near an enemy during battle, facing the enemy, and holding down the left stick button or holding down the X button and A button simultaneously.
Be careful though, because jumping, dashing or attacking right after taunting will cause the effect to be canceled.

bluster2

Nothing like a one-liner to get people riled up!

Taunting has 2 effects:
– Your heroes’ attack power will go up.
Be aware that performing a taunt will not actually enrage the enemy.
The point is more to show off as a hero and to raise your party’s morale.

– By tapping the Y button, you will be able to activate “Unite Camp.”
Under normal circumstances, Unite Camp is activated by holding down the Y button.
However, it can be activated more quickly by tapping the Y button after taunting. Activating Unite Camp will completely refill your Unite Gauge, so clever use of this trick is tremendously useful in battle!

- Beware the Giant Whip
Let’s talk about those spike-armored pains-in-the-rear, the Gedie Dough-Goo.
I’m sure a lot of you think that beating them is a time-consuming and risky business, what with all the whipping and the peeling and then some more of the whipping and the peeling.

9

It’s almost like some bizarre ritual dance.

It helps to know then, that when a Gedie Dough-Goo is staggering, you can peel off several parts at once by creating as large a Unite Whip as possible.
If the Unite Whip is large enough, you can take off a huge chunk of the Gedie Dough-Goo’s armor, and it’s even possible to completely strip him naked in only two staggers.

unmantle

I hear spiky armor parts fetch a nice penny at the local pawn shop.

Did you know that the moment the Gedie Dough-Goo starts spinning is actually your best chance? Many players might be inclined to run away to avoid being hit, but hitting the Gedie Dough-Goo with a Unite Whip while its spinning actually makes it easier to stagger.

spin

This looks like a tight situation, but it’s actually a blessing in disguise. WHIP IT!

Get a nice, large party together and witness the devastating force of Unite Whip! If you’re not very good at drawing large shapes in the heat of battle, you should purchase the Unite Charge Custom Block.

- The Mysterious Mystery Circles
When you defeat an enemy, they very occasionally drop GEATHJERK weaponry.
They all have a limited number of uses, but they more than make up for it in terms of devastating force.

laser

These weapons can be obtained, if you’re lucky. But there might just be a way of stealing them purposely…

mystery

The hint lies in the moment the enemies appear.
Pay close attention. You might discover some kind of pattern.

weapon

While carrying an enemy weapon, its weight will greatly decrease your movement speed. If this is more trouble than it’s worth, quickly shake the left stick left and right to drop the weapon on the spot.

“No way, I wanna use this on the next enemy that appears!” you might say. In that case you should use Unite Ball, which lets you move around at high speed while keeping the weapon in your possession.

- Suspicious Figures Appearing during Wonderful Missions
You can play Wonderful Missions together with your friends and family.
Once you’ve fulfilled “certain conditions” some new figures might appear…!?

wonderful_secret

They only appear during the first mission of each stage.
If you have an idea of what these “certain conditions” may be, try scouting around the stage carefully.

But I could sit here telling you about the plethora of secrets hidden away in The Wonderful 101 until the Wonder-Cows come home (UNITE MOO!), so I’ll stop here for today, since this post is getting long enough as it is.

But!

The fun doesn’t stop here. There are still many tips & tricks I haven’t told you about!
So instead of just throwing them all your way at once, I’ve decided to split them into 2 separate posts.

So the list continues next time, with many more bits of knowledge, ranging from the “this is cool to know!” to the “what the heck am I supposed to do with that!?”

Stay tuned everyone!

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W101 Blog Ep. 24: Wonderful Missions! Fun with Friends and Family!

The Wonderful 101

Filed: Games, PlatinumGames, The Wonderful 101

Hey there, it’s Ichi.
Just a few more days left until the North American release of The Wonderful 101! I’m sure everyone in the US is itching to punch some GEATHJERK in the face, and the time is almost upon us!
In the meanwhile, European players may already have vanquished the alien threat and seen the ending of the game.

Some of you may even have started a second playthrough on a higher difficulty already. Or perhaps you’re backtracking through stages to find any items or team members you might have missed?
Whichever is the case, it should be clear that this game has a crazy amount of content and you won’t be fully completing it that quickly. However, sometimes you might just want to take a break from your single player adventures and “Unite Up!” with friends and family.

So for today, let’s have a look at the “Wonderful Missions,” a co-op mode that allows up to 5 players to play together.

If you’re going to play the Wonderful Missions, you’re obviously going to need enough controllers for everyone. The person using the standard Wii U GamePad will be player 1, so if you’re going to play with 5 players, you’ll need to get controllers for 4 more people.

Be aware, however, that this game cannot be played with the Wii Remote alone. You’ll need a Wii U Pro Controller or a Wii Remote + Classic Controller Pro combo.

Controller

The game controls more smoothly with a Classic Controller Pro than you might think. We highly recommend it!

Title

Wonderful Missions exist separately from Story Mode on the title screen. They contain stages that were specially designed for co-op play, and the point is to defeat the hordes of GEATHJERK as quickly and wonderfully as you can.

You can support your friends if they’re not very good at action games, or you can aim for spectacular combinations to rack up amazing scores.

missionselect

This is where you select Wonderful Missions. It’s also a good place to take a breather.

If you select Wonderful Missions, you’ll be brought to the arena pictured above.
This is also the place where your friends will be able to join in or drop out.
Once all players have gathered together, you can start the challenge.

There are separate stages for each of the 3 difficulties: Easy, Normal and Hard, so pick the one you like and enter the portal!

Mission Select

Brave heroes can even face the challenges alone.

Once the stage starts, enemies will swarm you instantly. Cooperate with your buddies to destroy them.
Each team starts with a total of 50 members distributed equally.
In other words, if you play alone, player 1 gets all 50 members. If you play with 5 people, each player will start with a team of 10 members.

Multi1

Basic combat works the same as in the main game, but there are some new rules.
For instance…

- The Vitality Gauge is shared by all players.
A true hero never lets his buddies get in trouble.

- You get unlimited use of the Unite Gauge.
Let loose a flurry of Unite Attacks on your opponents.

- Hand, Sword, Gun, Whip, Hammer, Claw, Bomb; all Unite Morphs are available from the beginning.
Everyone should pick the weapon they like best.

- Any skills and Unite Morphs you obtained at the Wonderful Mart in the main game can be used here.
Try the missions after getting stronger and you might get an even higher score!?
However, Custom Blocks have no effect.

- Drawing the Wonder-Liner will not slow down time.
Heroes should work together to create an opening for quickly drawing symbols.

- Items obtained during the stage can only be used by the player in possession of the Wii U GamePad (player 1).

“Ugh, there’s too many of them! Requesting the launch of a Fire Victory Torpedo!”
“Negative! Torpedoes fully depleted! Vitality Gauge dangerously low!”
“Then eat that bowl of noodles we picked up before!”
“Roger!”

If you want a certain item to be used, don’t hesitate to let your fellow players know. It’ll be fun to shout at each other!

missionresult

Phew… we managed to get through this somehow…

Once all enemies have been defeated, each player’s mission results will be displayed.
The number of combo points affects the rank of each player, but it does not influence the evaluation of the mission itself. It’s the O-parts you pick up during the mission that have a major impact on the mission evaluation, so if you’re going for a high score, make sure to leave no cash uncollected.

Contrary to the main game, there is no O-parts bonus for racking up combo points, so the important thing is to keep defeating enemies at a steady pace.

treasure

You can even find money by hitting certain spots!?

And then there’s Bonus Time.

bonustime

Yahoo! Money! Items! And, uh, citizens!

Just look at all that money spawning everywhere!
But it’s not just about moolah, the citizens have come running to your support too, so making an active effort to recruit them is a wise course of action as well. They provide some much-needed power, so they’re bound to lead to internal strife amongst players.

The length of Bonus Time depends on the results of the preceding mission. This means that diligent heroes will be rewarded with due riches, just like in real life…?

mission2

Party’s over! The next mission is already waiting.

Each stage is made up of 3 missions.
Use the 2 Bonus Time periods in between to create as big a party as you can.
Keep in mind though that there is a limit to how many members you can drag around. Once the total number of members reaches 150, you won’t be able to recruit new members anymore.

In other words: first come, first served. So does this mean that players that lose in the battle for recruiting troops will have to fight with a tiny party until the very end!?

The answer is ‘no.’

steal1

What’s this? Some downed members up for grabs?

That’s right, there’s a rule that states that “heroes that have been downed by an enemy attack can be recruited into anyone’s team.”

steal2

Work that Wonder-Liner magic. Don’t look at it as stealing; it’s more like borrowing indefinitely.

When collecting heroes from someone else’s team, you don’t have your leader touch them, but you draw a circle around them with the Wonder-Liner.

steal3

Yoink! I mean, uh, rescue mission successful!

Pretty sweet, no?
This allows you to quickly regenerate scattered heroes, even when one of your buddies is in danger. When you have more members on your team, your Unite Morphs will be bigger and you’ll even be able to use Multi Unite Morphs. Surely that’s enough incentive to turn even the Dalai Lama into a thieving scoundrel.

Or so you’d think…

snatch1 snatch2

Just when you least expect it, someone you trusted Unite Gutses you in the back…

What is this madness!?

In the blink of an eye, your buddy (that jerk holding the controller next to you!) uses Unite Guts to repel the attacks of his own teammate!

snatch3 snatch4

And of course that means heroes scattering everywhere.

snatch5 snatch6

And then all of them were stolen. It all happened so fast, officer!

There are more ways of having fun with the game than just playing fair.

But of course you’re all smart enough to cooperate with your fellow heroes to protect earth from the GEATHJERK scum, right? You would never start a mudslinging contest with your friends in the face of an alien invasion, would you? WOULD YOU?

Consolation

I need to go find some new friends.

Once you’ve battled your way through all 3 stages, you will get to see the overall results. At this point all should be forgiven, and you should just praise each other’s hard work.

A portion of the money (O-parts) you earn here is transferred to the main game as well.
Wonderful Missions don’t consume a lot of time, so they’re good for making a quick buck in between story missions, for practicing combos or just for taking your mind off things.
And of course they’re a source of great fun if you compete with your friends to get the highest score.

Don’t forget to post your results on Miiverse! (*Click here for more information on Miiverse!)
Everyone’s aching to see how you’re doing.

Until next time!

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W101 Blog Ep. 23: Bottle-Caps!

The Wonderful 101

Filed: The Wonderful 101

Hey, it’s Ichi!

It’s been some days since the European and Japanese releases of the game, so how’s everyone faring with The Wonderful 101 so far?

Since the game allows you to “revive on the spot” when you go Game Over, anyone should be able to complete the game as long as you keep selecting Continue. On the other hand, if you just want to blast through the stages kicking GEATHJERK behind left and right without worry, you can always switch to Easy or Very Easy along the way.
There’s no shame in playing through Easy to earn loads of O-parts and buy lots of items, before you start challenging Normal mode!

If you just keep replaying the same stages, you’ll get the hang of combat before long, and you’ll find out quick and easy ways of earning O-parts. You’ll probably even find hidden items that you hadn’t noticed before, and your team members will be leveling up all the while as well, so there’s a lot of merit to replaying stages you’ve already cleared.

This is just my sly way of segueing into today’s topic: replayability!

If you’ve spent some time with the game, you might have obtained one of these little trinkets at some point:

getcrown

Somewhere out there, there’s a bottle feeling cold and lonely right now.

You got a “Bottle-Cap!”

There is a large variety of Bottle-Caps, each of which is unlocked through specific conditions.
Some of them are relatively easy to earn, others can only be acquired by the most indomitable warriors… And there’s a whopping 100 of them!

You can check the Bottle-Caps you collected any time you want by going to “Bottle-Cap Collection” on the Status screen.

ProjectK 2013-08-28 11-38-55-63 50 members

This is just a small part of the entire collection. The ones that are flipped over are the ones you haven’t earned yet.

The ones that are flipped over contain hints as to how to obtain them.
Keep these hints in mind when replaying stages, and you might find yourself playing the game in completely new ways. In fact, you might just forget about advancing in the story altogether…

Kaboing 21

Pudding. Is there anything it can’t do?

nice try evade_bonus

There’s an evade bonus!? Of course there is!

batting a thousand bat

Some words are covered up to keep things interesting. You’ll just have to experiment!

Apparently, there are also Bottle-Caps that are tied in to the bonus items that are hidden in each stage.

geathjerk file ProjectK 2013-08-28 12-29-42-33

Figure Wonder-Gamer

Files containing interesting information, and figurines that are just fun to look at.

So, what do you think?
Once you’ve got all of these colorful little caps unlocked, it’s truly a sight to behold.
There’s no need to be obsessive about these items when you first start playing, but they’re definitely something to look out for on later playthroughs, since they’ll add a fresh and rewarding new challenge. Try to build up as big a Bottle-Cap collection as you can!

And once you’ve found enough of them, you may just get something nice…

Oh and if you’re thinking “why the heck would anyone want to collect bottle-caps!?” well, you know, some people collect bottle-caps, others collect marbles, or stamps, or… you know, just… go ask your parents, okay!?

See you again!

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W101 Blog Ep. 22: Shenanigans! The GEATHJERK Officers

The Wonderful 101

Filed: Games, PlatinumGames, The Wonderful 101

The story so far:
The GEATHJERK Federation Supreme Armada is about to set foot on planet Earth with an army of unprecedented size. There is no time to lose. The heroes are already waiting for your arrival in Blossom City. Now is the time to unite up! Wonderful One-Oh-One!

Hey, it’s Ichi!
“The Wonderful 101” has finally been released in Japan and Europe! Did you pick up a copy yet!?
Now that some people have already managed to get their hands on the game, we’ll be looking at some of the bosses that will be making your life miserable along the way.
We introduced some foes to watch out for before, but this time we’re focusing on actual bosses. You’ll have to defeat them all in order to reach your goal.

laambo

GEATHJERK Federation Supreme Armada Officer, Sixth Class
Laambo
(Japanese voice: Yasuhiko Kawazu, English voice: Bob Joles)

Particularly twisted even by GEATHJERK standards, Laambo has left a trail of atrocity across the galaxy.

As a soldier of the savage Golokey tribe from planet Doquuzu, Laambo possesses an extremely violent, war-loving nature. Fond of invasion tactics, he will give orders from the front lines, often happily joining the fray himself.

His weapon is a psycho-sword formed from his fighting spirit, called the Dechno-Bo. Having tamed the violent space monster Diekuu Ohrowchee of the Joolar solar system, he storms about the galaxy as if he has already conquered every system, near and far.

Laambo
closecombat

Laambo was involved in the invasion war 20 years ago as well. However, after a long and arduous battle, the Gaia Defense Army and CENTINELS managed to repel the GEATHJERK forces.
He bears a deep grudge against the Wonderful One-Double-Oh, who are looking poised to fend off the invaders of this generation as well.

208 209

Laambo has even tamed and weaponized a space monster! He has elevated destruction into an art form and perfected it.
He’s doesn’t quite possess a petite physique himself either, and he brandishes an impressive blade that even matches Unite Sword! What can our heroes do to stand up to him!?

wanna

GEATHJERK Federation Supreme Armada Officer, Fifth Class
Wanna
(Japanese voice: Shinya Hamazoe, English voice: Steve Blum)

This GEATHJERK scientist leads his own military unit and is a prominent figure in weapons development. Wanna possess great intelligence, and comes from an extremely ill-tempered race, making him unequalled in the ability to construct the most gruesome and torturous of weapons.
Even after losing his home planet through extensive weapons testing, his urge for experimentation remained unsated, and he joined GEATHJERK as a means to find more weapons test sites on other planets.

Though bearing a small frame and little physical strength, he is a sly strategist, specializing in ensnaring his opponent in traps. He prefers to toy with them before delivering the final blow, one of the most distasteful parts of his insidious personality.

Wanna crashes Wanna

Even within the fiendish GEATHJERK army, Wanna has an especially vicious and malicious personality. Being the conniving little schemer that he is, getting closer to him will more than likely involve passing through various traps and obstacles, since Wanna doesn’t like to get his hands dirty. Approach this one with extreme care.

vijounne

GEATHJERK Federation Supreme Armada Officer, Fourth Class
Vijounne
(Japanese voice: Marika Hayashi, English voice: Paula Tiso)

Originally from an aquatic race on the water-covered planet Ewwmee, this GEATHJERK femme fatale is unchallenged in her supremacy at underwater operations. The only female of the six GEATHJERK officers, her alluring figure is a weapon itself, capable of driving enemies to madness like the sirens of ancient myth.

Unusually vain, and terribly concerned about all things relating to beauty, she has a strong aversion to all other women, and detests anything unclean, or unsightly. Along with her obsession with beauty, she has traveled the galaxy in search of an aquatic environment suiting her liking. Having set her eyes on Earth, and its 70% water-filled environment, she intends to make it her own.

Vijounne Vijounne Taunt

Vijounne, the only female officer of GEATHJERK. Judging from her predilection for taunting Red and Blue, it seems she prefers to toy around with her enemies while fighting them. Once you fall for her wily tricks, you will never regain the initiative.
Someone among the Wonderful One-Double-Oh might even be connected to her in some way…?

The GEATHJERK army has more officers than we’ve shown you here today.
Since they’re a bunch of evil and twisted misfits, each and every one of them is likely to employ various back-handed techniques to bring down the Wonderful One-Double-Oh and, by extension, Earth.
It is imperative that you see through their traps, find their weak spots and crush them with your iron fist of Justice.

The GEATHJERK Federation Supreme Armada has already found its way to planet Earth and into the homes of those who bought the game.

Let this momentous day remain etched into everyone’s memories as the prologue to “the battle in which mankind vanquished GEATHJERK forever!” There’s nothing that would do us more proud. We hope you have fun with the game!

For about a month, we’ve been updating this blog every single day. It hasn’t been that long, but we thank you for tuning in. (Sorry that I was rambling most of the time)
Don’t get me wrong, though! This is not the end of the updates. It’s just that, from here on out, updates will be slightly “less regular.”

See you again soon!

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