Filed: Bayonetta, Community, Games, PlatinumGames
San Diego Comic Con was not what I expected. I went in thinking I would see more of the monstrous giga-booths that grace E3 or Tokyo Game Show. Instead, I found a comic book show. Now, it was a really big comic book show, but it was a comic book show. The sea of people made it hard to move, and the movie and game company booths were a welcome change of pace; however, it didn’t feel like something I had never seen before.
Then I went outside.
Thousands of people waiting in line for a panel was one of the most frightening and awe-inspiring things I’d ever seen.
(This was the second most frightening thing I saw at Comic Con.)
PG sent quite a contingent this year, with Tatsuya Minami, Atsushi Inaba, Yusuke Hashimoto, and Mari Shimazaki joining myself and two others, PG exec Seigo Tabira and my international coordinating counterpart, Tatsuya Sumida, to hold a panel, meet our fans, and try to put on a killer event Friday night. Arriving Wednesday and Thursday, we were struck by the beauty of San Diego. Truly a picturesque city. We met up with our friends from SEGA of America and checked out the Hard Rock Hotel, where we would be holding our event Friday night. This was also our first opportunity to lay eyes on the custom Xbox 360 that Colorware produced for us based of a Mari Shimazaki design. Needless to say, we were impressed. (So impressed, we wanted to keep it for ourselves!)
Prior to our panel on Friday, we had the opportunity to check out the show floor. The Bayonetta booth, while small, seemed to have a steady stream of gamers checking out the demo, or waiting for their turn at the controller. Things got even crazier when Penny Drake, the model inside the custom-made Bayonetta costume, arrived at the booth on Friday.
We also had a bit of free time each day, so I guided Hashimoto-san through the various booths. Hashimoto-san had wanted to attend Comic Con for years, and being an artist himself, watching him get the chance to meet other artists that influenced him was really exciting. I can’t claim it was all selfless work though. Being a fan of many of the artists myself, Hashimoto-san and I both spent inordinate amounts of money on art books, sketches, toys, and DVDs.
(Yusuke Hashimoto and Batman:The Animated Series creator Bruce Timm.)
However, once Friday evening rolled around, it was all business. Our first time showing at Comic Con, we were all nervous as to whether anyone would actually show up to the panel, but no one expected the long line of fans excited to get in. Nor did anyone expect the cheers and reception that fans in San Diego gave us during the panel itself. PG has some of the most passionate fans in the world, but to see it right in front of you makes that fact really strike home.
Once the panel wound up, it was time for Little Angels. We have always wanted to find a way to connect with our fans overseas, whether it is on this blog, or at the event in San Diego. Everyone from PlatinumGames was quite pleased to say hello and meet so many new faces. We wanted to make the night special, so with Penny Drake by his side, we started off with a special presentation by Hashimoto-san of a section of Bayonetta previously only shown to the press at E3 or in snippets of video – Burning Vigrid. Shimazaki-san followed up with an overview of the Bayonetta design, revealing for the first time some of the rejected concepts that marked the long development of the character. Through and through, the star was Bayonetta, and that was none the more evident when we wrapped up the presentation and gave everyone the chance to play the game in an intimate setting.
We spiced things up a bit by running a Score Attack contest, allowing players to play the demo with a goal in mind – the highest number of halos. Whispers of scores getting overtaken were on everyone’s lips at the party, and numerous attendees took multiple cracks at the demo hoping to come away with the one of the evenings most coveted prizes, the Scarborough Fair gun used during the motion capture sessions for Bayonetta. In the end, there could only be one, and it ended up in the hands of a member of PG’s very own forum community. We couldn’t think of a better home.
It was also important to make sure that everyone at the event got some face time with Hashimoto-san and Shimazaki-san, so we held an autograph signing where fans could bring their own items, or get an 8×10 of Bayonetta, and have them signed by the crew. They had a great time meeting everyone and signing everything from an Okami artbook to a Playstation 3, and everything in between. There were even a few quick sketches of Bayonetta drawn by Shimazaki-san for eager fans.
The night ended off with a presentation of the Bayonetta Xbox 360. One lucky fan walked away with the console, autographed on the spot by the PG staff, after joking warnings to make sure it doesn’t end up on eBay.
It was a successful night and a successful trip. Everyone at PlatinumGames can’t wait to do it again.
Until next time!
Tagged: JP Kellams, Tatsuya Minami