Giving Effects an Edge

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi, my name is Koji Tanaka, I am the Visual Effects Lead for Bayonetta 2. Recently I’ve taken up walking to get some exercise.

Let’s start by discussing what the effects section actually does. The short version is, we make the fire, the smoke, the heavy rain, and the snowfall. We make the visual effects for each move and magic attack. Our job is important for setting the tone for the game, giving it the right atmosphere, and the right feel.

For this entry, I’d like to talk about the battle VFX we made for Bayonetta 2.
Bayonetta is a series where you fight, fight, and fight some more. To get the most out of the game, it’s best to fight groups of enemies building one combo on the other. Every time you execute a combo, there are effects that go with it. There’s actually a little more thought put into balancing these effects than you might think. What I mean is, there’s an ironclad rule that effects should never hide a player’s motion. That may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually not so easy. We want battles to be exciting and have lots of stunning effects, right? So we tend to get carried away. If we add too much, though, you’re unable to see your character and the game becomes unplayable. As the player, your eyes should be on the enemy and your own character, not the effects. That being said, if we start being too safe making effects, battles are boring.

In the end, we decided to make over-the-top effects that would fade out nice and quick, with just a hint of the effect lingering behind. In other words, we tried to give them an edge. Rather than giving the effects too much screen time, we chose to give them a brief, brilliant appearance, leave an impression in the player’s mind, and then have an echo remain, to still give the effect some presence in the battlefield.

Look, maybe a movie will speak louder than words.

Here’s an effect before giving it an edge.


*This video was taken from a build of the game that may differ with the retail version.

Now, with an edge:


*This video was taken from a build of the game that may differ with the retail version.

Did that make it easier to understand? Originally we were making VFX similar to the first video, but it interfered with gameplay too much. So we visualized taking effects in a new direction, and came to where we are now. It might sound like a subtle difference, but that subtlety is important. You’ll realize that when you’re stringing combos together. The more manic the battle, the more this method works.

That’s something you’ll just have to play and see for yourself, though. When you feel the sweat in your hand as you grip the controller, I think you’ll get it. I look forward to the moment when you do! Bayonetta 2 is an action game where every department devoted time and thought on how to put together the most satisfying kind of action game possible. I hope you can see that for yourself when it comes out. Each day we’re getting closer to its release! Until then, keep visiting here and checking our blog out!

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Cities and Waterways

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello, my name is Hiroki Onishi. I was the lead environmental artist for Bayonetta 2.

A large section of Bayonetta 2 takes place in Noatun, a city filled with waterways and rivers. In order to design Noatun, we traveled to Italy and Belgium to see cities that fit this aesthetic up close. The trip ended up being more rewarding than we could’ve imagined.

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Our journey began with a 12-hour flight from Kansai to Brussels. We planned on visiting Bruges and the Cathedral of Our Lady first, but when we arrived, we heard the Royal Palace was currently open to the public, so we rearranged our schedule to make that our first stop.

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The Belgium Palace

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In Game

The Royal Palace was perfect for helping us figure out the some of the game’s grander architecture. A lot of the places we visited prohibited photography, so we were thrilled that the palace allowed cameras as long as the flash was off. It was a great start to the trip. The building we created for Bayonetta 2 ended up being a little more stylized than we originally planned, but I’m happy with how it turned out. I think its impact on the player is stronger than before. Look forward to seeing it in the game.

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Church of Our Lady

Can you see the color reflected on the floor from the stained glass in the picture above? These kinds of antique glass have a high transparency that clearly reflects color onto walls and floors when hit with sunlight. This photo was taken in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges. If the sunlight is too strong, only white will be reflected, but if it’s too weak, the colors will blur and be indiscernible. If you don’t have the correct amount of light, the phenomenon won’t occur. We saw several cathedrals on our trip, but this was the only time we were able to catch light reflecting on the floor. I saw this and thought… I really want to recreate how beautiful this is in a game. It ended up being everyone at Platinum’s favorite location inside the cathedral in Bayonetta 2. It’s nice to be able to just turn on a game and see it any time I like.

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In Game

After we were done in Belgium, we moved on to Italy. Our time in Italy provided two breakthroughs to Bayonetta 2’s environments.

The first were these stone walkways. The picture below was taken in Florence–notice how thick the stones are and how the road curves upwards in the middle so rain will naturally flow down to the waterways on the side. On narrow roads with no waterways, the path slopes inward, so the water will collect in the middle.

We designed several paths like this for Bayonetta 2. In an action game, it’s more beneficial to the player in battle to have the camera looking downward, so the ground will usually take up a significant portion of the screen. Therefore, we put a lot of emphasis on making these textures look realistic. I think if Bayonetta really did fight here, she’d probably get her heel stuck between two rocks in the road.

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Florence

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In Game

Our other major takeaway was the tiled roofs. Most of the roofs in Italy are made with orange bricks that turn white or black when aged. Only bricks that have been newly thatched are orange. Houses that didn’t regularly repair their roofs would have nothing but white bricks. However, if you look from the distance, the city’s buildings look like they are covered in a uniform layer of orange. Our hotel in Venice had bricks low enough that you could stick your hand out of the window and reach up and touch them. They must have been considerably aged, but they felt sturdy and held in place surprisingly well. In Japan, there are places that try to imitate European style by selling pre-aged, multi-colored bricks, but after going to Italy, it terrifies me that Japanese people probably don’t understand how different the real thing is.

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Florence

The cities in Italy were full of flowers—the terraces on buildings would usually be decorated with colorful flower arrangements. I assumed this was done for tourism, but when I asked someone, they told me everyone grows them because it’s easy. They’re mostly geraniums that need to be watered or looked after very little. It’s true, we were in the city taking photos from early in the morning until late at night, but I never saw anyone watering anything. When I came back to Japan I bought some geraniums myself to see if they really were that easy to take care of. They were all right when it was still warm out, but every last one died in winter. Maybe Japan isn’t the most welcoming climate for them.

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Santa Margherita Ligure

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Venice

I saw something interesting when I was in Venice. Can you see the picture below, and how the knobs are close to the middle of the door? When I asked why, I was told it was because older locks were made separately from handles, and it was hard to fit both in the same place. The picture below wasn’t the exception; a lot of doors in Venice looked like this. They seemed like they’d be tricky to open.

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Venice

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Venice

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In Game

I think the most challenging thing we faced after our trip was conveying how important water was to the everyday lives of the city’s inhabitants. In Venice, there were no roads for cars to run on, because there were no cars—everything was handled by boats. There were no gates in the rivers to make sure travel was simple. Even refrigerators and laundry machines were carried to houses on small boats before being loaded up on push carts. We had to carry all our equipment on a boat to our hotel, and then drag everything along bumpy stone paths. It was a new experience for all of us, and it gave us some slight culture shock. Yet I think it was things like these that gave Venice a unique artistic quality that was interesting to express in the game. If anyone from Venice were to play the game and actually relate with our depiction of the citizen’s daily lives, I’d be honored.

Going abroad provides new experiences, information, and teaches you to view things in a broader, different way than before. Even outside of work, I still make an effort to travel abroad every year. If anything, just because I learn so much from it. I actually still haven’t traveled anywhere in Asia outside of Japan, but I hope I’ll eventually have the chance to. Thanks for reading all the way to the end!

 

 

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At E3

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi everyone. My name is Akiko Kuroda, and I’m the producer for Bayonetta 2 and the Wii U port of Bayonetta. This is actually my first job as a full-fledged producer, so being given two titles was quite a sudden crescendo to climax action. I’m doing my best to make sure both games are as amazing as they can be.

As far as technical talk goes, I’ll leave that to the other staff. For my entry, I’d like to discuss my trip to the industry’s biggest gaming expo, E3. Similar to last year, we brought a playable demo of Bayonetta 2. This year we were able to announce the Wii U port of Bayonetta, and that it will be sold packaged with Bayonetta 2, which met with a very positive reaction (Thank you to everyone who showed their enthusiasm. Wait just a little longer guys!).

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Here’s a pic of one of our stations in Nintendo’s area. The wicked witch was very popular!

Hashimoto and I had a very important reason for attending this year’s E3. We were there to promote. Media journalists from around the world gather at E3, and it’s our job to make sure they leave with a story that makes gamers happy. Luckily for us, a lot of the media wanted to hear us talk about Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2. I’m sure a lot of their articles have already gone up by now. Have you had the chance to read any of them?

We were asked all sorts of questions. A favorite question of mine was, “Most games fall back on a hero rescuing some helpless female character. What were your reasons to have Bayonetta feature a strong female protagonist?” This was more a question directed toward the Bayonetta series rather than just Bayonetta 2. There were people who doubted the choice of a female protagonist ever since we first revealed the original game’s development. Our internal team, on the other hand, didn’t mind. We just thought it would be interesting to have the main character be a witch. From there, we expanded on the concept: instead of thinking about how a female protagonist would limit us, we thought about what we could do because Bayonetta was female. Of course, a likeable character is an important thing, but to us, getting the controls right is always top priority. I’m sure there might be fans out there that have some reluctance towards playing as a female, but we’re confident that we’ve made Bayonetta look and feel as great as any PlatinumGames character should.

We also had some questions about the Touch Controls we implemented for the Wii U GamePad. We were able to show the controls in action at E3 and how easy it can be to perform huge combos with some simple Touch Controls. The Touch Controls really give the game a unique new feel and it only takes a simple tap to switch over. We’re sure there are some hardcore action fans who think they don’t need them, but we recommend you try it out at least once. You might be surprised.

Of course we got questions about the possibility of Bayonetta 3. You guys are so impatient. Bayonetta 2 isn’t even out yet! But yeah, we’d love to make 3 if we could…

In addition to the regular media runaround, this time Nintendo also held a special streaming event called Nintendo Treehouse Live*, and we got to take part.

*One by one, developers introduce their titles on a live broadcast across the web.

Nintendo’s goal for the event was to present titles with a more real, at-home approach instead of just deliver something scripted. There was some prep before we went on, but most of the talk was Hashimoto doing ad-lib.

To refresh your memory, Hashimoto, director of Bayonetta 2, was the producer of the first game. Back during its development, he traveled around the world doing countless press interviews, so he’s a pretty seasoned media veteran. He can improvise and go along with each situation without ever missing a beat. That means I was left to mostly sit quietly and play the game. Still, I had to be able to show off anything he would mention at the drop of a hat, so it required some level of skill… okay? (I actually hurt my right hand before the event from practicing too much… lol)

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Believe it or not, you don’t really get the chance to convey what you want about the game, or show it to your fans in such a direct way so often, so it felt great to be able to take part in Treehouse Live, and I hope to be able to do more events like it in the future. Also, as a game fan myself, it was pretty cool to see Miyamoto-san and Tezuka-san (Yoshi’s Woolly World) up so close! I heard 60,000 people tuned in to hear about Bayonetta 2. Normal numbers for attendees at a conference stop around the 100s, so it’s hard for me to even imagine that large of a crowd.

If you haven’t seen our Treehouse Live presentation yet, you can check out a digest of it here:

You’ll get to see what we included in our E3 Bayonetta 2 demo, as well as other info we only made public there!

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I was able to score a shot of Miyamoto-san playing some Wii U. I’m just now realizing we were in the same seat with the same controller!!

Most of my work at E3 was media interviews and Nintendo’s event, but if I get the chance later, hopefully I can share even more. We’ve only got three more months until Bayonetta 2’s release as well, so keep checking here as we reveal more new information.

I spent a lot of time at the Nintendo booth during E3, but that meant being able to meet Miyamoto-san, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.’s developers, MonolithSoft’s Xenoblade Chronicles X team, and talk about a lot more I can’t elaborate on! I also got to meet Aonuma-san, the current producer of the Zelda series, and thank him for letting us borrow Link’s costume. His reply was, “Anytime you have any other interesting ideas, let me know!” I’m holding you to those words, Aonuma-san…

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Here’s a pic of me and Tezuka-san. Yoshi’s Woolly World definitely takes the cake for cutest game at E3 2014.

P.S. I’ve been making some character-themed bentos on my twitter (@pg_kuroda). Have you been checking them out? I made a special bento for this blog: the Masked Lumen from Bayonetta 2.

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Who is this guy? Well, you’ll just have to wait and find out.

I’d say follow me for more Bayonetta 2 info, but my twitter’s mostly in Japanese, of course. Follow me anyway!

Thanks for reading my blog! See you again!

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Figuring Out Damage Motion

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello everybody! I’m the lead motion designer for Bayonetta 2, my name is Takaaki Yamaguchi. I’ve been making motion in action games for over ten years now. That fact is starting to make me feel old.

Anyway, let’s talk about what a motion designer does. We discussed this back in our old Bayonetta blogs as well, but basically, we give movement to anything in the game that requires motion. We end up playing an important role in several areas of the game—making sure all the characters don’t look like they’re stumbling around, getting the main character’s controls to feel right, making enemy movement easy to understand, and so on.

Working on a sequel, it was our job to carry over the feel of the motion from the original Bayonetta, and make it even better. For this blog, I’d like to talk specifically about damage motion for enemies. You know, that motion you see when you land a huge deathblow on an enemy and they get knocked back and explode or whatever. You might have never thought that deeply about it, but for an action game, getting the right reaction out of the enemy after you’ve pulled off a killer combo is absolutely critical. Do a slack job and the thrill of battle will turn into a total letdown. Enemy damage motion is something I’ve always regarded as highly important in the games I’ve worked on. I always am asking myself if there’s not something new I can try to create more satisfying combat than before.

My challenge to myself for Bayonetta 2 was to create the right enemy motion for each attack. We had plenty of enemy reactions that would change depending on what attack Bayonetta performed, but I wanted to take this further for Bayonetta 2. It’ll probably be easier to understand if you just see it, so take a look at the videos below.

This is Bayonetta:

This is Bayonetta 2:

What’d you think? It’s easy to focus on Bayonetta, but if you watch the enemy in both videos, you’ll notice it plays the same motion for each attack in the first video, while in the second, the enemy’s reaction changes based on the kind of attack being performed.

This is just one example from the game, but each little detail like this I think really added up to make a great feeling game overall. Doing a little research, I realized that the enemies in Bayonetta 2 have an average of 3.5x the number of reactions as those in the original.

Well, I could keep writing and posting videos about how this game feels, but obviously there won’t be any way for you to know until you’ve actually put the controller in your hands and are playing the game yourself. If I’ve driven anyone’s curiosity, please try playing the game after its release.

Until next time!

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Character Design Pt. 1: Bayonetta and Jeanne

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello, nice to see you again. My name is Mari Shimazaki and I’m a freelance designer.

I worked on the concept art for Bayonetta and now Bayonetta 2. Today I’d like to give you a little insight into Bayonetta and Jeanne’s new designs.

Bayonetta1_2bayo_01 2_2bayo_02 3_2bayo_03

 

First, let’s talk about Bayonetta, the “modern witch”, and this game’s main character. Those who played the previous title are likely to notice that her trademark hairstyle has been given a complete makeover. After talking with Hashimoto and Kamiya, the three of us came to the conclusion Bayonetta’s not the kind of girl who’d show up with the same hairstyle for her sequel. A girl can be known to change her hairstyle depending on her mood, so I guess Bayonetta was in the mood for something short. Still, knowing her, there’s no telling when she’ll decide to change it again.

Bayonetta’s overall theme this time is “Solid.”

She’s still wearing black, and I think her shorter hair gives her a generally more masculine look. While her design in the last game focused on curves, this time we see more straight lines. All of her accessories follow this, except her glasses, which I gave a slightly softer design.

There was some debate about where to show skin. Once we decided her new cape would come around to the front, we closed the front of her suit off to let the cape stand out. In exchange, we opened up a lot in back.

As water is a big theme of the second game, Hashimoto requested to make her key color blue. This turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.

Blue doesn’t have the sharp quality of red, her previous key color. As it’s relatively easy on the eyes, making it stand out among all the other textures and colors in the game is a huge headache. On top of that, I had to balance it with black and silver (these colors were also decided right off the bat), which also is not easy. Ever since we decided Bayonetta should wear a sleak, black outfit, it’s always been a nightmare trying to have her properly stand out.

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With her guns, finding a good balance of color took a lot of brainstorming. Accenting blue too strongly or giving it too much space didn’t fit Bayonetta’s look. We arrived at the final design by giving them a more striking shade of blue, adding some gold to match her chestpiece, and spreading a silver luster across each gun.

We’ve given Bayonetta’s new guns some antique charms to match her new look. I drew flower cameos that I felt matched the respective gun’s color, and emotion connected to that color.

Taking a step back and looking at how Bayonetta’s design turned out, I realize we went in a direction completely opposite from the last game. That also makes me think Bayonetta’s new look is possible because of her previous one, and will stand out because of that contrast.

I think she gives off a different impression than before, but still owns the name Bayonetta.

Jeanne

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Okay, next, let’s talk about Jeanne’s design.

The keyword for Jeanne’s concept design in Bayonetta 2 is “casual.” Design started when Kamiya came up to me and said “I want to put her on a bike. Draw me a biker suit.”

Jeanne is one of Kamiya’s favorite characters, so most anything Hashimoto and I said would get shot down instantly. I just drew biker suit after biker suit until one was approved. There were actually a few more he liked, but they all maintained a relative simplicity similar to her final approved outfit.

I didn’t intend to accentuate this part of her in my concept art, but Kamiya said Jeanne looks flatter than ever. He was happy about it too, so that’s fine I guess.

Thinking of how she would look side by side with Bayonetta, we decided to give her long hair. I wish I was a witch and could just summon my hair into any hairstyle I wanted.

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Jeanne still uses her All 4 One’s in Bayonetta 2. Her charms, though, I decided to update with a personal touch. For the last game, I based her charms off each respective gun’s name, but this time I used the name of the whole set as the motif and made Three Musketeers plushes. I borrowed the color scheme from the Three Musketeers Anime.

If I gave these charms to Bayonetta, I feel it’d be a little too much altogether, but I think they add the perfect pinch of sugar to Jeanne’s design. Personally, I’m happy with how they turned out.

Okay, that’s all for this time.
Please look forward to the game’s release. See you again.

 

 

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The Legend of Korra coming this fall!

Legend of Korra

Filed: Games, PlatinumGames, The Legend of Korra

“Water!

Earth!

Fire!

Air!

Only PlatinumGames can master all 4 elements to turn them into an AWESOME ACTION GAME!”

We are very proud to announce “The Legend of Korra™,” a joint project between PlatinumGames, Inc., Activision Publishing, Inc., and Nickelodeon. We are all huge fans of the show, so it was a great honor for us to get to work on an action game taking place in the Avatar universe. We’ve tried our best to do justice to the original animation, and we think that Korra aficionados, as well as long-time fans of our games, will not be disappointed!

– Atsushi Kurooka, Producer

Read the official press release below!

LoK_Screenshot_Batch One_4_06.25.14

NICKELODEON CONTINUES RELATIONSHIP WITH ACTIVISION PUBLISHING, INC. TO PRODUCE THE LEGEND OF KORRA VIDEO GAME

Fans Can Select Video Game Cover Art Via The Legend of Korra Facebook Page

 NEW YORK – June 26, 2014 – Nickelodeon and Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) today announced plans to develop and publish the first-ever video game inspired by the fan-favorite animated series, The Legend of Korra. The Legend of Korra digital video game is developed by PlatinumGames, Inc. and capitalizes on the studio’s pedigree of creating visually flourishing experiences with fast-paced, dynamic combat. The game is planned to be available for download this fall on Sony’s PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems; Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system and Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft; and Windows PC.

The Legend of Korra fans will have the unique opportunity to select the cover art for this digital video game by voting on three different concepts drawn by one of the show’s character designers, Christie Tseng. Fans can visit https://www.facebook.com/legendofkorra to cast their vote. Voting will run through June 30 at midnight PST.

“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Activision Publishing, Inc. to bring the hit animated series from TV screens to gamers everywhere,” said Yaacov Barselah, Vice President of Games & Digital Publishing New Business, Nickelodeon. “Capturing the true essence and exquisite creative of the series, The Legend of Korra games are sure to captivate fans as they delve into the rich and exciting world of Korra.” The Legend of Korra video game follows Korra, a strong-willed young woman who, as the reincarnation of the Avatar, can bend the four primal forces of nature to her will. Scripted by staff writer Tim Hedrick and consulted by series cocreators and executive producers Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino, the game’s original adventure takes place between Books Two and Three of the TV program allowing for an authentic Avatar experience. The game’s cell-shaded visuals recreate the beautiful look and immersive feel of the show, with colorful, vivid detail going into every action, elemental effect and animated story sequence.

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The Legend of Korra is a single player, action-packed brawler, in which Korra’s mastery of martial arts and the four elements – fire, earth, air, and water – can be used on the fly to bolster her combos and counters against foes. Throughout the game, Korra’s polar bear-dog, Naga, will aid her in high-speed traversal segments. The game also brings to life the series’ competitive sport, Pro-Bending, in which teams of three use the elements to fight for territory in an arena.

A handheld version of The Legend of Korra for the Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system is also being developed by Webfoot Technologies, as a retail-only release. The handheld version of the game will feature a similar story, and is a single-player, turn-based strategy RPG, in which players focus on tactically maneuvering Korra and her allies on the battlefield.

 About The Legend of Korra Series

Set 70 years after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra follows the next Avatar after Aang–a teenage girl named Korra (Janet Varney) who is from the Southern Water Tribe. Korra lives in Republic City, the modern “Avatar” world that is a virtual melting pot where benders and non-benders from all nations live and thrive. Under the tutelage of Aang’s son, Tenzin (J.K. Simmons), Korra continues her Avatar training while dealing with the dangers at large. The series is co-created and executive produced by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, co-creators of the Emmy Award-winning Avatar: The Last Airbender. Joaquim Dos Santos is co-executive producer.

The Legend of Korra voice cast includes Janet Varney (Dinner and a Movie) as Korra, David Faustino (Married…with Children) as Mako, P.J. Byrne (Wolf of Wall Street) as Bolin, J.K. Simmons (The Closer) as Tenzin, Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) as Chief Lin Beifong, Seychelle Gabriel (Falling Skies) as Asami Sato, Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) as Jinora, and Eva Marie Saint (Superman Returns) as Katara.

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About PlatinumGames, Inc.

PlatinumGames Inc. is an independent entertainment developer based in Osaka, Japan, dedicated to making high quality, next generation games for a variety of hardware platforms. Under the slogan “Taking on the World as the Representative of Japan,” PlatinumGames works hard to deliver fresh surprises and new experiences to gamers all over the world.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 35th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in almost 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 19 consecutive years.
For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B).

About Activision Publishing, Inc.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Publishing, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products.
Activision maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, China and the region of Taiwan. More information about Activision and its products can be found on the company’s website, www.activision.com.

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Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Activision Publishing’s expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the expected release date of The Legend of Korra are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Activision Publishing’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Activision Publishing and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Activision Publishing nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Activision Publishing or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

Media Contacts:

Nickelodeon
Tori Fernandes
Tori.fernandes@nick.com

Activision:
Amanda Young
Sandbox Strategies
212.213.2451 ext. 227
amanda@sandboxstrat.com

 

And here’s a sweet little trailer!

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Wii U Bayonetta!

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2

Hi, this is Isao Negishi, director of the Bayonetta Wii U port that comes specially packaged with Bayonetta 2!

Those who saw our Wii U Bayonetta announcement at E3 can agree we didn’t just make a simple port of the first game. This special Wii U edition gives you all the thrills of the original, plus a ton of exciting, new features.

We’ve prepared a video of how Bayonetta plays on the Wii U, so take a peek:

What did you think? Bayonetta’s world looks as stunning as ever.

Let’s discuss some of the added content that was causing a stir at this year’s E3: Bayonetta’s new costumes!

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One of the things that made the original Bayonetta so fun was the ability to choose from a ton of costumes—queen, schoolgirl, you name it—and this time, there’ll be even more. These new costumes are inspired by classic Nintendo heroes and heroines, all carefully checked by the game’s original director, Hideki Kamiya. Let’s just say Kamiya was very particular about how each costume should look before passing approval.

Of course, these costumes are more than just a fun change in appearance. We’ve prepared special abilities to go with each one!

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Put on your Peach costume and you’ll be able to summon the flagship villain of the Mario series, Bowser!

Maybe she didn’t draw a big enough magic circle, because it looks like we can only see his arms and legs, LOL. Yet watching Bowser pummel enemies with punches and kicks is a sight to behold. That first thrill you get when Bowser slams the enemy with his fist is quite an unforgettable experience.

Personally, I love the stomp attack he has… and don’t forget to call him out during some of the climax scenes as well.

All right, next is Link.

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By equipping the Shuraba with Link’s costume on, Bayonetta will be able to use the iconic weapon of the Zelda series, the Master Sword! Wicked Weaves will create a giant Master Sword that slices enemies clean in two.

This costume also changes some of the sound effects in the game. Remember that classic Zelda jingle that plays every time you open a treasure chest? With this costume on, you’ll get to hear it! We’ve included a few other sound effects well, all taken from A Link to the Past with Nintendo’s permission. Those classic sounds really do still hold up.

Last is our Samus costume!

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Samus has gone through more than a few powered suits in the Metroid series, but we ended up using the first game as our motif, per Kamiya’s request. Fans of the series should be able to tell looking at the shoulders.

One special feature that comes with the Samus suit is the ability to put the visor up or down during cut scenes. I think you’ll be surprised how fun this is. See how good it feels to slam your visor down right after telling an enemy off, or discover the amusement in endlessly going up-down-up-down during the game’s more serious moments. This can put the game’s cut scenes in whole new light!

That wraps up our blog this time. I think you can see why I’m not hesitant to call this Wii U port a “Special Editon.” This actually isn’t everything new the game has to offer as well—you might see me here again to tell you more in the future!

 

Until then!

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PlatinumGames and Microsoft Announce Scalebound!

Platinum Games

Filed: Games, Scalebound

PlatinumGames has an announcement to share with the world.

Our newest title was just announced at E3, the biggest game show in the industry, currently underway in Los Angeles.

It is Scalebound for Xbox One.

This is a title of firsts for us at PlatinumGames: our first title on the Xbox One and our first title as a developer in partnership with Microsoft.

Our motto at PlatinumGames is to continue making games in Japan for gamers around the world. We are incredibly grateful for this excellent opportunity to work on a project with a publisher from the US, Microsoft, and we are very pleased to have made this announcement together.

I want gamers to know that PlatinumGames is taking on the challenge presented by the current generation and will use the full power of the Xbox One as a cutting-edge console. I promise that Scalebound will be a game that gives users around the world the ultimate in surprises and smiles.

We can’t show you very much yet, so please look forward to more information and the eventual release of the game!

Thank you very much for your continued support for PlatinumGames.

Tatsuya Minami (@pg_minami)
President & CEO, PlatinumGames

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This is Hideki Kamiya, creative director at PlatinumGames.

The day has finally come that I can announce my new project to everyone.

I’ve created many original titles over the course of my career. Now I have a great opportunity to launch a new project with a new partner, and I’m excited to bring you a brand new game experience once again.

The focus of my new game is the gigantic beast that reigns over the fantasy genre: the dragon. Dragons have a unique power to capture the imagination, and I’ve loved dragons since I was a child. I’ve always wished that I could create a game featuring this magnificent creature; now the time has come for me to realize my dream.

I can’t share many details about the game yet, but rest assured that the development team and I are working around the clock so that we can show you more as soon as possible. For now, I ask that you let your imagination run wild while you wait.

I promise dragon fans around the world: this game will not disappoint. See you soon,

Hideki Kamiya (@pg_kamiya)
Director, Scalebound

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Dragons have lived in our fantasies for centuries. They are a common thread that weave between cultures and eras, linking us together under wings and flame; fear and awe.

Scalebound is project that strives to live up to these ideals. A Japanese and American team working together to create the dragon game we’ve always dreamed of, but never gotten to play. Together, we can create something that pushes our team, and the action genre, to new heights.

Our team considers it an honor to take up this challenge. Knowing how many of us have wanted this game forever, I can’t imagine how many of you have wanted the same thing. It’s going to be a wild ride and we can’t wait to take it with you.

Jean Pierre Kellams (@pg_jp)
Creative Producer, Scalebound

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The Platinum Collection: Composers, Pt. 3

Platinum Games

Filed: PlatinumGames

Hi, this is Hiroshi Yamaguchi. The piece I’ve selected from my works to talk about is “ST10 Roll Out, Wonderful 101!”

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For each game I’ve worked on here (Bayonetta, Anarchy Reigns, The Wonderful 101), each song has its own special meaning to me, so this was a hard question to answer. In the end, I decided to go with the staff roll of our most recent title, The Wonderful 101.

The staff roll has a special place in a game’s soundtrack. To the player, it’ s the music that gives you that sense of release after overcoming the game’s many obstacles and defeating its final boss. To the development team as well, this is the music we see while our names flash across the screen, telling us “well done” after a long, hard production cycle. It goes without saying then, that this music needs to be a triumphant, celebratory piece. The three keywords I always keep in mind as I write it are “catchy”, “lively”, and “moving.” As the production cycle comes to an end, I gather up my remaining strength and filter all of my energy into writing this song, so I always end up having strong memories of it.

As an aside, I’d say my favorite staff rolls would have to be Secret of Mana’s “The Second Truth from the Left” and Chrono Trigger’s “To Far Away Times.” Either piece still gives me the chills when I listen to it now.

Below are some of Yamaguchi’s other compositions. Which is your favorite?

From Bayonetta:
One Of A Kind
Riders Of The Light
Fly Me To The Moon (∞ Climax Mix)
Let’s Dance Boys!

From Anarchy Reigns:
Sound The Alarm
Play My Ass Off
Here We Go
Asylum

From The Wonderful 101:
The Won-Stoppable Wonderful 100
ST01 Roll Out, Wonderful 100! Battle in the Blossom City Burbs
Tables Turn
ST04-1 Defend Neo Mu

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A Day in Life at the Sky Building

Platinum Games

Filed: Community

If you’re a regular reader, you may be aware of the fact that PlatinumGames is located in a big, rather unusually-shaped office building on the edge of Central Osaka, called the “Sky Building.” This building was named one of the top 20 buildings around the world by British newspaper The Times, which deemed it worthy of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with world heritage edifices like the Parthenon in Greece, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Sagrada Familia in Spain.

The Umeda Sky Building in Osaka

Sky Bldg

Recent tourist guidebooks have lauded it as a “futuristic Arc of Triumph,” and in the 21 years since its completion it has become quite a bit of a tourist attraction!

The Umeda Sky Building and its environing Shin Umeda City are visited by many tourists every day, who flock there not just for the interesting architecture, but for the many entertaining seasonal events as well.

A few weeks ago, there was a special green tea ceremony on the square at the foot of the Sky Building, and an illumination show in the nearby park. The organizers had kindly invited some of our staff as well, so we decided to join in because, hey, free tea!

Green Tea Ceremony

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Some of our designers decided to have a taste as well.

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After the tea party, it was time for the illumination event in the adjacent garden. After taking in the breathtaking night view of Osaka from the observatory at the top of the building, attendees got to experience a leisurely evening stroll in the garden at the foot of the building. From this day on, the trees in this garden were going to be illuminated in the evening throughout the year, in a variety of vibrant colors that change with the time of year. Since this was a special event, we got to see a six-minute special performance showing the various colors of the seasons!

Illumination in the Garden

Disco Trees

This garden is actually a popular spot for PG staff to take a stroll and relax during their lunch break. It helps to take your mind off the bustle of the city! (You can even see fireflies here in early/mid-June every year!)

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And on some days, when the weather is clear, you might even spot (a slightly chubby version of) a famous personality crawling through the framework! (The website is Japanese, but the pictures should speak for themselves)

You can see how even the building we work in bolsters our creativity!

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