Looking at Things from a Programmer’s Perspective (Part 2)

Platinum Games

Filed: PlatinumGames

Pursuing a Creative Ideal

I programmed by myself for the first time when I was in around the fourth grade of elementary school. It all began when I started playing around with the educational programming software called “Family BASIC”. But of course, being an elementary schooler, I couldn’t comprehend programming. At the time, I bought a monthly programming magazine and just typed in whatever was written in it. Of course, sometimes it didn’t work even when I typed it in, so I checked every character one-by-one to fix my mistakes. Re-typing that over and over again, I naturally learned how to program. Later on, for example, when I learned about one-point perspective in a high school class, I went home and made a 3D dungeon. I applied the rules I had learned and drew lines on the screen, and made it so that I could move around using the keyboard. I really enjoyed this type of amusement, because I just created things to satisfy myself. I didn’t have any grand goals in mind.

There are two pieces of shared understanding among programmers, and the first one is that the computer is never wrong. Unless it’s actually broken, the reason the computer isn’t doing what you want is within yourself. Programmers don’t just think this way about computers – it forms the basis of the way we think about life. When a problem happens, we make sure to question ourselves before looking for the cause in the outside world. The second one is that programmers are basically patient. By that I mean that programmers can’t create anything just by ourselves. For example, we can’t work without game designers to come up with the game design, or graphic designers to create graphics. The position of a programmer is to receive requests from all the different groups and respond to them in the best way possible. If that doesn’t go well, it’s our fault. While handling a large workload, we need to continually respond to requests, add our own flavor to the content, and finally remove bugs.

omori_1This isn’t just about programmers, but I think it’s extremely important to be aware of your own deficiencies. If you know your ideals, and the things you’re aiming for, you can make the effort to approach them. If you want to become a decent programmer, you need to go through the disciplined training of polishing the programming into a final form, as well as reflecting that in the actual product. This is something you acquire through tens of thousands of repetitions of putting together a program and then testing it. Because of this, if you want to live on your programming skills, if you want to make games fun, you need to cultivate your sensibilities and be interested in everything. It’s meaningless if you can’t maintain your interest. Especially at PlatinumGames, everyone is expected to be like this. That sounds like a high bar, but I believe that’s why we are able to create high-quality, deep games.

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Looking at Things from a Programmer’s Perspective (Part 1)

Platinum Games

Filed: PlatinumGames

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Wataru Ohmori, CTO & Head of the Technology Strategic Planning Team

Looking at Things from a Programmer’s Perspective

Including announced but not yet released games, PlatinumGames has worked on 10 titles to date. The skills our employees have cultivated during these projects are our greatest asset. To preserve this knowledge, and to stay relevant in an ever changing market, we created what we call the Technology Strategic Planning Team. Programmer Ohmori, the founder and current leader of the TSPT, talks about what it’s like behind the scenes.

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Supporting Game Development from Behind the Scenes

I’m the head of the Technology Strategic Planning Team, a department that single-handedly bears responsibility for the core technologies that make our games tick. We don’t work on the design of individual games, but rather over-arching technologies, such as developing a system to archive data from each development line, or improving the general resources shared between all projects. It’s kind of similar to what other companies call an engine or a library. Sometimes this means developing a whole system based on the needs of each project, and sometimes we approach the heads of each project with suggestions on how we think things can be improved. We’re in charge of a very important part of development that the player will never get to see directly and would probably be bored by if they did.

For example, a sound designer may come to me and say “When I’m checking the game, I want to be able to see what kind of sound is being played where; can you have that displayed in real time?” These are the type of requests we take. We add these functions based on the needs of a particular project, but if they work well, we adopt them in some or all of the other projects too.

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It wasn’t just me who pushed for this department; the support of Executive Producer Atsushi Inaba was invaluable. If you’re going to make several games at one company, you’ll need corresponding development teams in place for each title. While the demands of each project are different, there are always certain technologies that can be shared between multiple projects. Before the TSPT, every time we’d start a project, a new person would be in charge of system development and would rebuild everything. It goes without saying that this is terribly inefficient. If you are going to be using a lot of the same functions between projects, it makes sense to coordinate everything under one unit. We’d been discussing creating such a unit for a long time, but to actually make it a reality meant taking a number of our most experienced staff off other projects. This would be easy to do if we were a huge company, but PlatinumGames is still relatively small, so we were bit nervous about realizing this plan. At first I was a bit unsure myself, but after seeing the burden the old method was putting on the teams, and with Inaba-san’s support, I decided to go all out to make the TSPT a reality.

To be honest, there are times when we can be a bit of a burden to the other departments. We do process a lot of requests from the various projects, but there are some that are still on our to-do list… Overall, when I see how the tools we provide are being used throughout the company, it’s clear that our quality is getting better and better. As our tools are used, people will start having extra demands, which in turn also leads to extra bugs that need to be sorted, but as long as there’s a use for those tools, we’ll keep squashing those bugs and making the tools more resilient. To create a better development space demands a continuous process of improvement upon improvement.

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Metal Gear Rising 2nd Anniversary!

METAL GEAR RISING

Filed: Games, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, PlatinumGames

Last week, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance celebrated its 2nd birthday!

Hey, everyone!
It’s Kenji Saito, director of MGR.
In order to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of my brainchild, I decided to play through it again recently for the sake of nostalgia, but man, I suck at parrying nowadays, haha.

I can’t believe it’s already been 2 years since this game’s release.
We’ve actually got several people working at PlatinumGames who entered the company because they loved Rising so much, which really made me aware of the impact a game like this can have on people’s lives.

As I write this, I’m looking at the Gecco Raiden figure (sorry, the site is in Japanese only, and the figure is sold out!) that I received from Hideo Kojima.
When the package arrived, I was as happy as a kid on Christmas!

Yong-Hee Cho, designer of Mistral, and Tomoko Nishii, who drafted the original design for Monsoon, have both provided some special 2nd anniversary artwork to commemorate the occasion.

Cho: Second Cut

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Happy 2nd birthday! I wonder what Raiden’s been doing the past 2 years…

Nishii: The Only Thing I Know For Real

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To this day, I still wonder if anyone helped him to pull of his little show in File R-03.

It’s been 2 years, but cutting and slicing your way through bad guys and, well, pretty much anything else still feels as good as ever!
Don’t forget to occasionally use Zandatsu as well though!

And if you haven’t played Metal Gear Rising Revengeance yet… What are you waiting for!?

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What it Takes to Make Games

Platinum Games

Filed: PlatinumGames

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Kazunori Inoue (Programmer) x Takaaki Yamaguchi(Graphic and Animation Designer)

The two components necessary to make games are often said to be technical ability and an engaging idea. But even with both these components in place, there is no guarantee the game you create will be interesting. Two of the men who have helped make PlatinumGames what it is today, veteran programmer Inoue and animation designer Yamaguchi speak about what it takes to make games and what they enjoy about creating.
Inoue: My first project working with Yamaguchi was “Devil May Cry.” I was a programmer and he was in charge of animation, same as today. I started studying programming when I entered a computer science college. Of course I played games as a kid, but it’s not like I dreamed of being a game creator since kindergarten or anything. I was lucky enough to get a job at Capcom after graduation and… here we are.

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Yamaguchi: Unlike Inoue, I was more the type that dreamed about working in the game industry from a young age. I played all kinds of games back in elementary school, but the ones that left the most lasting impression were the action games I played on the Mega Drive (TL note: SEGA Genesis in North America.) When in middle school my older brother, who was a bit of a rebel, went against the flow and bought a SEGA Mega Drive. Thanks to him I would retreat to a Mega Drive cave every day after school. It was a bit of a niche piece of hardware back then, but it had its share of great action titles. Right around the time I was graduating university 3D computer graphics started becoming popular, so I decided to go to a specialty college to learn about the field.

Inoue: I was always under the impression that I was going to take over our family’s gardening store, until one day my brother told me that he was going to inherit it… I had to find something else to do with my life and I ended up in programming college. I entered Capcom after that, but it took me 6 or 7 years to become a programmer worthy of working on major titles.

Yamaguchi: Luckily I was able to enter Capcom after getting my graduation project approved. At the time, it seemed to me that the game companies in Tokyo were all making the same kind of games over and over. I didn’t want to work on any half-hearted projects; unless a game has some unique aspect to it, I really can’t see its value. With that in mind, a company that was making the type of games I was interested in was Capcom.

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Inoue: I had aspirations to enter Capcom as well, but fate had it that even after joining the company, there was a period I just wasn’t given any work. It was tough. Unable to be of any use to anyone, in the beginning I spent my days kind of lost. Back then there was no such thing as a college specialized in game design, and no one really taught you the practical skills you need on the job either.

Yamaguchi: I was also shocked by how little of what I learned at school was any use on the development floor. It was a real challenge learning everything I needed to know. That’s one thing about this job that will never change. There will always be hardware upgrades and new techniques developed to force you to stay on your toes.

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Inoue: Very true. If you get shifted to a different project, the approach to design and tools being used may be entirely different. It takes tons of research and studying to make sure you are able to capture the right feel of the game. That’s one aspect of game development that calls for more than just honing your programming skills.

Yamaguchi: As game development has aged and grown, the jobs designated by the term programmer have broadened, and now demand more specialization. A system designer is doing a totally different job than someone in charge of character behavior, who in turn is doing something different from someone doing environment scripting. Each job comes with its own set of required knowledge and experience.

Inoue: My job focuses on character and stage scripting, but outside that specialization, I wouldn`t be surprised if even a new recruit knew more than me. The graduates from modern specialty colleges possess a lot of technical knowledge. There are some people who are even able to get right into real development work as soon as they enter the company.

Yamaguchi: Of course, whether they are able to put together an interesting game is another story. They might be able to put together a program to make some pretty pictures move around the screen, but designing a single enemy may be a challenge. As a character and stage design specialist, I’m sure Inoue is acutely aware of this. At a company like PlatinumGames, that puts huge emphasis on the creativity of its games, programmers like him are indispensible.

Inoue: You could say that working at PlatinumGames requires a little something extra; perhaps the ability to have your work be consistent with everyone else piecing together the game’s look and aesthetic.

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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

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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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Lunch with the President

Platinum Games

Filed: Community, PlatinumGames

The latest employee event here at PlatinumGames is birthday lunch month with the president! As the name implies, all employees who have their birthday that month are treated to lunch by president Minami.

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The company started 9 years ago with 40 or so members, but now, with over 170 employees, it has turned into quite a sizeable establishment (from our perspective, anyway). The president suggested this event because he wanted a chance to sit down and talk with all of the employees.

The lunch might also be a way of expressing his gratitude for our work? In any case, it’s a voluminous bento box that looks pretty fancy! (I’m getting jealous…)

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For lunch this time we had quite the range of participants: from new employees who only entered the company in April to veterans who’ve been with the company since its founding, for a total of 8 people.

First of all, the president wanted to know how everyone was doing! So he asked about what they do for lunch. One employee who usually brings her own lunch said, “I’ve been having trouble getting up in the morning to make my lunch these days…” The president shot back with: “But you’re not that busy right now!”

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Then there was some chat about the early days of the employees who’d been with the company since the beginning.

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Next, the president badgered a nervous new employee in his typical fast-talking Kansai dialect. “Don’t you feel homesick, living away from home? Are you doing okay?” It turns out the new employee’s first name is the same as his beloved daughter. His familial feeling must have kicked in, and he just kept spouting out the cantankerous old dad phrases. “Don’t have too much fun!” he chided, chuckling.

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By the time everyone had finished eating, the talk turned to serious work matters. Concerns about how to train new staff, the difficulty of sharing information throughout the development floor, how to pass on expert know-how, how to use lessons learned on subsequent projects… the topics just kept on coming. The lunch had turned into an exchange of opinions that crossed all boundaries of job type and position.

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At one point it got so serious that the president and the CTO, Ohmori, were both holding their heads in their hands in desperation!

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Well, the lunch was only an hour and a half long, so there’s no way all the issues were going to get solved. However, by continuing these opportunities, we hope that horizontal and vertical communication will become smoother, and employees will feel even more comfortable and motivated working here. And of course, we want to create amazing games to pass it back to all of you!

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This was a little longer than our usual lunch hour of 12:30-1:30, but it sounds like it was really worthwhile. Everyone’s looking forward to next month’s lunch!

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Club Activities at PlatinumGames!

Platinum Games

Filed: PlatinumGames

Since a few months ago, the staff at PlatinumGames has been organizing something new: after-hours clubs. Not only is this a good opportunity for employees to hang out and get to know each other better, but it also serves to give them inspiration and new ideas that they can put to use while doing their job.
For this blog post, Eiro Shirahama, Director Extraordinaire of The Legend of Korra, wrote up his impressions of the first night out of his moviegoers club, “Cinema Paradise.”

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Hi everyone! Eiro Shirahama here.

In the Fall of last year, PlatinumGames started a new “club activities” initiative, and although things started off a bit slowly, they’ve really been picking up steam lately!
One of the main goals of the “club activities” initiative is to stimulate communication within the company, and since the higher-ups were kind enough to provide part of the costs involved in running these activities, we’ve already got a decent variety of clubs up and running, including a cooking club, a fishing club, a handful of games clubs (e.g. one focused on board games, and another on beat-em-ups), and several sports clubs.

Today I’d like to highlight the activities of Cinema Paradise, a club I organized for movie lovers like myself.

It works a little bit differently from most of the other clubs, though. Whereas most clubs get together every week, biweekly, or maybe once a month, Cinema Paradise operates on an “invitation-based free-participation” basis, meaning that we basically only have an activity when someone has a movie they want to see and they invite the others to come along.

Here’s a few pictures of what the process looks like.

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In this case, one of our female designers wanted to go and see a certain dark fantasy movie with an attractive male lead, and 8 out of the 9 club members expressed interest in participating, so we went ahead and booked the tickets online. Everything can be done online these days. Why, in my time, we stood in line in the cold for hours to get our movie tickets, not even sure if there would be any left when it was our turn, and we darn well liked it! (Please don’t take my internet away from me!).
Anyway, most of us tend to work late, so we ended up going for the late show, which has the benefit of being cheaper too!

So about 30 minutes before the movie started, we started moseying towards the cinema, which is only about a 12-minute walk from the company. Naturally, there was lots of talking and excitement. When we were finally inside though, everyone instantly switched to “shut up, I’m trying to watch this movie” mode.

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No smiles here, this is serious business!

Of course, after the movie, we all shared our thoughts while enjoying some drinks.

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That’s the Umeda Sky Building in the background! (Sorry about the blurriness)

I think that movies, being the same kind of products of passionate creators as video games, have a lot to teach to us game developers. And of course, as a professional within the same entertainment industry, I feel like I want to create even better products than the movies I watch! At least, that’s what I dreamt about as I dozed off on the last train home…

It was kind of refreshing to get to talk face-to-face with people you don’t normally talk with about your hobbies or other casual topics. I hope that these club activities will inspire us and give us new ideas that we can use for our future games!

Eiro Shirahama, Cinema Paradise Chairman

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A New Year’s Greeting from PlatinumGames

Platinum Games

Filed: Community, PlatinumGames

Happy New Year!

This year, we have a greeting from the president and a video from all our staff. See both of them below!

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Hi everyone, Happy New Year from PlatinumGames.

 

In 2014, we were able to see the sequel to Bayonetta, our flagship title, released to the world, as well as the release of The Legend of Korra, a game available only outside of Japan.

I’d like to express my thanks to all of our fans who supported us by purchasing and playing these titles, and to the staff who worked so hard to make these games’ releases possible.

As a video game developer, a new year doesn’t actually mark an achievement in the history of our company. Our milestones are made when we finish a game and can release it to our fans. Each of those successive milestones has brought PlatinumGames to where it is today.

One way we gauge the success of a game is if our users finish it and think, “I want more.” We strongly believe that Bayonetta 2 would not have been possible without the critical reception of the first. Both of these games represent important milestones for our company, and we are deeply proud of them.

Our other release of 2014, “The Legend of Korra,” involved the game adaptation of a highly popular TV show in the west that has never been released in Japan. The fact that we, a Japanese company, were entrusted with this property, reaffirmed our faith that PlatinumGames is respected across the world. This too, may have been a major turning point for us.

Looking back on last year, PlatinumGames may have advanced from where we were before 2014. Something tells me that, at least. To use videogame parlance, I feel we’ve come to our second playthrough.

In video games, there’s a term called “New Game +”. This is a term for starting the second run of a game with all the experience from your first playthrough carried over.

In a New Game +, you’re powerful enough that you can mostly button mash your way through the repeated areas of the game with little trouble at all, but that’s not what we mean when we say we’re on our second playthrough. We intend to challenge ourselves and explore possibilities we may not have been able to realize until now. This is the attitude we try to maintain everyday as we come to work.

The video game industry is one that is ever-changing. New technology and approaches to game development are introduced daily, constantly giving our staff volumes of new study material. We can’t rely on our past experience to get us through everything. We intend to press forward strongly in 2015, experimenting with new ideas for how to give our fans across the world a thrilling user experience that could only come from Platinum. Thank you as always for all your support.

 

PlatinumGames President and CEO

Tatsuya Minami

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Also, take a look at this New Year’s message from our whole team:

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PlatinumGames’ End of the Year Party

Platinum Games

Filed: Community, PlatinumGames

Hey everyone. This is Kazuyo Tsukuma, PR rep at PlatinumGames. Today’s our last work day of the year, but plenty of staff are still busy trying to wrap up the few final tasks they have. We had some company wide Spring Cleaning (though yes, it’s not Spring) today in between the furious typing away at keyboards.

Earlier this week we held our company-wide end of the year of the party. Including a few guests from outside, attendees totaled to be somewhere over 200.

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Kenichi Sato, head of HR, gives a toast.

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After the initial toast, everyone takes their glass and makes some rounds, expressing thanks to those who have helped you out over the past year. Up until this point it was the same ol’ end of the year party as every year. But…

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Suddenly, a mysterious figure appeared upon the stage. Hey, who the heck are you?

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Allow us to introduce the new unofficial mascot character of PlatinumGames: P-Man. He seems to have been put together in secret by the graduate hires who organized the party.

The designer who originally proposed the idea claimed to have the suit finished in a week. A month later, the suit was complete, just in time for the party. Everyone was pretty impressed with this display of young spirit, really putting in extra effort just to make the night that much more special. It’d be nice if we could eventually find some other way to use P-Man outside of this party…

At PlatinumGames, our end of the year party is typically five percent mingling and 95 percent bingo competition. This year we had over 150 presents donated by different members of the staff as prizes. A few days before the event, a catalog was distributed to everyone’s desks so staff could dare to dream of drawing the some of the more illustrious prizes. Or so they could start to fear how they would manage getting home some of the huger gag gifts.

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By some strange stroke of luck, it just so happens that the staff member who landed the prize contributed by President Minami himself was…

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P-Man?!? The luck of this guy… nice one, P-Man!

Thanks for all the support you’ve given PlatinumGames this year. It’s been a fantastic year for us, and we hope it will be for you as well. We’ll take a short break and see you back in 2015–let’s all make it a great year.

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