PlatinumGames is known for its cutting edge action games like the Bayonetta saga and NieR:Automata. IGN Japan interviewed Hideki Kamiya, VP of PlatinumGames and veteran creator, on the response to Bayonetta 3, his ambitious upcoming game Project GG, his take on Elon Musk’s Twitter, and much more. He buckles up and reads on.
Hideki Kamiya talks about the future of the Bayonetta universe
IGN: Bayonetta has become your longest-running saga. How do you feel about it now?
Kamiya: “The Bayonetta saga has been going on for 13 whole years now. It’s the first time I’ve been involved with an IP for that long. I’ve been involved with the games not only as a director, but also writing their stories and overseeing their creation in general, so I feel like I’ve been able to defend and maintain the overall world of Bayonetta in my own way.”
“One of our most basic values at PlatinumGames is that we make games for players. However, I have begun to realize that as franchises like Bayonetta and others progress, what players want starts to diverge from what they propose its developers. Even so, we can’t add to our games what the majority of players want. I’ve always believed that developers should have their own convictions as creators when making games, but I’ve started to feel that more than ever.”
IGN: Where do these differences between players and creators appear?
Kamiya: “They are seen when it comes to the story, and there are many opinions even regarding the mechanics of a game. If we take Bayonetta’s IP as an example, while I have a structure in mind as to where the story is going to go, story in the future, players can only judge the story they have at the moment. They will say things like the saga is going to end because the creators have no love for it. I want people to know that it obviously isn’t like that. I want to Bayonetta more than anyone. How could I not love Cherry and all the other characters I’ve raised for so long?”
IGN: Is there any chance we’ll see a Bayonetta 4 or a Bayonetta 5?
Kamiya: “Personally, I don’t see the Bayonetta saga ever ending. I want to make a Bayonetta 4 and a Bayonetta 5, and I intend to introduce them to the company. We often talk internally about how we could make nine. I want people who love the Bayonetta saga believe me when I say: ‘I’m not going to do anything that betrays the players'”.
IGN: Is there a chance you could do spin-offs as well, instead of just main games? (Note: The spin-off Bayonetta Origins: Cherry and the Lost Demon was announced after this interview, during The Game Awards.)
Kamiya: “I’d like to do spin-offs. It’s an established part of Jeanne’s character who also works as a superhero called Cutie J. I’d even like to do a spin-off for that. It’s very important to me that the Bayonetta saga continues. , so I don’t get hung up on the numbers that go with a game title. I want to be able to represent the vast world of Bayonetta inside my head.”
IGN: Do you ever feel like you want to make games for high-end hardware, or so-called AAA games?
Kamiya: “I do. We listen to players when they say they want to see PlatinumGames titles as high-end AAA games. We have a title that hasn’t been announced yet, and let me just say for now that we’re not necessarily developing it as an exclusive. from the Nintendo platform.
IGN: Around when can we expect to know more about this unannounced title?
Kamiya: “I can’t talk about that yet. As a developer, I’m incredibly interested in high-end game development, and that’s exactly what I’m tackling right now. Please stay tuned for more.”
Hideki Kamiya talks about his next game, Project GG
IGN: Although you’ve announced a new IP codenamed Project GG, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the game. Is there anything you can tell us about the gameplay or mechanics of the game?
Kamiya: “I still can’t say anything. I’m pretty sure that [el jefe del estudio] Atsushi Inaba would kill me if I said too much (laughs). Let’s just say we’re hard at work developing everything from gameplay to game mechanics and much more.”
IGN: Project GG was announced as a self-published game that PlatinumGames will work on from development to release. What do you think of this type of self-publishing?
Kamiya: “When you self-publish a game, you end up needing more staff than necessary during development. That’s something I’ve learned from our previous self-published titles like The Wonderful 101: Remastered and Sol Cresta. In addition to our creative team, we’re also working to expand our sales and public relations staff. A recent development is that Takao Yamane, a former Nintendo employee, has joined PlatinumGames.”
IGN: What scale are you aiming for with Project GG?
Kamiya: “It’s going to be so big that you can’t even compare The Wonderful 101: Remastered and Sol Cresta. So we have to become a company with publishing power at that level, not just development power.”
IGN: As far as platforms, what hardware will Project GG be released on?
Kamiya: “I hope we can release Project GG on all systems. Although next-gen hardware will be the main focus, we are looking into the possibility of releasing it on other hardware as well. The hope is that we will be able to maintain a high level of quality while looking for the kind of appeal unique to those systems.
“Unrelated to Project GG, I’m not opposed to next-gen games being ported to other platforms. For example, even if a cross-platform version of a game may perform a bit less on Nintendo Switch, it still offers the advantage of being the only hardware that allows you to play lying down, which is really attractive.”
About the new PlatinumGames studio in Fukuoka
IGN: PlatinumGames has recently opened a studio in Fukuoka. Why create a headquarters in Fukuoka?
Kamiya: “We need more development staff. We want even more people to work at PlatinumGames, so we have created development bases not only in Osaka, but also in Tokyo and Fukuoka. There is no greater concentration of people in Japan than in Tokyo, and Fukuoka is gaining fame as a location for game development. We are working to recruit talented staff through these additional locations and making remote work possible.”
IGN: What kind of projects will PlatinumGames Fukuoka be involved in?
Kamiya: “The location of the studio will not affect the type of projects the teams working there will be involved in. During the development period of the latest PlatinumGames title, Bayonetta 3, we have allowed remote work.”
“It was our first time trying it, but Yusuke Miyata, the game director, did a good job of embracing work from home. I think it’s helping our younger employees grow as well. I was worried that we might lose some of the more subtle creative aspects of development, but now I feel more confident that we have been able to overcome that challenge.Staff from the Osaka, Tokyo and Fukuoka offices are also participating in the title I am directing, codenamed Project gg”.
IGN: You’ve announced that you’re also considering opening studios abroad. What specific places are you thinking of?
Kamiya: “Of course, we are looking into the possibility of establishing development bases abroad. In any case, I almost want to ask your advice on where we should go (laughs). There is North America and Europe, of course, but Southeast Asia also looks promising. “Malaysia is a popular outsourcing destination for many major games. I’ve even heard that there is now a shortage of workers there. The game industry is experiencing a worldwide labor shortage right now.”
“I have a feeling that 1,000 people wouldn’t be enough if PlatinumGames decided to do everything we really want to do.”
IGN: About how many people does PlatinumGames need?
Kamiya: “Inaba, the head of the studio, was saying he wanted 500 people three years from now. Right now we have about 300, so we’re going to need more. Really, I have a feeling 1,000 people wouldn’t even be enough if PlatinumGames decided to do everything we really want to do. With Bayonetta 3 we learned that development can work even if our offices are physically separated, so I doubt we’ll hesitate to set up new headquarters in the future.”
IGN: What kind of developers would you like to see apply to work at PlatinumGames?
Kamiya: “People with a sense of pride, and who can take their obsessions and express them creatively. People who feel a responsibility to put their name in the credits. For example, if I ask someone to invent a character who wears black, I don’t want him doing his job like an assembly line.
I want you to think about it, to wonder why it has to be this way, to think, “Is black the right color for this character and this story? I would like someone who can wrestle with those kinds of questions just to conclude, ‘I know which is not what you asked for, but I brought you a character dressed in red because I thought it worked better.'”
Hideki Kamiya talks about his future as a game developer
IGN: Game development takes a long time. If we take a look at your life as a developer so far, is there anything left for you to do?
Kamiya: “Personally, I try not to think about it. I’ll be 52 soon, and I don’t know how much more I can do as a developer. Lately I’ve been involved in many different titles developed by PlatinumGames, not only as a director, but also as a lead game designer. One way of doing things is like with Sol Cresta, where I started the project and passed the rest on to another staff member who acted as director. I see the positive in working on many different titles that way.”
IGN: Has there ever been a time when you’ve benefited from working on game development as lead designer, rather than director?
Kamiya: “For example, if I had worked as a director for Bayonetta 3, I might have missed the opportunity to try working on a new title, and it would have put me even more stressed. I’ve started to enjoy controlling development from a broader perspective as a designer game boss. Now I have Project GG, and I feel that I am able to maintain an objective and tolerant outlook as long as I have a place like that where I can unleash all my passion. After all, all I need to be satisfied is put things in players’ hands that make them happy. I’d like to bring as many of my ideas to life as possible and give players quality titles.”
Hideki Kamiya on Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter
IGN: As a heavy user of Twitter, are you concerned about Elon Musk’s purchase of the company?
Kamiya: “No one in particular at the moment. My impression is that someone with a clear idea of what he wants to do with Twitter is now the owner of the company. I’ve heard he’s also a person of action.”
IGN: What do you think of checkmarks on Twitter? Now that they can be paid for, would you consider doing so to get one?
Kamiya: “I think it’s more interesting to have no checkmark at all. Even if it means lots of fake accounts popping up posing as me (laughs). I have no intention of ever having it, whether I have to pay for it or not. I think Twitter like a pub or a bar where you say what you mean and everyone is on an equal footing I often see reviews saying I shouldn’t be on Twitter or they have to take my account down but please , tell all of that directly to Elon Musk!”