Platinum: "Japanese games companies have lost their vigour"

Minami outlines "new course" as developer aims to "ignite a Japanese games revival"

PlatinumGames president and CEO Tatsuya Minami has outlined a new vision for the company, as he lamented the decline of Japanese influence on the industry and proclaimed his studio as "The Japanese Standard Bearer in Global Competition".

Writing on the company's website, Minami recalls how the developer of critically acclaimed titles such as Baynoetta and Vanquish was established with the credo "deliver smiles and surprises around the world".

Following the company's five year anniversary Minami wrote: "I believe that games exist to offer fresh surprises to those who play them. As members of the games business, we have always pursued the creation of the new, and we take pride in doing our part to support our industry.

We seek to ignite a Japanese games revival. And our troops will have the highest morale.

Tatsuya Minami, PlatinumGames

"However, the current games business is struggling. The 'fresh surprises' I mention are becoming few and far between, especially in our home of Japan. Not so long ago, Japan lead the world's games business, and it was not a stretch to call games a uniquely Japanese specialty; however, now it appears that Japanese games companies have lost their vigour."

Characterising PlatinumGames as "one of the very few healthy Japanese games companies", Minami complained that: "Series grow ever-longer; original titles are on the decline. Games with new at their core are disappearing. Japanese games that garner worldwide acclaim are slipping away."

"We want our contributions to not only be towards the games industry as a whole, but also be contributions towards our homeland of Japan. That is the principle that will guide our company into the future," added Minami.

"We aim to bring happiness to gamers worldwide. We seek to ignite a Japanese games revival. And our troops will have the highest morale," he concluded. "We're in this fight for the long haul."

PlatinumGames was founded in 2006, following the closure of internal Capcom team Clover Studio - previously responsible for the Viewtiful Joe and Okami franchises. PlatinumGames has so far released four titles via publisher Sega: MadWorld, Infinite Space, Bayonetta and Vanquish.

A fifth title named Anarchy Reigns has also recently been announced for this year.

Although prominent producers Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya continue at the company the level of involvement from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami is currently unclear, following the acquisition of his studio Tango Gameworks by Bethesda owner ZeniMax.

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Latest comments (5)

Perhaps a fusion of japanese retro appeal (what made the japanese games of yore so legendary) fused with modern mass appeal (irrespective of graphical quality) could be a formula for new Japanese games standards
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 11 years ago
I agree. japanese games are stuck in limbo. As a huge RPG and Fighting game freak, i have to admit, playing through most RPG's is like watching a very long movie, were you simply trigger events to move the story along, vs games like Dragon age, were your choices affect the story and your relationship with characters. however I did love Shin Megami tensai persona 3 in the way you interacted with your school mates. Bioware just went the extra mile with Dragon Age. Im still lusting for a Persona 5, i just hope it grows on the formula in the same way 3 and 4 did from the first game.

And fighting games have become stale and boring. Every new generation fighting game is just the same but with tweaked gameplay and better graphics. The street fighter characters never change. Ryu doesnt finally become Evil, Sakura doesnt get older, ken doesnt grow a beared. Tekken and Soul Calibure are virtually the same game for every generation. I miss the days of Double Dragon and bad dudes. Though resident Evil 4 did something for the series, Resident Evil 5 failed to go beyond it by using a cliche story to put an end to wesker. And Resident evil became a mere action game rather then a survivel horror game.

I think the bigger companies are falling behind the smaller companies in inovation who are willing to take bigger risks because they have less to lose. Also western companies have been becoming more competitive, because they strive for realisim and cutting edge technology. Japanese on the other hand are sitting on formulas established, that do work but offer little in terms of innovation, since they are sitting on a cushion of not fixing something if its not broken.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 1st April 2011 3:44pm

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Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London11 years ago
They won't be the first to say this.
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Chris Bryan McGuyver, 3d artist and prop builder 11 years ago
Bring another "Steel Battalion" to the table. Be bold. Make a game people think you're crazy for doing it.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 11 years ago
@ Chris
Unless I'm very much mistaken, I think they are making a Steel Battalion for Kinect. I thought it was one of the five big Japanese exclusives MS announced at TGS last year (or was it Gamescom?).

Anyway, I largely agree with what Minami says, and I do think PlatinumGames are one of a few Japanese developers (most notably alongside From Software) who are making games that still feel relevant and as though they have a place on the global scene. However, I think many if not most of them have recognised this, and in the case of publishers like Square Enix and Capcom, they're reaching out to invest in or work with western companies in order to nail the genres that just seem to elude most Japanese companies.
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