Part 50: An Audience with PlatinumGames - Part 4
Were there any ideas you wanted to use but were not feasible due to development time constraints?
He put in a lot.
I guess so. Sega wanted me to remove the Sega logo, I wasn't happy about that so I removed all logos from the game. In the opening cutscene, there are gravestones with name credits. It starts with Team Little Angels, then PlatinumGames.
Next was Sega, then PlatinumGames.
No, no, no, no, no. Sega, then Platinum... no. I think it was Sega, PlatinumGames.
Okay. But now it is Team Little Angels. Team Little Angels, PlatinumGames, then name, name, name. The scene shows five gravestones. But someone from Sega said "Please don't carve our company name into the gravestone." I thought, okay, if that's your attitude I won't show your logo in the game. So I removed all the SEGA logos. So we had an empty gravestone. That's why we quickly put the logo of Team Little Angels on it. That was the story behind that.
We had to order this logo. (laughs)
When I developed DMC, the team was called "Team Little Devils".
So, "Let's take Angels this time".
Right, Angels. I haven't asked my staff to... no, better still: I never told my staff that we are the "Team Little Devils". When I was creating the staff credits with one of the team - Shigechi, I said: "The credits look a bit bare. Let's create a team logo." We took the silhouette of a girl and put a tail, horns and wings on her, well, no horns actually. Tail and wings, and wrote "Team Little Devils". And when a member of staff was checking the game for bugs, he asked me, "What is this Team Little Devils?"(laughs)
I'm hearing this for the first time. (laughs)
The first time? (laughs) This time, it's the same. We now had an empty space. So what should we do? Reducing the number of gravestones to four was no good, because four would be too few. I wanted to show bamm, bamm, bamm, bamm, bamm! I thought "What can we write on the gravestone...?" Then we hit on the idea of a logo.
Well, there was another episode with Sega. The Japanese costume of Bayonetta. Bayonetta is in pink, Jeanne in a purple-blue. And there was a white one in the middle. That was a mark of respect to one game... I wanted to make a costume like Amaterasu. God's emblem on white clothes. They weren't happy about that, but I did not put Amaterasu in the game. It's just Okami...
It's nothing more than a pattern. But they said "No." A big company is stubborn and can't take a joke.
yoshesque: The costume in question. I can't really see much of a resemblence other than the white with red accents though.
yoshesque: The development blog is interesting and you should take the time to read it if you haven't already: building design, props and maps, backgrounds, more backgrounds and even more backgrounds.
Oh, and some level design posts, as well as postings about the effects. This post about the angelic language used in game is interesting, too. Read the goddamn development blog.
But they didn't object to Beast Within? Because of the flower traces while running?
Had nothing against that.
That was okay. It's a bit difficult if we try to directly show a similar character.
I know the border to the forbidden things. And I try to get as close to that border as I can.
There are so many parodies in the game. Is there any reference that you think nobody will ever find? The best you've ever done... a hidden one.
Hidden one... I checked the internet and someone found it. You know Cutie J?
If you unlock Jeanne and buy items for a costume change, you will see Cutie J - a fiction hero who suddenly appears. Jeanne puts on an outfit wearing a mask. Then you'll see "Incognito as a mild-mannered high school teacher, Jeanne," as the caption. First you wear this costume and equip the laser blade-like weapon. If you then taunt, Jeanne will do the changing pose of Joe. Because she is a hero.
yoshesque: Mild weapon/costume spoilers for those who haven't played the game. It's nothing important, just a little hidden reference.
We hadn't noticed that. So you wanted to show Joe as everyone's hero?
Aah, well, it could be someone other than Joe. Just a typical Japanese-style hero. And when we talk about heroes, for me, it's this gesture. Recently, Joe has been taking part in Capcom's games. Joe versus... Tatsunoko? Oops, no. Tatsunoko versus Capcom. (laughs) Not Joe versus. That would be a very narrow-view game. Capcom versus... Tatsunoko versus Capcom. Joe is entering this game. But when I see Joe's picture, he never does this gesture. Why is he so peaceful since he left me?
He doesn't show his tongue or his gesture. These were his most important gestures for this character, and they have been removed.
Those were part of Joe's identity.
yoshesque: Joe as in Viewtiful Joe, another game that Kamiya directed.
So this is the reason behind the ending scene?
Yes! That's right.
It was such fun finding them each time.
There is a shooting level. And alert messages will appear before the middle boss. Beep! These two messages are... a token of respect to particular shooting games.
Well, no. Salamander and Darius. First message: In Salamander, when you get to the boss, you'll see a message saying, "An intruder has penetrated our force field." I changed this to "A huge Angel has penetrated your force field". And from Darius, "A huge battleship... something?"
... "is approaching fast"?
"Is approaching fast", yes. I changed this to "A huge Angel is approaching fast". I did it in Viewtiful Joe, too. Like "An unknown cast has penetrated our force field." Hm? "An unknown cast has penetrated our Viewtiful Show." No one noticed it. I thought, "Why haven't you found this?" and wanted to post an entry in the forum. Not one person recognized that.
Now this is revealed.
Ah! When I saw videos on "Nico Nico douga", people posted "Is this from Salamander?" and then "The second half is from Darius."
Yeah, that's okay, but no one knows you put that message in Viewtiful Joe.
But now, everyone will know.
And I'm the one who dubbed this message. This was full of personal feeling, but no one noticed that.
This time, you haven't dubbed?
This time, the disc is really full and there was no room... I wanted to, but it was not possible.
Now I would like to ask about the battle system.
Ah, a serious question.
First you wanted to create a 3D game, a 3D action game. How did you get the idea for systems like Witch Time, Dodge Offset and so on?
I see. The initial idea was only "Guns on hands, guns on legs," that's all. And Beast Within, Witch Time... I did not know how to put this into the game, but I wanted a lightning-fast system to defeat enemies. That was the initial idea. The question was: How could I introduce this into the game?... by playing. The first idea was just like Joe. The slow motion effect is active while you press the button... or if you defeat an enemy and they are blown away, and suddenly the video is getting incredibly slow. We tried several ideas. Finally we came up with the idea of close evading. I had concerns though and discussed them with Hashimoto. This system will make simple attacking more difficult. Simple attacking is not enough. You must evade an enemy's attack. So, by integrating this system, the player must first face the the threat of an enemy, which is a hard step for a beginner. I was concerned, so I asked Hashimoto, "What do you think?"
I told him only one thing, "If the system demands hard input timings from the player, I don't want you to do that."
Also, Joe's style was to evade and attack. There were players who felt stressed by this. Well, you can attack without evading in Joe. But evading... and attacking with activated slow motion effect is much stronger. This was basic to adjusting the enemy's energy. But there are players who only want to press the attack button to play. I guess these players had trouble in Joe's game system. So I asked, "What if I cause the same problem again?" I was worried about this. But when I listened to the players' feedback, they had had a lot of fun. From the very start, this game was developed for "core" gamers. Our aims and the players' feelings about these aims have matched nicely.
yoshesque: For those of you who know your guns, the Scarborough Fair design process is an interesting read. It seems like desiging All 4 One for Jeanne was much easier though. There's also some cool torture devices that didn't make it into the game, like a blender.
And what about Dodge Offset?
Dodge Offset was also created through playing. I put a lot of enemies in an empty room and played the whole day. When I saw that some timings weren't correct, I went to Don-san immediately and said, "Please lengthen this cancel frame," or, "I'd like to cancel these moves." So I fought the entire time, I evaded attacks in order to activate Witch Time. Then I wanted to perform an attack. As I have already said, the idea of attacking with summoned monsters came during the course of the project. Clothes made of hair matched this idea. Therefore I integrated this actively into the battle system. But this was a finishing move and evading stopped the sequence. So I wanted to connect these attacks somehow and introduced this system as an experiment. Experienced players were getting better and fitted into this system. At that point, the system became indispensable. From the beginning, this game was designed without a guard system. Well, none of my games have had a guard system. Ah, Okami has a defence system due to the game genre. But my pure action games have no guard system. This has to do with my obsessiveness. I want to express the aesthetic of the main character's fighting. So rumbling, beating and defending are not enough. There must be an aesthetic to the main character's fighting.
For me, it's important to show that a character insists on doing which is apparently nonsensical. Bayonetta performs a pose. Her posing is like opening herself up. But she still does this. Being attacked and the roses appearing. This is also quite nonsensical. But, just at this point, she shows the aesthetic of her fighting. The method of showing the aesthetic is the lack of a guard system. I think, defending an enemy's attack causes an even... or rather more of a disadvantage, because the character is defensive. From an enemy's point of view, they have succeeded in hitting a spirited and powerful attack. I think, perfect evading to counter an attack is the key to clobbering an enemy totally. It doesn't matter how often they attack or swing if they can't touch their opponent. The opponent doesn't even need to defend. And then comes the counter-attack. This will come from the heart. I wanted to create a hero like that. That's why I didn't create a defence system. This would stop the gameflow. I set great store on game response. I always make an action game with 60 frames per second. I wanted to have fluent fighting, with no stopping. If you want to defend, the moment you press the button everything has to stop. You also stop when you block an enemy's attack. This puts a halt to the flow of the fight, however evading keeps things moving. Especially this time. When you hold the attack button Bayonetta can continue shooting, while evading. So evading becomes a method of attack as well. When you see a video of her fighting, you won't see her stopping for a second. She is moving the whole time and performing attacks on enemies. That's the scene you'll see. This is the battle.. their (character's) style. In this game players don't stop, so the fever never goes down. That's the reason behind this system. Therefore there is no guarding, but evading. Guarding will stop the combo.
I also wanted to introduce beating someone with a gun while shooting. So you can press the attack button to attack and then shoot immediately by holding this button. Then I thought, "Can't I save my input by holding the button while I evade?" That was the initial idea. I introduced this system as an experiment. And the battle did not really stop. One, two, three... hold the button and evade... and four, five. For example, PPPPK performs a hundred kick as the final move. You can do PPPP and then perform evade, evade, evade and evade as a movement to get closer to the enemy, in order to hit the hundred kicks. We could finish the non-stop style in that way. The result of 'trial and error'. In reality, this was done at the late production phase. This system didn't exist at the beginning. We could control Bayonetta like our own hands and legs at long last. Like in the Anime series, Mobile Suit, Gundam's Magnetic Coating, Gundam didn't move properly in response to the incredibly skilled pilot Amuro's directions. The Magnetic Coating ensured Amuro could move the robot in his image. I wanted to bring Bayonetta to a higher level so that she can move like my image. We worked hard at improving the response. Dodge Offset was one part of this. I wanted to move Bayonetta just as I wanted.
yoshesque: RISE, SHINING GUNDAM
So if players eventually turn into New-type, they can finish Climax easily.
Yes, exactly. We provide the tool. How good you become with it depends on you. There are so many incredible players now.
Players have amazing potential. They transcend the reach of our imagination. It's fun to see them.
yoshesque: Seriously. Just search Youtube for 'mad combo bayonetta' and see what crazy shit people have done. They make me look amateurish.