Part 52: An Audience with PlatinumGames - Part 6
Performing the perfect evade in order to attack is the concept of the game. Is this the initial idea behind the hidden character Zero? Where did this idea come from?
Hmm, there is only one thing that I can say about this. I didn't think that players would like to have a strong secret weapon. The only exception is the Climax Brace. Equip it and you can fight any time in boss mode. With this item, the player has the advantage when fighting. It's a party item. Like Super Dante in Devil May Cry and Super Joe in Viewtiful Joe. This is just like invulnerable Mario with star. Basically, you dont need a strong item as a reward for finishing the game, because the player has better technique. I think the player wants another challenge. Therefore, all secret weapons have an awkward side. The same thing goes for secret characters. Jeanne has drawbacks and disadvantages. She is a bit difficult. In some cases, she's trickier to use than Bayonetta. And Zero is an extension of this...
Have your staff ever completed this game with Zero?
Yes, some have finished this game.
Yes, during the bug-checking tests. It's the worst if the game stops during the ending. Therefore they did. But they did not play extensively with Zero. If we give the user something which can be finished...
Yeah, someone will. (laughs)
I think the first idea was: "Zero looks funny, so let's put it into the game," something like that. Yes. Zero was in the game from the beginning of the development phase. And we said, "We could like to keep this until our gold master."
And it's still there.
So Zero survived because of its appearance?
Yes... just a joke within the team.
Zero was cute.
We all thought it looked funny and wanted to see this in the game. Then we said, let's do it.
And if you put this character in, then there should be some limitations?
No point in doing things by halves.
That's his job, always.
I attach great importance to extra content. Often there is something like a mini-game. Like the Hunk mode in Resident Evil 2. The goal was to clear a game using a limited map. I personally don't like mini-games much. The player often doesn't enjoy them and they are out of proportion to the benefit. We put a lot of effort into the main part and people want to play this. When they see a mini-game, they play a bit and say "Oh, they included this sort of thing too," and leave it at that. Therefore I was thinking of changing it somehow. And then... this feeling... came out most strongly in Joe. When I worked on Joe, I prepared three hidden characters. In this case we had to take time and energy to create these characters properly. But you don't play with them in a small range of mini-games. You can play all seven stages of the main game... (or was it eight?) with the new character. Anyway, you can play the whole game again. Every time you get a new character, you can play the next round. You can enjoy the game from a different perspective. This method is more reasonable. I want to put in elements with which players can play the main game with new feeling again, more than a mini-game. That's why I let Jeanne join. If you don't play with Bayonetta as the main character, there will be a totally different strategy for all stages. So you can play with Jeanne and Zero three times. This is more fun for players.
It was fun to see Jeanne in the event scenes.
It gives a new flavour. That is one of the highlights.
Surreally funny pictures.
And talking about secret weapons... one of my favourite games is Onimusha. I don't want Onimusha run down, but if you finish this game, you can play with the strongest sword in the next round. This made me unhappy. I thought, "Please kick me around, more!" because I was now a skilled player, so...
You wanted some kind of challenge.
I need more... things like...
A stick. (laughs)
A stick! (laughs) A stick or dagger, something like that. So one can say, "That's insane!"
Why this weapon?!
What the hell?
The Handguns in Bayonetta, right?
Correct. But I went too far with it. (laughs) In Devil May Cry you can use the simple sword "Force Edge" from the beginning. So... I wanted a restriction in Onimusha. Therefore all weapons have their speciality.
You wanted the user to play this game again and again, so you created an unlock condition like "Finish 50 chapters"?
Well, yes. This weapon should appear when players think they have played extensively. Then they think "oops, I thought I played it a lot, but there is more?" We thought, how many chapters should they play that they can say "played a lot"? Was it 100 chapters? 100? So I said 100 chapters. Truth of matter is, we wanted to make a timed unlock like Tekken in Arcade.
Around about... one week? Unlocking something after about one week would be great.
That was rejected for various reasons.
You could have then unlocked everything immediately by changing the date of the console. Unlocking with no play time is not good, because you don't have to do anything to make play time count. This is why the chapter number method provides the best method for triggering things to do for the player. First I thought 200 chapters, instead of 100. But all the staff said "no way".
They accused him. (laughs) Accusation and revilement.
Okay then, 100.
Seven or more game rounds.
Quite normal for a game you like.
It was great to see that you need ten or more hours to complete the first round. But when you become an expert, you only need a few hours.
So you could clear one in a day. So for 100 chapters, you only need a week or so. Not a good idea?
Maybe next time. (laughs)
It does not make sense to be anything other than generous. I want as many players as possible to play the hidden features.
We believe we have prepared a lot of weapons and secrets so that they can play the main game again and again. Also costumes. We want people to play this game. This is important to us. Not only a mini-game, but something which comes back to the main game, so that players can enjoy it plenty of times by starting from the beginning.
We were surprised by the amount of weapons.
Normally, this kind of content is available as a download.
I don't like the idea of download content, I mean, for this time, for Bayonetta. I wasn't keen on having downloadble content. And this is not an action game which expands with download contents. If it had had a major versus mode, we could have thought of additional content. We wanted to put everything into it. From the beginning of Bayonetta, we tried to include everything in the one package. It increases the user's satisfaction levels. They feel they are getting value for money.
Making one large firework. Buuum! And then it's over.
We don't need small fireworks spluttering afterwards. (laughs)
The philosophy of PG is to make original and new games. But players are now used to the system and would like to face new challenges, new enemies and new stages. So is it possible to make a sequel?
First of all, it's not our policy to make original games. Our policy is to invent interesting games. And since PlatinumGames is new, we can only develop original games. (laughs) So one way to create interesting games is to respond to players' requests. A sequel is one of the possibilities... I'd like to think about it if users do want to play. Or course we would like to do something different with the "Bayonetta" material. With the characters, world and story.
Isn't it a waste of potential, to use all these completed elements for only one product? And you said you would like to do something different. What could that be?
Well, it's not a specific game genre. I would like to expand Bayonetta's world. Like, what did Rodin do in the past? And the other characters too. Well, not Enzo. (laughs)
(laughs) We can't expand Enzo.
And the in-game story 500 years ago, well the side of the Sages is only described with Balder. As an enemy of Bayonetta. But what about the history from the viewpoint of the Sages. What about the vendetta 500 years ago? When I delve deeper, my imagination takes me to all sorts of places. I feel that I want to depict these somehow. Well, not just like Star Wars Clone Wars.
There could be many new heroes then. We could expand the story from this point of view.
The Sage Balder was evil. But not all Sages are. There should also be a story about the Sages. I mean, I've created material which I could expand as far as I want. Thinking about what kind of game could expand it... could map out these ideas. Well, it's more accurate to say, that I would rather expand the world than create a specific game.
yoshesque: Some notes by modeling lead Kenichiro Yoshimura on how Enzo was modelled. Another Enzo (totally different, of course!) was in the DMC3 manga, playing the same role as an informant to Dante.
yoshesque: It also looks like the sequel, announced on September 13, 2012, (trailer here) might be expanding on the story of the Sages.
And the best game genre would be an action game?
Let me think... no, I don't insist on it being an action game. Dozens of witches approaching you and you have to defend... perhaps a vertical shooting game. (laughs) A Sage going "bang, bang, bang bang!"
Please do that as a downloadable game. (laughs)
Witches flying like this (poses like Superman) Flying in formation.
Could you imagine developing a game which is not Bayonetta but uses this world? As a downloadable game?
Well, we haven't planned anything in detail.
Nothing. But if we do, we would like to create something new which surprises players in a positive way. Something full of playfulness. Also no set ideas on genre. We want to surprise, like we have done with Bayonetta, positively. If we think "this genre will be more interesting" then we will choose that.
So you could suddenly do an MMO with it.
Anything is possible. At this moment, it's just a conversation between me and Hashimoto after a business trip, riding a Shinkansen, while we were drinking. (laughs) And we are a really small game studio. This company can't face it although we make a big story of it. It is still just a wish of ours.
But new ideas can be born from this kind of idle chatter, can they not? Ideas from Team Kamiya/Hashimoto?
In seven years. I think, maybe I will develop an action game in seven years.
You co-operate together every seven years?
What a long Olympic game.
When seven years are passed, I will say to him, "Kamiya-san, it's time to do an action game." (laughs)
Talking about Bayonetta, I believe strongly that I have done everything I could. I have expended all my energy. The main point is... It's for me and also for Hashimoto. Devil May Cry 1 was released in 2001. Then, came many other action games... well, Devil May Cry became a series. Lots of games following the same or a similar genre were released. The only thing we could do is to watch with folded arms. During the development of Devil May Cry we talked a lot about our dreams, "next time, we want to do this". There were many things that we couldn't do in Devil May Cry 1. I couldn't do anymore and my passion had been stopped. But now, I could free all these agonising feelings in one go. And of course we wanted to create the best product for gamers that we could produce. This feeling of accomplishment is now very strong.
Too big. I don't even want to think of a sequel. (laughs)
It's like I made a sissy and could empty my bowels completely like "bash!"
They can't print this interview. (laughs)
Wow, my bowel is clear!
We sure can and will!
If you have had a great bowel movement, you can't have a shit anymore. That's our feeling. So great that you don't even need to wipe your ass. (laughs) Bumm! Even if you wipe, there will be nothing on your paper.
Just as I thought. (laughs)
yoshesque: You heard it here, folks. Bayonetta is like that intensely satisfying bowel movement you have occasionally that you want to tell everybody about.
So you think you have done everything you could do with the action game genre?
Yes we have.
So you can't even say, "I should have done this"?
Sure there are small elements I would like to introduce, or to stick in for detail, I wanted to adjust some points... things like that. But I don't have the impulse that I made Bayonetta with anymore... that feeling has gone. Completely.
If you wanted to expand the Bayonetta world, you may develop some kind of other game?
Yeah, maybe. But that isn't totally in our control. If a big guy in our company says "Do Bayonetta 2", then I have to. (laughs)
A vertical shooting game. (laughs)
That would be a big surprise. The game Monster Land. Developed by Weston, and released by Sega. The sequel is Monster Lair, a horizontal shooting game. I couldn't believe it. "Whaaat?!" Where is my Action RPG?! (laughs)
So we shouldn't copy that. (laughs)
Who knows? Okay, I don't think that Bayonetta 2 is a vertical shooter.
Shmupanetta, by junkboy
So no horizontal?
Not horizontal either. But 3D is possible.