Part 53: An Audience with PlatinumGames - Part 7No video update this week, because the write-up is taking a lot longer (and will be in video format), so here's the next part of the interview!
You talked about Rodin's past. Have you created his history and background as well?
Well, I left all his story in Shinkansen together with an empty beer can. After talking a lot about him, I can't remember anything. We talked about some very awful thinks in Rodin's past.
It would have been hairy if someone had recorded our conversation.
Something you remember?
Well, these things come from chatting. When we are serious about doing this we have to talk again about that. We will ask others, what do you think, what kind of man is Rodin? Then we will pick up the elements to shape his history. But at this time, there is really nothing.
Rodin is very tired when he goes away to create a new weapon. What is he doing there?
He is fighting a fierce battle. For example for the Durga, Rodin must beat it very violently, make it submissive. Then he can put the Durga into a weapon and give it the order to work. So he is going away to have a "man-to-man conversation".
yoshesque: Design notes on Rodin and Enzo
Talking with fists?
All our staff were wondering about that. They were asking "So what about Rodin, what's happening with him?" (laughs)
For Bayonetta who is waiting there is just a 10 or 20 second delay. He goes away and comes back, but it's a matter of another world. In reality, he may have spent a lot more time, maybe two or three years, in the other world. He went on a long expedition, finally finding the Durga and bringing it back. Also this is my imagination, a story which I have made up just now. We discussed that we would like to depict all these details.
I talked to our staff and thought, ah, they are curious. The developer must get into the game or else no good ideas will come. We'd love to continue creating things like that. But this time, we have got it all done. Talk like this needs to be reserved for the next time.
I guess it's for me, Hashimoto and for our staff. It's not the post-fin of Bayonetta's finished story, that we would like to see. It is more the things we could not depict. You remember I mentioned the story about 500 years ago? About the Sage's side... or what Rodin did in the past. Sub-stories of the first part. This is what we are interested in. As a creator, I think it's more satisfying to go deeper into these themes. I hope, all players become interested in these [themes]. If players demand: "We want Bayonetta 2", then it's my duty to attend to that need.
We're talking about this now... but just you wait and see - it'll be "Announcing Bayonetta 2"! (laughs) in Famitsu next week! They will say "Hey, you're doing it!" There is nothing. Really. Sorry.
It would be a big surprise if there was an announcement and we didn't know anything about it. (laughs)
You make cutscenes with freeze-frame pictures. What was the intention behind this method?
A desperate measure. Let me tell you the inside story. When we did a cutscene for each scenario, it took 90 minutes. And due to our development schedule, we only had time for 60 minutes. So we wondered what we could do about the other 30 minutes. First and foremost, I didn't want to cut stories anymore. So I looked for a method that did not damage us financially and which fitted into Bayonetta's world. Instead, I thought "Is there any way of presenting this in Bayonetta's style?" And so this style was introduced. The basis story is that Luka is chasing after Bayonetta the whole time. The plot develops from this basic fact. This is used as an image. It's not a direct film of Luka, but likeness of his archive film. Luka's, or his father's. He tracks down various materials, analyzes them and makes a record. I cam up with this method in order to express these things in one style.
yoshesque: Designs for Luka
It is a fast and interesting method of story telling. We aren't fond of idly long movie scenes.
I think, expressing things with movement isn't the be all and end all. I've depicted all scenes with action, which I wanted to show in motion. And it's not okay to present a doodling, talking scene. A more stylish performance makes scenes much more interesting. This is like our solution.
What we also wondered about in the cutscenes was the number on the film, like 48124BA. Do these have any meaning?
There is a meaning? (laughs)
We thought this might be a secret command to input and tried them all out. But nothing happened.
Oh, ha. The member of staff who did this... it was Takashima... I think, it has a meaning. What I've heard from Takashima is... the "PG003". He said, this is for "3rd game of PlatinumGames". A story behind a story. This 48... thing has some meaning too, sorry, I'll have to ask him.
Like super special moves?
Input directions depicted as keypad numbers? (laughs) In fact, about the film-like event scenes. I was told that this was down to money-matters, but when we worked on it, it was very troublesome. (laughs)
We started and it had nothing to do with cheap.
Umbran tears of blood, Moon Pearl, Infernal Demon records
It took more time than you thought?
We did fine detailed tuning.
We began to create this style and it was getting interesting. So we tried to attach importance to the wipe effects and made various patterns. Made the sound effects more realistic, and so on. It's not carried by graphics. In videos, you only have to use sound effects for the walking movements. In this style, it's just like an audio book. So we can use sounds to fire the imagination. I talked the staff into going for more sounds. As a result we chose this style and had to face huge quantities of work.
Did you work on all cutscenes first as render scenes and then made them into a film-like style?
Well, no. Our software staff kept trying and first only created these film effects. With frames which we can put real-time cutscenes in anytime. Therefore we don't need pre-rendered scenes and the costume change is also reflected in these cutscenes. A bit of a special method.
We also use this technology for the ending.
Some scenes will zoom in, and will be playable.
yoshesque: Here's how they went from script to storyboard. Apparently sexy stunt giraffes exist somewhere in Europe. vv
We were shocked. "I have to concentrate during credits as well?!"
They all say that you can't relax at anytime during this game. (laughs)
Pressing buttons during event scenes is quite okay, but doing that in the final scene!
It's what is called "quick time event". There are arguments for and against it. I put this into the game, because I was focused on repeat playing. Many players will fail the first time. That doesn't matter. I guess no one fails the second time round. That's okay. And... how should I say... Here you get a bonus by pressing at exactly the right time. Or by rapid triggering to gain a bonus. I can put a petit... a mini-game there. It's the first thing I wanted to do. These QTE-games... are sometimes like a "brain challenge". Press this, this, this, and this. Kind of like that. In most cases, the input is not connected to the on-screen happenings. But biting is similar to triggering. So I wanted to reflect this feeling in the game. Like "Hey, Gomorrah, bite harder!" This is what I wanted to achieve. That's also the reason why you can't fail at summoning. No biting because you didn't trigger fast enough. That would be a bad surprise.
You'd wonder "Why did I summon this?!" (laughs)
If you make an effort to bite, you will be rewarded for that. If you don't need the reward, you don't have to trigger. It's like that.
yoshesdque: Infernal demon poses and summons
I thought, Hekatoncheir might succeed at volleyball this time.
Actually, I wanted to structure the second time differently. But repeating a joke is quite okay. Personally, I love this summon. And the first appearance of Joy, the start of the dance battle. How can I put it... It's nonsense... not a gag. I love nonsense choreography. Someone may ask "Do they have to do a dance battle?" My answer is no, there is no particular reason, but "Why not? It's okay in this mood."
Is this the reason for the dance movie at the end?
Yes, the same reason. I didn't give much notice about wanting to do this.
Yes, this came out of nowhere. Suddenly he began to perform a strange movement. So I asked him what is was and he replied, "There is something which I haven't told you. I would like to insert a dance movie."
We recorded this movement while we were working on the motion capture. The ending scene is about 3.5 minutes long. So I asked our dancer to bring a song that was 3.5 minutes long, to which she could dance easily. And I let her dance to this music. And we then created some ending music which fits this dance movie. We tailored the music to the high point of the dance afterwards matching its timing exactly. We completed the animation and then matched it to the length of the music. Then we did the credits. After that, I came to the main issue. "I want to make a dance video clip." The movie was completed after we had already started bug checking, a phase during which we can't make changes to the game data. I used this in an underhand way. So I thought: "Well, that means, some of our staff...
"... have nothing to do?"
"... have nothing to do."
But they had to work.
Of course they were busy. They had to do the bug check. (laughs) And this is the only scene with a pre-rendered movie. And movie data can be replaced easily, because it doesn't influence the in-game data. Therefore I got them to put a dummy file on the final approval ROM. A dummy movie which we would replace once we had brushed up our movie. Then I gathered all the staff who had finished the main job and told them to create this movie. And we then put this into the game. An ultimate hidden technique.
It's nothing like a hidden technique. (laughs) It's like a normal working flow. They told you, this movie won't fit because of its size.
The DVD is really full. This time. The only movies are... the title demo, Bayonetta's pole dance at the end, and the dancing video clip. That's all. All other cutscenes are in real time. But it's not just full because of the movie data. The main game data is really huge. One costume is 50MB and we got to a point where we were talking about reducing costumes.
You already did a diet but...
You can't sweat anymore. Nevertheless, I got the people from each section together for a meeting and told them "please delete unnecessary data." This applied to all sections. We identified what data wasn't needed and pruned it bit by bit. And then we packed the data in tightly. It is so full.
A member of staff said we might have to put it on two discs.
Large yellow and herb lollipops, concocting compounds, yellow and herb lollipops, green laurel
Because of a lack of data space?
I said "no way." I don't want to develop an action game with two discs.
Instead we've really crammed this DVD.
So we could enjoy a fantastic game.
That's something that I would be concerned about if I have to make Bayonetta 2. This first one was so full, and when I calculate a schedule with this workload... it would be an insane schedule. This time around we did not start out with such a schedule. I gave more and more work to them while everybody was working correctly according to the original schedule. They worked reluctantly. All this additional workload was done by sheer man-power. So it's impossible to calculate the schedule in advance. Well, it's nothing I can boast about now.
At last, you are being responsible. (laughs)
Okay, we are looking forward to 2.
If you say so, we must keep trying.
In seven years time! (laughs)