Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Platinum Games president rates its sales as a "C or even a D."

"We have to think a lot about what resonates with consumers globally and find that secret sauce."

Platinum Games president Tatsuya Minami is very satisfied with his studios' projects, but not so happy with its sales.

'I think there were a lot of issues with [Bayonetta] when it came out, the kind of marketing behind it.' -Tatsuya Minami

In an interview with Polygon, Minami said that looking at the studios' developers he would rate them an A. "They've held up their end of the bargain and done a really good job of putting out really high-quality games," he said. No surprises there.

However, when it comes to sales, Minami confessed "I'd probably rate it as a C or even a D." Ouch!

"We obviously grew up being part of the domestic Japanese market - a lot of our staff spent time in domestic Japanese publishers, focused really on the domestic Japanese market," Minami added. "And now we're trying to expand and focus more outward and think about gamers worldwide. But when you think about what global success really means, that means we need to be selling more titles. Our games need to sell more copies."

Minami noted that its best-selling game so far was Bayonetta, but even that failed to meet expectations. The studio head attributed much of this blame to its marketing, which didn't necessarily portray the witchy heroine in the most progressive light. "I think there were a lot of issues with [Bayonetta] when it came out, the kind of marketing behind it," Minami lamented.

Looking ahead, Minami said he expects Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance to break Bayonetta's record for the studio, partially due to its Metal Gear license. It is after all the only not new IP the studio has whipped up - though it is currently working on a Bayonetta sequel exclusively for Wii U.

I get Anarchy Reigns' limited appeal, but why didn't more people buy Vanquish, a third-person cover shooter? Was it the lack of multiplayer? No blood? Or short campaign perhaps?

Minami wants to ensure that Platinum's future games have a broader overseas appeal, though he hasn't quite cracked how yet. "We have to think a lot about what resonates with consumers globally and find that secret sauce and make sure that goes into our games," he said. "There's a lot of places we need to look for that: it's not just in art, it's also in game design, it's also in music... we definitely want people to understand that we're making games here in Japan, but we're making games for everybody."

Further confounding Minami, he noted that Bayonetta and the upcoming The Wonderful 101's director Hideki Kamiya's 2D GameCube beat-'em-up Viewtiful Joe had what he considered to be a very Japanese style, yet it sold best in America. Why? He's not sure.

While Platinum's only two announced titles on the horizon - Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101 - will be Wii U exclusives, Minami was quick to point out that the studio would be split between first and third-party development over a host of platforms. "Right now, we're working with both third-party publishers and first-party publishers, and I think that style of who we work with and how we work with them is not going to change in the future. We're on Sony's list because if we're going to work with third-party publishers, we're obviously going to be making multiplatform games and that means that we will be making PS4 games."