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PlatinumGames' Atsushi Inaba talks Vanquish

"We always prioritise gameplay over story."

Platinum doesn't do games by half. From Wii skewer-'em-up MadWorld to the handgun stilettos of Bayonetta, Hideki Kamiya and chums always aim to surprise. Vanquish, the studio's upcoming third-person shooter, is their latest attempt.

Eurogamer talked to producer and Platinum co-founder Atsushi Inaba to find out more about the inspiration behind Vanquish's action style, the difficulties of porting to Xbox 360 and the possibility of a Bayonetta sequel. Turns out there's method to the madness after all.

Eurogamer What kind of reaction have you had to the Vanquish demo?
Atsushi Inaba

We've been gathering feedback not only from Japan but from Western users. Many of the comments tend to be monosyllable or a single word, like "Wow", "Great" and things like that.

Overall the feedback seems really positive. Although they don't tend to elaborate with deep analysis on what was good or bad, our impression is they really enjoy and appreciate the main concept of the game, which was to combine the shooting genre with a speedy action game.

We think the feedback and the result from the downloadable demo was very positive.

Eurogamer Do you have any messages for those who have played the demo and are still undecided?
Atsushi Inaba

It depends why they're undecided if they should buy. If they still haven't decided, one thing I can say is the demo version was only one small excerpt from the game. Although we tried to put the best moment in the demo, there's a lot more variety and a lot more Vanquishness in the main game.

If the user enjoyed even a little bit of the downloadable demo they should buy it because it gets better and better as you play. We are really confident with the quality of the game we have achieved. It's not every day we get this kind of game, nowadays. I would like to encourage people to get it. It's definitely good value for money.

Suit up!
Eurogamer Vanquish depicts a nightmarish vision of the future where the US and Russia are fighting over resources. Is the story just a platform for the gameplay, or is there a serious message you'd like to get across?
Atsushi Inaba

Our stance about story in games is that the story is there so people can immerse themselves in the gameplay. So we always prioritise gameplay over story.

In some games they take the approach of preparing a lot of twists in order to keep people motivated and stimulated. But in this game we already have a lot of unfamiliar factors in the story and the background.

For example, everything happens in the near future. The setting is quite unusual. That is something that challenges our imagination already. We have this space station and novel ideas, like the suit that Sam is wearing, and the Russian enemies – they're all robots.

So with all these novel elements we didn't want to stretch people's imagination too far by inserting more fantasy-based story. We wanted to insert a certain level of believability; a certain element of realism, so people will have something they can put their feet on, that will feel familiar and they can relate to.

That's why we chose this realistic story. It's not like we had a strong message or warning we wanted to convey to the world.

Eurogamer How would you describe Platinum's trademark style? What makes a good game?
Atsushi Inaba

First of all there should always be an element of surprise, an innovative idea in the game that you've never seen before. We always try to challenge ourselves and come up with new ideas.

Also, we would like our games to be something universal and accepted and talked about for a long time. It's exciting to imagine that young people who play our games will talk about them and come to the industry with our games in mind.

That's the sort of continuity we are trying to achieve when we are making games.