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PlatinumGames better sticking to one IP?

"They are an excellent studio," says Sega.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

PlatinumGames makes great games, but they don't sell as many copies as they should - Vanquish hasn't broken one million sales.

Would the maker of MadWorld and Bayonetta be better off sticking to and establishing one IP?

"They are an excellent studio. They're one of the best in Japan - we certainly saw that with Bayonetta," Sega West CEO Mike Hayes told Eurogamer.

"And even though Vanquish didn't achieve the commercial success that we hoped, it got a great Metacritic. Even MadWorld, which was as bizarre as you like, had a Metacritic of 81 per cent. An exceptionally good studio.

"The nice thing about working with PlatinumGames," he added, "is that you can dip into their pool of creativity and see what they come up with next. And that's like gaming used to be. To have the freedom to have a partner like that is good. We tend not to put the suits and restrictions on them and 'you now must do this'. It's like, 'What have you got next then guys?' And if we think there's a commercial opportunity then we want to partner with them."

Gary Dunn, senior vice president of production at Sega, offered: "They are more than one team. There are different teams inside PlatinumGames and they have different DNA, and you expect to see different excellence out of them."

More than one team - a Bayonetta 2 team?

"I've got no comment on that," said Hayes.

Sega announced this week that Vanquish has sold 830,000 copies. Vanquish scored 9/10 on Eurogamer. Bayonetta faired better, breaking the one million mark early in 2010. Bayonetta also scored 9/10 on Eurogamer.

MadWorld flopped commercially on Wii despite strong critical backing (7/10 on Eurogamer). Infinite Space on DS was forgotten as quickly, although again, the game came recommended (7/10 Eurogamer).

Now PlatinumGames beavers away on another brave new IP called Anarchy Reigns.

It's an approach that's against the grain in a post-recession world, where Call of Duty annually reigns supreme, Dragon Age and Mass Effect are franchises and the fourth Assassin's Creed is in development.

But PlatinumGames' creative free-spirit lives on, undaunted. In April, CEO Tatsuya Minami wrote an open letter lamenting video games today.

"Series grow ever-longer, original titles are on the decline," he said. "Games with new at their core are disappearing. Japanese games that garner worldwide acclaim are slipping away.

"This state of affairs deeply saddens us."

PlatinumGames was founded by key members of Capcom's Clover Studio and populated by many of its staff. Clover was responsible for Okami (10/10 PS2, 2007, 10/10 Wii, 2008), God Hand (8/10 PS2, 2007), Viewtiful Joe (9/10 PS2, 2004) and Viewtiful Joe 2 (8/10 GameCube, 2005).


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