The Stylistically Intense and Unique Action Genre of PlatinumGames

The Stylistically Intense and Unique Action Genre of PlatinumGames

The progression that led up to this seems natural. Three creative geniuses – Atsushi Inaba, Hideki Kamiya, and Shinji Mikami once worked under Capcom on titles such as Devil May Cry, Dino Crisis, and Resident Evil among other exemplary genre-defining video games. Upon leaving Capcom, they met up with their former co-worker Tatsuya Minami, who played a major role in creating many of Capcom’s classic games such as Little Nemo: The Dream Master, and many of the SNES Mega Man X titles. 

The four merged their respective post-Capcom ventures and became PlatinumGames, striving to flaunt their creativity and design games unique like none other – a tall order by any standard.

By some measures, PlatinumGames had a difficult time establishing themselves. Among their first titles was MadWorld for the Nintendo Wii, a game featuring glorious stylized violence with a similar aesthetic to Viewtiful Joe, one of Inaba and Kamiya’s projects while previously employed at Capcom. Much like Viewtiful Joe, the game was lauded by critics but did not sell particularly well, this time likely due to a disconnect with the image of the Wii console and Nintendo. 

It wasn’t until a few years later when Bayonetta took center stage that Platinum Games would have their first undeniable hit, both artistically and commercially. 

Serving as a spiritual successor to Devil May Cry, Bayonetta’s big innovation was intense, fast-paced action parsed by the player at a more manageable speed through the Witch Time gameplay mechanic, which would also end up as a core mechanic in a later collaboration with Square Enix by the name of Nier Automata. Bayonetta, its sequel Bayonetta 2, and Nier Automata are all among the rare breed of games that set new standards in almost every category. 

PlatinumGames talked the talk, then walked the walk. Three times. 

From Sega to Nintendo, Switch!

It was Sega who first partnered with PlatinumGames, publishing their first four games, including MadWorld and Bayonetta. Through Sega, these games would receive ample marketing in both Japan and the West. However, as mentioned previously this did not necessarily amount to sales. Somewhere along the line, the relationship between PlatinumGames and Sega was severed. 

In the following years, PlatinumGames worked on titles for Nintendo’s Wii-u console, including The Wonderful 101, and the sequel to Bayonetta, which had seen problems during development under Sega. Nintendo had a comparatively hands-off approach to their partnership with PlatinumGames, allowing the creativity to thrive and signaling the beginning of a long-standing relationship. 

The most recent fruit of said union is Astral Chain for the Nintendo Switch, directed by Taura, who was concurrently serving as the lead game designer for Nier Automata. Though Nier Automata was released first, the development cycle for Astral Chain had started at a much earlier date. Astral Chain, while generally regarded as not as stylistically captivating as Bayonetta or Nier Automata, oozes the same creative integrity found in all of PlatinumGames’ signature titles spanning the last decade of gaming. 

When the visions of designers and developers are transferred to the medium of video games, the result doesn’t always come together cohesively. However, PlatinumGames’ track record thus far as well as the individual career achievements of its chief players marks some of gaming’s most exciting masterpieces in recent years and serves as a harbinger of unmatched imagination to come as we prepare to have our minds blown in the next few years.

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