PlatinumGames Inc. (プラチナゲームズ株式会社 Purachina Gēmuzu Kabushiki Gaisha) is a Japanese video game development company. It was founded by Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba, Hideki Kamiya, and Tatsuya Minami, former employees of Capcom.
They are best known for developing several titles for different companies; these include Bayonetta, MadWorld, and Anarchy Reigns for Sega, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance for Konami, Nier: Automata for Square Enix, and Star Fox Zero, The Wonderful 101, and Astral Chain for Nintendo, as well as the canceled Scalebound for Xbox Game Studios.
2006 - 2007: Founding
Prior to the founding of PlatinumGames, co-founders Shinji Mikami, Atsuhsi Inaba, and Hideki Kamiya worked for Capcom as the members of subsidiary Clover Studio. Within the studio, all three were heavily involved in the creation of multiple popular titles including Viewtiful Joe, Ōkami, and God Hand; though they all received critical acclaim and have since gained a cult following, at the time they underperformed commercially, leading to the studio's shutdown. However, all three men had already left by the time of the closure to form Seeds Inc. in 2006, with several other former Capcom employees joining their team.
Another former Capcom employee, Tatsuya Minami, went on to form his own company, Odd Ltd., on February 2006. The two entities eventually merged in October 2007 to become PlatinumGames, with Minami as the studio head and Mikami, Inaba, and Kamiya, working as either directors or producers.
2008 - 2012: Sega partnership
In 2008, Sega announced its intentions to publish four new projects developed by PlatinumGames, a decision described by Minami as "courageous". The first to be released was the violent, third-person action game MadWorld on March 2009 for the Wii. Despite Sega's marketing efforts, the game failed to perform in sales in both Japan and the West. Sega would announce in 2010 that they would stop producing and publishing mature titles for the Wii due to MadWorld's poor financial results.
Their second release was the RPG/strategy game Infinite Space for the Nintendo DS. Developed in partnership with Nude Maker, it was first released in Japan in June 2009 to moderate success. It was then localized and released to the West a year later, but sold poorly; PlatinumGames blamed the underperformance on Sega not producing enough copies.
The third was the action game Bayonetta, released on October 2009 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game is described by creator Hideki Kamiya as an "evolution" of his Devil May Cry series he made for Capcom. According to Inaba, the team had become extremely frustrated by the development's completion due to them trying to meet the incredibly high expectations they had set for themselves. The game was met with critical acclaim (a response that bolstered the team's morale) and sold over 1.35 million copies. Though, despite Bayonetta being one of PlatinumGames' highest selling titles, the team were displeased with sales numbers.
The fourth game was the third-person shooter Vanquish, released on October 2010 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was also received well by both critics and consumers alike, with Sega saying that the company was encouraged by the first week of sales. After Vanquish's release, Shinji Mikami departed the company to form Tango Gameworks.
In late 2010, PlatinumGames worked to extend their partnership with Sega for one more game, which would become the open world action game Anarchy Reigns, the sequel to MadWorld released in 2013. However, the game was a commercial failure.
2013 - Present: Other partnerships
After their work obligations with Sega were completed, PlatinumGames became a freelance company of sorts, being sought out by different companies and publishers to create titles for them. The first of these was 2013's Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance for Konami; the project had come about after they were contacted by Hideo Kojima to work on it as his team, Kojima Productions, would be unable to continue development on it. 2013 also saw the release of The Wonderful 101, which is published by Nintendo for the Wii U. PlatinumGames' partnership with Nintendo would continue to grow after they decided to completely fund the team's next project, Bayonetta 2. While both Wii U games were critical darlings, both also underperformed in sales, in part due to the low sales of the console itself.
Afterwards, PlatinumGames became more involved in creating licensed games based on non-gaming properties. These included The Legend of Korra, Transformers: Devastation, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, all of which received mixed reception. PlatinumGames were also contacted by Shigeru Miyamoto to assist in development with Star Fox Zero and the tower-defense spin-off Star Fox Guard, as Miyamoto and his team saw their Arwing levels in Bayonetta 2. In March 2016, Tatsuya Minami left his position of President and CEO, with executive producer Kenichi Sato succeeding him.
In E3 2014, it was announced that Kamiya and his team had been working on a fantasy RPG titled Scalebound for Xbox Game Studios. However, the project was announced to be canceled in 2017 after nearly four years of development, something that was met with heavy criticism mainly on Xbox Game Studios' part. After the news, Kamiya decided to focus his efforts as company vice president and cease working as a director. That same year, Square Enix released Nier: Automata, another project handled by PlatinumGames. The game was met with critical acclaim and high sales, with over 2 million copies sold, something Kamiya remarks as having saved the company after Scalebound's cancellation. At the 2017 Game Awards, Nintendo announced one of the team's next projects, Bayonetta 3. In April 2018, PlatinumGames partnered with mobile game developer DeNA to create World of Demons. In August 2019, the company released Astral Chain for the Nintendo Switch as another collaboration with Nintendo.
In January 2020, Chinese tech company Tencent Holdings announced a capital investment into PlatinumGames, allowing the studio to self-publish future projects but still remain independent. The following February, they revealed "Platinum 4", which were four announcements; these have so far included a remastered port of The Wonderful 101 to Switch and PlayStation 4, a new game with the working title of Project G.G. said to be the last of Kamiya's "Hero Trilogy" (the first two being Viewtiful Joe and The Wonderful 101), and the opening of a new branch in Tokyo, with the fourth announcement still remaining a mystery.
Involvement with Super Smash Bros.
PlatinumGames is the sixth third-party developer to join Smash with the announcement that its flagship character Bayonetta would join Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U as its final DLC fighter. Purchasing the Bayonetta DLC also includes her stage Umbra Clock Tower and a collection of music tracks. All Bayonetta content returns for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate alongside a new Assist Trophy in the form of Rodin and several Spirits.
Other titles developed by PlatinumGames for Nintendo also receive representation; these include two music tracks and several Trophies in for Wii U and Spirits in Ultimate from The Wonderful 101, and bonus DLC Spirits of characters from Astral Chain.
- PlatinumGames is one of two third-party companies involved in Smash to have content in the base game before having a DLC representative, the other being Atlus.
- Unlike other subsidiary companies (Atlus and Mojang Studios) who are credited separately from their parent companies (Sega and Xbox Game Studios respectively), PlatinumGames does not have its own credit in the copyrights. This could be because Bayonetta was developed solely for Sega as opposed to Atlus' Persona and Mojang's Minecraft which were already established series long before their acquisitions
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