Very few Japanese development companies have been able to match the level of critical success Platinum Games has achieved. Since they first formed after breaking away from Capcom in 2006, the company has produced six titles: MadWorld, Infinite Space, Bayonetta, Vanquish, Anarchy Reigns, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
Each of these games achieved a very warm reception from critics around the world, and they did their part in establishing Platinum Games as a leader in keeping the spirit of Japanese action alive during a time of restructuring in the industry.
However, sales-wise, the company has yet to find a huge success. In an interview with Polygon, president Tatsuya Minami expressed nothing but praise for his game designers, giving them an "A" for creating great games. But when it comes to marketing and getting his company's name out there, Minami had this to say.
"Whether we've sold as well as we would have liked, or whether the company has the amount of money that everybody would love to have in the company, I think I'd probably rate it as a C or even a D."
The company's best selling game, Bayonetta, sold an estimated 1 million copies worldwide. While an impressive number for an independent studio, it is a far cry from the success most blockbuster titles enjoy. Minami expects a huge name like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance to pull in better numbers as it remains out on the market for a longer amount of time. However, he believes there is a lot more he can do on the business side of the company.
"But if you look at games developed in certain western studios, as far as sales go, they're clearly ahead of us there, and we're not going to be satisfied until we're at that level. 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".
How could focusing on the world market affect Platinum Games' approach to creating action games? They satisfy a rapidly shrinking niche of quality Japanese HD action games, but if they were to adjust themselves to a more mainstream formula, would they still remain the Platinum Games we know today?
Minami also claims he is looking to expand his company's output working with both first and third-party companies. Currently, Platinum Games is working with Nintendo to create Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101 exclusively for the Nintendo Wii U, but developing for a single console long-term is the best way to decrease your fanbase, not increase it. Obviously, Minami would prefer to start developing for the PlayStation 4 as well.
"We're on Sony's list [of development partners] 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.
Check out the entire interview at Polygon for a more in-depth look at why Minami left his cozy position at Capcom to start his own legacy and Platinum's approach to game design. And be sure to check out Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101 on the Nintendo Wii U when they arrive later this year.