PlatinumGames’ Hideki Kamiya on Bayonetta, Project GG, and Elon Musk’s Twitter

PlatinumGames is known for its sharp and edgy action games like the Bayonetta series and NieR:Automata. IGN Japan interviewed Platinum’s outspoken vice president and veteran creator Hideki Kamiya about the response to Bayonetta 3, his ambitious next game Project GG, his thoughts on Elon Musk’s Twitter, and much more. Strap in and read on!

Hideki Kamiya on the future of the Bayonetta universe

IGN: Bayonetta became your longest-running series. How do you feel about it now?

Kamiya: “The Bayonetta series has gone on for 13 whole years now. This is my first time ever being involved with an IP for this long. I’ve been involved in the games not only as a director, but I write their stories and oversee their creation in general, so I feel like I’ve been able to defend and maintain the overall world of Bayonetta in my own way.

“One of our most basic values ​​at PlatinumGames is that we make games for players. However, I’ve started to notice that as a series like Bayonetta and other game series go on, what players want has started to diverge from what its developers are putting out. Even then, we can’t just add whatever a simple majority of players want into our games. I’ve always believed that developers need to have their own convictions as creators when they make games, but I’ve started to feel that more than ever.”

IGN: Where do these differences between players and creators show up?

Kamiya: “You see it when it comes to story, and there are lots of opinions even regarding a game’s mechanics. Taking the Bayonetta IP as an example, while I have a structure in mind for where the story is going to go far into the future, players are only able to pass judgment on the story that they have at the moment. They’ll say things like the series is going to end because the creators have no love for it. I want people to know that’s obviously not how it is. I love Bayonetta more than anyone. How could I not love Cereza and all the other characters I’ve fostered for this long?”

IGN: Is there any chance we’ll see a Bayonetta 4 or Bayonetta 5?

Kamiya: “I personally can’t conceive the Bayonetta series ever ending. I want to make a Bayonetta 4 and Bayonetta 5, and I intend on pitching them to the company. We often talk internally about how we could make nine of them. I want people who love the Bayonetta series to believe me when I say: ‘I’m not going to do anything that will betray the players’.”

IGN: Is there a possibility of you making spin-offs too, rather than just mainline games? (Note: The spin-off game Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon was announced after this interview, during The Game Awards.)

Kamiya: “I would like to make spin-offs. It’s an established part of the character Jeanne that she also works as a superhero named Cutie J. I’d even like to make a spin-off for that. Keeping the Bayonetta series going is of the utmost importance to me, so I’m not fixed on what numbers are attached to a game’s title. I want to be able to depict the extensive world of Bayonetta that is inside my head.”

IGN: Do you ever feel like you want to make games for high-end hardware, or so-called AAA games?

Kamiya: “I do. We hear players when they say that they want to see PlatinumGames titles as high-end AAA games. There is a title we have that hasn’t been announced yet, and let me say for now that we’re not necessarily developing it as a Nintendo exclusive platform.”

IGN: Around when can we expect to learn more about this unannounced title?

Kamiya: “I can’t discuss that yet. As a developer, I’m incredibly interested in high-end game development, and that’s exactly what I’m getting to tackle right now. Please stay tuned for more information.”

Hideki Kamiya on his next brand new game, Project GG

IGN: While you have announced a new IP with the codename Project GG, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the game. Is there even a little bit you can tell us about the gameplay or the game’s mechanics?

Kamiya: “I still can’t say anything yet. I’m pretty sure that (studio head) Atsushi Inaba would kill me if I said too much, haha. Let’s just say we’re hard at work developing everything from the gameplay to the game’s mechanics and more.”

IGN: Project GG was announced as a self-published game that PlatinumGames will be working on from development to sales. What are your thoughts about self-publishing in this kind of way?

Kamiya: “When you self-publish a game, you end up needing staff beyond what’s required during development. That’s something I learned with our previous self-published titles like The Wonderful 101: Remastered and Sol Cresta. In addition to our creative team, we’re also working on expanding our sales and PR staff. One recent development is that Takao Yamane, formerly of Nintendo, joined PlatinumGames.”

IGN: What kind of scale are you aiming for when it comes to Project GG?

Kamiya: “It’s going to be so big that you won’t even be able to compare The Wonderful 101: Remastered and Sol Cresta to it. Because of that, we need to become a company with publishing capabilities on that level, not just development power.”

IGN: As far as platforms go, what hardware will Project GG be released on?

Kamiya: “I hope we can release Project GG on all systems. While new-gen hardware will be the main focus, we’re looking into releasing it for other hardware too. The hope is that we’re able to maintain a high level of quality while pursuing the kind of unique appeal to those systems.

“Unrelated to Project GG, I’m not opposed to games getting ported from new-gen hardware to other platforms. For example, even if a version of a multiplatform game has somewhat lowered performance on the Nintendo Switch, it offers the benefit of being the only hardware that enables you to play while lying down, which is really appealing.”

Hideki Kamiya PlatinumGames’ new studio in Fukuoka

IGN: PlatinumGames recently opened a studio in Fukuoka. Why create a location in Fukuoka?

Kamiya: “We need more development staff. We want even more people to work at PlatinumGames, and so we’ve built development bases not just in Osaka, but in Tokyo and Fukuoka too. There’s no greater concentration of people in Japan than in Tokyo , and Fukuoka is gaining notice as a place for game development. We’re working to secure talented personnel through these additional locations and by making remote work a possibility.”

IGN: What kind of projects will PlatinumGames Fukuoka be involved in?

Kamiya: “The location of the studio won’t affect what kinds of projects the teams that work there are involved with. We allowed for remote work during the development period for even the latest PlatinumGames title, Bayonetta 3.

“It was our first time trying this, but Yusuke Miyata, the game’s director, did a good job of adopting work from home. I think it’s helping our younger employees to grow as well. I was concerned that we might lose some of the finer creative aspects of development, but I feel more confident now that we were able to overcome that challenge. Staff from the Osaka, Tokyo, and Fukuoka offices are all participating in the title I’m directing codenamed Project GG as well.”

IGN: You announced that you’re considering opening overseas studios as well. Where in particular are you considering?

Kamiya: “We are of course looking into making bases for development overseas. If anything, I almost want to ask you for tips on where we should go, haha. There’s North America and Europe, of course, but Southeast Asia looks promising too. Malaysia is a popular outsourcing destination for many major games. I’ve even heard there’s a shortage of workers there now, too. The games industry is suffering from a labor shortage around the world right now.”

“I get the feeling that 1,000 people wouldn’t even be enough if PlatinumGames decided to make everything we really want to make.”


IGN: About how many people does PlatinumGames need?

Kamiya: “Inaba, the head of the studio, was saying he wanted 500 people three years from now. We have about 300 right now, so we’re going to need more. Really, I get the feeling that 1,000 people wouldn’t even be enough if PlatinumGames decided to make everything we really want to make. We learned through Bayonetta 3 that development can work even if our offices are physically separated, so I doubt we’ll hesitate to establish any new locations going forward.”

IGN: What kind of developers would you like to apply to work at PlatinumGames?

Kamiya: “People with a sense of pride, and who can take their obsessions and manifest them in a creative way. People who feel a sense of responsibility when putting their name in the credits. For example, if I ask someone to come up with a character who wears black clothes, I don’t want them to take an assembly-line approach to that work.

“I want them to agonize over it, to question why it has to be black, to think, ‘Is black the right color for this character and this story?’ I’d like someone who’s capable of struggling with those kinds of questions only to conclude, ‘I know it’s not what you asked for, but I brought you a character wearing red because I thought it works better’.”

Hideki Kamiya on his future as a game developer

IGN: Game development takes a long time. Looking at your life as a developer so far, is there anything left on your to-do list?

Kamiya: “Personally, I try not to think about it. I’ll turn 52 soon, and I don’t know how much more I can do as a developer. I’ve been involved in a lot of different titles developed by PlatinumGames lately, not just as a director but as a chief game designer too. One way of doing things is like with Sol Cresta, where I got the project started and passed the rest on to another staff member who acted as director. I do see the positives in working on a lot of different titles in that way.”

IGN: Are there any times you’ve benefited from working on a game’s development as a chief game designer, rather than a director?

Kamiya: “For example, if I had worked as the director for Bayonetta 3, I may have lost the opportunity to try working on a new title, and stressed myself out even more. I’ve started to enjoy controlling development from a broader perspective as chief game designer. I have Project GG now, and I feel like I’m able to maintain an objective, tolerant eye as long as I have a place like that where I can release all my passion. At the end of the day, all I really need to be satisfied is to get things into players’ hands that make them happy. I’d like to turn as many of my ideas into reality as possible and give players quality titles.”

Hideki Kamiya on Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter

IGN: As a heavy Twitter user, do you have any concerns regarding Elon Musk’s purchase of the company?

Kamiya: “None in particular at the moment. My impression is that someone with a clear idea of ​​what he wants to do with Twitter now owns the company. I hear he’s very much a person of action as well.”

IGN: How do you feel about blue checkmarks on Twitter? Now that they can be paid for, would you consider shelling out for one?

Kamiya: “I think it’s more interesting if I don’t have a checkmark at all. Even if it means lots of fake accounts pretending to be me spring up, haha. I don’t intend on ever getting one, whether you have to pay for it or not. I think of Twitter as like a pub or bar, where you say what you want to say, and everyone’s on equal footing. I often see criticism saying that I should not be on Twitter, or that my account needs to be taken away from me, but please, just take that all straight to Elon Musk!”

Daniel Robson is Chief Editor at IGN Japan – you can follow him on his no-checkmark Twitter account. This interview was transcribed by Ryuichi Kataoka and translated by Ko Ransom.

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