Platinum Games has been in the news few times too many lately. Sure, they’re working on Metal Gear Rising, which seems to be apretty promising game overall. I enjoyed Vanquish, so I have hopes for MGR to have similar mechanics, but less SHOOT THE DOT.
There’s a reason I want to bring out Platinum Games’ news, and that’s because most of workers there are ex-CAPCOM employees. They’ve seen therise and fall of an awesome company. Previously mentioned Vanquish does have that old CAPCOM quality and feel to it, which existed in Viewtiful Joe and in God Hand. Sadly, the mentioned two, especially God Hand, had issues. Seeing that they’ve been working on games that have hit the market pretty well, both in positive and negative sense, I’m expecting great things from this company.
Then, they come out with this.
“Console game development budgets are really big, so we need publishing partners to create those games. I was thinking – with our own money – about creating a PC title for Steam. It would give us the possibility to become a publisher, which is very attractive to me.”
The question is; why is this so? Developing for consoles shouldn’t be more expensive than developing for computers. I’d almost say that it should be the other way around, but there’s a reason why things have gone this way; It’s the ever growing power of the systems and high definition gaming alongside with the increased complexity of the consoles. Console developing budget has massively increased within the last ten years and then some. It hasn’t made games any better, just more expensive.
I’ve gone through why HD has made developing a bit more expensive than previously. In short, more powerful machines demand higher end developing kits, plus the consoles we have nowadays demand their own set of skills and equipments to work with. That, and licensing to boot. Creating HD graphics isn’t cheap and better graphics have never made a better game, so combining evolution of the machines in this way just makes the games more expensive without actually contributing to the overall gameplay.
Games with insanely high budget generally seem to fail in comparison to games with smaller budget. A lot of simple games are in lead on PSN and XBLA as is on whatever store system Nintendo uses these days. As such, perhaps the budget could be better on consoles and create more arcade–like experiences. After all, those games seem to sell pretty well on online services, and I have no doubts that Platinum Games will see a new kind of popularity even if Metal Gear Rising doesn’t strike true. The company already has a good following, and they have the skill to make decent action games, but can they do games that even more people would like to play? I’m challenging Platinum Games to do a 2D side scroller with limited budget for PSN and XBLA, and the aim is to selltwice the amount that Double Dragon Neon has. This challenge will go unnoted because nobody at Platinum Games reads this blog.
Still I have to ask: why the hell are they stupid enough to consider Steam? There are few alternatives existing as well, and while Steam does have one of the largest userbase out there it also offers the most stupid DRM systems next to Origin. The second point is that these guys are nothing less than console game developers. Every time a PC developer, or aconsole developer, tries to develop a game for the other, I cringe. It rarely goes well,especially nowadays, as computer games are developed for consoles without giving a second thought on where the games reside on the consoles-computer scale. This kind of thing is rampart and is onethe reasons why whole industry is going down the toilet. Arcades at least allowed a level of balance, but without them this mixture of two completely different platforms has only hurt the industry.
There was these news as well, to which I can’t really but laugh at.
“There are tons of terrible Western developers, just like there are tons of terrible Japanese developers. To lump studios together in great masses misses the point.”
And Atsushi Inaba is correct. There are a large number of trash developers on both sides of the pond. Is it the budget reasons? Lack of creativity? EA? Lumping these studios together does miss the point, but I’m sure that almost all of them share the exactly the same overall reasons why they’re trash. Even Platinum Games shares some of the same reasons. It seems they’re somewhat unsatisfied with their sales numbers, and they do admit that in the West their games sell better than in Japan. While I do not have any numbers on how well Bayonetta sold in US/EUR compared to Japan, I’d argue that this should be the natural way of things. Simply by the sheer size of the physical markets compared to Japan is drastic, thus Japan would basically always see less sales than in West. Balancing between cultural tastes is a delicate business, and while Japanese console games have always sold well in the West, vice versa isn’t true. Western games are almost always seen automatically as kusoge (lit. shit game) in Japan. For a Western developer to strike through in Japan and throughout Asia in general is hard, but not impossible. Whether or not Japanese developers and their games have some certain universality in the core design is a good question, but we also might be very accustomed tohow things work on the console side.
Did you know that the most important difference between Japanese and American games are levers against buttons? This also tells says quite a lot about why certain computer gaming never broke completely through Japanese markets as it did in West, and why NEC PCs had their own following.