Last Sunday, Masked Man and I got a chance to take a tour of the Platinum Games Studios located in Osaka. On March 2nd, Platinum Games accepted 20 lucky people (plus one guest) to take a studio tour in celebration of the studio’s 10-year anniversary. It should be noted that Masked Man and I did not go as press, but as fans of the studio and their work.
The employees at Platinum Games were incredibly respectful and kind. The staff seemed to be genuinely excited to interact with us, and they were very happy to talk to us about how they make games. There was a morning tour (10-12:30) and an afternoon group (14-16:30). The tour group was divided into four groups, as there were four different activities. There were 6-8 people in each group, and each activity lasted thirty minutes. This made each activity feel incredibly intimate and special. Of course, we couldn’t take pictures inside the studio.
One of the four activities was a free discussion with Hideki Kamiya, Atsushi Inaba, Yusuke Hashimoto, and Kenji Saito. The talk lasted thirty minutes, and was over before I knew it. After the talk, they offered to sign anything we brought. (Someone got their water bottle signed as they didn’t bring anything else. Masked Man got his copies of Bayonetta 1 & 2 signed, and he will treasure them forever.) Before the talk, they requested that we not post about what was said in that discussion, so they could talk freely. I plan on honoring that request. I finally got to thank Kamiya for Viewtiful Joe! Masked Man borrowed one of the other guest’s Bayonetta glasses and performed one of Bayonetta’s dances for the directors. They all seemed to enjoy it, with Hashimoto being particularly impressed with MM’s moves.
The next activity my group did was an experience room. This is where we got to sit down with some employees, and experience Platinum Games’ software. It was really cool to play The Wonderful 101 with people who worked on the game. We also got to see the version of Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101 they used for debugging.
The third activity was a walkthrough on how they make games—in this case, Scalebound. This means we got to see the rooms everyone works in. Even though it was a Sunday, there was a lot of staff present and hard at work. The walkthrough comprised of concept art -> modelling -> texturing -> animation -> sound effects -> and programming. It was really great to see just how much work goes into every single element, and it definitely gave me a deeper understanding of how video games work.
The last activity was us in a room with concept art and project proposals from various Platinum Games’ software. I wish they had more staff involved with this activity as I had some questions, but considering just how many staff members were involved with the other activities, I can’t really fault Platinum Games that much. I was really geeking out as I browsed the design documents for Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101 in particular. Masked Man oohed and aahed over the early Bayonetta character designs for the umpteenth time.
After the activities, we were presented with some swag! We got a zip hoodie, a t-shirt, two dorayaki with the Platinum Games logo, a towel, and bumper stickers. They thanked us for coming, asked us to do a quick survey and that was the end!
I really can’t exaggerate just how welcoming the whole team was. Even though Hideki Kamiya had a cold, he seemed genuinely happy to be there. I really hope Platinum Games continues these studio tours, as they are a great way to build a stronger connection with fans. It was really neat to see the studio and just “hang out” with the employees. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you to Platinum Games!