Five years ago I asked Atsushi Inaba, one of Platinum Games’ co-founders, about the dire prognostications many in the west made about the state of the Japanese industry. “I don’t like it when people lump Japanese developers all together into one group,” Inaba answered. “Frankly I think it’s a joke. What do these people know? […] There are tons of terrible western developers, just like there’s tons of terrible Japanese developers. To lump studios together in great masses misses the point.”
Inaba’s point may be wider, but he was also flagging up that Platinum Games is not your ordinary game development studio – regardless of where it’s located. All true, and yet the doomsayers were in a certain sense correct. The Japanese industry then and now is undergoing constant change, and in recent years has moved even further towards mobile and away from the kind of big-budget console experiences Platinum Games specialise in.
All of this may explain why, in recent years, Platinum Games has positioned itself as a standard-bearer for the Japanese industry, adopting the slogan: “Taking on the World as the Representative of Japan.” President and CEO Tatsuya Minami unpacked this, in a post to celebrate 10 years of Platinum Games. “Japan used to lead the worldwide video game industry, but we can’t help but feel that it has lost some of its vitality in recent years. Yet we are using this state of affairs to motivate and inspire ourselves […] We will keep up our fighting stance.”