Platinum Games: Sega deal was “the right thing to do” despite poor marketing support

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Bayonetta developer Platinum Games insists it has no regrets about its five-game deal with Sega despite the publisher’s often disappointing handling of the studio’s games, saying: “Overall it was the right thing to do.”

Speaking to us during an exclusive studio visit for a ten-page feature in our new issue, E246, Platinum president and CEO Tatsuya Minami is keen to point out that, without the Sega deal, the studio wouldn’t have been able to make the games it wanted to make. The deal, announced alongside the formation of the studio in 2006, meant Sega published black-and-white Wii brawler MadWorld, DS space sim Infinite Space, Bayonetta, Vanquish and Anarchy Reigns.

“I think it was great to team up with Sega at the time,” Minami, who worked for Capcom for almost 20 years before forming Platinum, tells us. “And it is important to give them their due: we couldn’t have made the games we did without them.

“There were certainly good parts and bad parts to the relationship. Perhaps they did not realise how good our games were. But overall it was the right thing to do.”

Minami needn’t elaborate on the “bad parts”; they’ve been well documented. There was Sega’s abysmal PS3 port of Bayonetta – which the studio considers its “biggest failure” – plus lacklustre marketing support for MadWorld, and the publisher effectively sending Vanquish out to die in October, one of the busiest months of the year, with little promotion.

Most recently came the unexpected, and for some time indefinite, delay to the western release of multiplayer brawler Anarchy Reigns. That, it appears, is now slated for a vague Q1 release, but there is clear disappointment within the studio at how the game was treated by its publisher.

Director Masaki Yamanaka says: “It’s saddening to see what happened. As developers, we’re not the ones who put the game on sale. But we feel that we held up our end of the bargain in terms of quality. We think we’ve made a really good game, and the reviews have largely reflected that.” Producer Atsushi Inaba points out that he frequently sees people on Twitter asking, “‘Where was the marketing support for this game?’ When people say that… we just have to apologise and there’s nothing we can do.”

With the Sega deal now completed, Platinum is free for the first time since its inception to work with other publishers. It is currently working on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance for Konami, plus The Wonderful 101 (previously known as Project P-100) and Bayonetta 2, two Wii U exclusives to be published by Nintendo.

Elsewhere in the feature, Inaba tells us that several western publishers have also been in touch, evidently keen to work with the best action game developer in the business. Our new issue goes on sale in print and on Apple Newsstand today; see our E246 magazine page for details of what else is inside.