“It may sound surprising to some people that PlatinumGames is working on [a classic shoot ’em up],” says Hideki Kamiya in an interview with Cutscenes, a YouTube channel that creates documentaries about Japanese creatives. “[But] we haven’t built the studio with the sole purpose of making action games.”
Kamiya’s studio, PlatinumGames, is best known for their work on Bayonetta — a chaotic, inspired-by-the-Old-Testament hack-and-slash game about a witch in a tight-fitting jumpsuit made out of her own hair. It’s unusual to see them working on a game like Sol Cresta, a retro-style vertical shooter that “bears the soul” of ’80s arcade games, Moon Cresta and Terra Cresta.
But, as Kamiya is quick to point out, Platinum makes games like Sol Cresta because they want to. “Simply put,” he says, “we’re a company that wants to make fun things.” After all, he first got into gaming by playing ’80s arcade games. Why wouldn’t he want to make them himself?
His love for retro arcade games comes through in his work, albeit in less obvious ways than Sol Cresta. “There’s a 3D shooting phase in Devil May Cry‘s last boss fight against Mundus,” he points out, going on to note similar things in Viewtiful Joe, Bayonetta, and even Okami. “My aspirations have leaked into some of my works,” he admits.
So, if anything, Sol Cresta is an inevitability, not a weird detour. But what does this mean for Bayonetta 3, which fans have been waiting patiently for since its 2017 debut at The Game Awards?
It’s getting more difficult to experience that feeling of completion, of having finished a game
“These days, projects tend to become bigger and bigger,” Kamiya says of game development. “These games end up taking three to four years, five years if you count pre-production. It’s getting more difficult to experience that feeling of completion, of having finished a game. This is where I think projects like Sol Cresta can be beneficial.” He hopes that by working on tighter, simpler projects, his development team can “experience game design cycles and gain experience in game creation.” After all, anyone can make something — it’s finishing it that’s a big deal.
“As I started to take a step back and look at a bigger picture than just my own games,” says Kamiya, “it felt like a breather.” As part of the Neo Classic series, Sol Cresta is just the first step. Kamiya has already started planning the next few games — and although they won’t all be shooters, they’ll all be inspired by classic game design.
In short: Bayo 3 is coming, but the team needs a break, too.
Towards the end of the interview, Kamiya mentions being a director on “Project G.G.“, which is an all-new, all-original project that Platinum is working on, as their first non-contractual creative work. Here’s how Kamiya describes the feeling of only having worked on other companies’ intellectual property:
“As a creator, it’s hard not to think of my games as my children. After all, it takes a lot of hard work to raise them up, and a lot of love, too. However, once they’re done, any choices about them are entirely out of my hands. So, for example, no matter how many times people tell me, “You should make a sequel to this game,” or, “I’d love to see it on that console,” there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Also on the Project G.G. website, Kamiya says that the game is “different”: “Unlike any of the games we’ve made so far, it’s going to be a 100% PlatinumGames title. For everything from its setting and characters, to its game design and story, to how it’s promoted – PlatinumGames is in full control.”
It sounds like PlatinumGames has a lot in the works, but with Bayonetta 3 coming next year, Sol Cresta coming… soon (after a delay from its original release date of December 9th), and Project G.G. “a long way away”, it sounds like Platinum’s got an impressive and packed lineup for some time.