The first image that is brought up to Xbox fans when the words Platinum Games are shared is the memory of Scalebound. Having once forged a close relationship through the creation of a cool new and unique property, it would all come apart when the game was canceled. Fingers were pointed towards both parties but ultimately Microsoft and Platinum parted ways, each perhaps wanting a better outcome.
With Platinum’s new expansion efforts in independent development, Video Game Chronicle interviewed the famed Japan studio and was able to get some information on how the studio perceives Microsoft’s Xbox platform. When Hideki Kamiya, the director behind Scale Bound, was asked about his opinion on Phil Spencer’s disappointment of Xbox’s position in Japan, Kamiya was able to share a few words of wisdom.
According to Kamiya, the localization support just isn’t there. Kamiya feels as though the Xbox is just to foreign, it doesn’t try to fit in to the culture of Japan. Kamiya gives an example stating “when you unlock an Achievement it says ‘Achievement unlocked’ and in Japanese, this phrase is translated extremely literally. Compare that with Sony’s Trophies: that idea is very easy to grasp and even in Japanese the word ‘trophy’ is the same as in English. There’s no awkward translation and it’s easy to understand.” Kamiya adds that “The home menu translations feel a bit too literal too, by the way! [laughs]”
Xbox Game Studios features an ensemble list of studios from around the world except Japan.
Atsushi Inaba, studio head at Platinum Games, is then asked about Phil Spencer’s recent claims on wanting to expand its studio roster in Japan. According to Inaba, he has heard whispers about Microsoft wanting to acquire Platinum Games. Dismissing the idea as a silly rumor, Inaba does not flat out reject the idea entirely. What really removes Platinum out of any possible discussion is the thought of losing their creative freedom. Inaba states “It’s not that we’re disinterested in Microsoft, but if the relationship were to be us working under their direction, I feel like that would be the opposite of what we’re trying to do now and limit our possibilities. Any opportunities that would limit our freedom I think we would be against.”
“It’s not that we’re disinterested in Microsoft, but if the relationship were to be us working under their direction, I feel like that would be the opposite of what we’re trying to do now and limit our possibilities. Any opportunities that would limit our freedom I think we would be against.”
Interestingly enough, most of the recently acquired studios like Ninja Theory have come out and claimed a big reason they were fine with an acquisition was because they were promised creative freedoms. Double Fine even went on stage jokingly stating they would be down to create Excel spreasheets before reassuring they would remain creatively independent. Perhaps Microsoft would need to reassure Platinum of such freedoms if they were ever serious about pitching a possible acquisition.
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