At this year's BitSummit 2017 indie event in Kyoto, Japan, PlatinumGames producer, executive vice president and studio head Atsushi Inaba confirmed the studio is working on a new IP, and that it'll be made by a new game director.
PlatinumGames is known for making high-quality games in series it doesn't actually own; for instance, SEGA owns Bayonetta, and Square Enix owns the NieR franchise, and PlatinumGames has made stalwart games in both line-ups. The developer wants to change that by making a wholly-owned IP of its own so it has more creative control over the IP's direction, content, and sequel possibilities. However, this new IP will be directed by a brand new game director, not the studio's well-known games-makers.
According to Inaba, PlatinumGames' new IP is "formless and shapeless" right now, but he did hint that the studio will look at new abstract technologies for ideas. "One thing we want you to really be aware of is that there's a new formless, shapeless IP, but we can't talk about that right now. But it's really important to us," PlatinumGames exec Atsushi Inaba said during BitSummit 2017's keynote speech (stream here).
"Every single year we're thinking about new technology, new formless and shapeless and abstract technologies and we take advantage of events like GDC to really show off what we've learned and where we're headed."
Inaba's words at BitSummit echo those he spoke in a 2010 interview with Develop: "The whole point of Platinum Games is to create our own IP, that's what we do."
Inaba confirms that the new IP will have a fresh new director helping bring their vision to life. PlatinumGames has three established game directors; Yoko Taro, who worked on NieR: Automata, Hideki Kamiya, who oversaw Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101, and Yusuke Hashimoto, who directed Bayonetta 2.
We're not exactly sure who will serve as game director on PlatinumGames' new IP but we think it could be Takahisa Taura (Inaba mentions someone named "Para" or "Tara" but the closest I've come is "Taura"). Inaba mentions that the new game director is a "he", and he looks "pretty good," and he also worked on NieR: Automata. And since it's a new director it won't be Yoko Taro. He also says "game designer" right before mentioning NieR: Automata, and Takahisa Taura was senior game designer on NieR.
Yoko Taro, however, was the game director for NieR: Automata, not the game designer. So we're pretty sure the new IP will be directed by Takahisa Taura.
There's a chance PlatinumGames could fund the new IP themselves, or it could go the traditional route and team up with Japanese publishers like SEGA and Square Enix.
SEGA would probably be open to negotiations as the company has recently promised to double down on new IPs, and plans to spend $451 million in research and development on new IP and other content.
Below are transcripts from Inaba's BitSummit 2017 keynote which give key inference on PlatinumGames' new IP and the new game director, which could be NieR: Automata's senior game designer Takahisa Taura:
"The biggest thing you should take from this is that not only is it going to be a new shapeless IP that we're talking about (the media keeps on asking us what we're talking about with that), but on top of that, it's a new director, and how raise that director, bring that director up, and how does that director grow our company."
"When thinking about directors, you may be thinking 'Kamiya,' who directed games like Bayonetta, which is really special to us. But you have to understand that every time there's a new title, there's a new opportunity."
"Let's talk about Kamiya for a second. There are many types of directors out there, and this guy, he's very different. And then we have Hashimoto-san, who is the director of Bayonetta 2, and he's insanely intelligent. And then we have Taura(?) from NieR: Automata, and that person in particular we want to talk to you about as well."
"There are a few factors here. We've been thinking about opening up a new seat for a new director and we also have to consider what type of content we want to make. First we have to decide what type of content we want to make before we decide what type of director we're looking for."
"We think from the start who this person is that might be directing our new title, and how will that affect the game from the ground up, and how is that person going to adapt or change as we go through this. And that's a very good opportunity to birth a new director."
"Then we think of this director as a type of color if you will, and then we bring in ideas to match the color, and then bring the ideas and the director to producers and publishers to help raise the director to he or she could fully be."
Inaba on PlatinumGames' future, and when we can expect new info on the new IP:
"Oftentimes in our mid-term interviews we're asked 'so how many titles have you made?' And come to think of it, we're usually on to our next title, but we've already down about ten or thirteen titles, and now we have a new IP. It's pretty amazing."
"But we don't know down the road if we're going to keep up with that pace and deliver about 1 title per year. But we're looking forward to making new titles."
"We'll be delivering lots of new information at GDC and the next time we talk (next year's Bitsummit) and we hope you look forward to it."
"We've had the pleasure of working on several AAA titles. We've been really happy to be able to do that."