Takao Yamane on leaving Nintendo, joining PlatinumGames, and more

Earlier in the week, we learned that Takao Yamane was moving on from Nintendo after 30 years to take a position as Vice President at PlatinumGames. It’s a pretty big move for both companies, and Famitsu was eager to get more details.

Famitsu magazine had a chance to talk to Takao Yamane for more info on the departure from Nintendo, the work expected at Platinum, and a few more details as well. You can see a summary of the interview below.

Why Takao Yamane left Nintendo:

  • Yamane has left Nintendo after 27 years to become VP of Platinum
  • He had just turned 50 and wanted to take on a new challenge in life
  • As he was thinking about whether to stay at Nintendo, Inaba proposed they work together in 2021
  • Kamiya didn’t know Yamane, but Inaba has known him since 2006
  • Yamane felt Platinum needed him more than Nintendo did, and so he joined up
  • Yamane adds that his Nintendo departure was peaceful

What Yamane will do at Platinum:

  • Platinum has no experience in the publishing business and they needed someone with those qualifications
  • Yamane is now in charge of the publishing side of the business
  • Inaba and Kamiya will continue to lead the development side
  • Kamiya will now be involved with more of the company’s projects as a chief game designer
  • Inaba jokes that he expects Yamane and Kamiya to butt heads frequently in the future
  • Yamane clarifies at one point that between publishing (business) and development (creative), the development side will always be prioritized
  • So, for example, if Kamiya asks for a six-month delay to something, Yamane is willing to be flexible
  • This is how Yamane was already used to operating at Nintendo, and can tell when a game needs more time

Yamane’s impression of Platinum:

  • He jokes about how the air-conditioning is set to very low and the studio is freezing cold
  • He also jokes about how Kamiya and Inaba are a lot scarier to their subordinates than he expected
  • Kamiya in particular has a tendency to be very direct and pointed when delivering feedback
  • Kamiya jokes that Inaba is no different
  • Kamiya also says that because people hold him in such high regard as an industry veteran, he tries to be as matter-of-fact as possible, and deliver his thoughts in a “flat” manner

Project G.G. and what kind of game it is:

  • A core concept (like Unite Morph or Witch Time) is hinted at in the Project G.G. trailer
  • Project G.G. is a large-scale project that is driven by Kamiya’s vision and Inaba’s ambition/goals for Platinum
  • Inaba said to Kamiya that this would be the kind of game PlatinumGames would make from now on
  • As a result, Project G.G. will not simply be an all-out action game
  • Platinum’s capital tie-up with Tencent is helping Project G.G. realize its ambitions
  • Project G.G. will be a self-published title, and was one of the reasons Yamane joined up
  • Yamane sees the potential in Project G.G. and feels it is a top-notch product
  • Project G.G. will be released both physically and digitally worldwide
  • Yamane hints that we’ll see more in June next year (2023) at Los Angeles
  • They haven’t decided whether it will be at E3 or Summer Game Fest
  • In addition to Project G.G., Platinum is preparing another in-house IP

PlatinumGames’ development business (for other publishers):

  • On the development side of PG’s business, there are “several unannounced titles”
  • Some of these have just begun, and some are in the final stages of production
  • Announcements will be made by their respective publishers whenever they’re ready

PlatinumGames’ goals for expanding:

  • All of the projects referred to above are large in scale, so PG feels understaffed at the moment
  • As a result, they want to staff up to 500 employees as a short/medium-term goal
  • The ultimate long-term goal is to have over 1,000 employees
  • At the moment, Platinum is only in Osaka and Tokyo, but Inaba would like to expand to Hakata and Sapporo at some point in the future as well
  • Kamiya says Inaba has great ambitions in mind for PG and they’d definitely need 1,000 employees eventually
  • Kamiya and Inaba have meetings each week, where a lot of varying ideas are discussed or proposed
  • If Platinum had more staff, they could actually experiment with these ideas more
  • The studio is also continuing to hire for sales and marketing positions

PG’s relationship with Tencent:

  • The two companies entered a capital alliance in 2020
  • Tencent’s policy is to invest in companies but not govern them
  • Tencent doesn’t event comment on Platinum’s games, all they do is keep the studio abreast of trends they see

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