In 2019, the head of Nier: Automata and Bayonetta developer Platinum Games, Atsushi Inaba, said he was not all that impressed by the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft. He said they offered “more of the same,” and those comments led to some debate and discussion, particularly after the enthusiastic praise we’ve heard from several other developers up to this point. However, he isn’t backing down.
Inaba has now clarified his comments, telling Video Games Chronicle that his original words led to “a little bit of backlash” and the perception that he was a snob. Inaba now says he’s excited by the fact that the new consoles will allow developers to “do more” as it relates to graphics and technology. However, he stands by his estimation that the leap from the PS4/Xbox One era to the PS5/Xbox Series X era won’t be as dramatic as the shift that occurred years ago during previous console transitions.
“If you think back to the generation between Super Nintendo and PlayStation, and how we went from pixel art to 3D polygons… nobody could have ever imagined that a few years prior,” Inaba said. “When that stuff started coming out people were just blown away: they weren’t ready for it, they weren’t anticipating it… it was just so new.”
The latest console generations, by comparison, leave something to be desired, Inaba said.
“I feel that the announcements that we’ve had for recent consoles generations, while all good and interesting, and of course I’m happy for us as developers to have better technology to work on… it’s a ‘perceivable’ future,” he said. “There’s not the extreme surprise or the unexpected quality that I felt from the leap to previous consoles. Now I see the announcements and I think, ‘Oh, that’s cool’ and then the next minute I think, ‘Hmmm… what should I watch on Netflix tonight?'”
Inaba clarified that this is only his personal opinion, and that–from an industry level–the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X is “all very promising.” He also mentioned that Sony and Microsoft have yet to fully reveal their new consoles, so it’s possible the machines will end up wowing him.
“We haven’t seen everything from next-gen at this point, I think, and it’s still very likely that there could be a quality like that in these consoles that’s going to kind of be a game-changer, that’s going to change how games could be played,” he said. “And if that is the case, then maybe they’ll blow me away. So I don’t want to sound like, ‘Hey, I know everything about the new consoles and they’re boring.’ But with the information that I have now, I haven’t seen any extremely big surprises.”
Inaba also called out the Nintendo Switch as an example of a platform-holder trying something bold and new. “The Nintendo Switch was very groundbreaking in how it was able to just to take a home console and make it portable,” he said. “It’s something that you hadn’t seen a lot of people doing before: it took this wall, that perhaps a lot of people didn’t know even existed, and broke it down.”
Platinum’s latest release is The Wonderful 101: Remastered for Nintendo Switch, which got a 4/10 in GameSpot’s review. Among the developer’s upcoming games is Bayonetta 3 for the Nintendo Switch. The studio is also working on Project G.G., which is a hero-based action game.