You run the company like you're in danger of starving
Development studios need to stay lean to survive and not succumb to bloat, argues Atsushi Inaba. Speaking to us for an in-depth profile on Platinum Games in our new issue, E246, the studio producer has expressed his fears that the team could grow too large, endangering the quirky, creative atmosphere that has produced the likes of Vanquish and Bayonetta.
I dont know if its right to say were lean per se, he tells us. But I do think an important thing for an independent developer like us is to be on the edge of starving. I mean, you run the company like youre in danger of starving the whole time, and thats the right way to do it.
For Inaba, a creeping sense of impersonality is a major concern. When Platinum Games started out in 2006 it had 50 staff; six years later the studio has tripled in size, hitting 200 when the contractors are counted. Theres actually a lot of people working in the company Ive never had a sit-down chat with, which I find odd, he says. One day you look around and suddenly theres hundreds of people working on something and youre not quite sure where they all came from.
The Platinum directors also make a slight dig at their previous employer Capcom. The company made great hay of the fact that it had a team of 600 people working on Resident Evil 6 for periods of its development. But Hideki Kamiya is amusingly dismissive of such large projects. I heard that there were a huge amount of people working on Devil May Cry 4, just an enormous amount of people, he observes, dryly. Didnt help them, did it?
The team also gives a rather startling insight into its management practices. President and CEO Tatsuya Minami is described by Inaba as, explosive broad-minded and violent a violent visionary.
Meanwhile Metal Gear Rising: Revenegance director Kenji Sato says of working for Inuba, The first word is carrot the second word is stick. And there arent very many carrots. Mr Inaba is always making you push yourself, and right now in my position I certainly felt that. A few carrots and a lot of sticks.
That is the correct balance, responds Inaba.