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Astral Chain may mark a new era for PlatinumGames



You almost always know what you'll get with a Platinum game. With very few exceptions, the titles made in the developer's 10-year history are action-packed, cinematic action games, a focus on skill-based imports, and very little to do out of the battle. All this is why Astral Chain

is so surprising. Yes, the Switch switch is mostly an action game, but it is a very different type of action game for Platinum . Where they like Bayonetta or The Wonderful 1

01, they thrive in fighting a game that resembles a mannequin button, Astral Chain is more interested in movement and positioning. Controlling two characters at once, not to mention the use of a title circuit that binds them, turns the fight of the game into a dance rather than a blow; less fury, more elegance.

Probably more surprising, because the long stretches of Astral Chain are by no means an action game, an exchange of violence for investigative sections that take everything from logical puzzles, to visual romance conversations to satisfying police investigation sections where you have taking evidence and making joint decisions in a case. One of Platinum's, I think, is as much a fan of Ace Attorney as they are Devil May Cry.

Astral Chain is absurdly pretty freer forms of storytelling and weirdo-RPG systems). When I talk to him at Gamescom, it becomes clear that Taura is much less interested in recreating what his company is known for, perhaps instead seeking to make him famous with something new.

"I didn't really want to be trapped in what the Platinum Games are doing so far," he explains (through a translator) of his design philosophy. "I really wanted to challenge myself to create something unique." For a new director working in a studio built almost entirely on the ideals of the designers of its founders, this is a remarkably candid statement of the mission.

As if to double this, he draws from some unlikely sources to make this unique design work. I ask what the seed is for the two simultaneously controllable characters of the game, expecting the answer to be something like team fighting games or perhaps the joy of the Bayonetta 2 co-op. "I like games where you summon a second character and fight, continue the adventure. For example, Pokemon. "Yes, your shackled dimensional demon demon was based in part on Squirtle. "I love franchising very much. So in developing this game, I wanted to follow a similar concept. "

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Even less expected, some mechanics emerged entirely from the subject, not the other way around – a change in the style not only of Platinum, but its usual systematic approach – first when making games. Take that investigative mechanic: "Once the police situation was resolved, it just came naturally. So the main character is a police officer, then there will be incidents around them and if there are incidents, the police officer should naturally investigate what happened and try to find the cause […] At Platinum Games we never did a similar game before, so really we had fun realizing this concept – it was a really good challenge.

All this talk of new ideas does not mean that Astral Chain is a rejection of Platinum history. Just play a little to see the sights of previous games here: Wonderful 101's formulated stylus echoes when manipulating your chain to bind or bounce enemies; Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance precision tilted swords are recreated wholesale with the special ability of your Sword Legion; even taking control of the Legion by pressing the trigger feels strikingly similar to the closed-door demonstration I once saw about the sadly departed Scalebound (Taura tells me it's a "complete coincidence" but I'm not quite sure yet).

This makes Astral Chain feel more like an experiment about where Platinum can go further than what it could be all this time. For me, Taura uses her own chain to take the company in a new direction. The obvious next question is "why?" Taura's answer is clear:

"Game development takes a long time, so you're really invested in that. Doing things we did before will be boring [when working on one thing] for so long. So, instead of a company line, I more personally want to have fun while I work. ”

PlatinumGames

Platinum developers told us before that it prefers to support new directors with good ideas rather than just go through a team of CEOs and Taura is a testament to this philosophy in the work. Just look at the reviews to see that this is the right move to allow him to turn his unconventional vision into reality. The remaining question is whether this was a one-off. It seems unlikely that Bayonetta 3 will deviate too far from the established format, but with the fall of Babylon (the second collaboration with Square Enix after the success of Nier) and other unannounced IPs, both unknown quantities will be fascinating to see if it means the beginning of a new era of Platinum games, and more precisely a new definition of what a Platinum game can be.

I ask Taura if he expects to remain a director at Platinum if we can see more of his brand of action down the line. He is a little more candid about this: "At the end of the day, I'm an office worker so I don't know what might happen in the future." But he ends with what can be interpreted as a hint, a whisper of the wind, that Taura's version of the Platinum game may go beyond his debut: "For now, I hope people enjoy Astral Chain in my direction. "I loved that I knew what I was going to get into the Platinum game. Now, I hope I love what I don't do.


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