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Astral Chain could mark a new era for PlatinumGames

You almost always know what you get with a Platinum game. With few exceptions, the titles created in the developer's 10-year history are focused on high-fidelity input action games created at cinematic speed, and have very little to do outside of combat. All of this is why Astral Chain

is so surprising. Yes, the exclusive switch is primarily an action game, but it's a completely different kind of action game for Platinum. While Bayonetta or The Wonderful 1

01 thrive at the push of a button to fight against playful abilities, Astral Chain is more interested in movement and positioning. The simultaneous control of two characters and the use of the title chain that connects them makes the fight of the game a dance rather than a punch-up. Less anger, more elegance.

Perhaps more surprisingly, for long stretches, Astral Chain is not an action game in which violence is exchanged for exploration sections, everything from logical puzzles to visual, novel conversations, to satisfying police investigations into sections where you have evidence collect and put together solutions for one case. I think someone at Platinum is as much a fan of Ace Attorney as Devil May Cry.

Astral Chain Is Absurdly Pretty

This person may be Takahisa Taura, a new director for Platinum, who was promoted to his post. Excellent work as Game Designer for Nier: Automata (a game that is also in its more freeform Storytelling and crazy RPG systems are a bit off the platinum trend). When I talk to him at Gamescom, it becomes clear that Taura is far less interested in imitating what his company is famous for, but instead making it famous for something new.

"I did not really want to be trapped in what platinum games have done so far," he explains (through a translator) his design philosophy. "I really wanted to challenge myself to create something unique." For a new director working in a studio that relies almost exclusively on the design ideals of its founders, this is a remarkably open-minded approach to using some unlikely sources to make this unique design work. I ask what was the germ for the two simultaneously controllable characters of the game and expect the reaction to be something like tag team fighting games or maybe the enjoyment of Bayonetta 2's co-op. I was wrong. "I like games where you proclaim a second character and fight to survive adventures. For example Pokemon. "Yes, your chained interdimensional demon friend was based in part on Squirtle. "I really love the franchise. When I developed this game, I wanted to follow a similar concept. "

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Even less, some mechanics are expected to be completely out of the topic, not the other way round – a change not only in the Platinum style, but its usual native approach to making games. Take the investigator: "When we decided to hire the police, it was natural. So the main character is a policeman, then incidents happen around him, and if there are incidents, the policeman must of course investigate what has happened and try to find the cause. […] At Platinum Games We Never Have We really had fun implementing this concept – it was a really good challenge.

Talking about new ideas does not mean that Astral Chain represents a rejection of the history of platinum. You just have to play a bit to see the hallmarks of previous games: The pen-shaped formations of the Wonderful 101 affect the manipulation of your chain to bind or bounce enemies. Metal Gear Rising: Revengean's Precision Swords are recreated on a large scale with the special ability of your Sword Legion. Even taking control of a Legion with a trigger feels amazingly similar to a demo behind closed doors that I once saw of the sadly deceased Scalebound (Taura tells me that this is a "complete coincidence," but me I am still not sure).

This makes Astral Chain feel more like an experiment where platinum could be used next, as it could have been all along. For me, Taura uses its own chain to steer the company in a new direction. The obvious next question is: "Why?" Taura's answer is straightforward:

"Developing games takes a long time, so you're really into it, doing things that we did before becomes boring [when working on one thing]. I just want to have personal fun at work. "

The PlatinumGames

Platinum developers told us before that it is preferable to support new directors with good ideas rather than simply through a team leadership, and Taura is a testament to this philosophy at work, all you have to do is look at the reviews to see that it was the right step to turn your non-traditional vision into reality It is unlikely that Bayonetta 3 deviated too far from the established format, but with Babylon 's case (a second collaboration with Square Enix after the success of Nier) and another unannounced IP, both of which are still unknown, it will be fascinating to see if this sign sets the beginning of a new era of Platinum games, and in particular a new definition of what a Platinum game can be.

I ask Taura if he believes he will stay with Platinum Director if we could see more of his action across the board. He's a little less clear on that point: "After all, I'm an office worker, so I do not know what might happen in the future." But it ends with what might be interpreted as a hint. A whisper in the wind that Taura's version of the Platinum game may last longer than his debut: "I hope people will enjoy Astral Chain with my guidance." I used to love knowing what I would get in one platinum play. Now I hope to love that I do not do it.

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