Rumors are true! PlatinumGames hasn’t exactly hidden the existence of the project, but today the Kickstarter campaign for The Wonderful 101 Remastered has been officially announced. Funding for the swarm begins today and continues until the following month. A change is planned for April, if the campaign is successful there are extended targets for the PC and PS4 versions as well as for additional content. And even better: if you invest 11,000 yen (around 92 euros) or more, you will receive a message from Hideki Kamiya on Twitter and then be blocked forever.
The Wonderful 101 Remastered is said to be the first PlatinumGames project to appear in self-distribution. At the same time, it’s a throwback to a fan favorite that was first an exclusive title for the Wii U distributed by Nintendo. “Nintendo’s kindness has allowed us to move it to other platforms,” PlatinumGames said in an official statement on the new project. Last year we had the chance to talk to Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya about The Wonderful 101 Remastered and what it means for the future of PlatinumGames.
Why, now, almost 13 years after the creation of PlatinumGames, is it a good time to start selling yourself?
Inaba: The point is, we’ve always wanted to distribute our games ourselves. It’s just that, as developers, we didn’t have the capacity to do that, so we focused on game development. Fortunately, these games have been well received. As for this special occasion, a lot of things came together, so the timing made sense. On the one hand, we wanted to come back to The Wonderful 101, and on the other hand, Nintendo gave us its approval. Therefore, we decided to give it a try and decided that crowdfunding was the right choice.
You’ve made no secret of your wish to return to The Wonderful 101. I think there have been clues for over a year and it’s nice to see that finally happening. Was it an option to do it with Nintendo? Or did you want to resume sales from the start?
Inaba: The Wonderful 101 has not been as successful as we hoped or deserved. It’s a game we firmly believe in and have always wanted to return to. We spoke to Nintendo and said it was not a success. And Nintendo said if we don’t think it’s a success, go ahead and we’ll let you do whatever you want with it. It all came together and crowdfunding was the only way for us – we couldn’t do it alone and need the support of the fans. Another point was that we were very interested in porting it to other platforms, not just the Switch – so there are extended targets for other platforms. And if those goals are met, hopefully there are other things, including additional content.
I love The Wonderful 101, but it was closely related to Wii-U hardware and GamePad. How do you deal with this?
Kamiya: As with the most recent versions, playing on the Switch retains many features. For example, drawing the movements on the pad is the same. On the Wii U you had two screens and now, of course, only one. The original subscreen was placed in the lower right corner – I would like to add a function to move and resize it. There are also a lot of detailed technical things that I want to customize – I have a list of things that I always wanted to change because the original wasn’t entirely satisfactory. Coming back to the game allowed us to make these adjustments in detail. On the PS4, of course, you can’t paint on the screen, you do the movements like in the original with the stick – in fact, I prefer that method. In terms of content, this is one of our biggest games, so we’re happy with it. It’s not that we want to create more content – we just want to make it more user-friendly.
Another thing is that The Wonderful 101 was distributed by Nintendo and there were many subtle references to Nintendo brands throughout the game. Will this change on non-Nintendo platforms?
Kamiya: [lacht] That’s a very good question! Very ingenious on your part, a good point. You have to wait and know when the game appears.
Alright… what’s the deadline? There is obviously a lot of content.
Inaba: The campaign lasts a month. If it’s a success, we start developing the game. We have already worked on the planning, it’s ready. We don’t have an exact date yet, but the kernel already exists. Let people know it won’t be long. Also, it would be rude for bakers if it takes too long.
As for the amount you need – is that a smaller amount of money than a completely new game?
Inaba: It’s not crowdfunding for a completely new project, so it’s not that extreme. However, I am concerned about the risks associated with the business. This is not a new project, but a new game that we are devoting our time and our work to – and we don’t know if it will be successful. But we want to see how interested the fans are, so we want to do this project. Then we can go back and see how much people really like it.
I think people really like it. Hope you are successful.
Kamiya: One of the things we look forward to in this project is interacting with fans and bringing everyone together. Not only do we want to bring this game to the fans, but during the campaign we will also do weekly shows and things like that, face the fans and interact with them. We can’t wait to bring the fans together and make this game.
On self-distribution – you’ve alluded to this in the past and it’s good to see it’s happening now. How will things be with other PlatinumGames games in the future?
Inaba: This is an important question. It is a fact that with this approach we are taking a different path than usual and we cannot say for now whether it will be a success. We certainly hope so. It all depends on the success of this project. We are confident that we will gain the support of our fans. And if we are successful – we will focus on this project first and depending on the success we will continue and try to continue our business in the future.
I would like to ask Kamiya-san something – The Wonderful 101 was his last project as a director. Has his role in the company changed? I know he played a sort of tutorial role for various young directors.
Kamiya: It was my last game as a director – but my role is that of “Chief Game Designer”. I am therefore involved in all PlatinumGames projects released since. One of my most important roles is to keep an eye on the quality of the games in an advisory capacity. So Wonderful 101 was my last game as a director, but I want people to know that I haven’t retired!
When you start sharing with fans I’m sure many will ask you questions about scalebound. Now that PlatinumGames has released its own games, have you asked Microsoft if you can reactivate the project?
Inaba: Again, that’s a good question, but it was a 100% Microsoft owned IP. Whatever happens to this project, there is nothing we can do about it – unless Microsoft gives us the green light. But it’s a game we are passionate about and love. If the opportunity presented itself, this would be something we would like to come back to.
Are there other games in your portfolio that you would like to return to as your own publisher? Or is this your chance to develop a new IP address?
Inaba: In the future, we would like to focus on new games, not old ones. So there isn’t really a subject we want to come back to.
Is crowdfunding for other projects questionable once you are done with this project?
Inaba: This is an isolated case – it’s not so much about saying “hey, we need the money”. It’s more of a call to all that we come together to make this project a reality. We do not currently plan to start over for future projects. It’s just a special case. But if there is a case in the future where crowdfunding makes sense, this is an option we will consider.
Okay, let me ask a selfish question. If you’re going to crowdfunding again, could you maybe talk to Konami about a new degree? I know Kamiya-san is a huge fan of the show and it would be my dream if he could work on a Gradius 6. If you can, I’ll put some money in it as well. Hey, I’ll sell my house. When can we start?
Kamiya: I love Gradius! But for me it’s the top of the top – what else would I have to add to the series? If I did, I wouldn’t be happy to play it. But there are some games I would love to work on and if I had the chance I would take them too.
I’m sure that would be fantastic – thanks for your time – and all the great games.