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Is Platinum Games becoming a Nintendo 2nd party dev?

With the recent announcements that Platinum would bring Bayonetta 2 to Wii U as an exclusive, it's starting to look likely that Nintendo might be courting a new second party developer...

Toby Youngberg, Blogger

September 17, 2012

3 Min Read

With all the anger exploding accross the internet about Bayonetta 2 being a Wii U exclusive, I thought I would wade through all the vitriole and mention what looks like a distinct possibility.

Nintendo has been struggling with it's image lately.  After an entire generation of more casual oriented titles, they seem to have come to grips with the fact that core gamers pay the bills late in a consoles life-cycle.  This generation, it looks like they are tryin to recapture that audience, while keeping their casual core intact.  How would they accomplish this exactly?  Buy courting a new 2nd party studio to add to the likes of Retro that can tackle some of the more core focused experiences.

To me, there is evidence that this has been planned for quite some time.  Even partially through the life-cycle of the Wii.   At E3 2010, Nintendo announced a partnership with Team Ninja, to bring a new Metroid title to the Wii, Metroid Other M.  Nintendo doesn't often hand the keys to one of thier largest franchises, so this was big news.  Sadly though, the game was met with negative reactions from the press and fans alike who felt that one of their favorite characters had been betrayed by the colaboration.  This could have been Team Ninjas chance to sign on with Nintendo to continue as a 2nd party.  Metroid has been a 2nd party title since Retro took the reigns with the Prime series, and it made complete sense to allow such a prominent developer the opportunity.  Given that a revamped version of Ninja Gaiden 3 is on the way to the Wii U shows that Team Ninja hasn't likely given up on this relationship, but Nintendo may have already moved on.

At E3 2012, Nintendo announced an un-named project from none other than Platinum Games that would be a Wii U exclusive.  The press loved the game, and it has become one of the few games coming to the new platform that has gotten wary fans excited.  Following this reception, Nintendo then comes to their Wii U showcase on the 13th announcing yet another Wii U exclusive from Platinum in Bayonetta 2, a title that had seen a troubled past under Sega as a publisher.  That's two exclusives already announced for the Wii U, both of them published by Nintendo.  Is Nintendo testing the waters with this Devs own properties so that they don't risk their own property yet again?  Nintendo has not been known to simply publish titles from 3rd party devs, yet they have now done so with not only Platinum, but also the devs behind Lego City Undercover.

There is also evidence that this might all just be a push to include more third party devs by paying them cash and publishing their titles.  For instance, Platinum still has 2 major multiplatform titles in development with Metal Gear Rising Revengence, and Anarchy Reigns.

If Nintendo is courting new 2nd party studios, it will be the first time in a long time, and what looks like an attempt to resucitate a floundering Japanese game development industry. 

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