Clover Studios is back – after one resurrection and two name changes, they now exist as Platinum Games, and have some actual games to show us (all being published by Sega).
The one getting the least attention is their DS RPG called Infinite Line, which we have the least amount of info on. The other two are causing mixed feelings, a response that I woefully anticipated. Mad World and Bayonetta both look to be new action games, and in traditional Clover style will likely be rather tough. They also seem a bit unoriginal, at least by their pitch; Mad World includes Sin City style visuals, a chainsaw arm, and loads of violence. It is also on the Wii, which makes the No More Heroes comparisons fly. Bayonetta involves a leather-clad witch fighting fallen angels with guns on her hands and feet. Here the comparisons to Bullet Witch (and its inevitable failure) spring up.
First of all, I don’t think we should be making major judgments at all based on some teasers, though I side with the people who are excited for these games, based on a proven track record. Whether with Clover or not, the people behind these games have created some difficult and deep combat systems and interesting new spins on the traditional brawler. When you have people who were involved with Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe and God Hand flexing their muscle yet again, it easy to look forward to Platinum’s output.
That is, it is easy to look forward to the new games if you have actually played and liked the old. The sad state of affairs is that many proclaimed Clover fans’ experience with the company begins and ends with Okami, and thus it is the experience they want to see emulated. I have yet to play the game, but I continue to feel it has done more harm than good to its creators. If you look at Clover’s (tiny) catalog, it is an outlier among a sea of violence. That is not to say Okami should be ignored, but I do think that if you genuinely appreciate this team’s contributions, you need to look at Clover’s brawlers, rather than their Zelda clone with nice graphics. Platinum Games surely wants more people to enjoy their products, but some Okami fans look to be as quick to condemn their new titles as the rest of “unwashed masses” (as they would likely call them), simply because what they want isn’t what these developers are interested in.
Guess that is what happens when one of your games gets picked up by Japanophiles.