Tying in with the recent reveal of its new Tokyo office - the third announcement of the Platinum4 - PlatinumGames has now shared information on a brand new game engine being developed in-house to help the studio create "thrilling next-generation action games".
Known for now as the PlatinumEngine, this new tool will be used to drive the studio's creations going forward, being described as "bigger, more expressive, more creative," in an update shared online.
Wataru Ohmori, Platinum's Research and Development Group Lead and Chief Technology Officer, explains how development on the engine began:
"We’ve used our own in-house engine, specialized for action game development, since PlatinumGames was founded. But modern games demand a whole new level of quality, a greater variety and number of objects on-screen, and a richer amount of expressive visual power. We came to the frightening realization that if we don’t make our work more efficient, we’re simply not going to be able to keep making the games that we want to make as technology and expectations grow. Our new engine will help us make bigger, more expressive games than ever before, and with greater ease."
Ohmori goes on to explain that third-party engines like Unity and Unreal are lacking some features that PlatinumGames felt it needed, so an optimised engine was the only solution to meet the studio's needs.
Platinum's Research and Development Group Team Lead, Tsuyoshi Odera, and Research and Development Group Programmer, Ryoichi Takahashi, explain just what the engine aims to do:
Odera: "...Our goal with this new engine is to reduce, as much as we can, the amount of effort that goes into game development. The idea is to take all the unnecessary work away from our game development teams. We’re looking into everything we can do to make their work more efficient, even if those changes seem minor on the surface. Things like reducing the number of button presses needed to convert data, reflecting new work in the build right after it’s converted, or making levels playable directly from the editor."
Takahashi: "For the most part, I’ve worked more closely with game development teams than on system development, and each project has its own needs that have to be met through manual work; they often start to approach the limits of what can be done in terms of time and scale. At the end of the day, I want to give our artists an engine that will let them dig in to a wide variety of visual styles – photorealism, cartoony cell-shading, and beyond – to make sure our games are up to Platinum standards visually."
Improving workflow and providing new tools should be a fantastic change for both the developers working on the game and the players who get to experience them later down the line. Ohmori wraps things up by saying, "PlatinumGames is known for our action games, but going forward, we’re going to have to try making things we haven’t made before.
"Those new challenges might be under the broad “action game” umbrella, or they might be something completely different, with some action elements. Either way, we’ll need to step up our game in terms of scale and expression."