Platinum Games and Nintendo teamed up for the first time while creating The Wonderful 101. Because the two companies didn’t have much contact in the past, both maintained certain assumptions about the other.
On Platinum’s side, director Hideki Kamiya thought Nintendo “would be very business-like” and was a bit surprised as to “how human” the company was. Meanwhile, according to Nintendo producer Hitoshi Yamagami, the Big N assumed Kamiya would be “scary”.
A discussion in the latest Iwata Asks goes into further detail about Nintendo and Platinum’s initial working relationship:
Iwata: But as far as Nintendo was concerned, since it was our first time collaborating with PlatinumGames, I think there was a time where we must have thought “PlatinumGames has shown that they can get results themselves, so we should respect them and discover their value,” and so we took a step back and watched over them in a way.
Yamagami: There was. Although there came a point where we had to say something. So we had a lot of meetings about how to approach Kamiya-san directly.
Iwata: Kamiya-san, how did you feel about Yamagami-san and Matsushita-san closing in?
Kamiya: Originally, I had somehow imagined that those requests would come in more systematically. I thought the requests that would come in would be very business-like.
Iwata: Really? That was your image of Nintendo?
Kamiya: I thought you guys were going to reach out to me saying something like, “We did some user research and these are the results we got, so we want you to change it so it fits this.”
Iwata: Like, “Marketing data proves you should go this way.”
Kamiya: Right. So I was surprised. This should have been obvious, but I was a little surprised at how human you guys were.
Iwata: So your original image of Nintendo was of something that wasn’t human? (laughs)
Yamagami: And then on our side, we had a preconceived notion that Kamiya-san was scary. We still had a strong impression of him from how miffed he seemed the first time we met him, and of how he was on Twitter. But the more we met him, and saw how Kamiya-san reacted like “Oh, that makes sense.” to things that we said on the spot, we realized that we just needed to be honest with him. And so we started to get closer after that.
Kamiya: If you have misgivings about something a person is telling you, you can just ask “Why is that?” then and there, and deepen your understanding. But you can’t have a conversation with data.
Iwata: When people bring you data, it’s not actually their opinion, so there’s no point in arguing with them.
Kamiya: That’s right. So that was a good thing. And most of what they were saying was completely right.
Inaba: Huh. (laughs)