Platinum Games

The Wonderful 101 [Beta / Prototype / Concept – Wii U]


The Wonderful 101 is an action game for the Wii U, developed by Platinum Games in partnership with Nintendo and was directed by famed Japanese designer, Hideki Kamiya, of Okami and Devil May Cry notoriety. It was released in 2013 and has since developed a small cult following among Wii U owners.

The game follows the adventures of The Wonderful 100, a team of superheroes, as they fight to defend Earth from an alien menace known as the ‘GEATHJERK Federation‘. Despite being released almost a full year into the Wii U’s lifespan, the project had, in fact, been in the works for a few years prior. As revealed by the staff who worked on it over the course of its development, its direction underwent some considerable shifts along the way.

Video Game All Stars, Unite Up!

As disclosed by Hideki Kamiya at Gamescom 2013, The Wonderful 101 began life as an entirely different entity. Kamiya’s involvement with the project started a few years earlier, when the President and CEO of Platinum Games, Tatsuya Minami, tasked him with creating an action game with a cast of some of gaming’s biggest icons. It was set to feature Nintendo characters primarily, as well as guest stars from third party companies.

The project in this form dates all the way back to 2010, when it was planned to be developed not on Wii U, but on the Wii.

At that time it wasn’t necessarily based on any specific platform. But when we took it to Nintendo, the discussions went from there, and we decided to put it on Wii.” – Hideki Kamiya, on the first iteration of The Wonderful 101 project.

Although it has been never stated which characters from companies outside of Nintendo were planned, Kamiya did elaborate on the main cast of this original vision at 2013’s Penny Arcade Expo. During an interview with Siliconera, he mentioned that Link and Mario were among those featured. This suggests that the two might have been the basis for the ‘Unite Hand’ and ‘Unite Sword’ moves, based upon the traits of either character.

Initially, the idea was proposed by Mr. Minami, to create a game featuring Nintendo characters or other popular characters together in one game. With the idea of putting characters like Mario and Link into the same game, you end up with a situation where fans of Mario are forced to play as Link.

Moreover, during Platinum’s panel at the event, Kamiya described one piece of concept art for the project, involving other Mario characters. He gave the example of a portion where Peach, Luigi and Yoshi attempt to grab hold of one another to form a bridge, with Mario hopping across the top of them, allowing him to traverse a large bottomless pit. One artist, Kibbles, has put together a sketch for us to illustrate what this roughly might have looked like.

Wonderful 101 mario bridge concept

It appears that this idea might well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The director went on to to say that the people at Nintendo viewing this concept in particular was the point at which they decided the project could not be realised

Anarchy Reigns (Max Anarchy) [Beta – Xbox 360 / PS3]

Anarchy Reigns (aka Max Anarchy in Japan) is an online beat ’em up action game developed by PlatinumGames and published by Sega for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The developers shared some videos, showing the game in a near complete beta state on their Youtube Channel, in which we can see a different HUD and increased amounts of gore over the final version. Also, at PlatinumGames’ blog, there’s an interesting article about the development of the game (in Japanese).

According to the post, Anarchy Reigns started life as an online multiplayer sequel to Mad World An initial prototype, as seen in the images below, show that the game was once presented in a similar cell-shaded visual style in certain early test-rooms.




Vanquish [X360 PS3 – Beta]

Vanquish is a third-person shooter created by Platinum Games for the Ps3/Xbox 360 that was released in 2010. In his blog , Shinji Mikami made some posts with many info about the development of the game:

  • Vanquish was originally a more open-ended game: we had to search and destroy enemy bases.
  • In the beginning there was much more emphasis on hand-to-hand combat, because Mikami wanted to reproduce the fighting scenes of the anime Casshern.
  • Sam’s suit was supposed to be empty and alternately controlled from distance by three pilots.  One of them had the ability to fly, while the other two were specialized respectively in shooting and melee combat.
  • The main character could have used a robot dog (see the video below).




Bayonetta [Beta – Xbox 360 / PS3]

Bayonetta is an action game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, developed by Platinum Games in cooperation with Sega, who will publish the title. In April 2009, the official Platinum Games Youtube Channel released an interesting video in which we can see an early prototype version of the game, a build created in about a month of work.

Also, at Platinum Games’ blog we can find various concept arts with early designs of Bayonett’as characters and weapons. In Japanese TV special on the game we can seen even more concept arts, with a blondie and readhead protagonist. At 1UP we can read an interview with Kamiya, in which the talks about the design of the game:

“I had Mari Shimazaki, one of the designers, draw her for me,” the designer said. “She gave me a woman in a full-body black suit with her hair running through her hands. I thought that having black hair and a black outfit would make it hard for the player to see what the character was doing. But I loved that long hair; I could see it flowing in the air as she fought and I wanted to depict that. So we went through lots of minor changes; at one point she had red hair. But at the end of it, we went back to a style that had her hair around her arms, making her look really witch-like — and from there we said ‘Well, why don’t we just have her hair cover her all the way?’ That was how the current Bayonetta was born.”

More beta videos were upload to the Sega Youtube Channel. As we can read at The Silent Chief:

A lot of what’s seen in the videos never made it’s way into the final game, including the ability to ride Bayonetta’s motorcycle throughout a level and use it as a weapon. You’ll also notice that Bayonetta is a bit younger in the prototype footage.

Also, Mystie noticed that:

The models of Bayonetta and the Affinities that were used in the beta/prototype are left within the files in the final release.

In the TGS 2008 trailer, the crumbling clock tower scene takes place in modern times rather than old times, and Bayonetta has a slightly different model. Her eyes are pure blue instead of blueish-gray, the Umbran Watch looks slightly different, and the chains (as well as the belt buckles on her sleeve flaps) are silver instead of gold.

Thanks to Celine & Mystie for the contribution!




Mad World [Wii – Beta / Prototype]

Celine linked us to the official Platinum Games Site / Blog, in which they have wrote some interesting posts about the development of their game: originally Jack’s character design was different and they tried various color palettes before choosing the final one.

We worked on our first proposal for two weeks, when a programmer walked by and said, “This is great! It feels fresh! I’ve never seen a game like this!” His words were enough to know that the first proposal, black & white, was what we should go with.

There were times when I thought to myself, “Ahhh… I wish I could use some grey…” I even tried it in a few tests, but it just didn’t look good. […] For instance, even though your human eyes see the two-tone as black and white because of the contrast, we actually put desaturated yellow into the game. We would also up the contrast on the far reaches of the background instead of obscuring them. We used lots of little tricks like this.

Many Bloodbath Challenges were cut from the final game, as the one with an huge slingshot:

One day, the environmental kills team were stressed out trying to think up a new Bloodbath Challenge. Well, actually, we were stressed because the challenge that we wanted to go with had been rejected by Nishikawa-san. It would have been a Bloodbath Challenge where you would have fired at enemies with a giant slingshot. It had great Wii Remote controls, and we were almost done programming it; however, unfortunately it was deemed to be too run-of-the mill, and didn’t get the kind of reaction we were shooting for with the challenges. Thus, we didn’t use it.

Also, a removed / censored kill can be seen in the video below.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!