Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How Much Is A Platinum Plated Clover Worth?

Every now and then, a developer comes along that produces games that are so much fun to play that they don't seem to be tethered to some monolithic publisher.Somewhere in the last decade we saw a developer gain life almost as an offshoot of Capcom, create some quality titles, then disband and resurrect itself in part as an in house developer with Sega. The developer I speak of is Clover Studio, which died in 2006, only to return as Platinum Games in 2007.

Clover started life simply as an in house developer who wanted more creative control, and as such they were given this control thanks mainly to the "Capcom Five". When Capcom decided to port their hit Gamecube title Viewtiful Joe to the Playstation 2, the port was handled by Clover Studio. From there, Clover was the primary developer of every successive title in the series. They also developed Okami, which earned Game of the Year honors in 2006. They were also responsible for God Hand, which proved to be their final game. None of Clover's games proved to be big sellers, however they received a great deal of critical acclaim. Many gamers assumed that this would be another promising development house that would die in this fickle video game market. This would prove to be a falsehood, as they would rise again a year later.

Capcom decided that modest sales figures and critical acclaim were not enough to keep Clover around as an autonomous developer, so they decided to reabsorb the company, but the employees decided it would be best to simply walk away. This led to Clover being shut down. A few months later, the former heads of Clover resurfaced as Platinum Games and announced a four game development deal with Sega. This deal has produced four well received titles with MadWorld, Bayonetta, Infinite Space, and Vanquish all receiving a great deal of praise as well as a strong fanbase. The success of Platinum Games' titles has caused their deal with Sega to be extended to include a fifth title, Anarchy Reigns, that will be released in early 2012.

It seems that through their short history, Clover Studio did two things: had a tumultuous history and created some exceptional video games. I contend that their track record has proven to be as good as some of the great developers of the late 80s. It proves that perseverance can lead to great success, and it creates some exceptionally fun experiences.

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