What the cel?!

Ah Okami…I don’t think any developer could bow out from the industry with such finesse and accomplishment as well as Clover Studios did when they released this on PS2 two years ago. Since then, the company may have been dissolved and reborn in the shape of Platinum Games (formerly Seeds Inc.) However, Okami’s charm lives on with the excellent re-release of the Wii version, which I have been thoroughly enjoying this week.

This level of artistry is rarely seen in many modern games

This level of artistry is rarely seen in many modern games

In that special way that they do so well, Clover perfectly captured the look and feel of playing within a hand-painted world in Okami, thanks to their mastery of all things cel-shaded. They also put this talent to good use in Viewtiful Joe and it’s equally awesome sequel, with Capcom label-mate and head of Grasshopper Studios, Suda 51serving up an equally abstract title in the form of Killer7 at roughly the same time.

Indeed it was the season of the cartooney, the colourful, the weird and the wonderful. Then, save for the release of the exemplary No More Heroes, all fell silent in cel-shaded land, apart perhaps from the Dragon Ball Z and Naruto titles, but they don’t reaaally count as they were cartoons to begin with y’see?

So how surprised was I and probably everyone else, when Platinum Games announced they were working on a slew of new titles with Sega – ‘Happy days’ I thought and sure enough, their first offering Mad World looks like the shiznit! It’s got all the ingredients Clover used in their games: Cel-shading? Check! Abstract visuals, Check! Violence, Erm…just a tad…(check the below screenshot!)

That\'s some nosebleed pal :/

That’s quite a nasty nosebleed you have there pal :/

For some odd reason though, I found it odd that this is the only reportedly cel-shaded title the team are working on, with the rest being pretty ‘normal’ looking (if you get what I mean?) They don’t use that comic-book style they perfected so well, but, on the other hand, they are yet to produce a naff game. Even the critically-dividing God Hand, was a madcap, non-cel shaded scrapper that, for me, is the closest thing a 3D game has been to replicating the 2D scrolling beat-em-up format (Mint soundtrack too! I urge you to seek it out).

So it’s really nice to have the team back producing games. After all, these are the guys who conceptualised Resident Evil and Devil May Cry – talent like that should never, ever be taken for granted…Here, I’m talking specifically to the people who take one look at the front cover of their games then put them back on the shelf because it looks ‘too different’.

But to be fair, that’s fine, because taking a gamble with that hard-earned forty quid is never easy for anyone, so it will be very interesting to see how well their more ‘realistic’ looking titles, Bayonetta and Infinite Line do, in comparison to Mad World, once they hit the streets.

Either way guys, it’s awesome to see you making games again, you have been sorely missed ๐Ÿ˜€

Check out Mad World, Bayonetta and Infinite Line here


6 responses to “What the cel?!”

  1. Nick avatar

    I think I’ll certainly be taking the gamble on Mad World and Infinite Line both of them sound gggrrrrrrrreat!

  2. Chris avatar

    I’m a big fan of that Japanese style of artwork but I’ve never seen it in a game before. Very interesting!

  3. Michael avatar

    That guy reminds me of, hmm, Hellboy maybe. Plus the screenshot looks quite stylised in a Sin City way.

    I wonder if this cel-shaded stuff is just trying to stand out from all the games that strive for realism, as the upcoming PoP seems to with the unusual style it’s going for. Oddly, though, there’s a lot of detail being put into the new Prince’s appearance.

  4. Dave avatar

    I think with the new PoP it really works. I read Edge’s feature on the game a month ago and thought all the images in the feature were concept art. I was amazed when I found out they were in-game.

    However, the trailer looks all ‘realistic’ and stuff. I hope they don’t mix clean looking CGI sequences with cel-shaded gameplay, it would be a bit odd :/

    Madworld just looks awesome though, a no-holds barred slugfest like mama used to make ๐Ÿ˜›

    And Bayonetta sounds like a natural successor to the Devil May Cry style of play. Bring it on!

  5. Alex avatar

    I’m a bit of a comic book dork (It’s always best to get these things out in the open! ;D) So cel-shaded games have always appealed to me.
    I remember back when i worked in games retail the amount of people who would pick up Killer 7, only to put it back down again because it looked (wait for it) “cartoony”. I had many an argument with a customer too cautious of cel-shading to give possibly one of the best games for the g3 they’ll ever play, a try.
    Madworld looks incredible from the stills of it. I’m absolutely adoring the artwork. Not to mention it does look like an out-and-out gorefest, which is something i absolutely love! I’m not sure on Infinate Line yet, but i’m going to keep my eye on it ๐Ÿ™‚
    I remember thinking Okami would translate really well onto the Wii, I may have to look into investing in it when i go game shopping (I have a game and an HMV literally at the end of my road, it’s so hard to resist the urge to spend all my money! D:)

  6. Dave avatar

    I was the same when I worked in games retail, I’d spend ages trying to persuade some guy to buy Killer7 or Viewtiful Joe only to have them kind of sneer and buy Need for Speed instead – good choice there matey!

    I felt like I wasting my time after a while so gave up ๐Ÿ™

    Yup, Madworld does indeed look like a cracker!

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