‘Devil May Cry’ and ‘Bayonetta’ creator Hideki Kamiya says game preservation efforts aren’t good enough

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Veteran creator Hideki Kamiya has spoken out about problems surrounding game preservation, warning that the video games industry faces problems if companies don’t begin to do a better job of maintaining older titles for future generations.

Unlike music or film, video games are often format locked – that is, playable only on the hardware they were originally released on. While next-gen ports or remasters aren’t uncommon, many titles still get lost to the ages as hardware and businesses move on. This scarcity not only makes it harder for newer players to dive into gaming’s history, but also leads to massively inflated prices on the secondary market.

The recent trend of record-setting auctions for vintage video games is a big part of the  preservation problem, according to Kamiya. While some speculate that there may be a degree of market rigging going on, the high cost of classic games is partly down to titles not being available elsewhere.

“As a collector myself, I understand the lure of wanting to have that game in the sealed package,” Kamiya told VCG, “[…] but as a fan, it’s a problem if somebody wants to play a game but they can’t get it because it’s being traded in these ridiculous marketplaces.”

Kamiya added that “the responsibility for keeping those games available belongs to the company that owns the IP”, saying that a lack of availability on newer platforms is “like a threat” and is “holding game culture back”.

He also called on rights owners to actively make “moves to preserve game culture”, and increase the availability of classic games for anyone who wants to play them.

Kamiya came to prominence as director of 1998’s Resident Evil 2 at Capcom, going on to create the likes of Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, and Ōkami for the Japanese publisher. He would ultimately help found PlatinumGames in 2006, where he directed Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101.

Many of these games have been ported, re-released, or remastered over the years, keeping them available to new players. PlatinumGames last week said it wanted to bring Wii U exclusive Star Fox Zero to the Nintendo Switch – another win for game preservation if it happens.

Elsewhere, Sony will finally unlock support for expanding the PS5’s internal storage with the next system update.

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