Who owns the Astral Chain IP? Nintendo, says Platinum

I’m not shy about my love for Astral Chain.

Sure it’s not going to appeal to everyone, but it’s one of my favorite action romps in recent years, and a very great effort from first-time director Takahisa Taura. I was not only excited to see more from them, but hoped for more Astral Chain in general. That may still happen! But a recent debacle has come up regarding the rights to the IP itself, and it’s a fairly interesting saga.

Unraveled by way of VGC, Platinum fans who were studiously combing through the Platinum website and its various pages and code (for obvious reasons), found an anomaly: Platinum was no longer listed in the Astral Chain copyright notice. Atsushi Inaba, head of the studio, told VGC “it’s as it looks,” when asked why Platinum was removed.

It’s odd because previously, we were led to believe that Platinum was a co-owner of Astral Chain alongside of Nintendo. Inaba says that “there are limitations on how much we feel we should talk about” when pressed, and a Platinum rep stated that they were “not in a position to answer this question.”

Nintendo seems to hold some water for Astral Chain. Oddly, it’s even one of the few games the publisher has added to their “scavenger hunt” My Nintendo program: among several other big first-party names.

So why does this all matter? Well, if Nintendo is the sole rights holder, it may never come to non-Nintendo platforms. Obviously a deal was worked out with Wonderful 101 to re-appear on other systems roughly seven years after its original release, so anything is possible. But for now, nearly two years removed from Astral Chain as a whole, ports don’t seem to be in the cards.

Also, as VGC points out, one of Platinum’s big goals of the past few years is to own its own IP and get away from the shadow of publisher influence: citing rights issues with Bayonetta and SEGA in the past. But with their dealings with Nintendo on Bayonetta 3 and Astral Chain, it’s unclear just how much power they have to make that happen consistently.

Astral Chain [Platinum via VGC]