April means two things at PlatinumGames: Cherry blossoms and fresh graduates! Eight eager new recruits have joined our company in 2017. Starting a new career is always tough, but we hope you’ll join us in extending them a warm welcome.

Now, on to the cherry blossoms! Japan’s favorite spring pastime is hanami – eating, drinking and socializing while enjoying these famous flowers. Each year, nearly 200 Platinum employees and partners take a lovely afternoon off from work and head to nearby Osaka Castle Park.

PG President and CEO Kenichi Sato gives the opening toast.


Osaka Castle itself looms over the trees.

Osaka Castle Park is a very popular hanami spot in PG’s hometown, and it can get very crowded. Luckily, we had our spot staked out in the park’s Nishinomaru Garden area. Nishinomaru Garden is beautiful all year round, but especially when spring finds its 300 cherry trees in bloom.

Our picnic fell on the first truly hot day of the year here in Osaka, but we came prepared to beat the heat:

Yes, that’s a kiddie pool full of beers. Remember to drink responsibly!

Hanami is a special chance for PG employees to relax and share some of their passions outside of game development. Character modeler and resident sake aficionado Minoru Kasai (below, right) always brings along a generous selection of his favorites.

Stripes are in this year.

Visual effects artist Norikazu Kudo (below, left) also shared a tasting selection of traditional plum wines.




In all the festivities, it’s easy to forget that it’s the middle of the afternoon on a weekday.

Hanami also offers our newest employees one of their first opportunities to get to know the company in a casual atmosphere. They dutifully make the rounds, introducing themselves and answering all sorts of questions about where they’re from and what they hope to achieve at PlatinumGames. Who knew partying could be such hard work?

It’s their hard work that makes the party happen. New first- and second-year PG employees are the ones behind the scenes at each year’s hanami, from the earliest planning stages to the afterparty; from setting up the picnic site to packing up the tarps and leftovers. Hanami is one of PlatinumGames’ favorite annual traditions, and it’s all thanks to their effort.

You can’t see it in these photos, but there are actually 180 flattened cardboard boxes under the blue tarp, giving everyone a comfortable surface to sit on. That’s a lot of cardboard to carry around!

All things must come to an end. The blossoms will fall from the trees before long, and after all, we’ve got to get back to making games! But as we leave the park, we take with us memories of another hanami to cherish until next spring.