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Capcom seriously cranks up game output. Good idea, or Activision-style nightmare?

Reports from Japan indicate that Capcom has decided to crank up game production to put out three to four big franchise titles a year, in order to combat its falling sales from last year. Now I love Capcom. I love Capcom in a big way. I have ever since I first started gaming back in the late '80s. But while that meant that my immediate reaction was 'Woo, more Capcom games', a little more thought set off a few alarm bells.

Capcom's current plan is to double its yearly number of big franchise entries, and in order to bring down development times it's going to outsource more work to external western developers. I'm excited and hesitant about that in equal measure, and if you'll read on, I'll break down the full list of pros and cons causing that ambivalence.

The pros

  • More big Capcom games. This one is obvious. Capcom has some of the strongest and best brands in the history of gaming, and has been one of the most consistent Japanese developers over the last twenty-five years. Street Fighter, Mega Man, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, Bionic Commando, Darkstalkers, Marvel vs. Capcom, Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, Phoenix Wright, Final Fight, Okami, Viewtiful Joe... All of those titles immediately evoke thoughts of very good times indeed. And every time one of them is attached to a new game, it's a reason to get excited.


Above: Admit it. You love each and every one of them

  • Capcom could do with new blood. With the loss of several of the staff responsible for Capcom's most celebrated work to indie super-group Platinum Games (the men responsible for Resident Evil 1 - 4, Devil May Cry, Okami, God Hand, Viewtiful Joe, Killer7 and Phoenix Wright are all over there now), Capcom would really benefit from an influx of talented, forward-thinking new developers to keep its keystone franchises fresh and exciting. Let's not forget how Resident Evil 5 was very much a retread of Resi 4 without Shinji Mikami's guiding hand. Ditto Devil May Cry 4's lack of progression following Director Hideki Kamiya's departure to make the similar but massively advanced Bayonetta at Platinum.

    New devs with new ideas, and a mission to evolve Capcom's properties could be an exciting thing indeed. Let's face it, Nintendo and Rare worked out pretty well.
  • More franchise entries could mean more experimentation. Let's face it, however good a game is, if it's going to become a worthwhile lasting brand, it needs to evolve and come at its core material from new angles with each sequel. Capcom has shown the bravery to completely turn franchises on their head before when freshening up has been needed. There was a little series called Resident Evil that was getting a bit stale until Capcom totally shook it up and inadvertently changed action games forever. Devil May Cry too, originally came from an idea for a Resi spin-off.

    With more franchise entries comes an ever-increasing need for innovation, and if Capcom can apply that pioneering spirit to its franchises with new talent from outside the company, it could have a very exciting opportunity here.

The cons

  • Franchise-whoring. We see this sort of approach from western publishers all the time, and all too often, it results in a whole lot of crap and the cheapening of once-great series. We already get a Call of Duty every year, and now Activision has set up a new studio to make even more. Guitar Hero used to be great, but now there are more versions of it than there are songs in the world. A concentration on big franchises means safer bets on store shelves, but taken too far it can absolutely crush creativity, along with the spirits of gamers.


Above: Homecoming wasn't bad, but it was no Silent Hill 2

  • Capcom could become diluted. While I'm all for cross-pollination of ideas and healthy collaborations between different groups of talent, I'm also a great believer that Japanese game design can still be the coolest in the world. And if you read Radar regularly, you'll know that I'm a bit uneasy with Japan's current obsession with westernising its output in order to chase sales. The eastern voice is an important one, and I don't want it to get lost through design homogenisation and throwaway farmed-out sequels. Capcom needs to be careful about how closely it runs external studio work. Silent Hill. Heed its tragic example.
  • Capcom's east-west co-productions so far have not been great. Okay, so there have only been a couple, but we do not need a Capcom with an increased quota of games like Bionic Commando and Dark Void. Neither game was awful (in fact I really quite enjoyed DV in a guilty b-movie kind of way), but neither was up to the standard of spectacle or polish that's always been synonymous with the big C. Again, Capcom is going to have to be very careful with the studios it chooses to work with.

But what do you think, fellow Capcom fans? Is the idea of more big franchise games from Capcom just downright exciting? Or are you a little hestitant to celebrate until you see how they're going to be handled? Let me know in the comments, or via our social portals on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics

Capcom

20 comments

  • Mexiflan - July 29, 2010 7:15 p.m.

    I'm a complete capcom whore,but i admit they've had their slips. Like the entire battle network series. What the fuck was that?
  • adamasunder - July 29, 2010 11:35 a.m.

    All the best Capcom games are made by Platinum now. Apart from SSF4. SSF4 is king dingaling.
  • philipshaw - July 29, 2010 10:29 a.m.

    I think the right words to say how I feel about this is that I'm catuiosly optimistic
  • Cyberninja - July 28, 2010 8:56 p.m.

    as long as they kill off megama starforce they should be fine
  • Harmonator - July 28, 2010 8:33 p.m.

    @Afistrife, I was JUST about to mention I hope they bring back Breath of Fire ^_^ That was an underdog in the RPG world, becoming all but forgotten after the SNES (well, GBA remakes... *cough*). I would not complain for a Breath of Fire 6. I just hope it isn't as confusing as the first game... I never used a walkthrough to any game more than that one >_>
  • crumbdunky - July 28, 2010 8:26 p.m.

    Big fat "MEH". Who cares? Seriously, they only really managed to hit top form this generation wiyth their SF games. apart from that what has been outstanding? RE5 was way worse than RE4, DMC4 wasn't fit to lace DMC3's drinks and of the new franchises the best was a patchy forst Dead Rising so far! Even that divided gamers and was only a real success in terms of numbers on screen. And this is just talking about the HD console/PC output! On the Wii they made Zack and Wiki as their best new game and failed to support it, made CTYD which is the worst, shoddiest semi port I've EVER seen and their top output has been two old games refitted for motion in Okami and RE4! What is there to be excited about? All this means is more Wii style REmakes-seriously, why bother without adding motiin to a Wii game?) and bloody diminishing return rail shooters that NO ONE ever wanted or played more than once-and more ill thought out crap spoilt by the LP2/RE5 need to shoehorn in co-op where it wasn't needed. Add in toss like DV and the picture's clear to me-if it's not a fighting game then it's most likely not going to be anywhere near last gens standards let alone their full hey day. OK, I forgot the MH games but even there it was on the wrong(MH3)platform! How many Wii owners did they expect to pick it up and get into it when even now fewer than 40% of them are on line? This generation Capcom, the last of the big Jap companies to ever listen to us fans(and I AM a massive fan but just not blind to my fave devs pumping out crap OR the same bloody game time and again-take your millionth sodding bow Mega Man)stopped dong so and also started breaking every promise they make-take the UC promise that if we bought it Wii owners would get another PROPER RE game and instead we got excuses about the core audience moving on and another round of REmakes and another Rail shooter! Sadly, it seems that rather than bucking up their ideas and making me a real Dino Crisis to follow on from the ancient number two(we don't count DC3 round here do we? I certainly wouldn't admit it existed if I didn't have to)all we are going to get are more and more Capcom Vs/SF engine games til the cows come effin home and for those of us who prefer SF2THDR to the flash of SF4 even that isn't GREAT news. Seriously, what have we got coming already in that respect? Marvel3 and the never ending add ons via SSF4 plus the Tekken X game? Already loo,king milky to me as why do you need any of them apart from SF4 anyway? I just worry, now, that more games will just mean that-more games and at ever lowering quality standards as I doubt they'll be hiring THAT many new workers and not of the high quality needed to replace the talent lost to Platinum etc-they're big boots that, imho, they haven't ever begun to fill and accelerating dev beyond what it already is just seems like settling for being average rather than reaching for past levels of glory. This is TERRIBLE news. I hope I'm wrong but this generation I'm yet to feel thast even ONE story driven Capcom game has been up to last gens standards and when they have a devcent MT frameworks engine it seems that it's , sadder than ever, the design and imagination that's lacking. I doubt I've ever seen co-op have such a bad effect on the SP hgame thasn we saw with LP2 and RE5. RE isn't suited to ANY kind of co-op(don't start me on that Vs mode!)and LP has a great premise for SP that needn't have been offed purel;y for co-op. Other devs manage to implement both MP/Co-op and SP without killing either so why can't Capcom make decent choices? And now we learn there's to be MORE games when they can't even get the ones the make currently anything like right? hopeless, totally hopeless. I pray I'm wrong as that blue and yellow lettering USED to be a comforting sign that my console was digesting a great game for me but nowadays it fill me with dread and a little sinking feeling that my fave developer/publisher has entirely lost their way. Also, I realise some feel Capcom have been good this generation-now I don't understand why you might think this but I imagine they're forgetting just how good they should and used to be. DMC4 is the game which demonstrates it best to me. They ran out of ANY ideas half way through so just rehashed it wholesale! Never would have in the past(even if bosses have a history of returning in their games!)and never to that extent and while that doesn't change I challenge anyone to justify their opinion that Capcom are still are real force in terms of gaming quality. PLEASE come back to us Cappers! I really hope I'm wrong but every chance I give them I end up regretting it-I'd NEVER traded a RE game in my life til RE5 for instance but after playing through the co-op and the SP and finding both pointless(co-op can NEVER feel like survival horror as it just gets funny with a mate and the SP was killed by becoming a "babysit Sheva" sim)I couldn't get rid quick enough-from their top series!
  • Afistrife - July 28, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    Breath of Fire :o?
  • CH3BURASHKA - July 28, 2010 6:50 p.m.

    I, too, am a bit concerned about Capcom's intent. Via metaphorical CPR they revived the fighting game genre, but it seems they're gonna keep CPRing until they blow its lungs out. So far, it's only been SF4, SSF4 MvC3, TvC and the two new Cross Tekken games, but that's still a lot of fightin' after such a big break. The company seems excited about the newfound interest, but they're are almost too excited, which could lead to the 'dilution' issue.
  • FNG - July 28, 2010 6:34 p.m.

    Eastern games annoy me, I hate there art direction.
  • Clovin64 - July 28, 2010 6:32 p.m.

    I was initially happy about the announcement that we would be getting more Capcom games (give us DMC5 already!), but now I'm worried. Capcom have created some of my faveourite franchises, but now you're telling me theres a possibilty that they could become stale and overused? I would have doubted this before, but then you mentioned Silent Hill, and then it really hit home. SH is a tragic example of franchise whoring and now I'm terrified that Resi and DMC will fall down the same route as my once beloved 'Hill. I've got cold shivers now.
  • Thorton - July 28, 2010 5:15 p.m.

    I love Capcom games, but I hate the way they've been doing DLC recently, alternate costumes for SF, Versus for RE, or Protoman for MM. Those were rip offs in my book and it seems like they should have just been in the game in the first place.
  • EvilInkarnate - July 28, 2010 5:10 p.m.

    Capcom isn't exactly a company that gives me a game boner when mentioned. I enjoy 2D Mega Man and Bionic Commando but passed on RE 5. I bought SF 4 and then less then a year later SSF 4?? No thanks. Dark Void and Bionic Commando (non-2D) just looked like rubbish to me. I'll wait for Marvel VS Capcom 3 to give a hoot about Capcom.
  • adamasunder - July 28, 2010 3:21 p.m.

    How about finally doing a next gen Strider? I don't care whether it's XBLA and 2d or a full release and 3d, just keep it inhouse. Or a Powerstone, incorporating two modes. One for the purists that like the first like me and a mode for silly party action that the sequel became. There you go Capcom. Two big 'uns straight out of the box.
  • SumthingStupid - July 28, 2010 3:20 p.m.

    i don't mind having more games, just as long as they are good as long as they don't just focus with one game and try to make new things
  • Patius - July 28, 2010 2:45 p.m.

    Let me clarify, they started doing it in the mid 90's.
  • Patius - July 28, 2010 2:44 p.m.

    If it means they can make Mega Man Legends 3, Megaman ZX 3, and Resident Evil 6 featuring Zombies and actual scares, and all 3 of thsoe games are not only good, but great, I'm sold. Also, I'd like to highlight something. Capcom doesn't always do great work. Back in the mid 00's, they whored out series. Do I really need to mention Mega Man 7 and 8, Mega Man X 5-8 , and a few other capcom games? Because they were junk.
  • Denrok - July 28, 2010 2:39 p.m.

    There's a bit of a trend nowadays among developers to take fecking forever to come out with a single game. As long as the quality will stay mostly or completely intact then I think this will be very good. Maybe we'll finally see god damn Devil May Cry 5 already.
  • CaptCOMMANDO - July 28, 2010 2:18 p.m.

    I love me some capcom. Franchise whoring, and half assed games are not good.
  • JohnnyMaverik - July 28, 2010 2:15 p.m.

    Eh... with the risk of committing GR blasphemy and getting myself lynched, Capcom already put out their fair share of crap. So I hope this means more developers and more projects, not the same amount of developers being asked to pump out games 25% faster.
  • sbghost64 - July 28, 2010 2:07 p.m.

    hmm... nothin wrong with more capcom imo although franchise whoring scares me first! (had to say it)

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