In a rather shocking and yet disappointing move, Capcom has announced they are restructuring their entire focus on gaming. First off, they are revising sales expectations downward for their current lot of big titles. The reasoning for this, in their opinion, is “excessive outsourcing”. Capcom now expects Resident Evil 6 to shift sales to just under 5 million, as opposed to their original hopes of over 7 million. Devil May Cry is now expected to sell a 1.25 million copies, not the original 2+ million that they had hoped for. Capcom also pointed out, in their words, “delayed response to the expanding digital contents market and insufficient coordination between the marketing and game development divisions in overseas markets” as justifying reasons for its lackluster sales. The publisher now plans to more heavily focus on promoting its DLC strategies and concentrate more on internal projects. Capcom has warned that because of this restructuring, it has “strictly re-evaluated” some current games in production. Capcom recently announced a two month delay for Lost Planet 3, which is its last known outsourced project to a 3rd party company.
Now there was plenty of more facts and figures that Capcom issued in terms of their net income loss for the year, but honestly, who cares. None of them are paying our bills. What we do care about is the quality of games being created and how all of this affects “you”, the gamer. From the start, I must point out that the only good thing that can come of this will be Capcom returning to their original “Far East” roots of game making. I feel if you’ve been playing games as long as I have, then you’ve experienced the degeneration of quality from the old days of Capcom. Blockbuster titles like the original and remakes of the Resident Evil series (0-5), as well as Bionic Commando, 1943, Street Fighter series, Marvel vs. Capcom, Duck Tales and so on, are far gone. Whether Capcom is just blaming western developers for their unsatisfactory sales to deter from their own shortcomings, or they truly feel they have lost their ways has yet to be seen. My personal take is to the point and very blunt, so brace yourselves.
Yes, indeed since Capcom has shifted to relying on western companies and ideas, the games have gotten significantly weaker and unpolished. You look at Lost Planet 2, or Operation Raccoon City for clear indications of games they published or created that were made to die on release. And then you have Resident Evil 6, which was possibly the biggest disappointment for 2012 in my eyes. For everything the game did right, it did fifty things horribly wrong. Coming from a fan of the series since its inception, I can confidently judge the scope of foul taste it left in most people’s mouths. Rather than discuss what was wrong with these games or many other titles that I have not mentioned, I’d rather focus on Capcom’s statements today.
If Capcom wants to just focus on creating games that must have DLC, then fine do that. It is 2013 and digital is the future despite the horrible cringe I feel just saying that. However, the question is, does the game need the DLC to become a more “complete” game? Another question is, if Capcom does not improve on making games or continues to publish lackluster titles, is it even worth making DLC for the game? Titles like ORC and Resident Evil 6 clearly shouldn’t have received DLC in the first place because the games themselves left little to be desired in my opinion.
In closing, my message is simple and clear. Capcom, if you are going to indeed shift the focus back to Japan and the traditional old-school methods of making games, the way you guys used to them, that would be phenomenal. In 2013, if I could buy a Capcom game that contained the same level of quality as the Resident Evil GameCube remake of 2002, then I will personally be sending holiday fruit baskets to Capcom headquarters. Secondly, if you must make DLC, make sure that the primary focus is placed on the game itself first and foremost. If the consumer is spending $60, they want the full experience they expect to receive just as we would have 10 years ago, when there was no such thing as DLC. I know for many, we have all gotten spoiled and forgot what life was like just seven years ago before digital content. Make a game that is “complete’ from start to finish with all the bells and whistles that you guys were known for in the days of old. Then, make DLC that is equally as satisfying and creates an attractive incentive for us to plunk down another $10 or $15. Please Capcom, once again become the company I fell in love with 17 years ago, when I first powered up Resident Evil on my PlayStation. The times should move the company, yes, but in a positive way, not a downward spiral of quality and greed. You guys have a second chance to win gamers back with this move, please look to your own company’s past for the secrets on how to succeed once again.