By Ishaan . February 12, 2013 . 4:30pm
Capcom have been keen on joint development with western developers in recent years. Sometimes, this works out and results in good games like Dead Rising 2, Bionic Commando Rearmed and DmC Devil May Cry. Other times, it doesn’t go quite as well, and you get Bionic Commando (on consoles) or Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.
In a post on the Capcom forums, Capcom’s Senior VP, Christian Svensson, explains what drives these decisions.
“Both [DmC Devil May Cry and Lost Planet 3], and some of the prior (like Bionic Commando) were driven by [Keiji] Inafune… now departed,” Svensson shared with forum users, in reply to a query regarding western collaborations and catering to a western market. (Note: Inafune publicly parted ways with Capcom in 2010.)
Svensson continues: “You’d have to ask him but as I recall, the logic was something along the lines of ‘doing the same thing is going to get us the same results (if we’re lucky). Let’s try something from a different perspective.’ In some cases, a Western one.”
One early example Svensson gives is an experiment Capcom tried with the Sengoku Basara series before he personally joined the company. In 2005, Capcom released the first Sengoku Basara game in the west under the title Devil Kings. In addition to the title being made western-friendly, adjustments were made to the game itself, in order to tone down the trappings of the Japanese histories in the game. How did that work out?
Devil Kings went on to sell 30,000 copies in North America, Svensson reveals, providing some rare insight into the sales of the niche Japan-centric game.
Later, Capcom decided to give the series another shot in the west, this time retaining the Sengoku Basara name and keeping the Japanese flair intact. Unfortunately, that didn’t work either.
Svensson shares: “We tried it again with the PS3/Wii Sengoku Basara… Media wasn’t thrilled, preorders were weak, word of mouth was weak which in turn drives the forecasts and resultant marketing budgets (for more details read this) and it sold about the same at aggressive price points.”
He continues: “In short, it’s unfortunate but sometimes there isn’t enough of an audience interested in the title to justify the costs (both actual and opportunity) of bringing a title to the West. Sometimes games aimed at a certain market are only viable in that particular market. There are games we’ve developed in the West that we haven’t brought to Japan for the same reasons.”
That having been said, Svensson says, Capcom don’t change certain series for western tastes, even though they are bringing them to western shores. Ace Attorney and Monster Hunter are two examples of these.