Similar to Nintendo’s “Iwata Asks” column, Capcom, too, periodically conduct inhouse interviews with their development staff. Unlike Iwata Asks, the Capcom Developer Interviews are conducted on an annual basis with the company’s lead developers on a variety of subjects, ranging from games to corporate topics.
The first in line for 2010’s round of interviews is Jun Takeuchi, producer of Resident Evil 5, and supervisor of Capcom’s corporate structure, who talks at length about plans to overhaul the company’s corporate structure going forward.
A Mix of Talent:
As game development evolves and expands, Takeuchi believes the need for “versatile developers” is becoming more prominent. The way Capcom is currently structured, he reveals, makes it so that developers have a specific area of expertise and stick by it instead of trying different things.
Background artists only work on backgrounds, while character artists do characters, for example. Takeuchi would like to change this by nurturing developers of multiple talents so that each one can keep abreast of the overall development process.
Understanding the Bigger Picture:
The new structure will place a “director” in the role of a manager, according to Takeuchi. Directors will be in charge of specific areas of development — such as art or programming — and teams will be built around them. The directors will be tasked with facilitating communication between the teams.
This change, Takeuchi hopes, will allow the directors, who have a firm understanding of corporate management, to share this knowledge with their teams. The goal is for developers across the company — no matter their area of expertise — to understand the business aspect of development, including release dates, budgets and so on.
An internal Intranet is being maintained to facilitate sharing of knowledge as well as to track the skills of Capcom’s development staff, so weaknesses and strengths can be identified and development talent distributed accordingly.
A point of interest: Contrary to Square Enix president, Yoichi Wada’s outlook on the subject, Capcom see a need to develop more human resources that are capable of speaking English in the future. Wada-san, on the other hand, has stated that he would rather see his development staff learn programming languages instead.
The Game Market of the Future:
Toward the end of the interview, Takeuchi conveys his prediction for the games market in a few years from now, and emphasizes the importance of appealing to both a core and mainstream audience. “I think the demand will be characterized by trends that are polar opposites,” he says.
He continues: “One of these trends will be games that specifically target a small number of “hardcore gamers.” The other trend will be popular, big name titles, such as Resident Evil, that target a mass audience and focus on delivering a sense of entertainment. Either way, the important thing for us is to carefully cultivate the elements for both types of games in order to put out titles that people can enjoy playing for a long time.”