In an internally-conducted interview at Capcom, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City producer, Masachika Kawata, discusses his experience working with Vancouver-based SOCOM developer, Slant Six Games, on the title. To begin with, Kawata says, the collaboration opened his eyes to the cultural differences between Japan and other countries.
“In Japan we tend to put work above all else, and sometime that’s regarded as a virtue,” Kawata shares. “On the other hand, for people in North America and other countries, the balance between their life and work is the most important, as they focus on the efficiency of their job. This reminded me to keep these differences in mind so that we can stay on the same page as for development.”
“What impressed me about working with Slant Six Games is how efficient they are in development,”Kawata elaborates in another part of the interview. “Japanese companies tend to be very particular about each specific aspect. However, most companies in other countries clearly establish what they need to focus on and what they can cut out during the development period. This is definitely an aspect of product management that we should adopt.”
Cultural differences naturally led to differences in suggestions regarding the game’s creative direction as well.
“For this title Slant Six Games was responsible for the character design, and I was pleasantly surprised with the character designs they gave us,” Kawata reveals. “They were unlike anything people at Capcom would normally come up with. One that really struck me was their suggestion to include a bearded, well-built middle-aged man. That’s a type of character you hardly see in Japanese games.”
Capcom visited Canada at least once a month, in addition to holding frequent video conferences, to meet with Slant Six’s graphics teams and writers. In order to lower the language barrier, Slant Six brought translators that were well-versed in videogames, who would be capable of conveying the necessary little details. Since Capcom hope to work with other developers outside Japan as well, Kawata says the Slant Six collaboration was a valuable learning experience.