Capcom is Shockingly Bad at Knowing What its Fans Want

Let’s be honest, every company out there gets accused of ignoring fans at some point. Every post relating to Square-Enix has a host of people shouting for a Final Fantasy VII remake, with many of them baffled why Square wouldn’t go to the enormous expense to bring that dream to reality. Whether it’s EA, Activision, Bioware, or Blizzard, gamers think they know better than companies. Sometimes they do, but most of the time, gamers don’t have any idea what they’re doing. It’s easy to know what you want, but it’s much harder to know the exact process and expense involved to get that dream made. This is how I normally view fan attacks on what developers are doing. Sometimes, however, I just can’t help but join the throng because of some pretty baffling decisions. This is what leads us to Capcom. There isn’t one major thing that has led to this post. The fact that they are abandoning the Darkstalkers series sparked it, but Capcom has been making some pretty bad decisions for awhile now, and I think it’s time to comment.

There’s a metaphor in here somewhere…
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I often find Capcom’s business model to be quite admirable usually. They are one of the only major video game developers out there who regularly makes new IPs. Ubisoft has made the disgusting announcement that they won’t make games that can’t be made into a series, thus making me wonder exactly how generic the Division, and Watch Dogs will be. Square-Enix is too afraid to push anything but Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest out of their main teams, and EA… well, EA’s just being EA. I like the fact that Capcom is alright with making new games like Dead Rising, Dragon’s Dogma, and Okami. It wouldn’t be hard to pump out nothing but Resident Evil, Mega Man, and Street Fighter, to put them on a yearly release schedule and make them about as revolutionary as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed.

Amaterasu has no respect for Ubisoft and its franchise whoring ways.
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Darkstalkers Resurrection was an experiment by Capcom to see if there was still interest in the property. It didn’t sell nearly as well as they wanted and Capcom has now announced that the Darkstalkers series is officially dead for the foreseeable future. At first blush, this seems like a good business move, testing the waters and all, but in reality, it was a waste of money and opportunity. It’s hard to gauge interest in a series when you release a dated port of its older game. Darkstalkers doesn’t have the legendary reputation of games such as Earthbound or Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Because of this, few people were going to seek it out, and the majority of the gaming world has no idea what Darkstalkers is. Capcom could get away with enhancing a port with Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix, because anything with the word Street Fighter in it would sell like crazy. They spent too much money on Resurrection as a marketing tool and not enough to make it a game that could stand on its own. It was a short-sighted idea, one that has left a whole cadre of fans mourning over the loss of their favourite series.

That’s right, Capcom. There’s no market for this game, especially in the middle of the fighter renaissance.
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Capcom has gotten a lot of flak over their abandonment of the Mega Man property, and they deserve every inch of it. Mega Man Legends 3 was hotly anticipated by the video game community, but it was clear that Capcom never had any faith in the project, or its fans. It started when they de-confirmed the game and instead promised a large demo that they would use to gauge interest (Sound familiar?). Fans weren’t thrilled by this, but it wasn’t like that demo wasn’t going to sell like crazy. Mega Man has a huge fanbase after all. However, Capcom soon relented on that and shelved the entire project along with every other Mega Man game in development. Somehow, they believed that Mega Man, one of their flagship series, no longer had fans willing to support it. This madness has led to constant petitions and even a fan project to finally conclude the Mega Man Legends Saga.

Release the game we promised you that you all want? Hahaha…no.
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DMC is a game I reviewed quite highly. I thought it was a fresh take on the Devil May Cry formula and had an addicting battle system. I am in the minority in this opinion though, and it was easy to tell that this level of hate was going to be barrelling down on Capcom for outsourcing the series to Ninja Theory. Rebooting a series is always a dangerous affair. Fans are usually very attached, and the Devil May Cry series had yet to be accused of being over, despite the obvious lack of effort Capcom put into Devil May Cry 4. DMC, as much as I enjoyed it, seemed to go out of its way to antagonize fans of the old series. Capcom didn’t make it, so I can’t blame them entirely for this, but they did outsource it. What happened after they let go of control is still partially their fault.

How did anyone think this was a good idea?
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Resident Evil is another flagship series for Capcom. After hitting it big with Resident Evil 4 and a series of abysmal yet strangely popular movies, Resident Evil has become quite the cash cow. Unfortunately, nobody in Capcom has any idea what to do with that success. It’s admirable that they didn’t simply copy Resident Evil 4 when creating the sixth game, but the fact of the matter is that Resident Evil 6 was a complete mess. Fans of the old series wanted survival horror, while fans of Resident Evil 4 wanted more Resident Evil 4. Capcom chose to ignore both in hopes of catering to the Call of Duty crowd (Their words, not mine). They managed to alienate both of their warring fanbases with a single stroke without obtaining a new one. It’s almost genius in a perverted kind of way.

No, Capcom. Put him down!
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Street Fighter is undoubtably one of Capcom’s biggest series despite the fact that there are only four instalments in the series. For reasons that are beyond me, Capcom seems content to milk the Street Fighter franchise for all it’s worth. This isn’t new. Super Street Fighter 2 and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo existed long before we got Super Street Fighter 4, and Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition. The only problem is that it doesn’t make sense to do this anymore. With an online infrastructure, you should be able to patch balance changes and add new features/characters without a massive and expensive release. Fans want more Street Fighter to be sure, but they still don’t want to be abused by Capcom to get it. I remember when I bought Super Street Fighter 4 based on Capcom’s advertising material. I was promised new costumes and an add on too big for DLC. What I got was the opportunity to purchase more costumes and a tiny add on that easily could have been a very small DLC download.

I pretty much spent $40, twice, on buying a new character. I love you Juri, but that’s too much.
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Everything Capcom does, like all smart companies, is in the pursuit of greater profit. I don’t judge them for this, in fact, I encourage it. However, sometimes what they do is absolute madness. Darkstalkers Resurrection was a terrible litmus test. Killing the Mega Man franchise randomly is insanity, and the excuse that the games weren’t up to the right quality never rang true, as if Capcom hadn’t released dozens of awful Mega Man games in the past. DMC was a slap in the face, even if it was enjoyable (Sorry, Ninja Theory. I’d buy a sequel). Resident Evil 6’s direction was predictably hated by the already divisive fanbase, giving them something to come together on; and Street Fighter 4 is showing its age and constant expensive updates aren’t doing it any favours. At this point, I wonder if Capcom is paying attention at all, or if they’re content to hole up in their Nintendo-esque bubble. Maybe one day they’ll pay attention to what their fans are saying, but right now they are shockingly bad at knowing what their own fans want in a game.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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