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Opinion: Capcom Has Elevated Trolling Fans to an Artform

Even the company's annual investor report seems designed to alienate its fanbase.

Article by Brendan Sinclair, .

Capcom deserves a lifetime achievement award for trolling fans. The company seems to excel at creating a fanbase for its series, and then going out of its way to tick them off. They took Steel Batallion--a series defined by its reliance on a crazy peripheral crammed with joysticks, switches, and foot pedals--and they turned it into a Kinect game. They built a successful zombie-themed franchise with a deliberate, nuanced appeal, and then pushed its core audiences to the wayside in the hopes that they could court the Call of Duty crowd instead. And as if it weren't enough to do that to Resident Evil, there are clear signs they're trying the same thing with Dead Rising!

I already thought the company was the Michael Jordan of Trolling after the whole Mega Man Legends 3 debacle. I mean, how do you give perhaps your most passionate yet niche fan base a title they've been requesting for years, invite them into the development process in an unprecedented pre-Kickstarter way, and then yank the rug out from under them and toss the entire passion project in a flaming dumpster? It's hardcore pandering to invite their input in the first place, and then ruthless cruelty to tell them the game they were making wasn't good enough to see the light of day. That's some fine trolling right there, like a perfectly executed WWE heel turn.

The cover of Capcom's annual report, and yet another fistful of sand thrown into the eyes of Mega Man fans.

But today I realized what separates Capcom from the rest of the pack. The people holding the reins are so dedicated to antagonizing their customers, they don't just limit their antagonism to when their fans are watching. It permeates every aspect of the company. Just look at Capcom's latest annual report, a regular update for shareholders explaining what they've been up to and where they expect to go in the coming year. This document, this comprehensive embodiment of the company's vision and financial health, proudly features Mega Man on the cover. The Blue Bomber is depicted as a photo collage of fan's faces, along with a tagline that explains why trolling seems to be at the heart of Capcom's business model: "Feeling Your Power. Powering Your Feelings."

This one line perfectly articulates why Capcom does what it does, and reveals to the world the hideous truth behind the publisher's facade. Where most companies sustain themselves on money taken in exchange for goods or services, Capcom feeds on pure fan rage. It is a spite engine stuck in a vicious cycle, a business that draws strength from anger, and then pours that strength into making you angrier.

Given its nature, the trolling isn't even intentional at this point, much in the same way we breathe, blink, and digest without having to consciously think about it. Capcom's antagonism is autonomic. You can find evidence of that on the inside front cover of the report, where Capcom explains that it created the cover "to express the image of Capcom's business supported by fans around the world," then explains that Mega Man "was the first title sold for the Super NES in 1987."

Simply masterful.

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Comments 16

  • Avatar for gigantor21 #1 gigantor21 3 years ago
    "then explains that Megaman 'was the first title sold for the Super NES in 1987.' "

    I...I just...the hell?
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  • Avatar for cscaskie #2 cscaskie 3 years ago
    I hit the "comment" button with the hopes of adding something to the sentiments expressed in this article in some sort of intelligent way. But when you break it all down, I simply still want Mega Man Legends 3. That wound is still fresh.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #3 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @gigantor21 Well, you can't say they're wrong. Selling a Super NES game in 1987 would definitely have made for a first.
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  • Avatar for docexe #4 docexe 3 years ago
    I’m usually not fond of hyperbolic articles aimed at complaining about “company X”, even when some of them can actually be very funny.

    But after that last line (What is this… I don’t even…), yeah, Capcom deserves it.
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  • Avatar for Wellman #5 Wellman 3 years ago
    Which is why the news of them developing a "new fighting" game should be taken with a grain of salt.
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  • Avatar for Wellman #6 Wellman 3 years ago
    Which is why the news of them developing a "new fighting" game should be taken with a grain of salt.
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  • Avatar for Shadowfire #7 Shadowfire 3 years ago
    That would be an awesome cover if Capcom's behavior hadn't been so abhorrent the last few years.
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  • Avatar for SargeSmash #8 SargeSmash 3 years ago
    Or maybe we can take it as a sign that there's a new Mega Man coming?

    (Or that they'll announce it and cancel. Oh, you masterful trolls, you.)
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  • Avatar for danger.to.others #9 danger.to.others 3 years ago
    I never understood why so many game sites compared Resident Evil as going after the Call Of Duty crowd.
    The more obvious aim was the Gears Of War crowd.

    I don't know, I liked Resident Evil 6. And Capcom produced Remember Me, another game I absolutely love.
    I'm not a casual gamer, been gaming since the launch of the Atari 2600 and I thought Capcom was in top form this last year.
    Apparently, I'm a minority. But they got my money. Happily.Edited October 2013 by danger.to.others
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  • Avatar for Galbana #10 Galbana 3 years ago
    They still have absolutely nothing on the way Atlus (or NIS America, which now acts as their EU publishing arm) communicates with it's European fanbase tough (or completely refuse to, mostly). They still refuse to even aknowledge a European localization of Shin Megami Tensei IV is being planned, despite it having a trailer presented by NoE on a Nintendo Direct SIX MONTHS ago... I think there is absolutely no defending that.

    Then there is Sega and PSO2... Yeah, I don't even need to eleborate on that. I'm beginning to think those two companies fit each other like a glove, PR wise.

    What I'm trying to say is: Capcom sure is hella klunky when it comes to the communication side of their company, but they sure aren't the only one!
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  • Avatar for Godots17thCup #11 Godots17thCup 3 years ago
    That current-day Capcom managed to create and then localize Ace Attorney 5, and that it's apparently very good (hard for me to verify that just yet, being only one case in and all), feels like something of a miracle at this point.
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  • Avatar for retr0gamer #12 retr0gamer 3 years ago
    @Galbana I don't know why European gamers get worked up about Atlus? Why would they bother communicating with European fans when they have no publishing arm in Europe and therefore can't publish their games there. Why bother advertising in a place that you won't be selling games in, it makes no sense. Blame the publishers in Europe that aren't bringing Atlus games to Europe and start importing like I do.

    I'm pretty sure Nintendo, not Atlus is bringing SMTIV to Europe so blame them.
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  • Avatar for Galbana #13 Galbana 3 years ago
    @retr0gamer Yeah, I'm sorry I came across a bit too 'ranty' over there, but I was just trying to point out Capcom isn't the only company which maintains a troubling relationship with fans in general over the last couple of years.

    You could argue in the same manner this Capcom book wasn't meant for fans but for shareholders. No company will ever on purpose 'troll' their fans like this, but sloppy communication will anger fans, even if they don't want or deserve it, or if the companies don't feel responsible for it.

    PS: I disagree about Atlus/NoE/SMT IV, but that's not a discussion for 'US'Gamer :).
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  • Avatar for docexe #14 docexe 3 years ago
    @Galbana Poor communication with the fans is certainly part of the issues that plague the company. But honestly, the problem I have with that book and that ridiculous line as introduction is not that it’s meant to mock the fans or something like that (an idea that I also find absurd).

    The problem I have is that it conveys the idea that the people in charge of the company simply don’t care about the legacy and properties that Capcom has fostered along the years. Something that just gets reinforced by all the poor decisions they have taken with many of their franchises in the past few years.

    And really, if they can bother to at the very least check that the facts about one of their signature characters are right in a document they are preparing for the shareholders (a document that you would believe would be of the utmost importance)… well, then what can be expected from them?
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  • Avatar for pixelatedsoul #15 pixelatedsoul 3 years ago
    "Feeling Your Power. Powering Your Feelings."

    Why did I read that line Darth Vader's voice?
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  • Avatar for Daikaiju #16 Daikaiju 3 years ago
    I swear the entire upper management needs a swat upside their heads. WITH A MEGA BUSTER.
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