One of the major developers of the past seeks to regain that title.
Long ago, when game development was centered in Japan, Capcom was one of the biggest game developers and publishers around. These days, Capcom is a struggling to find its way forward, with a rough launch for Street Fighter V, a whole new direction for Resident Evil, and Monster Hunter as one of the company's few ongoing success stories. In Capcom's annual report for this year, Consumer Games Development head Yoichi Egawa explained that the company aspires to be "the world's No. 1 game developer".
How does Capcom plan to get there? By expanding the types of games it develops.
"Going forward, as we aim to become the world's number one game developer, we feel that while it is of course necessary to advance and expand upon existing content, it is also necessary to take on new challenges," wrote Egawa in the report (page 48). "We cannot ignore genres such as shooting and strategy games with massive numbers of players when considering Consumer, Online and eSports market growth potential. We will make use of our strengths and keep a close watch on market trends while moving forward with the kind of game creation only possible at Capcom."
It's not just expanding on the types of games being created. Capcom is also actively looking for new employees with new perspectives and building out its technology solutions.
"In addition to aggressive hiring activities focused on new graduates, we constructed a second R&D building," said Egawa. "Furthermore, we have established an environment enabling development teams to take on new challenges, including the creation of one of Japan's largest motion capture and 3D scanning studios."
Capcom is trying to change and adapt to a new world of development. The company is investing 80 percent of its management resources toward digital content, with the idea that digital releases don't hit Capcom's bottom line with additional costs. The digital-only release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice in North America is a good example of the strategy.
Capcom COO Haruhiro Tsujimoto also discussed the shift from a 3-4 year development cycle to a 2.5 year one. Like Ubisoft, Capcom is utilizing a pool of 2,000 general employees that float between different projects as needed, instead of each team holding onto a huge, unchanging staff. As part of the company's aim at more growth, 20 percent of its resources will be used to develop new IP. All told, this means more games from Capcom much quicker. Players should also expect an ongoing stream of new titles, like the conspicuously absent Deep Down.
Time will tell if this shift works out for Capcom. Still no Mega Man though.