With Capcom announcing a new focus on mobile development, one Game Rant writer looks at whether the emphasis on spin-offs and remakes is leading the company to stagnation.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Capcom is a part of video game royalty. The company has been home to a number of the greatest gaming franchises of all time, bringing revolutionary titles to a wide variety of genres, from fighting games all the way through to survival horror. The publisher has solidified its place in the market through decades’ worth of quality, earning itself a place in the history of gaming.
However, over recent years, fans have grown a little disheartened with Capcom’s general output. Some have criticized the company for resting on its laurels, and it’s easy to see where that observation comes from. After all, Capcom seems to have kept a large focus on remastered versions of old games, rather than fully embracing the new hardware at its disposal.
One look at Capcom’s projects in-progress also backs up these claims. The company has just unveiled plans to enter into the mobile market with gusto, but rather than focusing on brand new intellectual properties, instead some of the first mobile titles of this new strategy will be based on beloved franchises such as Mega Man and Monster Hunter. Meanwhile, fans after a brand new and full Mega Man release are still left wanting – and have been so for years now.
Away from mobile development, Capcom is also not necessarily sticking to new guns. The company revealed that Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6 would be making their way to both PS4 and Xbox One, receiving a release for the most recent console generation. Capcom is looking even further to its past, too, with a full remake of Resident Evil 2 currently in the works.
For fans of these classic titles, remastered and re-released games will no doubt prove hugely worthwhile. However, looking into Capcom’s original games of late, a lot has been found wanting, with a lacklustre critical response to some of the company’s most recent blockbusters. In short, some of Capcom’s output has been disappointing for fans who expect the level of quality that it has historically been able to provide.
Nowhere has this been more apparent than with the release of Street Fighter 5. By all standards, the most recent Street Fighter title should have been a must-have for gamers this year. After all, it was a return to one of the most important fighting franchises in the world, off the back of the well-respected Street Fighter 4.
However, the game has proved to be extremely disappointing for fans of the franchise. Street Fighter 5 released to some severe launch-day server issues, with many gamers unable to connect to the title’s vital multiplayer. Given that similar issues arose in both beta tests for the game, many felt that perhaps Capcom could have done more to stop this problem from raising its head once more.
Even when the dust had settled, however, Street Fighter 5 drew plenty of well-aimed criticism for the content on show. The title’s story mode proved to be extremely short, with even Capcom itself admitting that it could be beaten easily within 1-2 hours. Fans of the franchise immediately took the story mode to task, with one user even able to get his 6-month old baby to beat the game.
All in all, Street Fighter 5 has been a bit of a disaster for Capcom, with some even claiming that the game has essentially been released in an unfinished state. Unfortunately, it is far from the only flawed title to be released from Capcom’s stables. Although Resident Evil: Revelations 2 was well-received, and the Monster Hunter series has continued to maintain a very strong following, those stand-out classics that the company was known for seem to be drying up.
It’s certainly a concern, particularly when such care seems to be going towards the remakes and side projects that the company has in store. After all, Capcom has confirmed that fan feedback for Resident Evil 6 is helping to improve the development of the Resident Evil 2 remake. Although that's certainly a positive sign for the remake, given the ignominious reception that Resident Evil 6 received, one may wonder why that feedback is not being used for an entirely new title.
That said, there is still plenty of potential hidden within Capcom, and some games that are trying to push new ground for the company are piquing interest in the community. Although Umbrella Corps, for instance, has caused a few raised eyebrows from fans of the Resident Evil franchise, there are signs that the title could prove to be something to look out for. If nothing else, should Umbrella Corps prove to be an interesting game in its own right, perhaps Capcom will stop trying to shoehorn in action-adventure mechanics in to the main Resident Evil series, where they have been widely rejected by longtime followers.
Yet again, however, it's not a game that is likely to set the pulse of any players racing, and gamers could hardly be blamed for suspecting that the title could fall flat upon release. If Capcom is to keep its position in the industry, then a level of innovation needs to be maintained. Perhaps the only sure-fire way to do this is to break this emphasis on remakes and spin-offs, particularly if brand new titles continue to fail to live up to expectations.
After all, new releases, be they brand new intellectual properties or sequels to core series, are the bread and butter of all game development teams. When it comes to the bottom line, that is where Capcom needs to keep the majority of its focus, and that is where the future classics will be coming from – not from remakes of games that have already been released several times over.
Whether or not Capcom can regain momentum remains to be seen, but it would be a shame to see such a great powerhouse of the industry go stale. However, it the company as a whole is not careful, that's exactly where it could end up. At the end of the day, if Capcom does not start producing these classic games once more, then there will not be any great games to remake in the future.