March 21, 2011

Japan Week: Day 1 Capcom

To start this week long ded­i­ca­tion to Japans finest in gam­ing, I have decid­ed to start with the com­pa­ny that pulled me into arcades over and over, Cap­com. Cap­com has made sev­er­al great fran­chis­es over the years, includ­ing rein­vent­ing the sur­vival hor­ror genre on the home con­soles. They have giv­en us the blue bomber, the Hadouken, and the Umbrel­la Cor­po­ra­tion. They made the PlaySta­tion 2s first mil­lion unit sell­ing title, start­ed the ear­ly 1990’s fight­ing game arcade surge, as well as redefin­ing the mod­ern fight­ing genre. Cap­com has clashed with Mar­vel, SNK, Tat­sunoko, and now Nam­co. Cap­com has pre­dom­i­nant­ly devel­oped action, fight­ing, and some enter­tain­ing puz­zle games (Super Puz­zle Fight­er).  
I loved the Amer­i­can arcade scene grow­ing up, I spent birth­day mon­ey, Christ­mas mon­ey, and what­ev­er oth­er mon­ey I could get and would rush off to the arcade. This is all thanks to Yoshi­ki Okamo­to, the pro­duc­er for Street Fight­er 2. Street Fight­er is still the pre­mier fight­ing game of the world and has held the atten­tion of this writer for quite some time. Though the more recent Super Street Fight­er 4 and Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 3 are tak­ing up my fight stick time, noth­ing will com­pare to stand­ing at the Street Fight­er 2 cab­i­net at my local arcade and Wal-Mart try­ing to win with either Ryu or Chun Li, my two char­ac­ters of choice. The HD re-releas­es on the XBLA and PSN is one of the best uses of 15 dol­lars out there. Street Fight­er has touched fight­ing fans across the world and has giv­en us some of gam­ing most icon­ic char­ac­ters, as well as two hor­ri­ble live action movie adap­ta­tions and one sem­i­nal ani­me movie; thought the first live action movie was total cheese and enjoy­able as com­plete camp, the more recent one was an abom­i­na­tion and I will nev­er watch a movie with Chris Klein again, Char­lie deserved a bet­ter actor, if you can call him that. Rant over mov­ing on.
In 1996, Cap­com and series cre­ator Shin­ji Maka­mi released a new ter­ror on the world; Res­i­dent Evil. Release on the Sony PlaySta­tion and Sega Sat­urn, the series took the hor­ror genre and turned it upside down. Spawn­ing sev­er­al sequels and off shoots, despite hav­ing some speed bumps in the way of off shoot games (Res­i­dent Evil Out­break and Dead Aim) turned out a few con­sole defin­ing games (Res­i­dent Evil (PS1) Res­i­dent Evil 4 (Game­Cube). The series also cre­at­ed one of the most rec­og­niz­able cities in gam­ing, Rac­coon City. After the first three Res­i­dent Evils and serv­ing as direc­tor for Dino Cri­sis (PS1), Maka­mi would be appoint­ed as pro­duc­er for Capcom’s Stu­dio 4. Stu­dio 4 would go on to pro­duce such titles as Dev­il May Cry, Res­i­dent Evil Code: Veron­i­ca, Dino Cri­sis 2. He then moved on to the Cap­com 5 which would include Res­i­dent Evil 4, P.N.03, Viewti­ful Joe, Killer 7, and the nev­er released Dead Phoenix. Res­i­dent Evil 4 would go on to be the best in the fran­chise and define the 3 per­son over the shoul­der cam­era that many of today’s action games incor­po­rate. P.N. 03 went on to be a fail­ure, while Viewti­ful Joe and Killer 7 went on to be crit­i­cal hits, but nev­er found the sales num­bers. His most recent game, Van­quish, which was devel­oped with Plat­inum Games (the for­mer Clover Stu­dios) and was pub­lished by Sega, was a third per­son shoot­er heavy on the action and “rock­et slide mechan­ic” but light on sto­ry. Maka­mi is cur­rent­ly work­ing with Goichi Suda and Grasshop­per Man­u­fac­ture on a third per­son hor­ror game enti­tled Shad­ows of the Damned.
Last but not least we come to my favorite (now for­mer) Cap­com employ­ee, Kei­ji Ina­fu­ne; the father of Mega Man. Ina­fu­ne has been a key to the suc­cess of Cap­com through­out the years, and of late been the vital in imple­men­ta­tion west­ern game design into Capcom’s mod­ern titles. My child­hood con­sist­ed of a cor­nu­copia of his games. Mega Man 2 is still the finest of the orig­i­nal set of games while Mega Man X is by far my favorite of any game in the series and in my opin­ion the epi­cen­ter of SNES gam­ing, again just my opin­ion. Ina­fu­ne is respon­si­ble for the X and Zero char­ac­ter in the X series, and want­ed to put Zero as the main char­ac­ter for the series. After con­tin­ued work on the Mega Man series and its spin offs, Ina­fu­ne was hard at work at cre­at­ing a game that would show off the PlaySta­tion 2 pow­er, this project was Onimusha: War­lords; it would go on to become the first mil­lion copy sell­er on the plat­form.    Ina­fu­nes next project would sur­face on the Xbox 360 as a post con­sole launch game, Dead Ris­ing. I can still remem­ber read­ing EGM’s ini­tial pre­view of the game and stat­ing it was com­plete crap. The game would release to great crit­i­cal recep­tion and lat­er becom­ing a plat­inum hit, the sequel also under the watch of Ina­fu­ne was released just this past year. Ina­fu­ne was then pro­mot­ed to Glob­al Head of Pro­duc­tion; Cap­com would then seek out west­ern devel­op­ers to work with. Out of this new ven­ture he would serve as pro­duc­er on Lost Plan­et, Lost Plan­et 2; and as Exec­u­tive Pro­duc­er on Street Fight­er 4, Super Street Fight­er 4, Dark Void, and Bion­ic Com­man­do; the lat­ter two being fail­ures both com­mer­cial­ly and crit­i­cal­ly. Octo­ber 29, 2010, Ina­fu­ne announced that he would be leav­ing Cap­com after a 23 year stint.  
Cap­com, over the years, have giv­en the indus­try some great fran­chise and some lows. With Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 3 hav­ing been released in Feb­ru­ary, an impres­sive line­up for the 3DS launch includ­ing Super Street Fight­er 4 3D Edi­tion, their huge­ly suc­cess­ful Mon­ster Hunter series, Cap­com will be a huge indus­try play­er for years to come. 
27 Com­bat and Ser­vice (Guile Stage)

5 comments

  1. Pingback: GamerBlits.com

  2. CharcoalCoyote - March 21, 2011 9:16 am

    You did­n’t men­tion Ace Attor­ney. I am offend­ed.

    Reply
  3. CABXYZ - March 21, 2011 10:57 am

    @Charcoal Coy­ote, I am sor­ry, Ace Attor­ney games are great, it has been real­ly hard to nar­row down things to talk about when so many great games have come from Japan. I know through out the week there are going to be games and peo­ple I don’t men­tion, and I wish I had all the room to do so. The DS hous­es some great game, and those are among them.

    Reply
  4. CharcoalCoyote - March 21, 2011 2:49 pm

    Just trollin’. I’m a DS man.

    Reply
  5. ScrotusKilmystr - March 25, 2011 11:12 am

    ahh sit­ting in a dark room with a group of friends.….er play­ing res­i­dent evil on the ps …
    great series cab­bie!

    Reply

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