CAPCOM just doesn’t get it… or is broke. Most likely both

At EVO 2013, CAPCOM announced the Ultra Street Fighter IV, and displays four new character entries to the Street Fighter IV series. However, these four characters are recycled from the now-infamous Street Fighter X Tekken with gameplay adjustments to the SFIV gameplay mechanics, both old and new. At the same time CAPCOM reveals that there will be one more character that will be concealed from the public for the time being.

After five months of speculation and CAPCOM raising hype, at Capcom Cup they teased fans with an announcement that the fifth character would be female. This hint along with the previous Appeared in the UDON comics and is very much related to the Street Fighter universe sparked high amounts of speculation.

After a month or so, CAPCOM reveals that only four people on the Internet have guessed the secret character correctly, leading everyone to believe the popular guesses of Sarai, Decapre, and Noembelu were wrong. Three months pass by without much of anything new, until it is time for CAPCOM to reveal the character. The trailer starts out with an unintentionally bad sketch where the most requested character R. Mika appears with Karin. Needless to say, this got some people’s hopes up for no good reason, as Bison goes and removes her from the scene as well as Retsu, and calls his dolls. At this moment, it would seem like the new character is multiple Dolls rolled into one slot, which opens all sorts of interesting possibilities and would be completely out of Street Fighters norm.

But no. The only Doll that has always been Cammy’s palletswap jumps out and pulls out a pose; it was Decapre after all.  The trailer continues with footage of Decapre fighting the rest of the cast, and to add further injury to the insult, showcases pretty much all the moves she shares with Cammy from normal to Cannon Spike.

Sometimes I have to give CAPCOM a thumbs up. They have pretty massive balls on the subject of crushing expectations and pissing off fans. Not that they make any money on it, seeing that they had to cut their profits fifty percent due to their internal restructuring. As far as we’re concerned, CAPCOM’s current venture into the mobile game market has failed miserably. They don’t even seem to recognize anything wrong in this.

The thing is, an unknown source stated that CAPCOM modelled their business structure according to EA, and every worker in EA simply hates the higher ups, who either have no idea what the industry needs or do not give a shit. My money would be on both. Ono got a damn heart attack while working on Street Fighter IV and this is just one incident that has come out. I have no doubts that interns and long-time workers simply hate how abused they are at CAPCOM Japan’s offices. We hear only drips and drops of the issue here and there, as this is Japan and their work culture is rather different.

But let’s return to Decapre. This isn’t a new character. Much like all the previous Newcomers in Ultra Street Fighter IV, Decapare uses a pre-existing character model and sets to modify it. While this isn’t really anything phenomenally new or offensive, they could’ve chosen amore interesting character than Cammy with claws. The hype and expectations CAPCOM had managed to garner from the Street Fighter fans were for absolutely nothing.

With decisions like these, I have to wonder if it would be best that CAPCOM would go under and their IPs would be sold to different companies rather than see a hero rising from their ranks and renewing the whole company back into the shining example of game developers they used to be… almost thirty years ago. Typing that down had me pour down some Famous Grouse and wonder what really happened in there. This is a question that would need some serious journalistic research through interviews of ex-employees of various rank. I’ve seen that a lot of ex-CAPCOM employees like Inafune have been somewhat dicks to work with, and I’m sure this has been due to the overall working environment CAPCOM as been encouraging.

The way I usually write down these posts is from a very detached view, where I disregard the human element of servicing people from the product suppliers’ side. In an ideal world, any customer service person would fill the needs of the customer first and disregard himself. I know this first hand and the idealistic way I usually type things down just doesn’t work in real life. With CAPCOM even taking intoaccount the human element just goes out of the window. I am very sure that they are not doing anything out of spite, but rather that they don’t have the money to do anything and that they simply don’t care.

No, CAPCOM does care about money and they really seem to do things that they seem to regard the next big bank money maker based on what the industry says and does.  Much like some other companies, CAPCOM has lost the touch with their past and the customers, the two things that they should never forget. CAPCOM went from agood arcade game developer to one of the bets best third party game developers during the 80’s. Their Disney games still are the best examples of licensed games done right. 90’s CAPCOM was colourful and fun with one-shot games everywhere next to numerous huge ass franchises running the show alongside them. To be brutally honest, the moment when CAPCOM started showing signs of going bad was during that time. I am having a hard time to deciding whether or not this would coincide with the early or late 90’s, but the absolutely last point of no-return was the moment they decided to follow EA’s model. There’s no denying that a lot of companies are envious of EA’s success in business level to rake in money, but their model doesn’t work in Japan. None of the companies outside Nintendo have franchises that they could abuse to extreme lengths, thou Nintendo has been feeling on this with their lack of quality products and awful marketing on Wii U. I still can’t get over how big misshot Wii U has been from thename onwards.

Saying that CAPCOM is beyond saving is hyperbole. To be idealistic once more, every company can turn their boat around and make the best money they can as long as they meet the expectations of the customers and are able to hit the Blue Ocean again, hitting the cultural nerve like in the 70’s and 80’s. That’s not going to happen with CAPCOM because of the human element. Perhaps we need machines to run CAPCOM whenever we get AI that’s good enough to make decisions.

Perhaps it is the fact that people are still riding on the past and create these new things on and based on old. Since the late 90’s the industries have started to remake old things rather than striving for something new. I wonder what it would take to make a new Pacman-level game. Perhaps it is impossible with how the industry is at the moment. Perhaps I am contradicting myself when I say that the entertainment industries need to see what used to sell and worked and proclaiming that they need to produce something new. No, learning from past and making use of those teachings is not the same as recycling things over and over.