The Fall of Capcom
Can an intervention help this drunken lunatic?on November 29, 2012 at 8:00 am
There are few companies that have managed to stay as relevant and successful in the gaming industry as Capcom. They have endured and thrived since the 8-bit era and pumped out classic after classic along the way.
They have so many beloved franchises that they’re able to make games like “Marvel Vs. Capcom”. Games filled with popular characters pitted against each other so we can finally find an answer to life’s greatest questions, “Who would win in a fight between Ryu and Mega Man?” The only other company that has done this with more success has been Nintendo with “Super Smash Bros”.
They’ve taken on licensed games and found success where most companies fail. There was a time when they weren’t afraid to take chances on wild new intellectual properties. Capcom was great at continuing to support their cherished IPs; the fan favorites, the ones that made them successful in the first place. They used to revel in evolving and growing their franchises, expanding them in new and exciting ways.
They revolutionized fighting games… twice, consistently showing an awareness and mastery of the genre that no other developer can claim.
Capcom is a gaming icon. I love them. They have provided me with great memories and good times. This is why it’s so painful to say this but… they have finally gone too far. They’ve been going down a dark path for years. I was blind to the truth; too close to the situation to see what was really going on. Or maybe I was just hopeful, confident that they were just going through a rough patch in their life and they would get themselves back on their feet, ready to entertain again.
I like to think it was hope. I recognized the poor decisions they were making and how they were responding to their fans. Now, I’m not one to think you need to listen to every single outcry posted on an Internet forum, but Capcom should’ve listen to some of them, maybe even just one. They should’ve recognized that something was wrong, but like many large institutions, I think they thought they were too big to fail; so entrenched in gaming culture that they believed themselves to be untouchable. They assumed they would always have a large throng of support to carry them through any trend the industry could cook up.
That may have been true if they hadn’t tried to hop on each and every single one of those trends, but they did. Even THAT wouldn’t have been so bad if they had taken those trends and done something worthwhile with them but… they didn’t. It’s almost like they got bored with being awesome and decided to start sucking instead. Seeing if they could suck a whole lot for a long period of time and then burst out from a cloud of smoke yelling, “Haha, we’re back bitches! You all thought we were soulless husks who lost all our creativity and talent but we’ve been keeping all of the good stuff in this closet right here! Here is ‘Mega Man Legends 3’, ‘Darkstalkers 4’, a collection of all our NES games, a new ‘Final Fight’ that doesn’t suck, and all sorts of other sweet stuff that will blow your freakin’ minds!”
Hmm… I may have gotten a little carried away there.
Anyways, Capcom seems completely disconnected from what is actually going on in the industry. Let’s have a look at some recent games they’ve created and see where things went wrong.
Lost in Space
First, I’m going to take a few digs at a lesser offender, “Lost Planet”. Now, I actually enjoyed the first Lost Planet. It wasn’t great, but it was a fairly entertaining third-person shooter. While it certainly wasn’t revolutionary, it was a competent enough game. Capcom showed they were making an effort to make more “modern” games but inject their own style into them. Then Capcom decided to grace us with “Lost Planet 2”.
Instead of improving on the original’s core gameplay and adding multiplayer, they decided, “Hey, this ‘Call of Duty’ thing is REALLY taking off! What if we made an entire game focused on multiplayer?.”
Instead of giving us a fully fleshed out single player campaign and then supplying us with fun multiplayer, they designed the game to be played multiplayer the entire time. The “single player” acts as simple co-op campaigns as default. If you don’t have friends, you have crappy A.I. allies. The bite sized missions weren’t even fun to play. Same goes for the ACTUAL multiplayer, which felt just as hollow, dated, and clunky as the campaign mode. Plus, they managed to take the controls from the first game, which worked, and make them worse.
I can’t be too harsh on the franchise, however. To start, it’s not even that big, but the third game in the series, “E.X. Troopers” actually looks like it could be something pretty interesting. Sure, Capcom calls it a “spin-off” but let’s be realistic, this game is “Lost Planet 3”. Some people may cry foul with this decision, but the cel-shaded graphics used in this entry actually make the game pop. It was too bland before, too mundane. At least now, if nothing else, it looks like something unique and that shows a bit of effort.