Capcom is taking a "once bitten, twice shy" attitude to setting expectations on its zombie action series Resident Evil. In a post-earnings Q&A session released in English today, executives with the company said they expect the game to sell 4 million copies worldwide between its January 24 release date and the March 31 end of Capcom's fiscal year.
For the last major installment in the series, 2013's Resident Evil 6, Capcom set a goal of 7 million copies sold worldwide for its debut fiscal year. While that game was released in October so it had the benefit of a holiday sales season that Resident Evil 7 will not, Resident Evil 6 fell far short of the mark, moving 4.9 million copies in a little under six months. Sales started well, the publisher said at the time, but it quickly plateaued as word of mouth and review scores were not as positive as they had been with previous entries in the series.
Even though Resident Evil 6 sales stalled after launch, they didn't taper off completely. Capcom currently lists the title as its second best-selling game ever, with lifetime sales of 6.6 million copies to date. (Capcom's best-selling game ever is Resident Evil 5, which has sold 7.1 million copies lifetime.) Resident Evil 7 could someday join those titles even with the more modest initial sales target, as Capcom specified that it is expecting the game to continue moving copies beyond its launch window.
"[W]e expect to recognize sales of the game as a catalog title in the next fiscal year; however, revenue for catalog titles tends to grow in relation with the timing of movie releases and new titles in a series," the company noted. "What is more, the sales lifecycles for titles has grown due to digital distribution, so we expect this game to become a foundation title, producing revenue not limited to the next two fiscal years but into the long term as well."
When asked about how many major titles Capcom can produce in a given year, executives explained why their release slate may appear slim at the moment, along with their strategy to ramp it back up.
"We are proceeding with diversified planning based on our 60-month map internally, however due to structural reforms focusing on internal development we are shorthanded for developers," the company said. "We will continue to proactively hire primarily new graduates, and expand our number of titles by increasing our number of development lines."
Elsewhere in the Q&A, executives commented on support for the Nintendo Switch.
"It is excellent to have the market invigorated with new hardware launches. As a software publisher, we endeavor to develop games that offer enjoyment best suited to each piece of hardware's features and target users. Following first party, in order to introduce our own content we are currently moving forward with internal planning and analysis as a partner company."
When asked about making multiplatform games for the system they replied, "We are currently carrying out research with regards to multiplatform implementation of software for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on to the Nintendo Switch and thus are unable to comment at this moment. However, we do feel that there are differences in the desired direction and the play-style of the Nintendo Switch and those of the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. At Capcom, we determine which platform to release a title for after considering the features of both our software and the hardware in question, believing we must bring the enjoyment of our games to their maximum potential."