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Capcom realising multinational design ambitions

Capcom is finally realising its much talked about multinational development ambitions as it brings together teams from Japan, North America and Europe to develop games for global audiences.

Capcom is finally realising its much talked about multinational development ambitions as it brings together teams from Japan, North America and Europe to develop games for global audiences.

The recently announced Bionic Commando is perhaps the company's most ambitious project to date; developed by Swedish studio Grin under the eye of American Ben Judd — the first foreign producer at Capcom Japan — with guidance by Onimusha and Dead Rising producer Keiji Inafune

With the proven success of Dead Rising and Lost Planet — where 90 per cent of sales were outside of Japan — the publisher is focused on catering specifically for American and European markets rather than just bringing Japanese content to the West.

"We're seeing larger growth in the US and European markets and a shrinking in the Japanese market," said Judd, speaking at the company's recent Gamers Day, held for the first time in Europe.

"This is the next step in the evolution of trying to mix up the design process so that Capcom has titles that will appeal throughout the world. There are some people who think that only Capcom Japan can create a good title but that's not the case.

"This is the sort of risk that most other Japanese games companies, who are pretty conservative, wouldn't do. So to take a chance on this and on an American producer shows just how willing it is to try new things," he added.

Capcom admits that this multinational development philosophy isn't easy, although all team members are learning from the experience.

"Trying to sync up the different design styles between Grin and the Capcom design teams is not easy because they are truly 180 degrees different in a lot of areas," revealed Judd. "But fortunately Grin's style and Capcom's style are both very creative-based and they are willing to try new things."

And the Bionic Commando IP itself wasn't something that Capcom Japan had faith in initially, as the original game wasn't a success in the local market.

"Trying to get this game through the development channels was not easy because it's very unique in that has cult status in the US and to some extent in Europe, but in Japan very few people know of it," said Judd.

"That's one of the purposes that I serve internally, I can look at things and see titles that may stand out and have potential in the US and European market where Capcom Japan may not even realise it because they only see the Japanese market."

Judd is in a unique position himself. From working with the company as an interpretor and translator, he's now the first foreign producer at Capcom Japan, something that he acknowledges as a privileged appointment but further evidence of taking risks and experimenting.

"It's a thing I totally respect about Capcom, they have given me this great chance. I know a lot of foreigners that work at Japanese gaming companies and there is glass ceiling. Capcom is one of the few that is going to give foreigners the chances to develop."

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.