A message from Capcom USA CEO Urata-san: pic.twitter.com/pf9oXaqKZy
— Matt Walker (@retroOtoko) March 6, 2019
“Capcom is Back!” proclaimed Capcom USA CEO Kiichiro Urata. And indeed, as the video game world will gladly agree, they are back.
The previous era of game releases has not been the the kindest for Capcom – they’ve had major disappointments such as Resident Evil 6; they’ve had a lukewarm reception and plenty of discontentment with Street Fighter 5; there was the mixed reaction to the DmC reboot; then there’s criticism on how Dead Rising is getting worse with every sequel; and of course the infamous “Disney-fied” Marvel vs Capcom Infinite.
Somewhere amidst all of the uncertainty, Capcom has found its groove and is now releasing back to back hits amidst praises from gamers and critics alike. Let’s take a look at what this new reinvigorated Capcom has brought to the table.
Monster Hunting went Huge on a Global Scale
The first and and most significant release for Capcom in 2018 was Monster Hunter World. The once niche Japanese focused franchise finally came out of its shell to become a monster of a global hit on modern consoles and PC. Monster Hunter was once a very inaccessible franchise for westerners as it required a lot of tutorials, grinding, and it was only really appreciated by people who “got it”.
It was a long time coming for Capcom to build a new generation Monster Hunter focused on the global audience. With the help of Sony’s marketing, it was a huge success. Players who have never tried any of the previous games were now looking forward to this new, more accessible MH focused on modern console technology and online infrastructure. The game sold more than 2.4 million in its first week on retail (PS4 and Xbox One) and despite the western focus of the game, it still sold 1.35 million in its native country for the first week – a record for a PS4 release. To add to that, its PC experiment was a huge success, becoming their biggest ever PC launch and enjoying huge sales on the Steam platform.
On the Switch side of things, Capcom heard the pleas of their existing MH fanbase and finally launched Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (Monster Hunter XX in Japan) in English. The English release, while not as big of a juggernaut as MH World, sold quite well and gave fans of traditional MH gameplay something to enjoy.
The Blue Bomber had a Triumphant Return
Capcom surprised everyone with the announcement of Mega Man 11, with a new artstyle and classic Mega Man gameplay; along with a new host of evil robots for Mega Man to challenge.
The Blue Bomber did not disappoint and had a successful outing when the game came out in October 2018 – right in time for its 30th anniversary. All versions of the game reviewed well, and the Switch version of the game meant that gamers now have a new portable, modern Mega Man adventure. It was also nominated for “Best Action Game” at The Game Awards 2018. The game is doing well in sales too, with approximately 870,000 units sold on all platforms as of February 2019.
Retro Classics Unearthed for Modern Consoles
Not to be outdone by the rest on the whole “throwback” trend, Capcom didn’t forget about their roots an opened their vault for the PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection includes 12 classic games from the series including the very rough first game, 5 versions of Street Fighter 2, all of the arcade versions of the Alpha/Zero games as well as the Street Fighter 3 series including the beloved 3rd Strike, with online play to boost.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 lets you relive all 8 games from the X series through its highs and lows, and includes additional content such as the series history, the animated short “Day of Sigma” and the new X Challenge boss rush mode which is complete with online leaderboards.
Probably my favorite of the retro collections Capcom released last year is the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle (Capcom Belt Action Collection in Japan). It harkens you back to the simpler days of quarter crunching gameplay where you took tough guys, gals and superheroes to the streets and just beat up on waves and waves of mobs with a friend, or even a stranger. This is classic co-op gameplay at its finest and Capcom has handpicked their best titles from the genre – Final Fight, Captain Commando, Armored Warriors, Knights of the Round, The King of Dragons, Warriors of Fate and Battle Circuit. These classics include online play, it also has concept art and additional settings such as lives and difficulty. This truly is a 90s kid’s dream.
The Horror was RE-lived in Racoon City
The fans have been asking for years, and it finally happened. While RPG fans have asked for the Final Fantasy 7 remake for years, the other group of fans who have now grown up has been clamoring for a remake for Resident Evil 2. The first RE game got a remake many years ago, so why not?
Capcom finally indulged us with a full blown remake of the game, complete with over-the-shoulder survival action gameplay from newer games such as RE4 and 5, but still keeping mechanics from the original, such as the typewriter saving, inventory management, and of course the healing herbs. The power of the RE engine, used first in the highly acclaimed Resident Evil 7, was tapped to its full potential in this remake. Fans were treated not only in terms of really good survival horror gameplay, but also to top notch graphics that rival some of the current best looking games.
It was a long time coming, and when the game finally released in January 2019, the fans ate it up to tune of 3 million units on its launch week. It was a true return to form for Capcom and in contrast the disappointment that was RE6, this one simply nailed it out of the park and is an strong early contender for Game of the Year.
Dante and the Gang Unleashed on the RE Engine
We come to the moment where Capcom itself proclaimed that they were back, and there’s no better game to prove that than with Devil May Cry 5.
The previous game – DmC: Devil May Cry reboot, developed by Ninja Theory was met with good critic reviews, but with backlash from long time series fans. The fanbase was mixed on embracing the reboot; but the consensus was that fans wanted to see the old gang and “our” Dante and Nero back. At E3 2018, the voices were heard in the reveal of Devil May Cry 5.
Using the RE engine, Dante, Nero, Lady, Trish and the mysterious V has never looked better and the critics are in agreement. DMC5 is lauded for being familiar, fresh, chaotic and satisfying. As the game just came out, we don’t have the numbers yet; but early sales reports are showing that it’s doing really well in charts and it’s bringing old and new fans of the series a true action packed Devil May Cry experience.
What’s Next for Capcom?
While everyone is glad that Capcom is back, including myself, we hope that the slew of quality releases just keeps on coming. The company is being rewarded with strong sales across all platforms, nominations for industry awards, and was crowned as the “Best Publisher of 2018” by aggregation site Metacritic.
There are other great deeds that Capcom has been doing, such as releasing all of their albums on Spotify, the just announced Uniqlo shirt collection, the re-release of the Ace Attorney series on modern consoles, Okami HD, Onimusha remastered, the Netflix Dragon’s Dogma anime in development, and the appearance of its iconic characters in crossovers such as Smash Brothers and Tekken. It truly does seem like they’ve been doing everything right in the past 2 or so years. Or have they?
Personally, i’d like to see them focus on new content on Nintendo’s surging Switch. So far all of Capcom’s releases for the Switch has been retro collections, overpriced re-releases of Resident Evil games, cloud streaming versions of games in Japan, and that poorly reviewed HD rehash of Street Fighter 2. Outside of Mega Man 11 and MHGU (which is a 3ds port as well), they have been very quiet on new development in terms of the Switch. There is definitely a lot room for a proper Switch focused game or a downscaled, portable port of their bigger titles.
Another thing Capcom i’m sure is already looking on is their mobile efforts. Last year’s Puzzle Fighter on mobile bombed and only lasted a few weeks, but at the same time they have made the Ace Attorney games available on mobile, which is a blessing for those without a 3DS. It would be great if they had more mobile focused games and not just console ports with a virtual touch controller.
It’s been a long journey for Capcom back to the promised land. And now while they’re taking back the throne, I hope they stay there for a while. The quality of their new games are infallible, and the RE engine will definitely power more and more great games in the near future. Capcom is indeed back, and there’s no better way to celebrate it than by supporting them in your local game store.