Capcom Europe's new COO Stuart Turner took some time to sit down with gamesindustry.biz to discuss the hurdles and challenges that come with growing Capcom's brand in the East and West. The interview spans a range of topics from development outsourcing, to the success of Resident Evil 7, to the road ahead for games like Street Fighter.
Of interest to us right now is how Turner views the fighting game genre, which is apparently been going through a bit of a bit of a reboot lately. This comes after a sharp decline from the fighting game dominance of the 90s and early 00s. "Fighting as a genre is an interesting one," says Turner.
"It's an area that we as a company excel in, but it's always one that we need to take more of a lead on for the success and health of the whole genre. The history of the genre means that its fanbase skews slightly older than other types of games. So the challenge for us, and any other publisher, is always to bring new people into fighting games."
Capcom's flagship fighting series, Street Fighter, suffered a bit of a rough launch as Capcom attempted to steer toward the "game as a service" model that more recent multiplayer games like Rainbow Six Siege have employed with great success.
"I don't think it would be wrong to say that we didn't get much right with Street Fighter V at launch," Turner said. "We've learnt and put things in place that will avoid such issues ever arising in the future. Getting an offering that's right for consumers first should be always be our priority. However, Street Fighter V is hitting its stride, there are seasons of content to come and we still have support plans for the title for many more years."
Now I'll quote Stuart at length as he discusses how Capcom is leaning on esports and the broad appeal of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite to give the fighting game genre the boost it's been needing for a decade.
"The added exposure that eSports now brings will hopefully see growth for the fighting genre over the coming years. Fighting games as a spectator event has huge potential, the games are short, it's simple to grasp, the competitors are highly skilled personalities and tournament upsets aren't unusual. It's why we've had broadcasters picking up tournaments both for traditional TV transmission and online streaming across the globe.
"Marvel vs Capcom fits into this as a great introduction to the genre as a whole, far more simplistic and technically easier to pick up and play, and obviously having some of the best known characters on the planet from the Marvel Universe has huge appeal especially to that younger new audience we're keen to bring in."
Capcom and Bandai Namco are the two companies that we look to drive the fighting game genre forward and innovate, but not all risks pay dividends. It will be interesting to see how the competitive Marvel vs. Capcom and Street Fighter scenes evolve going forward and, should they succeed, what new paradigms of promotion, monetization, and competition will we see publishers adopt? How will that affect the average consumers and more casual players? Only time will tell.