The last time MCV met with Capcom's UK team, they were full of optimism.
It was early 2012 and the next year was to mark the arrival of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Street Fighter X Tekken, DmC: Devil May Cry and Resident Evil 6. The products were in place for what would surely be the publisher's biggest year.
It didn't pan out that way. Fans and critics (and in some cases both) were left disappointed by almost all of those titles.
What followed was a major company restructure that would see Capcom release just a handful of products over the next two years.
Our company chairman realised that maybe we weren't trading on the seal of quality we used to,” says Capcom's UK commercial director Andy Davis.
So we decided to rejig development, but do it at a time when the new formats were coming through and install bases are low - well that was the theory, no-one saw them coming out of the gates the way that they did.”
He adds: We are now going to concentrate on the bigger products and the triple-A brands. So that is exciting, the revenue will still be there but it won't be spread across any me-too products.”
"The fans want to play an original, back-to-roots Resident Evil and Revelations 2 is a good showcase of that."
Antoine Molant, Capcom UK
As was apparent during this interview, the mood at Capcom is once again optimistic.
The firm says that it's reorganised the team so that the management is closer to both the development and commercial sides.
Individual regions now have more autonomy, they can do their own deals, even sign their own merchandise, without necessarily having to involve the directors in Japan.
Now we have our destiny and our fate in our hands,” enthuses Capcom UK head of marketing Antoine Molant.
That makes a big difference. That makes us stronger.”
But this renewed optimism is not all about Capcom UK's increased responsibility. It's far more simplistic than that: the publisher now has some games to sell.
The first is the return of Resident Evil. A new version of the original game was a huge digital seller in January and now the company is preparing an episodic take on the series: Resident Evil: Revelations 2.
This title will be available to purchase in three ways. Fans can buy the episodes individually as they become available (released weekly from February 25th), buy a season pass, or wait until the last episode is released and buy them all in a box – complete with extra content.
It is uncharted territory for us,” continues Molant.
Right from the start we were very clear that there are three offers.. And through that we will tackle all sorts of consumers.The ones that want just a taste of Resident Evil might simply go for an episode. But we were actually surprised to find – talking with our fanbase on social media – that the appetite for the boxed game is massive.We thought these people would want to buy the game before anyone else, so would download the episodes as they are released or get the season pass. But actually a lot of them are saying the extra content in the box is worth it, and they want a physical copy as well.”
Capcom is understandably optimistic about Revelations 2. Originally intended for released on Xbox 360 and PS3, the firm redeveloped it for the new platforms following the impressive early sales of PS4 and Xbox One. The episodic nature means it has a marketing period of almost six weeks, and it has an attractive price point, even the boxed version retails for around 35. But most significantly, the firm has made sure Revelations 2 does not repeat the mistakes of Resident Evil 6, which suffered a backlash from fans for being too action-orientated.
We heard the fans. They want to play an original, back-to-roots Resident Evil, and Revelations 2 is a good showcase of that,” says Molant.
The single player campaign uses modern techniques but has a very old school atmosphere, and that is what the fans want. But, there's also a market that wants to play an action-packed Resident Evil, because Resident Evil 6 was very commercially successful. So with Revelations 2, we have the more action-orientated Raid mode separate from the main single-player campaign.”
The year begins with Capcom's efforts to win over disgruntled Resident Evil players, and then the firm's next target is Devil May Cry fans.
DmC: Devil May Cry was released in 2013 to critical praise, but the fans condemned the title for being too different to its predecessors.
Now the publisher is re-releasing the game for Xbox One and PS4, with a few significant changes.
This offer is purely based on what the fans have told [developer] Ninja Theory they would like to see in the game,” explains Davis.
Molant adds: DmC was a very controversial game, but a very good game. We had a lot of ups and downs with it. But we are confident about this new one because it has been made with old-school Devil May Cry fan feedback.”
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 and DMC: Definitive Edition are the warm up acts for Capcom's main event.
It's not clear if Street Fighter V will make it out in Europe this year, but make no mistake – we'll be hearing a lot about it over the next 12 months.
It's quite a busy time for fighters, with a new Tekken, Dead or Alive and Mortal Kombat on the schedule. But Capcom isn't concerned.
Not to be arrogant, but Street Fighter seems to operate on a level of its own within that genre,” says Davis.
When Street Fighter IV came out, there were people who hadn't played a video game for years but came back because it was Street Fighter. So there is an opportunity to tap into that market.”
Molant adds: We are looking at eSports with Street Fighter V as well. We have big plans there. It is a field that is exploding these days and the fighting genre is not that well represented yet.
"The League of Legends of the world are the top played games in eSports, but we feel we can grow that market for fighting games massively, and that is what we are looking at with Street Fighter V. But having said that, at its core Street Figh