In brief: For virtually every major company out there, nothing is more important than the bottom line, but Capcom claims it doesn’t share this mentality. The Japanese developer and publisher says it values quality and critical acclaim over financial success when it comes to its games.
Speaking to GameIndustry.biz, Capcom Europe COO Stuart Turner said, "While we have shareholders to appease, it's not just about commercial performance."
"There is an artistic element that always comes in where we know this is the right way. And while if we compare RE7 to RE6 the absolute numbers are not the same, in terms of the profitability... it's completely fine. It ticked all of our boxes internally. It was really well received. And in some respects, getting some very good review scores counts as much for Capcom as a game that sells millions and millions and millions. We'd prefer a game that got a 9 and sold less, than got a 6 but sold more."
Turner’s words might come as a surprise to many. The very poor Resident Evil 6 was panned by most critics yet still managed to sell 7.1 million units. Resident Evil 7, on the other hand, received heaps of praise from reviewers and is much-loved by players, yet it has sold 5.1 million copies to date—2 million fewer than its predecessor.
In the same interview, Turner talked about the upcoming remake of Resident Evil 2—arguably the best game in the long-running franchise. He said the company was nervous in the run-up to the game’s E3 announcement, worrying that the updated tank controls and fixed cameras would alienate fans of the original. But reaction to the upcoming title has been overwhelmingly positive.
While some say Capcom has been playing it safe recently by releasing sequels to its core pillar titles, such as Resident Evil and Street Fighter, Turner said it's not averse to taking risks. He cites the shift from a third-person to a first-person view in Resi 7 as a potentially catastrophic move that paid off. He also said a new IP might come about in the form of an affordable digital-only title.
“Maybe we could release a few of these and see if one takes off, and then you can take it further step-by-step, as opposed to doing a AAA with a £10 million marketing budget. That's never going to happen."