Capcom executive Kazuhiko Abe has spoken to news agency Bloomberg about the company’s policy with regards to next generation format support and an increasing reliance on reusing game engine technology to temper increases in development costs.
Japanese developers in general have traditionally made less use of middleware products than Western developers, with a tendency to create a new game engine for each major new title. However, according to Abe, this policy is now being questioned more than ever at Capcom.
“The development costs rise every time you make games for new consoles, because there is a lot to learn. Once a game has been made for a specific platform, you'll have a game engine: a fighting engine, adventure engine, action engine. Using the completed engine helps lower the cost of developing new titles by as much as 30 to 40 percent”, he suggested.
Regarding the cost of developing for next generation formats, Abe claimed that a minimum spend of Ą1 billion ($8.6m) was now necessary to “make a decent game”. Rather than releasing as many titles as possible on all formats though Capcom seems content to share costs only across specific formats.
“The costs have risen, so the question is how to recover them best. Even if the costs double, we now have three platforms for which to make content”, he said. “We are also making games for PC which can be easily converted into Xbox games. Games for the Wii, which is a little bit different from other consoles, can be used in the amusement business."
Abe also clarified the exclusivity of Resident Evil 5, which some online sources had suggested may now be appearing only the Xbox 360 – following some ambiguous comments from Xbox Japan boss Takashi Sensui. According to Capcom, though, the game is still scheduled for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with the separate Umbrella Chronicles destined for the Wii.
Also, contrary to rumors, there was no suggestion that current Xbox 360 exclusives Dead Rising and Lost Planet would be ported to the PlayStation 3 in the near future, while Devil May Cry 4 and Monster Hunter 3 remain exclusive to Sony’s console. Capcom has previously indicated it expects to sell 150,000 units for the PlayStation 3 this fiscal year and 1.85 million units on the Xbox 360.
“We have been continuously making million-selling titles for new game platforms. Not many companies can do it. It's the know-how we've accumulated over the years,” stated Abe.