The thing that kind of blew my mind is when friends of mine on a forum were talking about the game coming out. They were like, "Yeah, so here's my friend code and stuff." I was like, "Oh, right. You gotta do that."
CS: Yeah, that's perhaps not ideal, but we work on the system that we work on. The fact that we actually did a full and robust online system for TvC was something we felt was important. When we sat down to talk about what we could do if we were bringing it Westward, I was a very vocal component of online as being a central feature that our community definitely needs, especially if we're going to have the longevity and more people gathering into that community over time.
It seems like Capcom's digital download initiative that was going very strong for the last couple of years is sort of going down.
CS: It's slowly... A little bit. Quite frankly, we just have a gap. We have a number of projects that we are working on actively, and we will be lighting up more. I think we talked about it before; it has been a very successful initiative for us, and we do want to do more of it.
I think we're being a little more judicious in what we select to do and how we approach it. In being more judicious, that also means we're being more ambitious in the scope and scale of what those projects will ultimately be.
We have something we're in the process of lighting up right now that I can't talk about but I'm super excited about. I don't want to be too nebulous here, but fans of a certain franchise will be very happy.
I'm curious to hear a little bit about the comments that Capcom Japan made -- they released a statement -- about their relationship with Western developers.
CS: I'm not exactly sure what the intent of [COO] Haruhiro [Tsujumoto]'s statements were, but I also know that I saw how they were taken by a lot of media, and I think they were not quite interpreted the right way.
Haru made a statement of something to the effect of "new IPs are going to be developed in Japan, not in the West." And I think that is a fair statement. What I think a lot of people interpret that as is Capcom's turned its back on Western development. And I think if you ask [R&D head Keiji] Inafune-san, that's actually far from the truth. We probably have more and bigger projects in development or soon to be in development with Western developers than we've ever had. But, they aren't new IP.
It was interesting reading it because it was based on how the Western-developed titles performed, they were only going to have Western developers work on more established IP and stuff, but aside from Dark Void, that is all Western developers have really been working on with Capcom.
CS: Bionic Commando.
Bionic Commando. Street Fighter.
CS: I understand your point there. Spyborgs was also a new IP. But you are correct. The issue, I think, is for whatever reason, Bionic Commando was looked at internally as for all intents and purposes as a new IP in the fact that it was a long-dormant franchise that really had no broad awareness. I would certainly not categorize it as a new IP necessarily, but the effort to re-launch it was not that much unlike what a new IP would've been.
I see. Let's talk about Dark Void and how that turned up, and where it is now.
CS: Dark Void is moving along. I think that it was a long development process, a bit longer than we had expected. And that was, I think, part of what Haru is harping in on is if we aren't investing in new IP, hopefully we'll not necessarily have a three-plus year project kicking around, so maybe shorter cycle with a quicker path to market if they don't invent the entire world.
It is moving along, sales-wise. We're not completely dissatisfied with where it is as a first time at establishing a new property for Capcom. I think it's a solid first effort from the Western team. I think marketing-wise, we did a really solid job of raising the profile of the title and making people aware of what it is. We certainly spent appropriately to promote it. So, all in all, not awful.
I found the response from consumers interesting because...
CS: It was polarized.
Yes. And I've also seen a little more excitement and buzz for Dark Void Zero than Dark Void.
CS: Dark Void Zero was great . And being candid, Other Ocean came to us and said, "Hey, we have an idea." We embraced it and thought it was really clever, and the production team really got behind it and helped push it. Other Ocean did a great job in creating a retro 8-bit-like experience, and the other part of this is we wanted to get some experience on DSiWare in particular because that's our first DSiWare title. And it's selling, just for the record, very, very well. We're actually really pleased. In some ways, it's actually exceeding my expectations as to how it did, so we'll actually be looking at some other opportunities. I'm not saying necessarily 8-bit focused, not even necessarily DSiWare-focused, but there's some gained from learning that we take from Dark Void Zero and from Other Ocean in particular that turned out great. I can't say enough good things about Other Ocean. They've been a joy to work with. So, loads of respect to those guys.
How would you explain the relationship between Capcom Japan and Capcom USA right now? Is it parent/child, or...
CS: Yes. [laughs] There's no other way to describe it. It's definitely a parent/child relationship.
It seemed like a little while ago, U.S. was being given a little more autonomy than before. Is it scaled back?
CS: That autonomy is a little bit different in some ways. The re-organization, particularly of the product development group, to report directly to Japan, has created a global product development team where producers on both sides of the Pacific are assigned to each other's projects. The hope there is we actually start to share our learning on both sides, and we both bring, I think, different strengths to the table. At the end of the day, though, Japan calls the shots.