Some Japanese creators have had widely-reported difficulties transitioning to next-generation console game development -- something that's not been the case technically for Capcom, whose MT Framework engine, used in Dead Rising, was cutting-edge even back in mid-2006.
The seminal Resident Evil franchise is one of Capcom's key next-generation titles, and the early 2009-due Resident Evil 5 is being helmed by producer Jun Takeuchi - whose history at Capcom dates back to the first in the franchise and even Street Fighter II, and who also produced titles such as Lost Planet.
This 'co-op' interview also includes director Yasuhiro Anpo, who also worked on the first two Resident Evil games - of which the newest instalment is set in Africa, and due to debut for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in March 2009.
The conversation with Gamasutra stretched beyond the co-operative mode recently revealed for the title, to a broader discussion of Capcom's strategy and philosophy -- including why Osaka natives are allegedly better at making games than their Tokyo counterparties.
Obviously, Resident Evil 5 is a refinement of the ideas that drove Resident Evil 4. It looks like you've taken the design ideas, and really promoted them into next-generation quality. Can you talk a little bit about how you decided to settle on the design for this game, and move forward with the development?
Jun Takeuchi: For Resident Evil 5, a lot of the elements in it are a refinement of things that we had in Resident Evil 4; making them better, and choosing which elements to keep, which elements to discard.
The biggest change that we had to it, and the biggest change that we had from when we first settled on the design for it, was that we definitely wanted to have co-op in it, right from the start, and to have co-op be an integral part of the game, just right from the start.
So that's one of the first things that we decided, when we were making the game. That has led the development of the game. Right now we're about 70% of the way through the development process.
When you sit down to make a sequel like this, expectations are obviously high -- RE4 really revitalized the series -- so how do you decide what features to bring to the game? How do you decide which features are must-do? You talked about co-op being one of the things that you really wanted to do; how did you decide, and why did you decide that, specifically? And what did you have to balance to make that kind of thing happen?
JT: When we first sat down to design Resident Evil 5 -- obviously, like you said, Resident Evil 4 was such a huge game, and such a great game -- we decided that changing fundamentally the way that Resident Evil 4 worked was something that we did not want to do. So that was one of the most important parts of that design process.
And, also, we did decide from the start, in terms of the co-op element, that it was time to introduce that element to the series, to liven up that aspect of the series and also to give ourselves a new challenge. To give us something new to bring to the series, and to give ourselves something new and challenging to do.
The development process in Japan seems to not be completely similar to the way the development process works in the west -- you know, job titles, and responsibilities, are a little bit different. Like, for example, it's not very often that a game would have a "director" in America, so it's interesting to talk about how the responsibilities break down on a title.
JT: Of course, there are differences between the way we do things in Japan, and the way things are done in the west, in the [job] titles, and those kinds of things -- but actually, I feel, based on my experience, that even though the job titles are different, we're all game designers, and we're all ultimately working toward the same end goal.
So, actually, even if maybe the titles are different, people are having largely the same kind of responsibilities, and doing largely the same kind of thing. So I actually don't feel that there's too much of a big difference, there.