Inafune Shares Past Capcom Development Secrets

Former development head reveals sneaky strategy for getting Lost Planet and Dead Rising approved.

Posted on 05.09.2011 at 09:50, by Anoop Gantayat

Inafune in a promotion for Dead Rising 2.

Former Capcom development head Keiji Inafune recently addressed students in a seminar at Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University. Here's a bit of what he said based off a report.

Held on the evening of the sixth, Inafune's speech was one part of a series of "Creative Leadership Seminars" held by Ritsumeikan's film school. Inafune shared some insights into his 24 years of work at Capcom.

Inafune recalled a time at Capcom where he feels that breaking the rules saved the company. Before the development of Lost Planet and Dead Rising, Capcom's management, concerned with risks, had a rule in place where making anything but sequels was forbidden. The actual rule required 70 to 80% sequels with the remaining 20% being new titles, but in practice any suggestion for a new title would not receive approval.

Preparing himself for rejection, Inafune started up the completely original Lost Planet and Dead Rising projects. Expectedly, these were rejected by management when their prototypes were shown in presentations. But Inafune decided to ignore the rejection and keep on making the two titles anyway.

At Capcom, the various areas of game development have their own budgets. This includes a budget for making prototypes. Explained Inafune, you continue making a prototype even if management rejects the idea, you'll end up going over that budget. In Lost Planet's case, the "prototype" ended up exceeding the budget by 400%. But this was Inafune's aim, as he believed that if they reach this level, they'll have developed the game half way, so management would not be able to say no.

In the end, both Lost Planet and Dead Rising sold millions worldwide and helped Capcom's earnings and stock price. But Inafune had been prepared to be "fired for war crimes" if the games had failed.

Joining this policy of breaking the rules, Inafune also mentioned overseas developments as a major area of importance for developers. Lost Planet, Dead Rising and Street Fighter IV sold 2 million copies overseas and 200,000 copies in Japan. While it may look like this means the games aren't selling in Japan, they're actually selling the correct amount if you consider the share the Japan market has in the world. Inafune feels that Japan should be aware of this. One should not look at a game that becomes a big hit in Japan and mistakenly think that you can still succeed with just selling to the Japanese market.

By overseas developments, one usually thinks America and Europe. But Inafune said that Japanese developers should actually be thinking about the Asian market, centered on China.


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Dead Rising

PLATFORM: Xbox 360

MAKER: Capcom, Microsoft

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Although I wasn't terribly impressed with the titles he worked on during his twilight years at Capcom I have nothing but admiration for Inafune's legacy and commitment to fostering new IP rather than the stagnation Capcom had embraced.
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Yeah, I was speaking more from personal opinion regarding Dead Rising. But still, I think Icemael makes the best point, Capcom was not doing well with new IPs at that time, no matter how awesome they were.
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Don't get me wrong people, I only respect him for taking risks. I hate him for everything else
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Now, now, Dead Rising was set to become the best new franchise coming out of Capcom since Resident Evil. It is an amazing title to amid the cesspool of hive minded current generation school of game design managing to carve a very unique identity for itself.
Unfortunately all its potential was stifled when Inafune's bat guano loco infatuation with western development saw to its sequel being overseas outsourced, which equaled a 4 year delay and nothing to show for it since the sequel was a pretty so and so clone of the first game, warts and all, with a few tweaks thrown in for good measure, all of them prolly features that hit the cutting room floor during the development of the first game.
So Inafune did a good thing, but then squatted and shat all over its potential.
And I agree, sequels are not a bad thing if they are intermixed with a healthy dose of new IP's. Resident Evil 5 sure was an solid and fun experience. Sure some might argue that it did not leave up to 4, but then following up the act of one of the defining games of the last generation is not easy to do, RE5 was a solid game and it sold well.
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I have to agree, and also he's pretending like Capcom's sequels were somehow a bad thing. I have to say I enjoy DMC3 and SFIV a lot more than Lost Planet or Dead Rising. It's one thing to 'stifle creativity', and another to fine-tune what already works.
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I am not sure wither Inafune did more damage than good in his final years at Capcom.
If he truly was the person that convinced management that outsourcing development to overseas studios was a good idea I'd say the damage he did outweighs the good.
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I respect Inafune for what he did. I might not like his works (except for Lost Planet), but I do respect him...
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Remember, this was around the same time new IPs (like Okami and God Hand) made by the company's most talented people (Mikami, Kamiya, Inaba & Co.) flopped, leading to Clover Studio being shut down and said talented people leaving the company.
I'm not surprised they wanted to play it safe when not even the people who created Resident Evil and Devil May Cry could make financially successful new IPs.
Posted from this article
Capcom actually had a RULE that basically said "nothing but sequels"???
I mean, it's no secret that these managements LOVE sequels, but to actually have a RULE????
Wow. Just wow.
Posted from this article
wow... to think that one of my favorite Xbox360 games could have never been released thanks to Capcom
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