Capcom Planning to Go to the Remake Well

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Capcom Planning to Go to the Remake Well

There's little doubt--and there probably shouldn't have been much doubt to begin with-- that titles like Resident Evil HD were likely to do well in the field. The current word says that it actually did do well--very well, even--in terms of sales. But a new report out suggests that Capcom is planning to make HD remakes a bigger part of the operation than ever before, and bring out more franchise titles in HD splendor.

Capcom, during a recent Q&A session, offered up the blandly world-shattering tidbit that "HD remasters of our catalog hit titles will be one of our key business activities." Interestingly, the report went on to note that selling these titles overseas at stores was actually becoming more difficult, thanks to the declining numbers of stores on hand, as well as hits to sales area sizes. Thus Capcom turned to digital download sales, and it's been working, according to reports. Subsequent reports suggest that Capcom's got plans to bring out a "Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition" for next month, with "Resident Evil Zero" to follow.

On one hand, this is good news. It's good to see Capcom pull some old games forward and give them a fresh coat of paint. A lot of the best games are often lost when it comes to new console versions. I've found myself wondering more than once why I can't play "Morrowind" in full Xbox One beauty. Plus, Capcom's got a lot of great titles that could stand resurrection; who wouldn't like to see "Mega Man Legends" or "The Misadventures of Tron Bonne" come back? I would! Even bringing "Dead Rising" into HD glory would be impressive enough, and that was the start of the Xbox 360 age.

But on the other hand, this is a very real problem. If Capcom's putting its time and effort into HD remakes, what will happen to its original content development? Will we see fewer such titles? We already know triple-A studios have problems with innovation as it is because it's risky, but will this move give us more or less innovation? HD remasters of former hits are likely to be hits, and that steady income can mean willingness to risk. But then, why take on any risk at all if the HD remakes are making the company enough dough? Sure, the company can support more risk with HD remasters making money, but why not funnel that cash into higher pay or the like instead of into games that might fail? New games are less of a bet-the-company strategy this way, but why be less risk-averse because the company has steady money coming in? Well, there's always the point that the risks of today are the HD remasters of tomorrow, but there's also the old Dilbert-logic that a bonus today is worth the entire company tomorrow.

This could be a good thing, or a bad one, depending on how Capcom reacts to the news that its HD remasters are actually welcome in the field. If these are used as fodder to drive innovation, we all win. If these are used as cheap cash cows, we mostly lose. Going to be interesting, though, to see how it all turns out in the end.

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