- Capcom has been on a high lately with numerous successful titles such as Street Fighter 6, Resident Evil 4, and Monster Hunter World/Rise.
- A rising concern is that within these successes, the subtle chinks betray a potentially dark time for the company once again.
No studio in the present day is having a better time than Capcom. After a rough early-mid 2010s, the company experienced rapid growth with numerous quality releases back to back such as Resident Evil 7, Monster Hunter World, and the last season of Street Fighter V.
Since then, Capcom’s streak has only continued while maintaining a highly consistent array of releases for the last 6 years. Even their weakest title, the Resident Evil 3 Remake, while flawed, is a high-quality action game reminiscent of 90s action films such as Terminator and Predator. Only a few months ago, the company also put out its most critically successful release in years with the remake of Resident Evil 4.
Their latest title, Street Fighter 6, which happens to be my personal Game of the Year, is also nothing to scoff at, seeing as it is already one of the most successful fighting games in the industry, with over 2 million copies sold. it’s one of the best fighting games currently available in the market.
However, no high lasts forever, and the same can be said for Capcom. While their recent releases have been high-quality big-budget AAA titles, their post-launch support and monetization leave a whole lot more to be desired.
One of the worst practices Capcom has started to employ for their newer titles is sneaking in microtransactions after a game’s launch. Raking in all the goodwill early on and shutting down reviews that would otherwise highlight the microtransactions and how they work—it is a nasty tactic that fools both critics and early consumers that buy the game on launch.
The latest game Capcom has done this for is the Resident Evil 4 Remake. The game launched without any microtransactions at first, garnering plenty of goodwill for being a very consumer-friendly product until a post-launch a few weeks later adding microtransactions in the game after all. The microtransactions would let players get exclusive weapon upgrade tickets that players could use to get a weapon’s exclusive upgrade early on.
Many would argue that if you don’t like the microtransactions, just don’t purchase them, since they are optional. Are they? I don’t quite think so. I feel folks that invest in microtransactions propagate a bigger issue in games. What happens when publishers find out something is successful? They do it more, and they encourage more ways to spend money even for games bought for a premium price.
Mobile and sports games do it a lot. Those games are designed less like products for players to enjoy and more like functioning slot machines masquerading as video games. They manipulate the player’s instincts in order to get them to spend more money. The most recent and predatory example of this is Activision Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal.
The game was maligned all across the internet, but that didn’t stop players from it being one of Activision Blizzard’s most successful titles, earning nearly 50 million dollars in its first month alone.
Resident Evil 4 fortunately doesn’t suffer from these issues, even if they deprive certain players of a crucial aspect of the game’s experience, the game is designed without any microtransactions in mind, but their latest title, Exoprimal, certainly is not.
Exoprimal launched hardly a week ago and it’s already marred by paid DLC cosmetics, a $10 battle pass, and a $15 starter kit that gives you early access to unlockable classes and various cosmetic items while already lacking in meaningful content at launch.
Speaking of paid DLC…
I do personally think that the way Capcom handles paid DLC works better than the way many other publishers do it. It’s not particularly predatory and a lot of it is even directly unlockable by just playing the games themselves, at least as far as the Resident Evil games are concerned. However, I do have a problem with some particular oddities.
One of these is present in all of the Resident Evil remakes. I personally think that the option to replace the soundtrack of the remakes with the original soundtrack is something that should be present in the game as is instead of being paid DLC.
The same applies to the battle pass in Street Fighter 6, which is a problem that is prevalent across just about every single popular online game nowadays. I already just bought the game for $60, I should not have to buy a battle pass that costs $10-$20 just so I can participate in the game’s progression systems. Fortunately, the battle pass is so terrible that there is hardly a point to purchase it in the first place.
I think one thing Capcom has been consistently bad at is communicating with their player base. This is mostly because there is a very odd lack of communication in the first place. A good example of it is with how the (relatively) recent rereleases of Devil May Cry 3 and Devil May Cry 5 were handled. Let’s start with Devil May Cry 3 and it’s Switch port.
Style Switching has consistently been at the forefront of the Devil May Cry series, particularly Devil May Cry 4 and 5. It emphasizes the player’s freedom of expression and significantly expands the depth and enjoyment of the combat system. Devil May Cry 3 was the first game that introduced the style system in the series, letting Dante switch between various styles at the start of a mission or set points at a level.
The problem with this was that certain styles offer significantly more utility than others while others feel like they’re designed to be used in conjunction with each other. Gunslinger for one relies on stylish moves employing Dante’s many ranged weapons, something that only really opens up once you can reliably use it in conjunction with styles such as Swordmaster and Trickster.
For years, one of the most requested features in DMC3 has been the ability to switch between styles on the fly. That request was finally answered with the Switch port of the game, adding on-the-fly style switching to DMC3. For some utterly bizarre reason, however, this feature is limited only to the Switch version of the game.
Since its release fans have been asking for an update to the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC versions of the game that would add style switching to those versions of the game as well, with no response from Capcom. This is not the only time PC players have been left behind, as the Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition was also exclusive only to consoles.
This means that PC players were deprived of additional gameplay modes such as the Legendary Dark Knight difficulty as well as the Turbo Mode which has been a series staple since Devil May Cry 3. Demands from players resulted in a response from Capcom stating that these features were only possible on next-gen consoles, which is just a straight-up lie as players have added these features themselves thanks to modding.
Devil May Cry itself is placed in kind of a stasis with no new updates or content (and no Pinnacle of Combat does not count).
The Bottom Line
As good as Capcom has been over the last few years, the momentum runs out sooner or later, the only question is when? Capcom’s online offerings in particular have proven to be greatly disappointing. Umbrella Corps, Resident Evil Resistance, and recently RE: Verse have all greatly underwhelmed fans. While many would jump to lump Exoprimal in the same group, I feel it is slightly premature to do that, especially as it just came out.
It can’t be denied however that fans are “eating good” as they say. We still have plenty of exciting projects incoming, of particular note are Dragon’s Dogma 2 and Pragmata. Here’s hoping that up next we get to see other titles in the spotlight such as Dino Crisis, Dead Rising, and most importantly, Haunting Ground. Please Capcom I would sacrifice a newborn for anything Haunting Ground related.
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