Capcom laid off approximately 30 percent of its Vancouver office as part of a reorganization aimed at tackling the next Dead Rising project.
Kotaku first broke the news of the layoffs after an anonymous source familiar with the situation spoke with the site, indicating that the yet-to-be-announced next installment in the Dead Rising series was “over-scoped and under-staffed”.
A Capcom representative released the following statement to IGN surrounding the news of the layoffs:
“Capcom Vancouver has undergone a restructure which has impacted approximately 30 percent of the studio, as part of its regular periodic assessment of upcoming projects and overall studio goals. The team is continuing to work hard to support the recent release of Puzzle Fighter for mobile and is dedicated to its flagship Dead Rising series.”
Capcom Vancouver is the studio behind the second, third, and fourth installments of the series, which centers on killing zombies in humorous, over-the-top ways. Think Grand Theft Auto with zombies. Capcom Vancouver is also the studio responsible for the Android and iOS mobile game, Puzzle Fighter, released in late 2017. The gem-puzzle game, first released on the original PlayStation console in 1996, utilizes Tetris-like mechanics that players use to battle against one another with classic Capcom arcade characters, such as Ryu and Chun-Li from Street Fighter, Mega Man, and – you guessed it – Frank West, the main protagonist throughout the Dead Rising series.
Over-scoped, understaffed, and underfunded reasons (to name a few) for studio layoffs – and games being cancelled outright – are all too common within the video game industry, and one of the biggest frustrations for fans passionate about certain series’. 2017 alone saw layoffs from heavy-hitting studios Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones) and Activision Publishing (Call of Duty, Destiny 2), the latter of which cited a light slate of games for 2017 as the primary cause for layoffs.
Capcom Vancouver’s current focus on the highly downloaded Puzzle Fighter seems to be paying off nicely for the studio. Ratings of the game are trending above four stars on both Android and iOS platforms. Conversely, while the official fate of the popular Dead Rising series remains to be seen, any future game will likely need to up the ante from Dead Rising 4, which was met with mixed reviews compared with the first games in the series. Fans would be wise to refrain from jumping to conclusions that Dead Rising is on any sort of chopping block. In August 2017, Capcom Vancouver announced the hiring of twenty-year industry veteran, Tim Bennison, as the new studio director aimed at spearheading growth for the studio. With that in mind, the recent layoffs may be just the tip of the iceberg for moving the studio forward and positively impacting the future and quality of its games, which will hopefully include a new installment within the Dead Rising series.