Capcom is happy with Resident Evil 7’s critical response even though they didn’t sell as many copies as Resident Evil 6, marking a more long-term view of game development.
We found out at this year’s E3 that Capcom is hard at work making a new Resident Evil game that’s actually an older Resident Evil game. Resident Evil 2, which is confusingly being given the exact same name as the 1998 original and not some qualifying title like “remastered”, will be the exact same plot and characters as the first version but with an entirely new camera and set of controls.
Some might see the step back to a more Resident Evil 4-style of gameplay to be somewhat confusing given the fact Resident Evil 7 adopted a first-person perspective. There was some concern about that as well within Capcom, but according to their testing, it was just the best way to bring the old game into the current millennia.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Antoine Molant and Stuart Turner of Capcom Europe explained that today’s Capcom is an entirely different beast than the one that made the original RE2. They’re more concerned with making a healthy game that’s well received by audiences and critics alike than just making something to fill a release slot.
As proof, the two discussed the differences between RE7 and RE6, of which there are many. The biggest difference between the two was Capcom’s response to their reception. RE6 sold much better than RE7, but was critically panned as a poor action game that did little for the genre. Meanwhile, RE7 sold two million units less than RE6, but was considered by critics as groundbreaking, a return to the old style of slow horror gameplay that made Resident Evil famous.
So, which one does Capcom prefer?
"While we have shareholders to appease, it's not just about commercial performance," explained Turner. "There is an artistic element that always comes in where we know this is the right way. And while if we compare RE7 to RE6 the absolute numbers are not the same, in terms of the profitability... it's completely fine. It ticked all of our boxes internally. It was really well received. And in some respects, getting some very good review scores counts as much for Capcom as a game that sells millions and millions and millions. We'd prefer a game that got a 9 and sold less, than got a 6 but sold more."
Molant went on to explain that Capcom as a company is more concerned with long-term profitability than day-one sales. A game that sells great on the first day gives you a bit of cash but eventually peters out, but a game that reviews great and gets fans excited generates sales for years and years to come. We’ve seen this in the resurgence of classic game systems like the Nintendo Classic and the myriad remade and remastered games on current-gen hardware.
Other publishers and developers working on beloved franchises should take note: this is the correct way to handle your IP.