It's Time To Start Trusting Capcom Again
Capcom is no stranger to the ups and downs of the video game industry. The developer and publisher has been around for decades, and it has seen promising studios come and go while Capcom has remained a household name. After a tumultuous few years that culminated in the disaster that was Street Fighter 5‘s panning, however, Capcom has finally righted the ship. Is it time to start trusting Capcom again? Can the company really deliver the same kind of quality games it staked its name on during its glory years?
If it can, 2019 will be the year it proved it. Capcom already had a great 2018 under its belt, with Monster Hunter World setting company records for worldwide sales while a slew of Switch ports buoyed the company’s transition onto Nintendo’s newest device. This year, however, the industry giant has released two genuine game of the year contenders within the first three calendar months: Resident Evil 2, a remake of a classic, and Devil May Cry 5, the return of a franchise that was last seen successfully rebooting its entire universe and then failing to capitalize on it.
There couldn’t be two more perfect games to reflect Capcom’s dramatic turnaround, either. It feels almost deliberate the way these two releases cement the company as one to watch moving forward. Monster Hunter World proved that Capcom could continue spreading one of its most consistently successful properties to larger swaths of gamers, but Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 are arguably even stronger statements.
Resident Evil 2 is one of the best remakes ever made, a loving retelling of a timeless story that didn’t just go for an easy cash-in on nostalgia. Devil May Cry 5 is a return to form for a series that seemed dead in the water after DmC: Devil May Cry reviewed well but failed to make the kind of impression as its predecessors. Both are two must-play titles for 2019, and either of them could win year-end awards for the quality of the experience they deliver. Fans are noticing the quality, too:
In fact, it’s difficult to find a game that Capcom hasn’t released to critical acclaim over the past few years, as the company continues to provide great gaming experiences no matter the property or genre. After tarnishing its reputation with the way it handled the Street Fighter legacy, the company has worked hard to prove it was a one-off failure, and its body of work after early 2019 is hard to argue with. Capcom is clearly willing to experiment – Resident Evil 2 was basically completely rebuilt, while Devil May Cry 5 introduced a character in V whose combat style is utterly unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Those experiments are also paying off, as the publisher continues to take calculated risks.
In an industry where playing it safe has become something of the norm for many publishers, the willingness to both return to its roots and reinvent how they spread is what makes Capcom so alluring at this point in time. While companies like EA attempt to cash-in on the safety of a Destiny-esque shooter and have it blow up in its face like a cartoon villain holding a lit stick of dynamite, Capcom is pushing, slowly and deliberately. Monster Hunter World didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it made it travel further than it had before. Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 followed suit. Mile by mile, these IPs are being driven into new territory without losing what made them special in the first place.
Maybe that’s the best way to proceed, too. Capcom has a few more properties it could look to breathe life into now that the studio’s on one of gaming’s biggest hot streaks. Dead Rising caught lightning in a bottle once, before convoluted plot lines and curious design decisions ate away at its potential. Lost Planet was ambitious and fun, but its sequels left it out in the cold. Capcom has proven that it understands where its heading better than many companies right now, and MetaCritic ranked it as the best gaming publisher in 2018. Perhaps now it’s time to take some even bigger chances on IPs many thought might be dead?
Regardless of what Capcom decides is best next, it’s time to let go of the notion that it’s a company that doesn’t really know where it’s heading. That mode of thinking is outdated – and, in retrospect, has been for years. It’s easy to cling to stereotypes or past perception of such a recognizable entity, but the publisher has done more than enough to earn the trust of the fans who desperately want it to remain a major player in video games. It’s time to start trusting Capcom again, and hopefully, the precedent this reversal of fortunes sets begins to affect other publishing and developing companies too. The message is clear: if you give the many talented men and women in the games industry the time and security to create something special, more often than not, they’ll get it right.