If there's any Japanese developer that could be considered on the edge, rocking their franchises with the greatest of ease, it's Capcom. Despite the sudden departure of Mega Man-creator Keiji Inafune last year, the company is still among the top in Japan for turning out new games and making excellent use of player nostalgia: Mega Man 9, Super Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs Capcom 3... But, along with these successes, there have been some stinkers lately with the name Capcom on the box, and what those have in common, apparently, is that they were given first to Western devs. Bionic Commando's developer, Grin, has already closed and scattered, while the folks behind Dark Void didn't exactly get the best press from its reception.
If you'd asked Capcom Japan a year ago where they stood on letting Western developers releasing under them, the answer would come out short, if not downright bitter. But things are looking up, according to Vice President of Capcom US, Christian Svensson. He says that while Capcom as a whole will be "taking some major new IP risks," they'll be mostly handled by studios in the East. Western devs will still be trusted to "leverage existing classic Capcom brands." A good example of this surely comes from last year's Dead Rising 2, which was well-received and kept much of the first game's polish - and was developed in conjunction with Vancouver-based Blue Castle Games.
So Capcom's faith in working with Western devs may have been restored somewhat, even if it means only being trusted with sequels. Svensson also commented that while Capcom is reliant in its heavy-hitters and established brands (hi, Mega Man!) they're being careful of how to use those without over-saturating the market.
And my favorite quote of the interview leaves much to the imagination:
We have loads of things which we're still noodling which we haven't touched in years and years and years. We really still think there's value in trying some stuff with them. [...] You may see some other stuff, which we we've been quite prolific with, take a little rest for a while whilst we update some stuff that hasn't been looked at for a while.More blasts from the past! What could it mean?! A new Strider? Ghosts & Goblins? 1942?
What would we most like to see from Capcom Japan resurrected as a 'new' IP?