Interview with Capcom's Christian Svensson, part 1

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • September 30, 2010 at 3:22 a.m. PDT
Interview with Capcom's Christian Svensson, part 1 EventHubs caught up with Capcom's vice president of strategic planning and business development, Christian Svensson — also known more simply as "Sven" — to talk about the past and future of fighting games at the company.

While Svensson is very active in the community, you may not be aware how direct of a hand he's had in getting some of the titles you know and love out to the fans.

Part 1 of this interview touches on Christian's role at Capcom and spreads out into the games themselves. Hit the jump to view the story and check back tomorrow for part 2.

EventHubs: What parts of development for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 are being handled by Capcom USA?

Christian Svensson: Very little aside from the fact that I initiated the project with Marvel and negotiated the contract. I remain one of the primary business relationship holders with them. Niitsuma-san and his team has done the vast majority of the heavy lifting on the actual development, though Marvel has contributed a ton of feedback and collaborative direction.

EventHubs: You post frequently on the Capcom-Unity boards. You're one of the few vice presidents in the console game realm that do this, why is being so hands on with the community important to you?

Svensson: Since coming to Capcom, I’ve viewed our fans as one of the assets that sets this company apart from most of its competitors. And I’ve looked at how that community was interacted with in the past… which is to say, it wasn’t. And in spite of not being directly engaged by Capcom, the fans still loved our products, brands and characters.

So one of the huge opportunities I saw for the company is if it were to more directly engage and listen to its fans and so I set about trying to instill that within the US office’s culture. That’s why building Capcom-Unity and the community team in general, was important. That’s why I’ve pushed for Comic-Con to be a bigger show for us than E3. That’s why I recruited some really smart folks like Chris Kramer (now departed unfortunately) and Seth Killian (still steadfastly dedicated) to help expand and push that vision as their day-to-day jobs. And they in turn have helped that community vision spread through our marketing department and into product development and ultimately to our producers in Japan. We’re not done yet getting to where we need to be but over the last four to five years, we’ve come a very long way.

On a related note, having been in the industry for a very long time, I’ve seen a lot of executives sitting in ivory towers that are making decisions that are completely out of touch with what their customers actually want. While our decision making process isn’t always perfect (and to be fair to us, consumers don’t always understand or have knowledge of all of the factors why certain policies or decisions are enacted) I feel that if you aren’t engaged with your fans you’re going to make more mistakes than you otherwise would.

EventHubs: Do you think Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will outperform vanilla Street Fighter 4 from a sales stand point?

Svensson: That is my expectation, yes. MvC3 has a more broadly appealing/recognizable brand with the inclusion of Marvel, a more accessible but still deep fighting system that’s fun for casual players and EVO attendees. It’s only helped by the fact that it has been by far, our most requested sequel title in my tenure here at Capcom. And we’ll be supporting it with marketing at least as aggressive if not more so than we did with Street Fighter 4 to ensure everyone knows that it’s coming. All of these factors lead me to believe that it will be at least as successful as SF4 from a sales perspective.

EventHubs: Do you foresee console games heading into a digital only space and dropping retail altogether at some point?

Svensson: As big a proponent of digital as I am, that will never happen. Retail will always have a place because it will always be important to facilitate impulse purchases, cash based transactions, giftable (in the physical sense) objects even if that object is nothing more than a token in a box, etc. Secondly, I do believe that some retailers like Gamestop do offer value to less educated consumers (think your mom) when it comes to directing them to products they or someone they’re buying for might enjoy. Sure there are ways that user reviews and the like could provide similar guidance, but for your average non-gaming consumer, they aren’t going to do the research online. They’re just going to walk into a store and ask a clerk for a recommendation.

The difference in the future is that retail won’t be the predominant channel and thus the power exchange will flip from retailers to consumers, which ultimately is better for the entire ecosystem.

EventHubs: How did Marvel vs. Capcom 2's re-release perform in comparison to vanilla Street Fighter 4?

Svensson: You ask that as if MvC2 is done selling. :)

Street Fighter 4 outsold it, but MvC2 is currently our best selling digital title. It continues to sell extremely well and will do so probably until the term on our contract with Marvel ends (at which point we’ll have to discontinue selling it). You never know, over time it might catch SF4 as more consumers get comfortable buying online.

EventHubs: Do you think Capcom will do more HD Remixed titles in the future, or are we much more likely to see titles in the same vein as Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Final Fight's re-releases?

Svensson: Yes to both.

EventHubs: Can you explain why Capcom went through such a long drought between fighting games after Street Fighter 3 Third Strike was released in 1999?

Svensson: I’d really have to defer to Inafune on a question like this. I wasn’t around that whole time.

EventHubs: If all licensing and financial hurdles were cleared out of the way, who would you most like to do a crossover Vs. fighting game with?

Svensson: There are other hurdles beyond licensing and financial in these sorts of things but I’d probably pick Mortal Kombat. Having been a VP at Midway as well, the franchise still holds a special place in my heart.

Part 2: Interview with Capcom's Christian Svensson


PaiZuri said on September 30, 2010 at 3:33 a.m.

EventHubs congrads on the scoop!

ScytheWP said on September 30, 2010 at 3:39 a.m.

Whoa. That's what I call an interview. Not one question asking about characters, but just gathering interesting to read information. I'm really glad to see that Eventhubs was asking real questions, and I was pleased with the answers (more HD remixes). Very, very good, and well worth the read. Keep up the good work!

PaiZuri said on September 30, 2010 at 3:42 a.m.

Ofcourse MvC3 is gonna sell more!

Spiderman, Iron Man, Hulk, Ryu, Dante, Deadpool, Magneto, Wolverine and more will make sure of that!

I wanna know the REAL answer for Capcom's drought of fighting games for that decade!
Scared? Recharging? Internal issues?

I wonder if he's gonna ask about 4-player gameplay in MvC3 2morrow? Probably not.

PaiZuri said on September 30, 2010 at 3:45 a.m.

I know right, Scythe!
Good intriguing questions that are not typical, will (insert) be in this?
I wanna see know what% of websites 'borrow' this story?
SRK for sure, TFG, IPW...

Struggs said on September 30, 2010 at 3:52 a.m.

Now Capcom has said they want to do an MK vs. game too. The MK guys said they want to do it a ways back! I bet this happens, not for awhile because of SF vs. Tekken coming first, but after that... I bet it happens!

PaiZuri said on September 30, 2010 at 3:52 a.m.

A good question I would have liked asked was.

If you want a crossover w/MK would the game be T or M? Would Capcom allow their characters die? Would Midway want another game w/o real fatalities.

Is there a chance for 3rd strike Online to trump GGPO and become an HD remix? With Balance changes?

Were there any characters on your mind that could not make the final cut of MvC3 and why?

De-confirm some names that are not gonna be in SSFAE.

What is the deal with the T-Rating and why is it so kiddie now? (no blood or Nemisis) ESRB question? What moves were cut because of this!?

Was there a Marvel character too violent for MvC3?

Are there any plans to make a crossover between SNK again?

KAZZNORE said on September 30, 2010 at 3:54 a.m.

Very nice questions and good info, here we go with the Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat stuff it will happen not today not tomorrow but mark my words and bookmark this page... ITS COMING. Baaaah who knows maybe not .

Someday said on September 30, 2010 at 3:56 a.m.

SF vs MK gogogo lol.

Gotta love Gouki's fatalities!

TheMasterPlayer said on September 30, 2010 at 4:59 a.m.

Love the interview, informative and smart Q & A on both sides.

Now, the ultimate mvc-style crossover fighting game I would definitely love to see is Marvel vs DC! This definitely needs to see the light of day Capcom, PLEASE! It should be next after MVC3 imo.

Hadododouken said on September 30, 2010 at 5:50 a.m.

I'd prefer another SNK crossover as opposed to a Mortal Kombat crossover. I just feel like SF and in fact Capcom as a whole are on a level completely above Mortal Kombat.

zUkUu said on September 30, 2010 at 6:02 a.m.

street fighter x mortel combat confirmed? : D Heel my words. It's coming... sometimes... 2018

OSM said on September 30, 2010 at 6:17 a.m.

Ask him about Darkstalkers if you can.

Hakansoilbarrel said on September 30, 2010 at 6:38 a.m.

(MK's crew has already had a game w/o fatalies, so it's not out of the question, folks.(Not saying it was a GOOD game :P).

And I don't think we're gonna see crossover w/ SNK anytime soon, Dan is in better shape than that whole series...)

caruga said on September 30, 2010 at 7:29 a.m.

I'd normally want to hear something said about SSF4 PC, but I'm not going to, since he'll just reiterate the noncommital statements he's uttered before.

mag44 said on September 30, 2010 at 8:12 a.m.


"Was there a Marvel character too violent for MvC3?"

ThatRandomGamerGuy said on September 30, 2010 at 8:44 a.m.

oh ohh. Ehubs doing interviews O_o!....

"..'Cause we're movin' on uuuuuuuup...."

Hrm said on September 30, 2010 at 8:57 a.m.

Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat eh?
Man, I've heard that concept so many times but... from a gameplay standpoint I can see it working, but from the standpoint of overall tone of the game I'm not so sure.

TCal said on September 30, 2010 at 9:19 a.m.

Great interview, cant wait to hear more.

KevinT747 said on September 30, 2010 at 9:48 a.m.

Great interview Catalyst. It's nice to see some questions more directed at the organization and not the individual titles. I actually learned a little more about the business, which was helpful. I'm glad that Capcom is now giving EH some attention as a news/interview outlet and hope to see more like this in the future.

MALDA said on September 30, 2010 at 10:20 a.m.

(This user was banned.)

Catalyst said on September 30, 2010 at 10:24 a.m.


Actually, Svensson has something interesting to say about the PC release of SSF4 coming up in part 2. It's not good news for fans hoping for a release, but he offers up some information on the subject that I hadn't seen before. It's not just remarks about piracy.

Part 2 will be up early tomorrow morning.

Gaminggenius88 said on September 30, 2010 at 10:42 a.m.

Great interview Catalyst and Eventhubs! It's nice to see the EH community getting some play when it comes to interviews and news scoops.

kirbykirbykirby said on September 30, 2010 at 10:43 a.m.

It would be nice if marvel vs capcom 1 were to be bundled with mvc3 with online. That game is a classic and a lot of people prefer mvc1 over mvc2

h1tm0nl33 said on September 30, 2010 at 10:59 a.m.

@9 sadly Marvel VS DC will never happen not only because of the egos of thoes in charge at Marvel and DC but because of the fact that there owned by Disney and WB respectivly and they are much larger rivals Marvel and DC

Hrm said on September 30, 2010 at 12:21 p.m.

I'm curious why Catalyst is posting the interview in two parts at separate times instead of all at once.

caruga said on September 30, 2010 at 12:31 p.m.

@Catalyst: I hope I agree. Is "not good" neutral or bad? If he deconfirms a PC release that's not necessarily a bad thing; people have asked for a yes OR a no for ages, and it would allow people to exhale after having waited so long.

ibLeo said on September 30, 2010 at 1:07 p.m.

I wonder how blocking would be handled in a SFxMK game. Would you press backward? Would you press a block button? Both? Neither? Also, would dashing be through a double-tap forward, or holding down a Run button? Bringing in fatalities would be cool, since there wouldn't really be any confirmed winners/losers in any sort of canon. You could have Ultra Combos for the any time during the fight, and finishers when health is low/gone. And best of all, after SF characters have finishers, Capcom could see if the idea is popular and carry that over into the main series (non-fatal versions) into the main series as a new gameplay mechanic.

Hakansoilbarrel said on September 30, 2010 at 2:42 p.m.

(BTW I actually thought of a question - why are MVC series natives not going to be in MVC3? I know you already did the interview, but, imma miss Amingo T-T)

Ryu_Hoshi said on September 30, 2010 at 2:59 p.m.

SF vs MK?????

hahahhahah that will be nice, i hope that the next MK will be better than the las titles, i must say that since MK3 the havent done anything interesting

MK vs DC universe is one of the worse fighting games in history, not to mention that the animations of the MK series are really bad and robotic like.
and the sounds of the hits in the last one???? omg horrible.

even do, i remember the MK2 like one of the best games when i was little.

Ryu_Hoshi said on September 30, 2010 at 3:09 p.m.

ok lets do something......

in crossover games from capcom they use to find the perfect match between the 2 games.


ryu vs subzero
ken vs scorpion?
feilong vs liu kang or johnny cage?
akuma vs shang tsung
cammy vs sonya
juri vs kitana
balrog vs jax
dictator vs shao kahn
sagat vs .................
vega vs baraka (the beauty and the beast)
honda vs ................
gouken vs raiden

come on, let me know what you think about the rest of te cast

Batsu said on September 30, 2010 at 4:39 p.m.

Hey, Eventhubs? Good fuggin job!

Mr_Clack said on September 30, 2010 at 6:56 p.m.

Id like to know why they changed DeadPool's lines. It's no longer BangX5,000 or I LOOOOVE Me some Guns.

Is it gone or is it an addition to his in-game lines?

kirbykirbykirby said on September 30, 2010 at 8:04 p.m.

@32 Does deadpool say i hear bullets taste like chicken?

xShonuffx said on September 30, 2010 at 8:48 p.m.

Now THIS is how you do an interview, cut the character questions to absolute minimal.

Megatonbeef said on September 30, 2010 at 8:58 p.m.

Very interesting read about the expectations and goals of Capcom.

@Ryu_Hoshi Cody vs Striker

Mr_Clack said on September 30, 2010 at 10:17 p.m.

@33 yes.
But is it a change or is it an alternate in-game.
You know how Americans feel about the word, guns or innuendo like bang.

denaycous_dee85 said on September 30, 2010 at 10:46 p.m.

DONT AGREE ON SF vs MK.......grew up playing both.....but id rather c sumthing else.... mk vs killer instinct or sf vs snk or darkstalkers vs blazblue.......... i dont know....... i just think the fatalities would b hard on capcom to face with.

denaycous_dee85 said on September 30, 2010 at 10:51 p.m.

i wouldn't want my sf characters get there head chopped off or there spine mk vs killer instinct is something else....both had fatalities & ridiculous combos.....midway make it happen.......rise my killer instinct RISE!!!!!!!!!!!

JumpMan33 said on September 30, 2010 at 11:24 p.m.

Thanks for the interview, keep up the good work Catalyst =)

sucellos11 said on October 1, 2010 at 1:37 a.m.

Hi there! I want to invite you guys to vote on these character polls:

Just see the 2nd post.

No need to register.

Thanks for your participation and time! Best luck for your characters!

UltimateDeeJay said on October 1, 2010 at 8:02 p.m.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 is going to be huge success

Xykes said on January 31, 2011 at 1:03 a.m.

"EventHubs: Can you explain why Capcom went through such a long drought between fighting games after Street Fighter 3 Third Strike was released in 1999?"

Why does everyone think that SF3: Third Strike was the last fighting game Capcom released until SF4?

MvC2, CvS 1 and 2 - all came out after 3S.

I know people like to blame SF3 for the temporary demise of 2D Capcom fighters...but, it really wasn't the case.

sarif2soon said on March 22, 2014 at 10:14 p.m.

Yo Marvel


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