Capcom has a history of showing passion for game development even when the sales didn't justify continuation

Mega Man almost stopped after the first game while Street Fighter 3 would've ended its series if not for the passion of the developers

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • October 31, 2017 at 7:40 p.m. PDT

Capcom is a gaming company that is known for having a number of fan favorite intellectual properties. A few examples of these series include Mega Man, Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Ghost and Goblins, Devil May Cry, as well as plenty of others.

Throughout these intellectual properties, there are a large number of games that Capcom has developed over the years. They have their share of successes and flops.

For most gaming companies, having a game not be a commercial success is enough to deter them from continuing to work on a game or series. Capcom, however, does have a history of developing games even when previous titles did not do so well.

The Mega Man franchise is one that probably would not exist beyond its first title without a certain degree of passion from the developers. Maybe you didn't know this, but the first Mega Man game sold poorly.

As a result of Mega Man's lackluster performance, there were actually higher ups in the company that were against the idea of a sequel. It didn't appear to be worth it thanks to these sales figures.

Despite this, director Akira Kitamura was adamant about the creation of the next Mega Man game. Eventually, he was able to get permission to begin development -- on the condition that the team worked concurrently on other projects.

In other words, they developed the game basically during their free time. This was basically a passion project for the team.

While Keiji Inafune was just an artist and character designer for the original Mega Man, he had a much bigger role for the sequel. In an interview with Play Magazine back in 2014, Inafune talked about the dedication of the team while developing the game.

As you might expect since they were also working on other projects, the hours were very long. "So we, of our own accord, got together, spent our own time, we worked really, really hard, you know, just 20-hour days to complete this, because we were making something we wanted to make," said Inafune.

Still, it was something the team was passionate about doing. They wanted Mega Man to have a sequel despite its lackluster beginning.

"Probably in all my years of actually being in a video game company, that was the best time of my working at Capcom, because we were actually working toward a goal, we were laying it all on the line, we were doing what we wanted to do. And it really showed in the game, because it’s a game, once again, that we put all our time and effort and love, so to speak, into it, designing it."

Their dedication paid off. To this day, Mega Man 2 has sold over 1.51 million copies and has spawned many additional sequels and spin-offs. It is currently Capcom's 48th best selling game and is the Mega Man title that has sold the most.

Had the team not gone through the hoops that they did, we may not have a Mega Man today. Instead, he would've just been this one-time obscure video game character that nobody really remembers.

The Street Fighter series has gone through this a couple of times before too. Take Street Fighter 3, for example.

Even though it still has a hardcore following from a group of players, the series of games that made up Street Fighter 3 ended up being quite the flop. Despite this, there were three total attempts to make it work.

There was Street Fighter 3, Street Fighter 3: Second Impact, and Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. In a lot of ways, it's considered to be the black sheep of the Street Fighter family of games.

It is often said that Street Fighter 3 had almost killed the Street Fighter series altogether. In fact, it basically did for nine years.

The stigma at Capcom was basically that there would never be a new numeric title for the Street Fighter series. It had run its course.

Despite this, Yoshinori Ono was dedicated to reviving the franchise. He would pitch his idea to the then R&D head, ironically, Keiji Inafune.

As you might expect due to the performance of Street Fighter 3, there was a lot of resistance to this idea from some of the higher ups. Simply put, Street Fighter 4 almost didn't happen at all.

"It really was an uphill battle. It took a lot of patience, a lot of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a lot of logical persuasion to get traction."
— Capcom's Yoshinori Ono on pitching Street Fighter 4.

"It really was an uphill battle," Ono noted to Polygon. "It took a lot of patience, a lot of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a lot of logical persuasion to get traction."

Previously, Ono had worked as a sound programmer for Street Fighter 3: Third Strike and Street Fighter Alpha. He joined the company originally because he was a big fan.

Now he would be working on Street Fighter 4 as the producer and project manager. You can imagine that it was somewhat risky for such a move in case the game didn't sell well.

Luckily, it performed very well. Street Fighter 4, excluding later updates to the game, sold over 3.4 million units. To this day, it is Capcom's 13th best selling game.

If we were to tally Street Fighter 4's 3.4 million sales with Super Street Fighter 4's 1.9 million, Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition's 1.2 million, Ultra Street Fighter 4's 1.1 million, and Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition's 1.1 million, then the total number of sales for this iteration is over 8.7 million units.

Many would argue that Street Fighter 4 not only revived this particular franchise, but the genre as a whole. It was only later where we saw the release of games like King of Fighters 13 and Mortal Kombat 2011.

Fighting games may not be what they are today if not for Yoshinori Ono's passion and determination.

And that brings us to today with Street Fighter 5. Despite the year one projected sales being at 2 million, the game has only sold 1.7 million units to date.

For some companies, this might be cause enough to abandon support for the game. Still, we see that there is more that is on the way.

The game's initial character roster of 16 is just four away from being doubled with the addition on twelve DLC characters. It looks as though Season 3 is a lock for an additional six characters if the rumors are to be believed (not to mention that Capcom has stated that they plan to support the game until 2020).

The reception to the announcement for Street Fighter 5 Arcade Edition has been mostly positive. Features will be added that fans have been hoping for since the game's release.

Given, Capcom is often criticized for not having all this content ready from the get-go. In a lot of ways, these can be seen as fair criticisms.

Despite the negatives and the slightly below projected sales, Capcom has continued support for the game. For current owners, the Arcade Edition will be a free update. Capcom is still technically living up to their promise that users won't have to buy another copy of the game.

It's been a rocky start, but it seems like the passion behind the Street Fighter 5 team is taking the game to good places.

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