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Sometimes it's hard to tell if a developer/publisher would prefer that a game sells well or gets a good reception. According to a recent interview with COO Stuart Turner, Capcom is more interested in the latter. The good news is that, based on the early buzz surrounding Resident Evil 2, their next major game launch might manage both. Turner said this:
While we have shareholders to appease, it's not just about commercial performance. 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.
According to Capcom Europe's head, the team takes several factors into consideration when determining if a game is a success. Although some strive for strong sales numbers, others aim for quality work that gets a positive reception. The sweet spot, obviously, is a game that offers a quality experience and also rakes in a nice chunk of change. While those two aren't always connected, the idea is that good reviews create longtime fans and, eventually, that forward momentum translates into even higher sales.
This all comes from a recent interview with Games Industry. In it, Stuart Turner is joined by colleague Antoine Moant in a discussion about what success means at Capcom, as well as how the recently revealed remake of Resident Evil 2 took form.
In the interview, Turner points out that, while Resident Evil 7 garnered much more critical success than Resident Evil 5 or 6, the game sold a couple million units less. But Turner states that Capcom does not see that as a failure on the part of RE7. Instead, he notes that the studio would rather offer a quality experience than pull down big figures and get lambasted by critics and fans alike. Given the fact that the series was on a downward spiral in the eyes of many fans, it could be argued that the critical reception of the previous two games in the series may have resulted in fewer customers being willing to take a chance on RE7, which turned out to be a series darling in the eyes of many.
It's an interesting interview full of insight into game development, and there are even a few tidbits peppered in about the upcoming Resident Evil 2. The team was nervous, for instance, leading into the E3 reveal because they were worried that the new control scheme might upset longtime fans of the series. But Capcom decided to stick with its gut and gun for more modern controls in the hopes of offering a better gameplay experience. Given the amazing reception the demo has received so far, we'd say they made a good call.