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Inafune Shares Past Capcom Development Secrets

Former development head reveals sneaky strategy for getting Lost Planet and Dead Rising approved.

 
Inafune in a promotion for Dead Rising 2.

Former Capcom development head Keiji Inafune recently addressed students in a seminar at Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University. Here's a bit of what he said based off a Famitsu.com report.

Held on the evening of the sixth, Inafune's speech was one part of a series of "Creative Leadership Seminars" held by Ritsumeikan's film school. Inafune shared some insights into his 24 years of work at Capcom.

Inafune recalled a time at Capcom where he feels that breaking the rules saved the company. Before the development of Lost Planet and Dead Rising, Capcom's management, concerned with risks, had a rule in place where making anything but sequels was forbidden. The actual rule required 70 to 80% sequels with the remaining 20% being new titles, but in practice any suggestion for a new title would not receive approval.

Preparing himself for rejection, Inafune started up the completely original Lost Planet and Dead Rising projects. Expectedly, these were rejected by management when their prototypes were shown in presentations. But Inafune decided to ignore the rejection and keep on making the two titles anyway.

At Capcom, the various areas of game development have their own budgets. This includes a budget for making prototypes. Explained Inafune, you continue making a prototype even if management rejects the idea, you'll end up going over that budget. In Lost Planet's case, the "prototype" ended up exceeding the budget by 400%. But this was Inafune's aim, as he believed that if they reach this level, they'll have developed the game half way, so management would not be able to say no.

In the end, both Lost Planet and Dead Rising sold millions worldwide and helped Capcom's earnings and stock price. But Inafune had been prepared to be "fired for war crimes" if the games had failed.

Joining this policy of breaking the rules, Inafune also mentioned overseas developments as a major area of importance for developers. Lost Planet, Dead Rising and Street Fighter IV sold 2 million copies overseas and 200,000 copies in Japan. While it may look like this means the games aren't selling in Japan, they're actually selling the correct amount if you consider the share the Japan market has in the world. Inafune feels that Japan should be aware of this. One should not look at a game that becomes a big hit in Japan and mistakenly think that you can still succeed with just selling to the Japanese market.

By overseas developments, one usually thinks America and Europe. But Inafune said that Japanese developers should actually be thinking about the Asian market, centered on China.

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