Capcom to dissolve Clover Studio

Company set up to "inspire the future of gaming" to be shuttered in March 2007.

Capcom today announced plans to dissolve its wholly owned Clover Studio after a decision made at the publisher's Board of Directors meeting.

Originally established in July 2004, the studio's lineup of critically acclaimed titles included the quirky action game Viewtiful Joe, as well as a pair of games that saw release only in the US: the Japanese-folklore-inspired Okami and the tongue-in-cheek brawler God Hand.

Clover Studio employed an all-star lineup of Capcom development talent, including Atsushi Inaba (producer of Steel Battalion and Viewtiful Joe), Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil creator), and Hideki Kamiya (Devil May Cry director).

The developer was based in Osaka, Japan, where Capcom itself is also headquartered. Clover Studio was so named as an abbreviation of "creativity lover" and because "the four-leaf clover...signifies happiness and creativity." The company was set up to make innovative games that would "inspire the future of gaming."

The announcement came as a shock to many, with the reason for the dissolution stated in the press release as follows: "Clover Studio Co., Ltd. has met the goal of developing unique and creative original home video game software, however, in view of promoting a business strategy that concentrates management resources on a selected business to enhance the efficiency of the development power of the entire Capcom group, the dissolution of Clover Studios Co., Ltd. has been raised and passed at a Board of Directors' meeting." The company will be officially dissolved at the end of March 2007.

Capcom also released a notice of revision of earnings and dividend forecast. The report explained that although there had been favourable growth in sales of Dead Rising, the Mega Man Battle Chip Stadium arcade game had not performed well.

The dissolution of Clover Studio comes after Capcom pulled themselves out of spiralling losses. In 2003 they announced losses of $163 million and shelved plans for 18 previously scheduled games. However, the company appeared to have bounced back and reported a healthy $7.02 million profit in this year's first quarter.

Capcom added on the end of the press release: "The impact of the dissolution of Clover Studio Co., Ltd. on the financial forecasts, separately announced on the same day, is inclusive as part of Extraordinary Losses amounting to 400 million yen," or approximately $3.5 million.

Earlier this year, reports emerged that Capcom had shut down Studio 8, the developer responsible for the Maximo games. While the publisher declined to comment at the time, it later confirmed the closure of both Studio 8 and its distribution arm, Capcom Eurosoft, in its year-end fiscal results.

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Discussion

388 comments
austrato
austrato

okami is a masterpiece, a wonderful game... too bad it didn't sell enough... too bad...

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

Sad, really, but Capcom had to make a business decision. Okami and God Hand were disappointments sales wise.

Xeuton_Mojukai
Xeuton_Mojukai

The heavily-obfuscated terminology used in the Capcom report makes two things clear: 1) they got rid of Clover for the sole purpose of increasing funds. 2) they don't want that to get across to us without a lot of opportunities for misunderstanding what they mean in the process. ~XM

WarhawK-harris
WarhawK-harris

The story pretty much came full circle at the end where Ammy and Waka go off to the celestial plane. I do agree that the game is inspirational and clearly deserves a sequel, but the ending didn't seem to set itself up for one. But if they get Ayaka Hirahara to do the theme song again, they should.

jazz_kenny
jazz_kenny

whatever happens...i need Okami 2..pls

shabulia
shabulia

The possibiity of an Okami 2 is still there because Capcom owns the rights to the franchise. Also, just because Clover Studios is closed doesn't mean that all of the developers on that team are gone. Most of them have, most likely, been integrated into Capcom and its remaining studios. On the subject of going multiplatform with games, this only makes sense. Games cost way too much to make nowadays to be limited to only one system. This is just Sony fanboy talk. Multiplatform is nothing new. Resident Evil 4 has been released on 3 systems, the Megaman Anniversary Collection was released on 3 systems, Viewtiful Joe (1, 2 and Red Hot Rumble) was multiplatform. Even the first Onimusha saw a release on both Playstation 2 and the Xbox. Capcom is not a "moneygrubbing donkey pit" as some of you might think. They are one of the best developers out there and they did what they needed to do to survive. Kudos to you, Capcom! And thanks for Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. I love it!

Megablueblastaa
Megablueblastaa

"I have lost all respect for you capcom. Which is saying a lot because at the time of Onimusha, Beath of Fire 4, and DMC you were my favorite Developer/Publisher. But sadly between this, the new megaman games, and your entire next-gen lineup being multi-platformed I can no longer hold a candle for you souless moneygrubbing donkey pits. May you burn in he11 for your crimes against the gaming community." Nuff said

red13FF7
red13FF7

I have lost all respect for you capcom. Which is saying a lot because at the time of Onimusha, Beath of Fire 4, and DMC you were my favorite Developer/Publisher. But sadly between this, the new megaman games, and your entire next-gen lineup being multi-platformed I can no longer hold a candle for you souless moneygrubbing donkey pits. May you burn in he11 for your crimes against the gaming community.

lost-ruin001
lost-ruin001

:cry: I love Okami,looks like the'll be either no Okami II or a very bad Okami II:(

airstrike101
airstrike101

I also agree with sithlordJ, clover have the good ratings and yet they would remove it from this world!? Why would they destroy the best developing team!? CLOVER MUST LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "So come on everybody, let's join together to call upon the great god!, let's show Ammy that we truly believe!, Put your hands together and pray, LET'S MAKE OUR GRATITUDE SO OBVIOUS!" -Issun

LittleThingMe
LittleThingMe

I agree with sithlordJ "Play Okami until my hands bleed. Tell the world why they should be ashamed they let one of the best developing team die" Clover don't die! ;(

Coolracer2
Coolracer2

All I can say is: Resident Evil 5 better be good. Dropping Clover is a huge mistake. Look at their track record (Viewtiful Joe, Okami, God Hand). All great games! Apparently Capcom doesn't like good games... or good game developers... well, get ready for the onslaught of Mega Man Battle Network games...

aashkii
aashkii

I wanted to try out Okami too :(

sithlordJ
sithlordJ

"So.....I can expect Mega Man X9, Megaman Battle Network 7, Megaman Zero 5 and Megaman ZX2, along with with Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil Outbreak File#3, Resident Evil Survivor 3 and Resident Evil Wii? Gee, why is everyone so upset, looks like they have plenty of innovation in their other studios. lol " You just anwered your question. Let me remind you of the grades of the games that preceed those you mentioned: Megaman X8 = 6.3 Megaman Battle Network 7 = 6.9 Megaman Zero 4 = 7.6 Megaman ZX = 7.7 Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 = 6.6 Rseident Evil Survivor 2 = 6.4 Resident Evil 4 = 9.6 (Here they did go innovative--but wait, it was a courtesy of Clover Studio´s Shinji Mikami!) Now let´s watch the grades for the Clover Studios Viewtiful Joe = 9.2 Okami = 9.0 God Hand = 8.0 I think the grades speak "Clover Studio owns". Furthermore, each of this games was not only highly original in gameplay, but also in style. Viewtiful Joe and God Hand were extremley postmodern; Okami was extremely artistic. But the ones you mentioned? Please. Each of them (except RE5) is either a super-long running, totally tried and true game or a spinoff of a super-long, totally tried and true game holding the franchise only to get turned from a fiasco to a hit. Clover Studio was so innovative. Just the goal of the studio makes you feel a light of hope in this tried and true videogame era. It was almost like Nintendo. I guess there´s only one thing to do. Play Okami until my hands bleed, buy God Hand (I wasted the money I was going to use to buy it on imported games), and tell everyone just how cool they are. Tell the world why they should be ashamed they let one of the best developing team die; how they let those few truly good games pass them by. And when all is said and done, Okami will live in my memory way beyond Megaman X-4+.

Belaisdead6
Belaisdead6

Thats too bad. I think if there are no studios putting out unique games like Okami or Shadow of the Colossusthe industry will eventually run out of gas.

Mozilla2006
Mozilla2006

Westwood now Clover studio. IS THERE NO GOD?!?

Bheelat
Bheelat

Another sequel is my vote! Maybe Capcom will make another game of Okami but not Clover Studios anymore.....this sucks

jesseneu
jesseneu

I am very upset/sad about this. I have just played 34+ hrs of Okami and, although I am not even finished with the game yet, I was hoping for a sequel. Clover did an excellent job on Okami... one of the best PS2 games ever. I will just add this sadness along side my feelings on Double Fine and the diminished hopes of a Psychonauts sequel.

AuspexAO
AuspexAO

It's gonna be okay everyone. It's true that combinations of talent like the one manifested in Clover are rare, but it's not like they took all the clover devs and put em up against the wall. They'll just start making games with a new development house that may be worse than Clover but also may be better. Who knows? Capcom, I understand you think you're working for your own best interest by taking down Clover, but I hope that these guys end up coming up with the next Super Mario Bros (not literally, but in terms of the next great gaming innovation) for another software company. No offense, but you need to be financially punished for your short-sightedness.

MatthewShield
MatthewShield

Whats the guess that the board don't even play games, probably only know Okami as "an artistic profit medium" or some crap like that. Souless ****.

Ariolander
Ariolander

Ahhh.. thats the way the corperate world works eh. You close down the studio that has made some of the greatest and mroe original games in your linup in favor for more Megaman rehashes... Tis a sad sad day.

Shadowsouled
Shadowsouled

Well that's no good. Clover made nothing but great games (haven't played Godhand, so that MAY be an exception, but it looks like a lot of fun). I don't know how many hours I spent on Viewtiful Joe.

GrlGmr
GrlGmr

I'm sad to see Clover get dissolved. They had an excellent track record for awesome games. Capcom owns all the properties that Clover created. What will most likely happen is that the more popular series/games that they made will be assigned to internal development teams. So we may not have seen the end of Viewtiful Joe or Okami. Whether they have the same sense of style and innovation, we'll have to see.

vip_embryo
vip_embryo

again, another blow for the creativity of a group due the avarice of others. X(

Following_PoP
Following_PoP

Clover still had a lot of life in it. CAPCOM HAS GONE NUTS!!!!!!

_Sam_
_Sam_

so many are closing down :(

Alpha2
Alpha2

Working Designs never actually made any games they only localised them for the US. Atlus seems to be trying to take up their slack.

DarthCat
DarthCat

Man, what with studios like Working Designs and Troika Games being forced to shut down (also Studio 8? Man, I didn't even KNOW that 'till I read this article!), I can't help but wonder the same thing that Tim Schafer has complained about since he left LucasArts in 2000- what does the gaming industry have against creativity? The games these studios make are fantastic- and in many cases, fairly profitable- and yet they are crushed out of existence by companies like E.A. who, despite being able to make polished, "good" games most every time, still rake in an inordinately large amount of money by repackaging the same core mechanics/game every year with but a few new features, and having the audacity to force gamers to shell out an extra 50 or 60 bucks for it. Y'know how they'd better serve their customers while still following their current trends? A fuller online update service. After all, if rosters auto-updated themselves and the incremental increases seen in each year's Madden/NFS/whatever could be bought online for a small tithe, then *bam*- E.A.'s market share would be like that of an MMORPG. That wouldn't even hurt their bottom line that much, but it would leave gamers with more options- not to mention more cash, so that they could buy the fantastic, neglected products made by companies like Double Fine and Clover; games that end up being critical darlings, but losing out at the shelves and in the public conciousness to "Maddenholiday 2006". Gag me with a spoon, corporate shills. I'll stick with Okami and Psychonauts, thanks very much. Rock on, true gamers! ~DC

AceCometh
AceCometh

Clover has been one of the very few bright spots in the world of gaming. It's such a shame that they're forced to close their doors prematurely. I urge all fellow PS2 owners to buy a copy of Okami in support of Clover. It will hopefully show Capcom that the division is profitable. It's also a great game! It'll be the official "Save Clover" movement! P.S. I hate the Madden series. The last Madden game I bought was the '97 edition.

Dace67
Dace67

I don't think Clover finished their mission. We need more inovation like Okami.

firebreathing
firebreathing

It seems they wanted to perpetuate thier franchise more than create innovative games >.>

roareh
roareh

thankgod resi is still in good hands. thats all im saying.

198d
198d

"You can't blame Capcom. They're a business. Blame all those casual gamers that buy Madden every year. Capcom is using common sense. "We have so many resources: do we use them to make a game that will make us a million dollars or ten million dollars?" No brainer. You can't blame the developers either. You think they want to work on the same crap year after year? Trying to meet deadlines so their bosses can make more money? I'm sure they'd rather spend their time on their own creative ideas. Blame yourself. The stats say most of you probably have Madden '07, '06, and '05. Stop buying the same game, retards. Personally I don't buy sports games year after year. I literally wait 3-4 years before I buy the new one. That way it's truly a different game and I can spread my money around on one of-a-kind games like Okami. To everyone else - innovation will never die. There'll always be small-time developers w/ creative ideas. What you have to do is snatch up these great games when they come out. " ...nailed it. kudos dude. "bullsh!t nobody played Okami so don't comment about how it sucked" i play okami and its an excellent game and im pretty sure im not alone when i say that

HK-Ghost
HK-Ghost

Stupid publishers always screwing Game Developer Studios.. -Ghost

Sparda590
Sparda590

Crap. Crap crap crap. And I just bought Okami too... Oh, and fingifigs, I take my hat off to you sir.

YEPEE00
YEPEE00

yessa !! cheaper ingame realtime watercolor effects for everyone!

R0cketToRussia1
R0cketToRussia1

fingifigs post was so true, everybody else just made some stupid ignorant rant.

ABISPY
ABISPY

must play this game !! ya

Thegame1456
Thegame1456

Capcom had done the biggest mistake.Clover was a good company with good games............

Thadder
Thadder

Scroll down to fingifigs post, he's got it.

shozzi
shozzi

buckincrazy said: "bullsh!t nobody played Okami so don't comment about how it sucked" I've played Okami...

Poki3
Poki3

So to put it simple: "We will no longer make new and innovative games, because they are to risky! We will make old and tried games like everyone else, because we don't care about the games, only about the money!" LET"S ALL PROTEST!!!!!!!! And for some of you, just so you know, both Okami and VJ where very good games and had high sales... God hand was at the 1st place in the GameSpot game ranging even!!!

togo2828
togo2828

Huh, and i was hoping for a second Okami.........i really didnt care about VJ

AgileNate
AgileNate

I wish Capcom would make more games for Xbox360. Looking forward to there games on the Wii as thats probably gunna have more titles from them than the 360.

buckincrazy
buckincrazy

bullsh!t nobody played Okami so don't comment about how it sucked