Keiji Inafune resigns from Capcom

Capcom's head of research and development leaves post after 23-year run; will be replaced by Katsuhiko Ichii.

Keiji Inafune may have had a long stint at Japanese developer Capcom, but today the producer of Onimusha and Dead Rising decided to finally call it quits. The 23-year veteran, who rose through the ranks from graphic designer to become the publisher-developer's head of research and development, announced his departure on his blog, saying he will "resign later this month."

Inafune's career at Capcom is dead, not rising.

Inafune originally joined Capcom as a graphic designer, working on the first Street Fighter. He went on to create the character design for Mega Man and then worked on the game's many sequels before graduating to the role of producer. More recently, Inafune produced the Onimusha, Lost Planet, and Dead Rising franchises.

Inafune has been outspoken about his games, Capcom, and development in general. Earlier this year, he told the New York Times, "I look around the Tokyo Game Show, and everyone's making awful games; Japan is at least five years behind." He also stated, "I want to make games that travel overseas, but Capcom hasn't taken globalization seriously."

Inafune oversaw Capcom's move to outsourcing its franchises to Western developers, including Swedish studio GRIN for Bionic Commando and Canada-based Blue Castle, (now Capcom Game Studio Vancouver), for Dead Rising 2.

Inafune's resignation comes the day after Capcom released its latest financial report, which contained a mix of good and bad news for the company. While Dead Rising 2 has sold 1.8 million copies, Lost Planet 2's weak performance helped cause a net profit slide of ¥1.78 billion ($22 million), down 39.9 percent over April-September the previous year.

Speaking with GameSpot, Capcom said it will restructure its development organization following Inafune's departure. Katsuhiko Ichii will be appointed head of the development organization and will be supported by a new development management team consisting of Nobuyuki Matsushima, Jun Takeuchi, Taichiro Genbun, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, and Shutaro Kobayashi. The new unit will also integrate marketing and development functions from within the company to offer a "broader stroke approach to the development process," according to Capcom.

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256 comments
Chaotic19
Chaotic19

@SSJ I agree with you 100%. Long gone are the days where the final fantasies and dragon quests ruled the industry. They're playing catch up and will for years. They dont seem to put too much into the development of their games these days I mean look at Way of the Samurai 3! That game would have been awesome....on the PS2. Not on these generations consoles and for what full price costs nowadays however. With games like Mass Effect, Fallout, TES, Dragon Age, Gears, RDR, LA Noire, AC, and many, many others the Japanese Game industry has fallen way behind the others and it will be years before they come back to their best assuming they ever do.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@ Shinkada Really? A little late to the party, don't you think? So, you can't enjoy WRPGs, but you enjoy them more than JRPGs? And you're saying JRPGs are better than WRPGs? No one has claimed that DA and ME are more complex, and that's what makes them great. Japanese games are notorious for bat**** insanity when it comes to plot and even characters. And unnessecarily wordy dialogue. The things a Japanese character says can be said in way fewer words, or not all if facial animation is used appropriately. If you think JRPGs are better written because they are more complex, you need to desperately sort out your priorities. Complexity does not equal good writing. WRPGs are more tightly written, with good characters, and beautiful, living worlds to interact with. WRPGs are linear. Probably more so than JRPGs. I have no idea why people say Western games are not linear. Being able to choose what to say or do in a scene or between scenes doesn't destroy linearity. And honestly, writing has never been sacrificed for choice. Yes, there have been some bad plot points in WRPGs, but the they are few and far between.

Shinkada
Shinkada

@spoonybard-hahs I have yet to play a single WRPG with a decent storyline. I'm not saying J-RPGs are always amazing, in fact most of them are absolute trash - FF13 is pretty much the epitome of that trash - but when you scour for the rare diamonds you can find some amazing things. Games like Shadow Hearts: Covenant, The World Ends With You, and more recently Nier, have beautiful writing which is quite simply impossible to do with a game with so much choice. It's THEORETICALLY possible that having someone react differently to all the elements that make up a WRPG could lead to even better-written characters than the best JRPGs, but it would be a colossal endeavor, and you would have to sacrifice funding in other areas to achieve it. I'm not saying WRPGs are bad. On the whole I think I enjoy them more than JRPGs. They just can't facilitate the kind of plots a linear game can. You have to make the decision of choice vs writing, and generally the public favours the former since they can just lie through their teeth about how 'complex' the plots of Mass Effect and Dragon Age were to feel better about themselves. Remember when Bioshock 1 sacrificed choice for plot? Yeah.

Oni_Taedo
Oni_Taedo

@jdc88dude It really wasn't. Final Fantasy VI, was phenomenal. Earth Bound, was phenomenal. Fallout 3, was phenomenal. Mass Effect 2, and I'm going to put this as nicely as possible, was absolute crap.

jdc88dude
jdc88dude

@Oni_Taedo Mass effect 2 was phenomenal. You don't know shi-

Oni_Taedo
Oni_Taedo

@united gamers Mass Effect 2 was complex like mustard is solid. It was crap.

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

Not to sound ignorant, but I couldn't care less. I think Japanese games are abysmal

GrgSpunk
GrgSpunk

@Transparanoia Sure, there are JRPGs whose quality isn't up to snuff compared to what's been released before. But how exactly are we supposed to assume that they're inherrently representative of a stagnation in the Japanese market if we're only given a tiny portion of what they release over there? Sure, Inafune may be frustrated with games over there, but that's based on his own preferences and opinion: How exactly are we supposed to know for ourselves that a stagnation in a single series like FF is a representative of the Japanese industry as a whole if most of us never even see the other 99% of the games released over there? Let me make one thing absolutely clear: JRPGs are NOT the only type of games released in Japan. They're only a part of a larger market. There are games from various other genres that never see the light of day over here. You want an untapped market that could be a fresh new start for the west? Try localizing visual novels for size.

dairyu579
dairyu579

Keiji-san should not take seriously about Japan origin's games should be exported/handed to Western developers. Japanese games should stick to Japanese developers not matter what happen in gaming industry. I like the way he made games like 5 to 7 years back, but now it's look like he lost his touch because of the way he is thinking. Keiji-san, please make games like you used to, stick to the idea Japanese games must remain Japanese. Think again about this resigning thing.

Ranma_X_basic
Ranma_X_basic

All i can say is that i wish Inafune all the best in future Endevors. its a shame though that he's resigning from capcom. i would have liked him to have considered working on a possible Next gen Onimusha game or possibly dino crisis. but whatever he does next, i wish him the best.

tangyorange
tangyorange

@ eriktire I wont celebrate til i hear actual news of that. However, that would be ideal.

ssj-gokou
ssj-gokou

People, nations and companies all thrive on conflict. We learn the lesson of building walls from our enemies not our friends". Japan for so long has been abl to sit back and toss out whatever and we all bought it. But gone are the days of the West’s best idea being Pac man. Forget 5 years behind. It will take even longer for Japan to catch up to NA and EU the longer they keep there heads to the ground and ignore the rest of what the world is doing. For years every gamers dream was to go to Japan and now it seems Japan needs to develop the idea of going else where for inspiration. For years developers outside of Japan worked to be just like Japan and in time ended up evolving their own style. Perhaps Japan needs to venture out and actually take a good hard look at the process instead of continually internalizing only what they already know.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

I think a lot of people are missing the point Inafune is making. He is not lamenting the increased popularity of FPS games. It's the fact that Western companies have taken genres typically dominated by Japan, and evolved them and have created games that blow a lot of what Japan offers clear out of the water. The RPG is a prime example. Western companies have given players choice. Allowing players to choose between right and wrong, who lives and who dies, not only fully realizes the technological possibilities of software, but also the grand possibilities of story. JRPGs haven't evolved. Some will argue a clear case of differing styles. And they would be wrong. Today, developers can craft a world that I can not only interact with, but dramatically change. In JRPGs, the world can be static, only changing to feed the needs of the story. Japan has refused to embrace what current technology can truly offer them outside of making their games pretty. FFXIII was a huge step back, taking away the once thin veil of freedom and finally admitting what we all didn't want to admit: JRPGs are essentially a tunnel. What it truly boils down to is maturity. Japan can't dislodge itself from juvenile themes and stories. The fact that you can't choose what to say are how to do something in their games is a testament to that.

Transparanoia
Transparanoia

@GrgSpunk I agree to an extent. I don't want the 'soul' of Japanese games to change. I grew up on JRPGs. But lately their work isn't up to snuff. We're not seeing the quality that we did back in the day. Sure, we get a gem like Valkyria Chronicles every now and then, but generally the overall game design is archaic. They do have some catching up to do, but I agree that it shouldn't be at the expense of what makes them unique.

GrgSpunk
GrgSpunk

@BigBigR Actually, I disagreed with Inafune. He says the companies aren't making games that he thinks are viable for an overseas release and wants them to make their games similar to western games (hence my "westernization" argument). I don't want them playing it safe by "westernizing" their games, I want want them to take more risks in choosing what to localize. I want them to embrace the distincly Japanese style of their games and use that as a means of distinguishing/marketing their titles from what we have to offer over here. Why should they release games here if they don't bother to offer something that can't be just as easily offered by a native company? I could also say the exact same thing to American game companies when it comes to localizing their games for a release in Japan. Remember, a diverse market is a GOOD thing.

bakasmiley
bakasmiley

Japanese games have always been awesome in my book....they just need to solve some of these simple problem: awful localize voice acting (not all but most), grinding (i don't mind a few grind session but having to grind for several hours is not a great way to spend my precious time), storyline that's not quite epic (gone are the days when i played a japanese game where i go 'wow'). Not that it matters anyway cause there's no way companies like capcom or square enix even visit sites like this let alone read what we're saying haha.

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

i'll bet he'll start his own studio making more awesome games.

moi6205
moi6205

Where Inafune will end up going to in the next few months?

gamerVID0
gamerVID0

@azatis i completely agree with you inafune is trying to hard to westernize capcom into making the same generic games an there nothing like capcoms original style. i think its better off this way without him. f*** those cod games, more time for those capcom style games now.

eriktkire
eriktkire

@tangyorange Why will Inafune be missed? He's only resigning from Capcom, not retiring from the game industry all together. Odds are he'll be snapped up by a western company or form his own studio.

S0mEGuY12
S0mEGuY12

@GrgSpunk I think it works both ways. Reason why Bamco refuses to localize anything here is because of American gamers' lack of interest in such games. Vesperia sold well for a Tales game, but Abyss sold horribly, despite being one of the best PS2 games out there. IMO anyways.

tangyorange
tangyorange

I agree with fenrir on his point. Although to me its ambiguous that the most popular genre of game is gonna be supersaturated in the market. In Japan that has been the rpg market for years and years so for a long time we only got the best of those cause the crap got filtered out cause it wouldn't sell in the west. Shooters= big $ here in the west so developers in their quest to earn their paychecks are creating a product that sells. Inafune will be sorely missed in the gaming world cause he was a experienced and well learned producer. I dont think that Capcom is really gonna lose sales because of this though.

AzatiS
AzatiS

Capcom tried ALOT , especially this gen to "westernize" its games. and guess what. FAILED. Not only from a sale standpoint but in game as well. Capcom games this gen felt so.... FLAT and bad. Lost planet? Dark void? Bionic Commando? Even Dead Rising 2 , you simply CANT say its a masterpiece or anything major. I mean , why to do that Capcom/inafune? ... Money? I think you lose money now and imho is this #@$$ westernize of your games. And if by any means , inafune took a big role for this mess.... Im glad he left. Really. Go to work for a western company and let CAPCOM make some serious "japanese" games. my thoughts

wiidominance
wiidominance

This guy is talking from his point of view as a Japanese developer who's probably sick and tired of the same sorta thing, thats normal. But if you take the whole world of gaming, Japanese games are still amongst the most unique and varied. Inside Japan they all look the same. I guess a bit like the Xbox360 library.

Ratatoskr321
Ratatoskr321

This is gonna hit Capcom hard. This is like saying Hideo Kojima left Konami... Keiji Inafune will be missed.

fgjnfgh
fgjnfgh

he's got a strong point, japanese games are almost no more fun. We barely see 5 games stand out yearly

skillz191
skillz191

Yup he is correct when he says that everyone is producing awful games and its not only capcom thats giving some of its titles to western developer even square enix did it to Front Mission and that games tanked hard but when Inafune leaves capcom whats gonna happen with Mega Man Legends 3?

TheClown24
TheClown24

Capcom are one of the few companies not tainted by the crap that comes out of the western market, please Capcom, don't change. More Monster Hunter and less CoD please.

BigBigR
BigBigR

@Wardishy GrgSpunk basically agreed with Inafune. Inafune said that Capcom isn't trying hard enough to sell their games overseas, and GrgSpunk agreed saying you almost never see any marketing efforts outside of Japan. In his interview to the NYT, Inafune said using the same old formula (not taking any chances / making something fresh) won't work anymore. He stated Nintendo's popularity as the results of proper marketing, an area which other Japanese companies are sorely lacking. How can you not agree with the man? Did you read the same article I did?

ekisom
ekisom

the gaming industry needs a major shake up. i think this will be good for everyone. inafune san will surely have other things in mind

Wardishy
Wardishy

I appreciate the huge contribution Inafune has made to the gaming world, and I hope he continues to do well outside of Capcom, but I can't agree with him on his view of globalisation. GrgSpunk says it best.

GrgSpunk
GrgSpunk

@S0mEGuY12 Part of the reason why many gamers are much more interested in mainstream games like Halo or CoD while many Japanese games fall into obscurity is also because the Japanese companies themselves aren't even bothering to actively market their localized games. How often do you even see a commercial for a (non-Nintendo) Japanese game on American TV? The last time I can recall Namco-Bandai ever putting any noticeable effort into promoting a Tales game was when they were releasing Tales of Symphonia. That game sold pretty well, but they never put as much work into marketing any of the other games in the series, did they?

Fernin-Ker
Fernin-Ker

For the folks going on about how all America makes is the "same crappy generic shooters" year in an out, I ask, have you ever noticed Japan does the exact.same.thing. The only difference is they use the RPG template instead of the FPS; yet they suffer from the same repetition syndrome as western shooters.

tiggerlu
tiggerlu

lol...i love the comments here that tell someone with 23 years experience in the Japanese gaming industry, that he doesn't know what he's talking about! If you read the article carefully he's not talking about gaming concepts, he's talking about development, production value...that's how I understand it anyway.

Talus057
Talus057

What do you mean his "career at capcom is dead, not rising." His Career isn't dead, just his career at Capcom, right? The industry can't afford to lose good people in such a broad stroke. I hope Inafune's career isn't over completely and he goes on to bigger and better things. A lot of good people have left in the last few years and it's kind of sad, and harmful to the industry in general.

gamegod
gamegod

but i wanted more onimusha

S0mEGuY12
S0mEGuY12

@no_mess11 Because your opinion voices the gaming community as a whole right? A lot of games from Japan are not crap, but rather underrated. People are way too interested in Halo, CoD, and other games similar to it. While I love these franchises myself, there are other types of games I like that are EXCELLENT, such as Tales of Vesperia, but im betting half the gaming community in the U.S hasn't even HEARD of said game, because they're so focused on all these mainstream games. I'm even willing to go as far as to say nobody plays RPGs (on consoles) anymore. And no Fallout 3 does not count.

gskywalker09
gskywalker09

I wish him well & hope he keeps developing new games.

mrzisawesome
mrzisawesome

@no_mess11 Despite the fact that EVERY American shooter is identical to eachother and extremely generic? Not to mention just how crappy they are in nature.

wolfyrabbit
wolfyrabbit

"I look around the Tokyo Game Show, and everyone's making awful games; Japan is at least five years behind." - keiji Inafune

GrgSpunk
GrgSpunk

@no_mess11 I could say the exact same damn thing for most of the games we've produced over here in the west. All we produce are the same uninspired and recycled FPS/sports games every year. Take the Madden series as an example: They release iteration after iteration of the series each year, only to make tiny adjustments to the stats with no real gameplay changes with each game. Hell, this year they even expect us to pay extra to gain online functionality. The argument works both ways, pal.

no_mess11
no_mess11

@GrgSpunk Japan has been making crap games for years. Recycled crappy games and reused tired formulas is pretty much all that ever comes from Japan these days. These companies like Capcom don't send all their games west because we wouldn't like them, because they suck and for those reasons mentioned above. Take dynasty warriors for instance, terribad the first iteration, terribad the next couple hundred. Why do they keep making these games? Because Japan is behind the times.

cameio
cameio

Mr. Inafune please... PISS OFF with ur ugly stupid comments.

Neo-ganon
Neo-ganon

wow i hope this wont negatively affect the development of megaman legends 3

GrgSpunk
GrgSpunk

Globalization? Excuse me Mr. Inafune, but any economist will tell you that when a country engages in what you call "globalization", they SPECIALIZE in what it's good at doing and sell it to the rest of the world, not try to imitate what other countries can already do. The Japanese game makers aren't "behind the times", nor are they producing crap. The problem isn't that they're making games that "can't travel overseas", either--Oh no, ANY game could be sold overseas if a company puts enough resources to do so. The problem is that the Japanese companies are producing a huge amount of perfectly good games never seen outside of Japan that could stand on their own merits and distinguish themselves from everything else in the west, BUT THEY JUST AREN'T BOTHERING TO BRING THEM OVER HERE. They are completely unwilling to take any risks when it comes to choosing which games to localize, and they are far too prone to "westernizing" whatever they DO localize to where it becomes inevitable that they don't stand out from the western games. They don't even bother to take advantage of their uniqueness and use that perceived exoticism associated with Japanese products among westerners as a means of marketing their games to foreigners. There are lots of perfectly good Japanese games that could be brought over here, but do I see these companies actually going out of their way to do so? There's your problem right there. If you want to see a prime example of what I'm talking about, look no further than the asshats at Namco-Bandai and how they've been releasing their Tales series here.

akiwak
akiwak

Sometimes within some companies a persons paycheck just becomes unsustainable and they have to be let go. I know of a postal worker that had 20 plus years in the business and had accumulated up to 2 months vacation PER YEAR. Upper management forced him to take an early retirement and let him go. Since he wasn't of retirement age he could only collect half his pay of what he use to make. After so many years in the industry and without any other training he now collects unemployment in the mean time. I hope that this was not the case in this situation.....

DarthLefein
DarthLefein

Isn't it 17 years after the golden age of videogames? He's rich, and its all about retirement yen for yen. Have a tax break at a certain time...you take it.