As part of its support for the Xbox 360, Capcom has committed two titles that would be exclusive to the platform. One was Dead Rising, the zombie horror survival game that went on sale earlier this month to sparkling reviews and solid sales.
The other Capcom 360 exclusive was Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, an ambitious sci-fi shooter set on a frozen planet overrun by arachnidlike aliens. A demo for the game was released this summer and generated positive buzz for the game thanks to its slick graphics and intense gameplay.
However, Xbox 360 loyalists were troubled last week to hear that Lost Planet might not be exclusive to Microsoft's console after all. A series of reports from the Leipzig Games Convention had the game also coming to the PlayStation 3--effectively robbing the 360 of a homegrown title that could boost its flagging sales in Japan.
Today, though, Capcom set the record straight. Contrary to rumors, Lost Planet will only be released for the 360. It will also follow the lead of the Japanese publisher's most successful game of 2005, Resident Evil 4, and bypass the preceding year's holiday rush by going on sale in January 2007.
To learn more, GameSpot spoke with producer Jun Takeuchi--a veteran developer of the Street Fighter, Resident Evil, and Onimusha series--about Capcom's plans for Lost Planet.
GameSpot: To be clear, will Lost Planet be exclusive to the Xbox 360, or is it being ported to other platforms?
Jun Takeuchi: Lost Planet is an exclusive Xbox 360 title. Typically, when the development team sets out to create a game, we focus development of the title on a single platform, and for Lost Planet, that platform is the Xbox 360. We have no plans at this time of porting to or developing for another console, as this would potentially dilute the final product.
When we create a new game, the intent is to create a great product that our fans will enjoy, as well as maximize sales and profits to invest back into development and the company. As part of this, we evaluate (in the light of the resources we have) what the right platforms, technology, market, content, and partners are for each title, and in some cases, a platform company may be an ideal partner in developing a game. Our decisions are always focused around building our business. Which platforms to develop for are constantly evaluated to maximize the company's investment.
GS: How concerned are you when you look at the 360's installed base in Japan? How do you think Microsoft can better promote and sell its console into the Japanese marketplace?
JT: I think that the real concern is not the size of the Xbox 360 user base, but rather the close-minded tendencies of Japanese developers. Especially in recent years, many publishers are focusing their game development efforts more on the Japanese market with fewer and fewer publishers creating global development strategies.
Even with Japanese games released abroad, many publishers do not take those territories into consideration, even if the game has a very Japanese feel to it (we ourselves have been guilty of this until recently). This is often perceived as the developer just trying to reduce the amount of effort spent on development and forcing a game onto an unsuspecting market.
So, within this current industry atmosphere, we are looking at the global market and making decisions about what games to make based on the tastes of the consumers and gamers across the globe. Of course, we wish there was a larger installed user base domestically in Japan, as do all Japanese developers and publishers. But the success of Dead Rising in America is proof that a Japanese developer/publisher can succeed globally with an Xbox 360 title.
I truly hope that Microsoft encourages Japanese developers to not only expand in Japan, but to help them reemerge as leaders in the global game market. I think that if they can succeed at that, then that will ultimately lead to growing the user base in Japan, as well.
GS: How far along is Lost Planet's development? Will it still make its scheduled ship date?
JT: Lost Planet will ship globally this winter. Although we have not made any official announcements, I'm happy to confirm it will ship this coming January.
GS: The demo was released several months ago on Xbox Live. How has the response been?
JT: We are pleased with the response the demo has received. More than 550,000 Lost Planet demos have been downloaded, and as I've been reading the forums, the reactions have been overwhelmingly positive.
GS: Can we expect other Xbox 360 games from Capcom, such as Dead Rising, to remain exclusive to the platform, or could they ever be ported to the PS3?
JT: As I previously mentioned, as we are creating new titles, we evaluate all the platforms that are currently available and match the content to the platform. For games such as Lost Planet and Dead Rising, the Xbox 360 was the target platform. Since they have been created specifically to take advantage of the system's capabilities, we have no plans at this time to port or develop these titles for any other console.