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Capcom axes 18 projects

Major losses

Japanese publisher Capcom has slashed 18 games out of its development schedules – nearly 20 per cent of titles in progress – following significantly larger than expected losses for its 2002 fiscal year.

The company declared a 19.5 billion Yen (€148 million) loss for the year, compared with its original projections of a 12.7 billion Yen (€97 million) loss, with the additional losses being blamed on underperforming software and costs incurred in the cancellation of the 18 games which have been cut.

It’s not known which games have been affected by the decision, as no titles were given in the announcement made by the company, but the cost of their cancellation runs to around 5 billion Yen.

A statement from Capcom vice president Heiji Oshima seems to indicate that the titles were canned after mid-development evaluations found that they may not suit the interests of the market – a factor which he believes was key in the underperformance of other titles released this year.

Devil May Cry 2, for example, underperformed significantly – selling 1.4 million copies rather than the expected 1.66 million. Resident Evil 0 sold 1.12 million copies rather than 1.42 million; Clock Tower 3 sold 250,000 rather than 450,000.

Capcom recently issued a statement indicating that it was re-evaluating its relationship with Nintendo, which had seen it developing a number of exclusive titles for the GameCube, as its software was not selling as well as expected on Nintendo platforms. Now that it appears that Capcom games simply aren’t selling no matter what the platform, it’ll be interesting to see what effect this has on the Nintendo relationship.

One effect which these damaging losses won’t have, according to Oshima-san, is to rush Capcom into merger discussions. Although the Japanese industry is certainly undergoing high-level consolidation at the moment – witness last week’s attempt by Namco to entice Sega back to the negotiating table – Oshima-san believes that Capcom is strong enough to survive as an independent company, although in his statement he refused to rule out any future merger talks.