Let's play the blame game: Inafune on what went wrong with Capcom's original IP push

In the latter half of 2009 and early 2010, Capcom released two major retail games in collaboration with prominent Western devs: Crimson Skies dev Airtight Games created Dark Void, and gun-for-hire Grin rebooted Bionic Commando. Those two games, however, were prominent sales flops. One even contributed to the eventual closure of Swedish dev Grin.

For its part, Capcom promptly returned to its tried and true franchises, with a lineup today featuring many more sequels than back in 2009. At the time, Mega Man co-creator Keiji Inafune was overseeing production on Capcom's retail titles, and when I spoke with him this past week at the Tokyo Game Show, I wanted to know what went wrong. Beyond sales, neither game was particularly loved by critics, especially Dark Void.

"[It's] very, very simple: The publisher was Japanese and the developer was foreign. Even inside Japan, when you work in two different companies, they always blame each other for any small mistakes, so that's pretty much what happened in those two games -- blaming each other," Inafune explained. He went on to compare those development experiences with that of Dead Rising -- a game that has since become a major franchise for Capcom, not to mention a commercial success.

"When I was making Dead Rising, I told my staff, 'Don't ever blame the other guys. Do your best, and just keep doing your work,'" Inafune said. But since he left his position at Capcom late last year, he's heard that "it's getting back like before -- blaming each other," a possibility that worries him deeply.

He's hopeful that another Capcom staffer will pick up where he left off, leading the charge on development that he could no longer sustain. "I'm kind of hoping that someone will come forth and say, 'Okay, I'm gonna take over from here.'" Who that person is, however, remains to be seen.