When we are discussing the popularity of game software, we must not forget the existence of promotion to support its success. For "Resident Evil", which enjoys global popularity, a different approach is also taken for promotion in each region. We change the points that we showcase to match the culture and characteristics of the regions. For example, the North American version stresses the horror atmosphere, and the Japanese version stresses the characters. These regional differences are also reflected in packaging designs.
The longevity of the "Resident Evil" title also comes with problems. The main user group is now in their late-30s to 40s, and the average age is also going up as the series goes on with an increasing possibility that some percentage of the existing users will outgrow games altogether. Therefore, there is a constant need to gain new users, and the creation of opportunities for exposure in fashion magazines was carried out as an example. However, obviously game information is not carried by fashion magazines.
Therefore, we have created opportunities for receiving coverage in fashion magazines by collaborating with fashion brands which are popular among young people. We are also actively working on spreading name recognition among non-gamers through expansion in other industries, including the "Halloween Horror Night" event in alliance with Universal Studios Japan (USJ) and the opening of the "Resident Evil Café and Grill S.T.A.R.S." (a "Resident Evil"-themed restaurant) in Shibuya PARCO, Tokyo. These collaborative events are opportunities to be enjoyed by non-gamers as well, so it is important to plan them so that anyone can enjoy them and not aim them at a section of our core gamers.
Moreover, while running events for these kinds of casual users, we launched "Club 96", the official fan club for our core gamers. As a forum for the direct dissemination of information, including holding the annual members-only Premium Party, it serves as a bridge between developers and users.
"Resident Evil" has gained unwavering popularity through diverse expansion regardless of region and generation.
Senior Manager of Promotion Planning Section,
Consumer Games Marketing Department
What we focus on when running promotions for "Resident Evil" is delivering a message that respects its 17-year story, which is a rarity in the game industry, and its world in a format that does not disappoint the expectations of users. It is important for us to analyze what customers want from "Resident Evil" and embark on strategies to successfully convert that into expected value. We launched strategies to get fans excited from the announcement of "Resident Evil 6" through to the release period, employing mechanisms to spread this excitement to casual users.
A total of seven "Resident Evil" movies, with five Hollywood movies and two CG movies, have been produced, and these movies have also played a critical role in increasing the brand value of the franchise. Home video game consoles are only widespread in developed countries with established infrastructure. Consequently, Capcom cannot sell "Resident Evil" in regions where game consoles are not widespread. However, movies are a popular pastime, and there are movie theaters in many countries, so it is possible to make the content of "Resident Evil" known in regions without game consoles as well.
The original opportunity was an approach from Hollywood. It required time to achieve, but when the first film was released in 2002, it instantly became a major hit with global box office revenue of USD 102 million. Capcom's goal was to maximize the brand through promotional tie-ups, but it was also lucky that director Paul W.S. Anderson and lead Milla Jovovich were big fans of the original game and was able to achieve major success.
As stated at the beginning, five Hollywood movies have been produced to date, and there are not many movie series that go on this far. Based on this success, Hollywood realized that Capcom owns outstanding content and offers of movie adaptations for series such as "Devil May Cry" and "Lost Planet" have contributed to boosting the brand not only of the series themselves but also of the company.
To digress, there is an anecdote that when the production staff for "Biohazard 5" ("Resident Evil" is known as "Biohazard" in Japan) sounded out the Hollywood studios on producing a CG movie, they were flatly refused, but the studios' attitude changed 360 degrees to "we know it from the movie, please let us make it" when the inquiry was rephrased using the English title "Resident Evil". We can say from this that the movie adaptationhas dramatically increased brand value and title name recognition.
Senior Director, Media and Consumer Product (MCP) Team,
CAPCOM U.S.A., Inc.
I was responsible for a range of roles related to the movie adaptation from negotiating the terms of agreements, visiting locations and coordinating promotions. Our focus in the movie adaptations is whether the world of the game is faithfully replicated. Because the protagonist in the movie version of "Resident Evil" is a movie original, the appearance, personalities, clothing, behavior and other aspects of the game characters connected to her follow the game in the movie as well. Even though Hollywood is our partner, Capcom will not give the OK for depictions and worlds that are not in the game settings.
As described earlier, "Resident Evil 5" recorded the highest sales in the series, but no game satisfies everyone in the world. The users who bought it made a number of requests for the sequel.
"Resident Evil 6", the latest game, released in October 2012, is what was created based on this feedback. What needed to be done in the development of "6" had been clearly decided. Although the brand was popular overseas, there is an awareness of the Hollywood movie-style of production, which has become the market trend in recent years mainly overseas, in order to repackage the game as a global title again. Additionally, Capcom provided seven main characters and four types of scenario to attract more diverse users, making it possible to enjoy horror for different tastes.
As a result, it sold 5.2 million units* globally and succeeded in making its mark as a global title again. In addition, all the title numbers in the series have achieved sales over million units.
Why has "Resident Evil" been able to sustain this level of success for 17 years? The secret lies in its elaborate settings and world. Horror is a common entertainment genre around the world, but "Resident Evil" adopted the setting of "epidemic disaster" that could be a reality rather than a wild fantasy in order to make the horror convincing. This sense of realism is smoothly incorporated into the story as well as feeding the fear as horror.
In addition, the attractive characters are also a feature of "Resident Evil". The main characters have made many appearances spanning all the titles and get older and more mature as the series goes on. A character who was a rookie police officer when he debuted is a member of an organization under the direct control of the president in the latest game, and a powerless young girl has matured into a U.S. agent. Rather than fading away over the 17 years, they have become even deeper characters. This character appeal has also helped to win firm fans.
In addition, the development team and producers in charge of "Resident Evil" change for every title. Therefore, each creator adds their own touch to the strong "Resident Evil" identity, constantly creating a new "Resident Evil" just like a relay.
From pilot to major title. The environment surrounding "Resident Evil" has changed significantly over the past 17 years. However, the "Resident Evil" identity is constant. In the future, it will discover new possibilities and progress as a title that can compete globally without disappointing any expectations.
* As of September 30, 2013.
Producer, Production Planning and Administration, Division 1
As producer of "Resident Evil 6", I was responsible for a variety of roles ranging from cost control through to promotion. In particular, I was conscious about providing an environment that allowed the creators to work in comfort as the foundation for creating a fun game. Being the producer, there was sometimes more pressure than necessary with results being everything and having to outdo the predecessor, but I managed to relax once I started to think that I could work with the people around me while expressing myself.