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IR Top Page > Developer Interview 2011 > vol06.Masachika Kawata
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Developer Interview 2011

06. Masachika Kawata / Producer, Development Strategy and Support Consumer Games Development

Collaborating with developers outside Japan: Working to overcome the obstacles of a fresh new challenge

- I hear that you entrusted the development of "Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City" to a developer outside Japan.
"Kawata"
Yeah, this kind of tie-up was something new for us, so it was kind of a test run for the series. For this game we teamed up with Slant Six Games in Canada. Working with them enabled us to incorporate their know-how into the game, giving the series a new feel. The ideas from the people at Slant Six Games also provided a nice fresh stimulus for the development staff here at Capcom.
- What inspired you to team up with Slant Six Games?
"Kawata"
North America is the market where tons of major titles are born, and one of the most popular genres there is shooter games. Slant Six Games has established themselves as one of the leading producers of quality shooters, which is why we chose to team up with them. At Capcom we are really eager to soak up new development ideas that will make us competitive in the global market. Working with Slant Six Games, we wanted to take advantage of the keen insight they have on developing games for their market.
- Did you run into any difficulties while working with Slant Six Games?
"Kawata"
Actually one thing this experience did was open my eyes to the cultural differences between Japan and other countries.
In Japan we tend to put work above all else, and sometime that's regarded as a virtue. On the other hand, for people in North America and other countries, the balance between their life and work is the most important, as they focus on the efficiency of their job.
This reminded me to keep these differences in mind so that we can stay on the same page as for development.
- How did you oversee the progress of development?
"Kawata"
In addition to holding regular video conferences, we visited Canada at least once a month to meet with their graphics teams and scenario writers. These meetings helped us maintain a steady stream of communication and stay up to speed. Meeting face to face also helped us build a trust relationship with the people in their marketing and sales departments, as well as their development teams.
- Did the language barrier cause you guys any problems?
"Kawata"
Language proved to be a bit of an obstacle, but we were able to work around it. Both us and the people at Slant Six Games brought interpreters who knew a lot about games to our meetings, ensuring that communication went smoothly. Thanks to them we were able to get across all the little details we wanted to convey.
- Were there any areas where you guys failed to see eye-to-eye in planning the game?
"Kawata"
Capcom puts forward a rough outline of the scenario, but as the development teams set about to working on the game, they often come up with their own ideas and use these to make changes. When they make a few changes, we ask them to provide us with detailed specifications. After reviewing the information they give us and the opinions of our people here at Capcom, we make a decision. The fusion of ideas from both companies often gives us new insight, but we have to be careful not to stray too far from the Resident Evil world-view.
- What were some of the specific proposals Slant Six Games made?
"Kawata"
For this title Slant Six Games was responsible for the character design, and I was pleasantly surprised with the character designs they gave us. They were unlike anything people at Capcom would normally come up with. One that really struck me was their suggestion to include a bearded, well-built middle-aged man. That's a type of character you hardly see in Japanese games.
- Character preferences and tastes tend to differ by country.
"Kawata"
That’s definitely true. In Japanese games most of the characters you see are good-looking. These varying tastes proved to be another reminder of the cultural differences that exist.
- Are there any differences in the development structure of developers outside Japan and that of Capcom?
"Kawata"
What impressed me about working with Slant Six Games is how efficient they are in development. Japanese companies tend to be very particular about each specific aspect. However, most companies in other countries clearly establish what they need to focus on and what they can cut out during the development period. This is definitely an aspect of product management that we should adopt.
- Do see you more of these co-development projects on the horizon?
"Kawata"
Capcom is actively seeking to team up other developers outside Japan for other projects. This is definitely something that extends beyond the Resident Evil series.
This project was a good learning experience. The lessons learned and knowledge we acquired through this tie-up will be valuable assets for us in the future.
Back to Developer Interview 2011 Top Page
  1. 08.Katsuhiko Ichii
  2. 07.Masaru Ijuin
  3. 06.Masachika Kawata
  4. 05.Hiroyuki Kobayashi
  5. 04.Yoshinori Ono
  6. 03.Yoichi Egawa
  7. 02.Manabu Seko
  8. 01.Takeshi Tezuka

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