Jetsetter: Capcom comes home and the last of the Wii exclusives

Monster Hunter Online jetsetterAfter the last week in the video game industry, it’s hard not to focus almost entirely on Japan and its most iconic developer, Nintendo. After three years of sales declines and heavy losses, the company is widening its stance, hunkering down like a sumo wrestler on the defensive. While Wii U fights to survive, Nintendo is pumping games out of its Japanese studios for Nintendo 3DS, many of them an explicit attempt to recapture the company’s Super Nintendo glory days. Sequels to 1990s classics were announced in droves, from a brand new Yoshi’s Island to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2 (not the official title in the US, but that number sits prominently in the Japanese title.)

Japan is heavy on Jetsetter’s mind as well this week. Digital Trends’ weekly column devoted to import gaming and the international game development world makes stops in India and Australia this week but our other stories concern the land of the rising sun.

Capcom brings its biggest series to China, while recommitting to Japanese development

IndiaCapcom, a Japanese publisher and developer almost as iconic as Nintendo, announced a dramatic shift in its business plans this week when it said it was cancelling a large number of games and reorganizing the company. For the past six years, Capcom has invested heavily in outsourced development, hiring mostly Western studios to make games like DmCDead Rising 2Lost Planet 3, and many more. Those days are over. As a result of the “decline in quality of titles outsourced to overseas developers,” Capcom is refocusing on its internal Japanese studios going forward. This may be bad news for Capcom diehards. The company already releases many games, like Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2, that never leave Japan.

Meanwhile, Capcom’s Monster Hunter series, fresh off it worldwide success on Wii U with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, is travelling to far off lands. Chinese gaming giant Tencent has teamed up with Capcom for Monster Hunter Online, a brand new, full scale MMO made only for China. It opens for beta in June. Online gaming is an $8 billion business in China. Maybe this bit of Asian outsourcing will yield much needed profits for the old Street Fighter developer.

Indian gaming industry blooms in 2012

Jetsetter likes to regularly check in on India. One of the gaming industry’s fastest growing market is a fascinating place. The PlayStation 2, for example, is still a going concern in the country. Games were a turbulent business in 2012, though, as prices raised on big international releases and in-country mobile development ramped up. Overall, the industry grew significantly, 16 percent year-on-year to $277 million overall. That’s a fraction of the $50 billion global gaming industry, but it’s a start, with projects estimating India will be worth $776 million by 2017 according to the FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry 2013 report. Thanks as always to MCV India’s Sameer Desai for his insight into the region.


Before Kinectimals, Britain’s Frontier Developments was hard at work on Microsoft Zoo

K-Pop Dance FestivalEurogamer reported on Thursday that Frontier Developments, Elite developer David Braben’s intrepid studio, was once upon a time hard at work on another Microsoft exclusive that ultimately lead to the Kinect pet simulator KinectimalsMicrosoft Zoo was in development long before Kinectimals and was meant to score the Xbox company some of that sweet, sweet Zoo Tycoon money. The senior graphics user interface designer on the game posted old screenshots online, but those have since been taken down. Fans of the PC sim series will just have to content themselves with the above screenshot and fantasize about the lost UK game that could have been.

Korea gets one last Wii exclusive

Pandora’s Tower, a Castelvania inspired Wii action RPG, came out in the US this past week and that may be the very last for Nintendo’s old motion control machine. It won’t be the last Wii game around, though. Wii owners looking for something unique this year will have to go to Korea and check out the local brand of Just Dance-style games. Developer Skonec is working on the Korean exclusive K-Pop Dance Festival. It is exactly what it sounds like, a dance game with tracks from Korean pop stars like JYP and, yes, “Gangnam Style”’s Psy.

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