Sony Santa Monica, the studio behind PlayStation heavyweights like God of War: Ascension and oddballs like The Unfinished Swan, now has another icon of the fighting game world hard at work on its debut competitive brawler PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Seth Killian, former marketing head of Capcom USA, has joined the studio as the lead game designer of Santa Monica’s external group.
Killian announced his arrival at Sony Santa Monica in a post at Sony’s official blog on Monday. The external group that Killian is heading up works with outside studios. It’s past work has been on a number of well-respected titles like thatgamecompany’s Journey and Fun Bit Interactive’s Escape Plan for PlayStation Vita. Killian’s expertise as one of the foremost fighting game experts in the U.S. is going to be put to particular use working with SuperBot Entertainment on PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
This is a great hire for Sony. Few figures in the American industry are as adept at mobilizing fans around a game as Seth Killian, and given Sony’s lack of history in the fighting game field, his input will help guarantee the game’s quality and that it finds an audience. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a risk for Sony. The company has strong brands like God of War, but it’s up in the air whether those brands will be enough to draw people in to a Smash Bros.-style party fighter. Killian’s input will at least encourage fighting aficionados to give the game a fair shake.
After three years of flawless victories, Capcom’s reborn fighting game business has been hit hard in 2012. First, Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 producer Yoshinori Ono, the mastermind behind the entire fighting game line at the publisher, fell ill in March and had to quit his relentless promotion campaign, halting work on rumored titles like Darkstalkers 4. Then fans retaliated against Capcom’s aggressive DLC policies when Street Fighter X Tekken hit shelves with characters locked away behind a pay wall even though they were included on the game disc. Now comes Killian’s departure for Sony. He was the face of Capcom’s American community and was instrumental in the western success of Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Between his absence and Ono’s health, it looks like Capcom’s fighting game business may go back into hibernation after just a few years back at the top.