Capcom heads to PAX Prime 2014

Capcom is off to PAX Prime , the annual gaming event that puts the 

If you happen to be attending the event, be sure to stop by the Capcom booth (#3217), where you can revel in the following delights:

Game Demos
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)
- Come try out the latest build and the series' two awesome new weapons, the Charge Blade and the Insect Glaive! Anyone who plays will get one of the snazzy MH pins detailed in Yuri's blog .

Ultra Street Fighter 4 (PS3/Xbox 360) -  Go for broke! 

Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition (PC) -  Get one final sneak peak at the gorgeously-running PC version of this zombie-slaying sandbox romp before it releases next Friday!

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (3DS) -  Three classic games in one mystery-filled demo. This one's not due out until this winter, so this is a nice opportunity to check out the beautifully redrawn visuals and touched-up localization well in advance.

Capcom Pro Tour Official Tournament
As detailed in ComboFiend's previous blog , PAX Prime will be Capcom Pro Tour's next tournament venue! The tournament will take place over the entire three-day course of the event, and the top 16 finals will be streamed from the Capcom Fighters channel on Twitch for those who can't make the event (or who just want to relax in their hotel rooms).

Capcom Store
Yep, just like San Diego Comic Con, our PAX booth will have a store! Drop by and pick yourself up an Umbrella umbrella, some art books, some more of those snazzy Monster Hunter pins, or a Street Fighter Shadaloo Watch for the high rollers out there.


You'll also be able to pre-order the incredibly popular Mega Man Helmets as well as the big-ticket Resident Evil watch .

For those who can't make it to PAX this year, the online Capcom Store has some significant discounts on some very cool stuff. Street Fighter IV/Super Street Fighter IV Official Complete Works   for ten bucks?? Sign me up!

Wii U and 3DS deals abound on Nintendo's Capcom sale

::UPDATE:: The SNES Street Fighter II games are also discounted on the Wii U eShop, so I've added 'em to the list. 

Nintendo's got a week-long publisher sale going on right now, and Capcom's the publisher! Check out all these 3DS and Wii U discounts! 

3DS
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - $39.99 | $19.99
Resident Evil Revelations - $19.99 | $8.99
Resident Evil Mercenaries - $19.99 | $8.99
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies - $29.99 | $17.99
Super Street Fighter 4 - $19.99 | $9.99

Wii U
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - $39.99 | $15.99
Resident Evil Revelations - $39.99 | $19.99
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara - $14.99 | $6.75
Ducktales Remastered - $14.99 | $7.49
(SNES) Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting - $7.99 | $4.99
(SNES) Street Fighter II: The World Warrior -  $7.99  | $4.99
(SNES) Super Street Fighter II: New Challengers -  $7.99  | $4.99
(SNES) Street Fighter Alpha 2 -  $7.99  | $4.99

 

USFIV Capcom Pro Tour Event at PAX Prime

Following successful Capcom Pro Tour ranking events at other trade shows such as PAX East, and San Diego Comic-Con, we are happy to announce that PAX Prime will be the next show to host an official CPT tournament! The qualifiying rounds will be a little more intense this time around, with them being single elimination, but there will quite a few chances. Continue on for more details.

Similar to previous trade show events, qualifiers will be held throughout the show with the top two placers for each moving on to the top 16 finals on Sunday. With a $3000 prize pool and CPT ranking points on the line, you can be sure that everyone will be bringing their A game.

Qualifiers take place at the Capcom booth (#3217) and the top 16 finals will take place at the Twitch booth, which is right next to the Capcom booth. Sign ups will be taken at the Capcom booth everyday from 10am on a first come-first serve basis, so be sure to show up early to get your name on the list! The winner of each qualifier will move on to Sunday in Winner’s bracket, while the runner-ups will move on to Sunday in Loser’s bracket.

Tournament Schedule (All times PDT):

8/29 Friday @ Capcom Booth
10:00 – 12:00: Sign ups/Bracket Creation
12:00 – 13:30: 16 Man Single Elimination #1 (Top 2 players qualify for Sunday)
13:30 – 15:00: 16 Man Single Elimination #2 (Top 2 players qualify for Sunday)
15:00 – 16:30: 16 Man Single Elimination #3 (Top 2 players qualify for Sunday)
16:30 – 18:00: 16 Man Single Elimination #4 (Top 2 players qualify for Sunday)

8/30 Saturday @ Capcom Booth
10:00 – 12:00: Sign ups/Bracket Creation
12:00 – 13:30: 16 Man Single Elimination #1 (Top 2 players qualify for Sunday)
13:30 – 15:00: 16 Man Single Elimination #2 (Top 2 players qualify for Sunday)
15:00 – 16:30: 16 Man Single Elimination #3 (Top 2 players qualify for Sunday)
16:30 – 18:00: 16 Man Single Elimination #4 (Top 2 players qualify for Sunday)

8/31 Sunday @ Twitch Booth
15:30 – 17:30: Top 16 Finals (Double Elimination)

The entire top 16 will be streamed via  Capcom Fighters on Twitch , so if you can’t make the show in person then be sure to tune in!

Capcom Unity Official Podcast: Episode 12 - Localization

Oh yes, it is time for another episode of the universally beloved  Capcom Unity Official Podcast!  Sit back with your favorite beverage and download Episode 12   here .

This episode is all about the beautiful art of localization, which allows Capcom games to reach an enormous, ravenous audience outside Japan's borders. Special thanks go out to our guest David Crislip, Mega Ran and Kyle Murdock for the terrific new theme song, and Yuri for the brilliant image above. Awesome-looking indeed!

Let us know your own thoughts on localization in the comments below, or in the discussion thread . We'll read the responses we like the most on the next episode in two weeks! Thanks for listening!

Legendary Capcom artist Daigo Ikeno appearing at San Mateo's Japan Expo

If you happen to be in the general vicinity of San Mateo, California, you'll do yourself well to check out the Japan Expo , going on today through Sunday, August 24th. The expo is a weekend-long showcase of Japanese culture, from the traditional to the freaky-deaky modern.

PLUS, as an added incentive, hailed Capcom artist Daigo Ikeno will be there as a special guest, doing a live drawing session as well as signing sessions! Even if you don't know this name, you've almost definitely seen his incredible artwork and character designs in the likes of  Onimusha, Devil May Cry 3, and Street Fighter II: 3rd Strike. More recently, he's acted as Art Director for  Street Fighter IV   and Dragon's Dogma. This is a terrific opportunity not to be missed.

Signing Sessions
Friday (today!) - 18:45-19:45
Saturday - 15:30-16:30 & 20:30-21:30
Sunday - 11:00-12:00

Select Capcom games are $10 on this PSN Flash Sale!

Heads up everyone: this weekend's PSN Flash Sale has 4 Capcom games for only  $9.99 each! You can click  here to see the full list of games, but I'll help with direct links to the Capcom ones:

Resident Evil Revelations (PS3)

Lost Planet 3  (PS3)

DmC Devil May Cry (PS3)

Street Fighter X Tekken   (PSVita)

Again, these are all going for  $9.99 this weekend, and if I were to make any recommendations (say you can only pick one or two) my personal favorite of the list is  DmC Devil May Cry ; or you could get  Street Fighter X Tekken which has all the DLC characters... works well if you already had the PS3 version but not the DLC. Happy shoipping! =)

FishPlayStreetFighter pits fish against fish

Guys. They've got goldfish playing Street Fighter .  




Poison, Decapre themes redone in 8-bitty style

I'll never say no to a game music post, so after seeing this go up on SRK I had to share!

The tracks come from Bulbamike, who has a nice assortment of SF tunes re-imagined in 8-bit style. The visuals in the YT vid are reminiscent of 2012's Street Fighter X Mega Man , which makes me just that much happier.

BUT let's not forget A Rival's excellent SFxMM soundtrack, available over on his Bandcamp page!

Enjoy!

How Monster Hunter is a lot like Street Fighter

Preface: If you are a “tl;dr” kind of internet user, I’ll save you some trouble and hopefully still salvage a bit of your attention by informing you that the first massive chunk of this blog is anecdotal, while if you scroll down, you will find a handily succinct (well, not that succinct) one of those internet lists the kids are all about these days. Skip to the list if you are so inclined. And comment with your own insights if you are so inclined!

Okay.  

You know, when I lived in Japan I was not much for Monster Hunter. Monster Hunter players were all around me trying to convert me. 

“You gotta get into this game, Greg,” one friend of mine would say. “I’ve logged 1700 hours on my file. I haven’t slept for days.

“But I like sleep. I like sleeping for days,” I would reply.

My friend’s fervor was, conversely, an intimidating turn-off for me. Doing the math, I discovered that 1700 hours equated to approximately 71 full days, meaning just under two and a half months of doing nothing but play Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, and to be clear, the game hadn’t even been out a year at that point. 

At first, I didn’t even believe him. “Surely you added an extra two zeros.” The longest I had spent on any one game, to my knowledge, was about 75 hours on Okami for the PlayStation 2. It was the longest by a significant margin. 

Then there was my other friend. “Greg, you gotta get Monster Hunter Portable Second G,” he said. “I NEED YOUR HELP,” he said. 

“What? Why?”

Previously I had helped this friend, a fellow expat, do things like order food and navigate the insidious bureaucracy of our prefecture’s immigration office, so I assumed he needed help, say, reading the in-game text or something.

“The monsters. They take like forty minutes to fight, and then I just get killed anyway and it sucks. You should get it.”

“Hey yeah, I’ll get right on that. Let me just push this stack of fun games aside. You butt.”

My two friends had failed to sell me on the game, and I want to emphasize this point, because we all know that Monster Hunter is a game that, let’s say somewhere between 80 and 100 percent of the time, people are sold on by their friends, and we also all know that in Japan this has happened successfully enough times that in the last eleven months alone, at least 4.1 million people have bought a copy. A new copy. And don’t take that extra 0.1 million for granted—that’s one-hundred-thousand people. Some of you may also know that I’ve devoted half my life (ages fifteen to thirty) to studying Japan, trying to grasp its language, society, and culture to the fullest extent, and despite all of the above, when my real-life friends suggested that I at least try what was in essence THE Japanese game, I was immediately like, “Shut up, no.” A further reduced some/sum of you may also also know that I now have absolute faith in the Monster Hunter series and am an avid player. I think it is one of the smartest, coolest games around today. So I want to emphasize my friends’ failure to sell me on it, because now that it is literally part of my job to sell people on it, I empathize deeply with those friends and think I have a good idea of why they—and to an extent, I, as the recipient of their pitches—failed. If nothing else, I kind of regret calling my one friend a “butt.” 

To further emphasize the same point, it wasn’t until sometime in the middle of 2011, after getting a job at Capcom and receiving three different versions of the game for free that I was finally willing to even give the series a chance, and even after that it took hours of experimentation with all three of those versions as well as rigorous tutelage from various styles of mentor (the tough lover, the coddler, the dragger) before the game actually sunk in and became something…wait for it… enjoyable.

So here’s what I think happened. In Japan, I was hearing all these disjointed bits and bobs of information about the Monster Hunter series, many of them wholly subjective: “It’s grindy.” “It’s popular.” “It takes for-freaking-ever to kill a monster.” “It’s a PSP game.” “It’s only really worth playing if you have friends with whom to play it.” “It ended my marriage.” 

Above all else, it seemed complicated. And I already had a glistening stack of blissfully simple Sega Saturn games to devour. “Give me one good reason why I should forsake this extravagantly expensive copy of Radiant Silvergun for a game that sounds like work,” I would say with indignance. “And get off my lawn.” 

The problem was, though, that I was filling in all the gaps between these info-bits with assumptions. “Oh, it’s grindy? I bet the combat is pretty boring and mindless. Oh, it’s popular? It’s probably artistically uninspired and filled with lowest-common-denominator tropes. Oh, it ended your marriage? I bet it’s the kind of thing that requires you to play it obsessively and not have any other hobbies or wives.” All of these assumptions were pretty much the polar opposites of the truth. This truth becomes clear to you as you play the game for awhile (maybe two, maybe ten, maybe twenty hours, depending on how you play it), and you realize that these vague descriptions of the game serve only to wrongly pigeonhole it into the same category as more insipid action-adventure or action-RPG games that have things like mindless grinding, arbitrary gradation of “levels,” and a creatively bankrupt aesthetic. On an abstract, fundamental level, everything about Monster Hunter makes a lot more sense when likened to—here we go now—Capcom’s very own STREET FIGHTER. 

It was Action Button Entertainment’s Tim Rogers, my personal favorite writer on the subject of video games, who I first saw describe Monster Hunter as the “Son of Street Fighter,” but I believe any observant Capcom fan or person who is thoughtful about game design will notice the two series’ parallels, provided enough time with both. The following is a list of some ways I think Monster Hunter does indeed make at least a convincing nephew to the fighting game series. They may not strike all of you as particularly groundbreaking or revelatory, but I do think this is at least a more empowering way to describe the series, if you must describe it through comparison of what came before (when in reality, Monster Hunter, like Street Fighter, sort of marks the birth of a new genre. I wonder what people compared Street Fighter to back when it was new).

1. It is a casual game if you so choose. It is a hardcore game if you so choose. 

This I take from Rogers’ write-up linked above:

“It is a ‘casual game’ and a ‘hardcore game’ at the same time; it is easy to play, it is difficult to master, the level of strategy involved is as deep as the combined imaginations of as many as four simultaneous players; and, most importantly, the title of the game (minus the three modifier words, which we’ll get to later) tells you exactly what you’re going to spend all your time doing.”

The gameplay experience in both Monster Hunter and Street Fighter is parsed out into little bite-sized gameplay units, known in one as “quests,” the other as “matches.” 

It is the easiest thing ever for me to jump into a match of Street Fighter with, say, my brother, play five matches, and then shut it off and take him out for a kebab. Gradually, though, these casual instances add up. I myself have without a doubt logged more cumulative hours playing Street Fighter matches than I ever logged in Okami, probably by a significant margin, all without ever noticing. If someone asked me if I were a “Street Fighter player,” though, I’d be like, “Not really. I play once in awhile casually,” when in fact it is, however nonchalantly, one of my most-played game series. It’s because it can be consumed so casually, in such clearly defined, bite-sized doses, so amidst the other activities of your life, that the number of hours played is hardly significant. Compare it to the number of hours you’ve played baseball or soccer or basketball or ping-pong, or brushed your teeth in your life. You probably don't know how many that is, but it's probably a lot. But are you a “hardcore athlete”? Are you an “avid toothbrusher”? 

Of course, for those who dare, the game offers the potential for “high-level play.” One certainly can be a hardcore Street Fighter player, just as one can be a hardcore ping-pong player

Monster Hunter shares this impeccable duality. Most of my friends play it in brief spurts, often while conversing about unrelated things. Some of my friends play it studiously, feverishly, unlocking every piece of equipment and mastering every monster. I will probably never own a set of Bumblepumpkin-flavored armor. But you can. 

2. It is pure in its intentions. It is practically a simulation.

In a weird and unexpected way, Monster Hunter is a sort of simulator. It’s easy to take for granted the fact that you are hunting monsters without really letting it sink in that you are a Hunter. It is your occupation, your role in this universe. The game is surprisingly thorough in its presentation of that lifestyle. You acquire the individual parts to create your hunting tools. Many of those tools you create yourself, physically crafting them in real time out of items you’ve physically gathered in real time. Other tools you pay a blacksmith with money you earned from your occupation to forge for you. You don’t just fight monsters—you actually hunt them. You track them. You learn their behavior. You set traps for them. These are all integral elements of your role as the Hunter, and they are what makes Monster Hunter the definitive hunting video game.

When Street Fighter was unleashed on the world, there were already a lot of video games that included fighting--even fighting people on streets. But few, maybe no games offered the same degree of control over a character’s body that Street Fighter did. Street Fighter was really about fighting. I believe that anybody who has studied a martial art can see the psychological and emotional parallels. You play mind games. You play footsies. You read your opponent. It’s no different in Street Fighter. Street Fighter even offers special move inputs that simulate the experience of learning and unleashing martial arts techniques. Performing a sonic boom isn’t literally as hard as performing an advanced martial arts technique, but it does require that extra little bit of precision, practice, and proper execution. Some moves, like the spinning pile driver, even try to emulate the on-screen motion of the character with the player's finger motion. Street Fighter may well be the closest thing we have to a “fighting simulator.” 

3. Progress is defined by the player. 

That is, not by some arbitrarily numerated system. As Rogers emphasizes repeatedly in his piece, Monster Hunter isn’t a game of numbers, it’s a game of skill. Think about it—there’s no such thing as Experience Points in these games. You “Level Up” (that is, raise your Hunter Rank) when and only when you actually get better as a player. You cannot “grind” your way up. You can “cheat” by getting help from your friends, but that rank up ceases to have any meaning when your friends aren’t around and you’re just as helpless as you were before you commissioned them. After all, getting a Rank Up in Monster Hunter just allows you access to further challenges to your skill. 

Street Fighter has no real level or rank system, but it, too, is purely a game of skill. There is no grinding to win. There is no arbitrary or false sense of progression. Your progression as a skilled player is proportional to your progress in the game. Isn't that neat?

4. Combat is all about space and time.

With a lot of actiony games, you are afforded quite a bit of leeway to sort of play on “auto-pilot.” You’ll find yourself just mashing away, taking the occasional hit at little consequence. Monster Hunter and Street Fighter are both games that demand constant diligence. Players must know the opponent— respect the opponent—or face swift and brutal reprisals. To get anywhere in either game, you must have an understanding of animations, their durations, and how they connect with one another. It helps (a lot) to have an understanding of hitboxes and how they interact with one another. You don’t have to be a scientist; much of this understanding comes organically, subconsciously. But to be sure, these are games of precision, timing, and spatial awareness. 

The series producer, Ryozo Tsujimoto, made the comparison himself in a recent musing on how Western hunters are unexpectedly careful.

“There are a lot of fighting game fans in North America, and because those games are based on a lot of the same kind of things Monster Hunter is—observing your enemy’s behaviour and trying to react against that—maybe it makes sense that that’s the way they play, because they have a fighting game culture as well.” 

Indeed.

5. The weapon types are like a character roster.

I’ve heard it said more than a few times that each weapon class in Monster Hunter is like a character in Street Fighter. Each weapon is distinct in its feel, with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Your weapon choice completely sculpts the fundamental way in which you interact with your opponent. The difference between a Lance and Dual Blades is at least as significant as that between, say, Zangief and Yun. But like Street Fighter, there’s no real commitment. Tired of a certain weapon? Switch weapons the next “match.” You are encouraged to experiment and find a weapon for which you have an affinity. And when you do? The same kind of rewarding depth offered by fighting game characters is there. Just check out this gunlance tutorial  

==========

Okay. I sure hope somebody out there found this insightful. Next time you try to introduce Monster Hunter to someone, try thinking of it in those terms. Or don’t! But I sure will. Thanks for reading! And if you don't agree with me, well, technically Yuri's our Monster Hunter guy. I just work here. =PPPPPPPPPPP <3

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