My biggest goal of NYCC this year was to interview Capcom Community Manager Seth Killian, a man who I not only greatly respect but actually posted my Breath of Fire II VGdrum video on Capcom-Unity over a year ago. This goal was accomplished! So proceed for the video interview (and a summary) in which I pester him with questions about the long lost Capcom JRPG series, Breath of Fire.
When I asked Seth about Capcom’s decision to create 2 new IP’s when it is much easier to market a sequel, he explained that Capcom tries to go for a balance of sequels and new potential franchises. While it is easier to market a sequel in an industry which heavily relies on them, it is part of the investment for a company to make a new franchise and hopefully recover the costs of development with sequels in the future. Seth continued, saying that “Capcom has always been a big believer in revisiting old franchises” and pointed to titles like Marvel vs. Capcom and Street Fighter. Nevertheless, Capcom still wants to go in new directions, and when it feels strongly about certain concepts such as an open-world action adventure game (Dragon’s Dogma) or manga come-to-life (Asura’s Wrath) it will go for that.
I proceeded into the conversation on Breath of Fire by mentioning that many fans thought the announcement of Dragon’s Dogma was a subtitle for an upcoming Breath of Fire sequel and asking whether there was still a viable market in North America for a JRPG like Breath of Fire. Seth brought up the ongoing success of Dragon Quest in North America and explained that Capcom has been looking at older IP’s and trying to see where the opportunities are. He acknowledged that the Breath of Fire series has great titles and still has a fanbase so revisiting it is not out of the question. As of right now, however, their focus is on the Western-style fantasy in Dragon’s Dogma. I mentioned that Breath of Fire IV made it to #15 on the Top 20 PSN downloads in September and we both acknowledged that it had to mean something.
My final question dealt with the pesky legal issues of Breath of Fire III‘s denial on PSN in North America, and while Seth didn’t know any exact details regarding those issues, he explained that it’s a tricky situation because the harder it is to get an older title re-released in such a manner, the more work and money Capcom would have to put in with lawyers, among other things, and thus re-releasing it wouldn’t even be profitable anymore. He admitted it was a blow to the game but suggested that players could still purchase the original copy and play that.