Fans of the Dead Rising series-- or, at least, those who have an Xbox 360-- may be familiar with Capcom's recent experimental prequel to last year's release of Dead Rising 2, appropriately titled "Dead Rising 2: Case Zero." For 400 Microsoft Points, players could download the title and enjoy some of the new characters and features from the then-upcoming zombie-busting sequel, as well as the benefit of being able to preemptively build protagonist Chuck Greene's skills to Level 5. Since its August 31st release, it went on to become the biggest first-week release of 2010 on Xbox LIVE, with 300,000 downloads sold in those first seven days.
With that said, it only makes sense that Capcom would seek to recreate that success with some of its other franchises beyond Dead Rising. "It's something that we're evaluating for all of our titles," Capcom U.S. Vice President Christian Svensson told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview.
"It's not something we're going to be doing on every title," he continued, "but it's something we're looking at on a title by title basis. Can we provide a compelling, self-contained pre-amble with persistence that links to a full product that helps people to upsell? That's really being thought out on a case-by-case basis."
However, don't go expecting this to happen for, say, Mega Man Legends 3-- and not for reasons outlined earlier. According to Svensson, the decision to create such a tie-in has to be made at the start of the project:
"The learnings that come from this are that it's something you have to plan from the beginning. It's not something you can do mid-development. It was hard enough even when we planned it from the beginning, just time-wise, the coordination of the Vancouver studio finalling practically three pieces of content at once -- that's hard. That's really hard to do, logistically."
In addition, there are other concerns with releasing such a product into the virtual marketplace. Beyond the worry that their investment in Case Zero would not yield positive results, there is also the concern that the release could taint the bigger product, leading to dissatisfied downloaders choosing not to purchase the retail game.
"A bad trial experience or a bad brand experience can do more harm than a really good brand experience," Svensson noted. "So you've really got to get everything lined up well."
1UP put forth the question of what other titles their readers would like to see receive their own "Case Zero" prologues, with their title suggesting marquee Capcom franchises Resident Evil and, of course, Mega Man. Interestingly enough, however, Capcom did release something akin to this before, and it was indeed for Mega Man.
Rockman DASH 2: Episode 1 was released with the Japanese version of Misadventures of Tron Bonne. But unlike the demo released with the game in North America, it contained its own story, taking place between the two numbered games in the series.
Unlike Case Zero, however, we aren't aware of any leveling-up type of benefit to your Rockman DASH 2 game if you played the prequel first. It was never released outside of Japan, though it did see a re-release on the PlayStation Portable release of Rockman DASH 2. For the benefit of those without the Japanese systems and games, here is a video of the game from YouTube:
Unlike Case Zero, there was no fee to partake in the demo-- you just had to purchase another good (but underrated) game to get it. And, unlike some other companies' offerings, at least that game was a part of the same series as the demo.
How would you like to see this idea applied to the Mega Man franchise? With the variety of game styles from series to series, there are no doubt plenty of ideas out there. Or would you rather Capcom did not do this for Mega Man?
Tell us in the comments!
Image Source: Toy Collector