Christian Svensson Resigns Amidst Capcom US Layoffs

svenssonWell here's a real bit of unfortunate news. Word is out today via Polygon that Capcom US has had to lay off, according to their PR, several employees as the result of internal restructuring. As a part of this process, Capcom's senior vice president Christian "Sven" Svensson has voluntarily stepped down. Svensson stated in a post:

This departure is not a bad thing for me and it’s happening mostly because I’d suggested it during the early planning for today’s reorg. While I wish the company the best of luck, Capcom is going in a different direction and the need for people at my level, relative to other areas, is lacking.

Svennson had sometimes come off as devises with Mega Man fans, but I was generally keen on him. He was very frank and honest (to the extent his position would allow him to be, anyway), and I think he always did keep the fans' desires in mind, even if he couldn't always work with them. I had the rare pleasure of chatting with him at Captivate a couple years back, and our discussion reinforced that image.

As for what this means for Mega Man, well that's hard to say. He was a big proponent for getting the series running again, and continually assured that "top men" were looking into things. Of course I'm sure there are other voices still in Capcom that will keep the request going. If anything, I worry a little more about what this apparent restructuring means in the long term.

Incidentally, Svensson is pursuing efforts to find work for the others dismissed from Capcom. We certainly wished them the best, and with the talent Capcom generally has I'm sure they'll find new horizons in short order.

Thanks to Magnet_Man, megamanx827, Fernando and GeminiSparkSP for the tips. Original photo via IGN.

Due to Popular Demand, Capcom USA May Not Bring Rockman Xover West

x006And to think, so many people have said that Capcom doesn't listen to its fans or care what they want. Due to the enormous outpouring of vehement rage at the very existence of Rockman Xover (which our own Heat Man was less than impressed with), Capcom Senior Vice-President Christian Svensson addressed the prolonged absence from the Western market in an Ask Capcom thread, stating that "Based upon the largely negative feedback from MM fans, I've requested that we place any Americas release on hold for the time being," adding that the prospect will be revisited at a later time.

In its native land of Japan, the game has previously ascended to the #3 spot on iTunes and earned over 100,000 registered players, so at least poor OVER-1 is getting some love somewhere. That said, would you be interested if the premise (story, characters) were revisited in another, more traditional format?

Source: Protodude's Rockman Corner

Sticky: Capcom Needs Your Input on Digital Titles

helpwantedCapcom wants you... to give them some input on what they should be doing in the digital (not retail) space. "Obviously," says Capcom Vice President Christian Svensson, "we have many opinions internally and we're looking to gather some data about your buying habits and what franchises and even title types, you'd like us to make in the future." Hence, a survey. One which "will only take a few minutes of your time and it's a great opportunity to let your voices be heard directly," Svensson notes.

"There's no guarantees on what the outcomes will be," he continues, "but I promise you, this data will be a factor in our decision making process. I'll be compiling the data in about a week (closing just after Christmas) and sharing the results internally with Japan before the end of the year. Thanks in advance and have a happy holiday. :) "

Naturally, this is just the sort of opportunity to voice what we would like to see, be it Virtual Console releases, 16-bit styled Mega Man X9, Maverick Hunter X and Mega Man Powered Up on Xbox Live Arcade or Nintendo eShop, something with Mega Man Legends, or whatever else comes to your pretty little minds. And among the questions asked are a number of Mega Man-specific questions, so be sure to participate!

To access the survey directly, click here.

Kotaku Interviews Seow & Svensson on Street Fighter X Mega Man

In case the 40 minutes of gameplay footage wasn't enough to whet your appetite for Street Fighter X Mega Man before the release on December 17th, Kotaku has posted a new interview with Capcom USA Senior Vice President Christian Svensson and the game's creator, Seow Zong Hui. In the interview, Seow sheds some light on his motivations and decisions made in developing the game, as well as some technical and artistic aspects of the development process. Meanwhile, Svensson talks about why they're releasing the game for free, expectations regarding fans' cravings and future projects, and proceeds to tease a little about how this is only kicking off their 25th anniversary plans for Mega Man, rather than encompassing it.

Destructoid Delivers Two-Hit Combo of Street Fighter X Mega Man

Following this past weekend's reveal of Street Fighter X Mega Man and the subsequent article from IGN, Destructoid has gone on the offensive by delivering a one-two punch of features about the upcoming clash between the World Warriors and the Blue Bomber. The first article is a hands-on preview which reveals all sorts of tantalizing tidbits about the game. Among the info disclosed are who Mega Man will face, how the levels are set up, the return of the Charge Shot and slide, and what role Dan will play in the title. There's also a fun bit explaining how Street Fighter's Super Moves are implemented, and how strategy in this game is not unlike what you would use in Street Fighter IV.

The other piece explores how this project came to be in the first place, and offers a bit of hope for what is to come in the year ahead. "In my head, we were in the middle of our 25th anniversary celebration of Street Fighter," Capcom USA Vice President Christian Svensson explained. "We had started planning the Mega Man stuff a couple of months earlier, but we didn't have a good opener."

In addition, "There were four levels available at the time," Senior Community Manager Brett "Brelston" Elston said of his first time playing. "I played through and I only got maybe halfway through the first stage I played, which was Blanka at the time, and even halfway through I was just like, this is great. It feels right, the philosophy of the level design is right. The physics, the jumping -- everything feels just like it should. I immediately said go for it."

The article gets into more detail, explaining Capcom's part in the project, the length of time it took to make it happen, and even why you should make sure you download it from Capcom themselves, rather than some other source. "I would argue that if anything," Svensson says, "if we get a million downloads of [Street Fighter X Mega Man], and certainly I think that's the floor I hope to see -- it's free, it should hopefully do more than that! -- that just helps raise awareness for the brand across the board and creates fertile ground for things to happen regardless of which direction that it kind of comes in."

And for those wondering why it's being offered for free?

The shaky grounds of the Mega Man franchise over the last two years is one of the main reasons the crossover title will be free. "We would hope this is, on our end could sort of make good [to fans]," Brett explained. "Making it free, making it available to as many people as possible, helps us get back on the right track with the brand. This is just the beginning of the 25th anniversary of Mega Man, this isn't the end-all, be-all that we have to say. We're hoping the free status of the game shows that we're listening and that we care. We want to get this character, this brand, back alive."

There's plenty more to the article, so be sure to check it out!

Capcom Opens Up to IGN About SFxMM and the Blue Bomber's Future

Capcom caused quite a stir with the announcement of Street Fighter X Mega Man, the free-to-download PC game designed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of both respective franchises, and right on top of things is IGN, who discuss with Capcom Senior Vice President Christian Svensson and Senior Community Manager Brett Elston the details surrounding the development of the title, more titles on Virtual Console, and their other work with Mega Man after Cancellation Day last year. Right off the bat, Svensson gets down to what the feelings were around the office following the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3, which itself was preceded by the cancellation of their other big Blue Bomber title of the time, Mega Man Universe:

"After the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 and Universe, there was a cooling down period where even discussing the prospect of a Mega Man title was difficult. The wounds were still fresh for us (just as they were for fans). We’re at a point now where it’s not as painful and constructive discussions are happening again."

The article goes on to explain the problem Capcom ran into with oversaturating the market with Mega Man games, and on how the Street Fighter X Mega Man project came about:

This new 'cross' entry is a fascinating project, as it's not even something Capcom sought out. At EVO 2012, SF X Mega Man developer Seow Zong Hui approached Svensson, brandishing a laptop with a couple demo levels operational. Sensing an opportunity to do something special, Svensson quickly assembled a few key Mega Man fans from the Capcom office, including senior community manager Brett Elston, as a sanity check, to make sure what Zong Hui had developed was as good as it seemed. It was, and Capcom brought in some of its resources to assist in the game's development.

As for why the game is only available as a PC download, there are a few reasons, though they express the possibility of a console release at a later date:

The selection of the PC as the distribution platform was fairly simple considering Zong Hui was not a licensed console developer. The implications and costs associated with attempting to arrange that would be incredibly steep, and Capcom was eager to keep this project free for fans. Svensson admits that it might be possible to release the game on other open platforms, but focusing on just one was necessary to make the December 17 launch.

Looking beyond the anniversary tie-in, the off-again, on-again subject of a robot reboot came up. In addition to Svensson's thoughts on the matter of dealing with the background of a seven-series franchise, Elston added, "If you’re worried about an overly gritty “M” rated, third person cover-based shooter, don’t be."

For more of Svensson's thoughts on working with Hui on the game and Mega Man's future, check out the full article over at IGN.

Alright, Alright, You Guys Win...

Okay, so when we brought you word last week of what Mega Man goodness was in the newest issue of Nintendo Power, we did leave a part out-- mostly because it didn't really say anything we haven't been hearing from Capcom, and figured it would only lead to more cynicism (and at the places that did cover it, it has), which we already see plenty of around here. But since it seems that not only is every website grabbing it, but you guys keep sending in tips, too, you must really want it here for all to see, so here it is: The last part of the interview (which we did allude to before, incidentally). answered by Capcom Vice President Christian Svensson:

Nintendo Power: What does the future hold for Mega Man?

Christian Svensson: I can say with certainty that you've not seen the last of the Blue Bomber on consoles and handhelds, and, with luck, we'll be celebrating his 50th anniversary, including all of the games you're going to enjoy over the next 25 years. That said, an issue we've had in the past has been talking about games and announcing them before we're certain they're going to come out, which unfortunately has led to profound disappointment for many fans. So for now, I'm going to have to stay mum about any details.

And there you have it.

Thanks to all of you who sent us a tip about this! Now we'd better see joy and smiles and rainbows in the comments about the news!

And thanks to Nadia Oxford for the use of her pic!

Are There Too Many Mega Man Sub-Series for a Proper Reboot?

With Mega Man's iffy status as of late, one idea frequently paraded around to anyone who will listen is that of simply rebooting the franchise; that is, starting over again from square one, and letting the world of Mega Man unfold before us once again. But are there simply too many different series, their settings scattered across time and space to make that happen? Capcom USA Senior Vice President Christian Svensson weighed in on the idea with such thoughts on Capcom Unity's Ask Capcom forum in a thread suggesting "How about a Reboot to the MM Legend Franchise into a new entry in the MM franchise":

I (and probably I alone so please don’t ascribe said belief to “Capcom”) think one of the problems MM has had as a brand is that we’ve had too many competing splinter sub-brands within it. I’m not sure starting yet another is the way to get the franchise as a whole back on track more than creating greater brand confusion but we’ll take it under advisement.

It makes sense, in a way, with so many of the series tied together already; would a reboot of one mean they all need to be rebooted? Or can they stand well enough on their own despite what connections they may have?

On the other hand, one might also remember that Capcom did more or less try this once before with Mega Man Powered Up and Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X. When those came out, it was unclear to a number of fans what relation they had to the original versions and what was considered "canon," including Time Man and Oil Man's place in the great pantheon of Robot Master numbering, the fate of Dr. Cain, and Vile's relation to Sigma. Were these meant to replace the original installments, or stand apart?

Of course, hindsight has more or less placed them apart, given there were no continuations. Maverick Hunter X assets manage to find their way into other Mega Man X material, though Mega Man and Roll from Powered Up seem to commonly be shown alongside their respective Classic counterparts, rather than in place of them.

What do you think? Should any of the series get a fresh start, or would it be more trouble than it's worth?

Thanks for the tip, Trigger.EXE!

Source: EGM Now

Capcom Expresses "Other Concerns" Than the Name of Rockman Xover

Looking at the responses to our hands-on with Rockman Xover at the Tokyo Game Show, one gets the impression that many of you are not especially thrilled with what you have seen. Some of you have even turned the tables on Capcom and referred to the game's title as "Rockman's Over," given that this is the most we've seen from Capcom for the franchise heading into its 25th anniversary. This led Mavrickindigo to put the question to Capcom USA over whether they anticipated that the title would be used against them in such a way, if Capcom USA had any input at all, or if we could see a renaming for U.S. release a la Mega Man Legends.

The resulting response from Christian Svensson, Senior Vice-President and Corporate Officer for Capcom, is interesting:

This will no doubt raise some flags, particularly among the game's detractors. Of course, he may simply mean that he's not in charge of naming, and his role concerns other matters. We'll just leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Thanks for the tip and screencap, Mavrickindigo!

Don't Expect a New Game for Mega Man's 25th

The folks at Capcom have made a lot of murmurings about plans in the works to celebrate Mega Man's 25th anniversary. However, that doesn't mean you should go expecting some amazing new game (though a number of fans have regardless). When questioned about what's going on, Capcom's Christian "Sven" Svensson made this response:

[...] In December "some but not all" plans for the coming year of celebrations will be shared. There are many moving parts and not everything will be done and final come December. No one has promised a game or even an announcement of one at that time. Please do keep expectations in check.

And that's all there is to the story, really. I know a lot of people are anxious, but getting wound up and constantly asking questions isn't going to make December arrive any faster. And the truth is that it's unprecedented for a Mega Man title to be created specifically to honor an anniversary, or as compensation. Mega Man may be having it rough these days in the games department, but that doesn't mean Capcom owes us a game in turn, even if some of us would like it to.

Chances are you may not like what Capcom has in store, and I think that's the source of a lot of this anxiety. But if you keep your expectations in check and try not to be so pessimistic, you might find what they have cooking is actually pretty cool. Best advice I can give, anyhow.

Thanks to Joshua for the tip!

Capcom's Christian Svensson Assures that Xover "Isn't All"

It's a fact a lot of people have been disappointed in Rockman Xover - I can't even say I'm excited about it myself, though I'm waiting to see its details. Still, some of you nutty nuts immediately assumed that this would be the only thing commemorating Mega Man's 25th, and that Mega Man is dead, and that Capcom stole all of your candy bars in the dark of night. When the question of "is anything else planned?" was brought to Capcom's Christian Svensson, this is what he had to say:

Yes... but we don't start until the 25th birthday actually happens (which is in December). Japan has its schedule of things its doing and we're working on our own things. However beyond that, unfortunately I won't be able to shed any light at this time. You will just have to wait and see.

Others at Capcom, such have Brelston, have also been saying there's a lot of planning in the works for Mega Man's 25th, and we just need to be patient and stay tuned. I will also personally say this: Don't worry about it. It doesn't need to be explained how bad times are for Mega Man lately. But constantly thinking and speculating and hoping about it will probably lead you building up expectations that are too high. Don't force yourself into a position to be underwhelmed and miserable.

Thanks to Magnet_Man for the tip!

Next 10 Years of Mega Man Being Discussed by "Top Men" at Capcom

Considering the infamy of the line, we're sure some people will take this the wrong way, but here goes... Capcom published a new Ask Capcom Q&A video yesterday at Capcom Unity, and as one might expect, the subject of Mega Man came up. More specifically, the subject of the 25th anniversary was brought up by one fan, while another asked about whether or not we have anything to look forward to at all in the Blue Bomber's future.

Tackling these questions was Corporate Officer/Senior Vice-President Christian Svensson, who answered the first question “We are continuing to noodle what our plans and what our celebration should be,” adding “there’s a whole bunch of things that we know we kind of have to get in a row before we actually really divulge or start to celebrate Mega Man.”

As for the other, he said “I hesitate to say exactly what, because I don’t want people reading more into it than is there,” before adding “Let’s just say there are top men thinking about and actively discussing where we’re going to take the brand for the next ten years and how we’re going to do it.”

Source: Siliconera, via HeatPhoenix

Image Source: YTMND (click if you don't get the joke)

Ripot's Round-Up

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Ripot's Round-Up! Thanks to our readers, we receive quite a few tips here at MMN, and unfortunately, we don't always have time to give them full coverage. So rather than sit on the items and allow them to get stale, we're bringing a whole bunch of them to you at once!

First up, we have a story from GuardianZero, who informs us that IGN has posted a list of their Top 25 PSP Games. And despite the timing, that's not for 2011, but apparently for all time. And Blue Bombers are out in force, taking up a whopping two spots on that list!

The first, Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, is listed at #19, beating out names such as Rock Band, Daxter, MotorStorm, and Killzone. IGN doesn't say much about this particular version of the game, so much as it praises the core experience itself.

And the second is Mega Man Powered Up, which is ranked at #9, topping titles such as Kingdom Hearts, two Grand Theft Autos, Castlevania, Resistance, Final Fantasy, and many more. IGN hails it as something "supremely special," praising the bosses and the replay value they give the game.

Thanks for the tip, GuardianZero!

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Next up, Bey-Heart gives us this piece from CrunchyRoll, in which Capcom USA expresses an interest in returning to the long lost art of gaming with 2D graphics (rather than 2D gaming with 3D graphics), but notes that doing so is quite expensive:

...I can't overstate what a tricky project HDR (Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix) was. I'm happy with the outcome (critically, community wise, sales wise) but it was a really hard tightrope to walk and some points in development were really scary (like when we threw away about 2,500 frames of animation in various stages of completion because we weren't happy with them and started again).

And the consumer expectation bar has moved considerably. The costs of doing a project like that today, with the attention to detail/features that SF3:Online Edition had, it would be difficult for sales forecasts to shoulder. --Christian Svensson, Capcom Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development

To punctuate that, CrunchyRoll points out that Street Fighter III, which came out in 1997, had 1200 frames of animation per sprite. They add that games with 2D art are more the exception than the rule these days, with most of them relegated to downloads or portable systems.

"That said, we'll see what the future holds," Svensson adds. "Creatively, I'd like to do more 2D stuff in the future like this."

Thanks for the tip, Bey-Heart!

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Stealth Woman offered us a link to the following video, which is a subtitled French television commercial Mega Phil X made for his fan game, "MegaMan Unlimited":

The original commercial was for Mega Man 2, and you can see it here.

Thanks, Stealth Woman!

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Ariana Garcia writes to let us know of an endeavor her friends are embarking on. They run a webcomic called Life in Aggro, and recently ran a Kickstarter program to raise money.

The reason this is relevant is that one of the offerings they have is this snazzy "We Love Rock & Roll" design, which is available on a Carolina blue or black t-shirt or hoodie:

Click to enlarge.

There are still 39 hours left as of this writing if you would like to take part!

Thanks, Ariana!

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And that's it for now! Thanks to everyone who submitted a tip, and remember to submit your own to the.mega.man.network[at]gmail.com, or just use this handy form!

Thank you, and goodnight!

Christian Svensson Speaks on Various Things Mega Man

IGN posted a hefty article today with Capcom's VP of strategic planning and business development Christian "Sven" Svensson. Among topics, he discusses the cancellation of Mega Man Universe, sales of Mega Man 9 and 10, and the present status of Mega Man Legends 3. You'll find the majority of the Mega Man talk on the second page of the interview, but the rest is an enlightening read as well. A couple choice selections:

IGN: For Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, I don't recall Capcom ever talking about whether or not those were successful titles given the budget for those two games. Were you pleased with the results?

Svensson: Yes, we were pleased with the results. Let me also say don't let the 8-bit nature of those games make you think that they didn't cost much to make because they were not inexpensive. They were efforts, in many cases, larger than most of our other digital efforts in terms of budget. They are not small. We are modestly pleased with how 9 and 10 did. Mega Man 9 especially, I think, was particularly innovative for the time to look back and give classic fans some love. We haven't done anything like this. No one's done a classic throwback quite like that and it was one of the first this generation to do it.

Svensson: [On Mega Man Legends 3] Part of that was supposed to be a collaborative effort between the development room and the fans in a very public, transparent display of what goes on behind the scenes. Part of that transparency is, and making clear to fans, is that we're not in production. The pins and needles feeling that the team has every day of, "Is this game ever going to come out?" is in some ways shared by the fans who've put their blood, sweat, and tears into this thing, too. It's an ambitious experiment in many ways and that community outreach and transparency is something I've been pushing more and more for years. When the team came forward with the approach they wanted to take with this title, I was extremely supportive of providing that level of visibility and input. It's listening to the market in ways that a lot of Japanese developers don't do.

The challenge with this of course is that you're opening the kimono very early on and sharing details on a game we hope comes to market. All of our games start this way. It's rare when something enters production that it doesn't come out at that point.

via Capcom Unity

More on Japan's View of Mega Man's Popularity

Last month, Siliconera ran an article with some talk from Capcom's Seth Killian, admitting that some people internal to Capcom of Japan didn't view Mega Man as being especially popular in the U.S. Since then, a thread at Capcom Unity was opened on the matter and both Christian Svensson and Seth Killian have elaborated further. Svensson states:

Relative to Japan, North American sales of MM titles is historically lower (though MM9 and MM10 were significantly higher in NA than Japan). Another complicating factor is the fact that the demographic for MM there is much younger than it is here. My suspicion is that it's due to the fact that for years, MM in Japan has been promoted in the weekly Kuro comics magazine, which is younger skewing and the Battle Network/Starforce series was also aimed as a much younger demo than Classic, X or Zero franchises, so we tend to get some mismatches across the brand.

We know it's a popular brand in NA, but perspective is all relative.

While Killian adds:

It was my quote so I should try and provide a little background...

As Sven mentioned, MM sales in Japan are typically higher, so there's that.

Beyond sales however, it's largely a cultural impression issue.  I think most CJ staff view MM as a fairly "Japanese" character (as opposed to, say, Frank West).  I think Americans often assume that because something is popular in America, everyone else probably likes it too.  In Japan, it's usually the opposite--the more "Japanese" something might be, the less they would expect it to be popular elsewhere.

It's less to do with any reality and more to do with "this is a very Japanese thing, therefore foreigners won't be as interested in it."  That's true for some Japanese things (*cough* natto *cough*), but not true for other things, like the Blue Bomber.  It's easy for everyone to love a cute, tenacious, and pure-hearted hero with such fun enemies.  Although just to make it even more complicated, MM is much less popular in Europe than he is in N. America.  Of course Europe is just wrong about this :p, but different strokes for different folks...

What to make of all this? To one end, I can see Mega Man titles with more RPG influence being more popular in Japan overall. But I also believe that the core theme and idea to Mega Man is something that transcends a particular culture. A loveable robot hero is something that everyone can get behind without much trouble. There is likely a lot more working underneath the issue than mere nationality which creates the perception. But absolutely, I've no doubt Mega Man is still very popular in the U.S. Besides, we can take it upon ourselves to show how popular we think he is!