Saturday, March 07, 2009

Capcom's 2 Hit Super Combo Finish!

Capcom just released Resident Evil 5 in the Asian gaming marketplace this week, and they'll be launching the game in the USA and other places from now up to March 13th.

Kudos goes out to CAPCOM ASIA for releasing Capcom games ahead here in Southeast Asia! We got Street Fighter IV ahead of the USA, and for Resident Evil 5, we also got the game early, too.

After playing both games, I must say that Capcom's current generation game engine, MT Framework, is really showing its muscle. Dare I say it really does rival the Unreal Engine 3 in terms of technology....what strikes me about MT framework is how flexible it is. It can go from cell shaded looking graphics such as those in Street Fighter IV, to ultra-realistic environments as presented in their latest release, Resident Evil 5. It truly is hard to believe that the same game engine can create two games that have completely different visual and design themes.

Unreal Engine 3 seems to be stuck with beautifully rendering dark, gritty, dirty [yet realistic] environments; I haven't seen the technology applied to a creative work that looks and feels completely different from Gears of War. [Note: Was Bioshock made with Unreal Engine 3 technology? If so, that's the only other game that really looks 'unique' compared to other Unreal Engine 3 based games] I've got nothing against games in the Gears series; I greatly enjoyed both Gears 1 and 2 and think they look absolutely breathtaking. I just wonder why the same game engine can't render a world that doesn't remotely resemble Gears of War's look of "Destroyed Beauty".

Unreal Engine 3 only seems to look its best when the game environment that it is rendering is the same kind of environment that you'd see in the Gears of War series. Capcom's MT Framework exhibits incredible diversity in handling different types of game worlds; it seems to give Capcom's game developers a lot of creative freedom in expressing whatever artistic ideas they might have for their games. It also gives their company an incredible competitive advantage not just against other Japanese developers like Namco, Konami or Sega; their game tech can go toe-to-toe with the best that Western developers have to offer!

I haven't seen that many graphical hitches either in most MT framework based games. Capcom released Dead Rising, Lost Planet, and Devil May Cry 4 with the same game engine. Amazingly, each of Capcom's released games have a unique look to them that sets each other apart, even if you do feel a hint of the underlying graphics engine that runs everything. I have read that some earlier Playstation 3 games based on Capcom's MT Framework have exhibited a slightly lesser degree of graphical fidelity (Lost Planet PS3 comes to mind); but with the latest releases, the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 versions are practically alike not just in terms of the overall look of the games, but also in terms of game performance (frame rate, responsiveness and the like).

Will Capcom continue to deliver this incredible degree of consistent quality in their upcoming titles Bionic Commando, Lost Planet 2 and Dead Rising 2? I'm quite confident that they can. I read older articles which said that this game engine that they're using was originally developed to compete with Western game technology, and it's been in development for years before the current generation of game consoles. Capcom invested a lot in the technology that we're seeing with MT Framework, and they're clearly reaping the benefits now. If only other Japanese developers would have the same foresight with game development as Capcom has....Capcom is meeting the challenge posed by Western developers head on.

In the fiercely competitive global arena of game development clearly dominated by the West, CAPCOM has given Japan a fighting chance.

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