Corporate Capcom Conundrum!
*Disclaimer – You may find the following content to be bullshit.
Disappointed? Yes. Surprised? No. That was my train of thought upon discovering that Capcom was blatantly plagiarising indie gem ‘Splosion Man. Released in 2009 exclusively for XBLA, the development company Twisted Pixel took their game to Capcom initially, but it was rejected. The similarities between the original title and Capcom’s iOS game (cleverly titled maXplosion) are startling and you’d be hard-pressed to truly believe that this was all spooky coincidence. Now, of course, the App store is ridden with copycat games- but the fact that this title was such a small one makes the whole situation feel a lot more…below the belt. Also the irony is not lost on me that, in 1993, Capcom sued Japanese company Data East for copyright infringement after claiming their fighting games were just too
similar to Street Fighter II.
Obviously the crying shame is that Twisted Pixel is a small company that just doesn’t have the resources to challenge a company as big as Capcom. Co-founder and CEO Michael Wilford highlighted this in a series of recent Tweets; “Just sucks because we're too small to do anything about it, and I bet Capcom's counting on that” he said.
But what does all this mean? I don’t want to be sensationalist and claim it’s one giant symbol for the way in which big corporations are running the gaming industry. Certainly with the astronomic success of indie games in 2009/2010; this year, Limbo and Minecraft are the obvious staggering examples. It seems silly, for want of a better word, to claim that small companies are being pushed out by large publishers. However, for a moment direct your gaze to May 23 of this year- the date of the show trial. The above speculation may prove prophetic, or not, depending on the outcome of that trial; as big, scary Activision (lead, of course, by the 8th horseman Bobby Kotic) take on poor, defenceless Infinity Ward.
A scene from Capcom's iOS title, MaXplosion.
A similar scene from the popular XBLA title, 'Splosion Man.