The “Capcom Test” is what gamers use to describe a situation where a company will test the waters of a new console with a game that was clearly never going to perform well on the platform, be it due to quality, pricing, or inability to appeal to the console’s demographic (JRPG exclusive to Xbox). The sales of this game are then used as an indicator of how much interest gamers have in buying the company’s games on the tested console. There are also other variations of the Capcom Test that use a similar method to evaluate interest in dormant franchises. “Oh, nobody likes the new Mega Man cartoon, guess that means we shouldn’t make Mega Man Legends 3 now.”
People hate this, because it comes across as a company holding support for the system/franchise hostage, and demanding sales of the test game in exchange for the continuation of support. However, gamers don’t negotiate, so the company is only shooting itself in the foot. Nobody ever wins with a Capcom Test, the company loses out on money for being stupid, and gamers have one less option to choose from.
The goodwill generated by trailers like this was ruined by Capcom’s disgusting money grubbing.
Many people are concerned that the horribly handled release of Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers will be a Capcom Test for the Nintendo Switch. This poorly translated interview on Neogaf certainly isn’t helping matters on that front.
Incarnations of Street Fighter 2 have been around since 1991 at least. Prior to Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers, the last version to be released on consoles was Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix, from which this latest incarnation on the Nintendo Switch draws heavily. HD Remix released over eight years ago, for the appealing price of $14.99; the new Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers is priced at an appalling $39.99.
Surely the latest version is bursting with oodles of new content to justify such a heavy price tag, right? Not really.
The two “new” characters are palette swaps of Ryu and Ken that have had their stats altered, and were granted a few new moves. Way of the Hadou, a 3D motion-controlled minigame, where players use the detached joy-cons to throw hadoukens and such, has been described as unresponsive and boring. Climactic Battle allows two players to team up and fight against a beefy opponent at the same time, which is just as fun as lopsidedly curb stomping a CPU sounds. The only unique features that are actually worth mentioning are the game’s balance tweaks, which supposedly make it the best version of SF2 on the market, and I’d certainly hope it was: After 25 plus years of rehashing the same game, it had better be solid.
There is a case to be made for its portability and the convenience of single joy-con play, but those are features of the Nintendo Switch itself, not unique features that Capcom created for the release. There’s no content here justifying Capcom’s $25 markup to the price tag. The word of mouth and critical reception have already soured, and the game won’t release until tomorrow (at the time of this writing).
That being said, we all know Capcom will have a Monster Hunter game on Switch as soon as they possibly can [Update: Nailed it], even if Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers fails as miserably as it deserves to. The Monster Hunter franchise is the saving grace of a company that is still in denial of the fact they’ve tainted the Street Fighter series with their bumbling business practices. Nintendo is the only relevant handheld platform left, and the only way Monster Hunter will sell in Japan, its most important market by far, is on handheld. If you don’t believe that, I implore you to look at the relatively awful sales of the PS2, PS3, Wii, and Wii U Monster Hunter titles.
Capcom has looked looked incompetent for most of the last decade, and their slow adoption of the Nintendo Switch isn’t helping their case. Their fellow Japanese studios have already boarded the Switch hype train, even Konami, and are benefiting from it. In order to save their financial numbers, all Capcom needed to do was make their latest Monster Hunter release available on Switch during the launch window, and they couldn’t even do that right.
Capcom needs to get its act together, before its only notable contribution to modern gaming is the recurring joke that is the Capcom Test.