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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Capcom Five.

Transcript Edit

Let's all laugh at an industry that never learns anything, tee, hee, hee.

Zero Punctuation’s Occasional Guide to retarded Special Moments in Gaming HistoryEdit

... Yeah, you didn't think you'd hear that again, did you?

Capcom, far from being a website for people with an interest in cloth headwear, is a global game developer and publisher and massive, massive slut. If Capcom ever promises your console an exclusive game, make sure to hose down the marital bed with delousing agent, 'cus it will be out with sailor boys every night catching a fresh dose of blistering barnacles. Just recently, two of its hottest properties, Resident Evil 4 and Dead Rising spread their already barely acquainted legs a little further apart to accommodate a few more console ports. And both of them were at one point pledged as exclusive titles, hilariously enough.

But how did Capcom first follow the philosophy of philandering fair-weather friendship? Today, the Zero Punctuation occasional guide to differently able moments in gaming history examines the curious case of the Capcom Five - not quite as many as The Magnificent Seven, but remade about as much.

The Capcom Skive Edit

The year was the delightfully palindromic 2002, and in the days before Nintendo heard the siren call of motion controls and started naming their consoles after things little piggies have been known to do all the way home, their GameCube was struggling to find a decent market share. Nintendo's days of being king shit of all the lands of gaming had made them complacent and caused them to pick up a few bad habits, one of which had apparently been a tendency to use bathroom disinfectant as a drinks mixer, that being the only explanation I can think of for why the Nintendo 64 was a cartridge console when disc-based media was available. Developing for cartridge at that time was like an animation studio having to paint each frame onto the side of a frightened piglet.

So 3rd-party developers buggered off in droves to the eager arms of the PlayStation. That particular wake-up call led meanderingly to the GameCube, which had more powerful hardware than its competitors - the PlayStation 2 and Xbox- as well as a disc drive, although I guess there was still some of that bathroom disinfectant left over because it only ran novelty tiny baby discs whose main benefit that I could see was that you could use them to convince someone that their hands have mysteriously doubled in size. As such, the GameCube was failing to lure developers back, and so Nintendo turned to its old comrade, Capcom, whose Mega Man games made for such a profitable partnership before 256 colours ruined everything. The relationship was already troubled, since Capcom had jumped ship with everyone else to make Resident Evil for the PlayStation. But all seemed forgiven, as Capcom announced in late 2002 five new titles to revitalize the GameCube: P.N.03, Dead Phoenix, Viewtiful Joe, Killer7, and most notably, the aforementioned Resident Evil 4, all to be overseen by proven director Shinji Mikami. Things were looking immediately rosier for Nintendo as a representative of Capcom USA claimed that these would all be exclusive to GameCube as he adjusted his Stetson and fired his revolvers into the air. But then the fiasco began, as there were a few moments of angry muttering behind the curtains and Capcom USA came back out to say that there had been a communication cock-up and only Resident Evil 4 was confirmed to be exclusive at that time.

Now, us mighty spacemen of the future year 2016 can look back on that with a knowing smile, because at the time of writing Resident Evil 4 has been ported to 11 different gaming platforms and at least one kitchen appliance, because it is - in academic terms - fucking sweet. I won't say Resident Evil 4 breathed new life into its franchise, because to even associate it with the other Resident Evils is like adding David Bowie to the lineup of S Club 7. The writing was as atrocious as ever, but with a self-aware B-movie edge that made all the difference. The completely retooled gameplay was a major influence on 3rd-person shooters still to this day, and the graphics tech was practically next-gen, that is to say, mostly brown. It wasn't so much Resident Evil getting back on its feet, as a landmark title in the entire history of the medium, which I do not say lightly, because I just ate an entire fruitcake. But the point is, that it alone may well have saved GameCube, if it had been an exclusive. But as we all know, that turned into a pretty big "if". So here's a smaller "if": maybe everything would have still been lovely for Nintendo if Capcom had kept their mouth shut and hadn't announced the PS2 port two months before the GameCube release. Consequently, Resident Evil 4 sold 1.6 million on the GameCube and 2 million on the PS2. What should have been the laying down of a winning hand became the laying of a cruel fist upon the goolies.

As for the rest of the Capcom Five, the funny thing was that it had no middle ground. They were all either great or great bowls of shite. Viewtiful Joe was a smart and sexy side-on cartoon brawler that reviewed well and sold perfectly satisfactorily, but Capcom did a PS2 port anyway, as far as I can tell to just rub Nintendo's nose in it. Killer7 was the game that put legendary auteur Suda51 on the map, but to call it slightly unconventional would be like calling a swift knee in the bollocks a slightly inappropriate response to a question at a presidential debate, and it was destined for cult stardom only, which is a nice way of saying 'reviewed well, sold like shit'. And then you have the other side of the coin. One of the 5 was never even released. Dead Phoenix was supposed to be some Panzer Dragoon affair, but was cancelled in August 2003, which must have been an easy time to be a videogame website headline writer. "'Dead Phoenix is dead.' Bam. That deserves an early lunch!"

The final game was P.N.03 - a 3rd-person shooter about a lady who dressed like a MacBook trying to disguise itself as kitchen appliance, and constantly moved like she was busting for a piss. Critics and audiences panned it alike, and so naturally it was the only one of the five to remain a GameCube exclusive. Here's your consolation prize, Nintendo. It's a bag of lawn clippings and dead wasps!

The end result of the Capcom Five was that what should have been a boost for the GameCube turned into one broadcast after another that Capcom had zero faith in the console, and Nintendo wouldn't forget. In fact rumor has it that the whole debacle is why there weren't any Capcom characters in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. And if it's true, then that's the most pathetic attempt at revenge I've ever heard of. It's like telling the bloke who murdered your family and stole all your money that you've expelled him from your best friend's treehouse club.

The Lessons Nobody Learned Edit

I think it's pretty clear that Nintendo remain steadfast in their blindness to the lessons of history by, even after all these years, having no idea what they're doing when it comes to 3rd-party development. After all, they released Metroid Prime: Federation Force instead of selling the entire stock to hot air balloon pilots for use as inexpensive ballast. Still, they remain the kings of awkward hardware and ruthless exclusivity, despite exclusivity being an utterly anti-consumer practice that a sensible games industry would've thrown out with the fucking oscilloscopes.

I'm glad that Capcom maintained the policy of keeping their options and their legs open. So when I call them a great big whore, I want to make it clear that it's not meant as a criticism - quite the opposite. Some of my best friends are whores, as long as I keep up the payments.

Addenda Edit

  • Five bob for the full package: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • You've got to be careful putting Suda51 on the map because he might leave a stain
  • Lawn clippings and dead wasps coming soon for digital download
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5

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