There are a few publishers, and developers I’ve really taken a notice to this past year. The first is Capcom. They’ve really taken their company to a whole new level compared to recent years past. Which is quite a feat, considering the state of the economy. Going into 2009, Capcom is releasing two brand new games based on their current running franchises (Resident Evil, and Street Fighter).
The other developer I’m watching keenly is SEGA. With what I consider four major releases in the first half of 2009, SEGA looks poised to have a strong year. MadWorld, The Conduit, Sonic & The Black Knight, and House of the Dead: Overkill are all releasing on the Wii under the SEGA name.
Looking at that lineup, there’s a good chance that I’ll be purchasing all of those games. Besides Punch-Out!, those four titles are what I’m looking forward to most in 2009 which is saying a lot considering all the games coming out this year.
If you listen to SEGA’s Alan Pritchard, and John Clark then you’d realize this isn’t by accident.
Another key element of your 2009 line-up is hardcore Wii titles. Do you feel core gamers are under-represented on Wii?
There have been some good hardcore Wii titles. Resident Evil 4 has done reasonable numbers; Red Steel has also performed really well. But since then, many publishers have migrated towards the more mass-market family titles, so perhaps there hasnâ€™t been the array or depth of hardcore titles on Wii.
Youâ€™ve got a lot of new IP coming. Is this a new key focus for Sega?
It is a focus, because Sega could very easily be a publisher that brings just Football Manager, Virtua Tennis and Sonic to the market. But, to have a more rounded line-up, we need to look outside of our portfolio. New IP is a challenge, something that is only too evident with many recent titles underperforming â€“ but itâ€™s necessary.
Every publisher needs new IP. A balanced portfolio is vital for publishers to succeed, and non-licensed IP is a key part of that balance.
I don’t want to talk about the “hardcore” releases comment, as you can read my feelings on the terminology. What I do want to mention, is SEGA taking a chance in adopting these new IPs for the Nintendo Wii. It’s in my humble opinion that it’s pure genius. With so much crap, and repeated franchises on the Wii, SEGA has a chance to carve itself a nice little niche. Of course, success will be measured by financial gain but I believe that when the smoke clears they will all be good sellers. Not because they are “hardcore” or mature but because they will bring a breath of fresh air and hopefully take advantage of what makes the Nintendo Wii so great.