Capcom logo

The Capcom logo.

Capcom (カプコン) (official name: Capcom Co., Ltd.; 株式会社カプコン or Kabushiki-gaisha Kapukon) is a Japanese video game developer and publisher founded in 1983 and based in Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan, as well as in San Mateo County, California. They are known for having created multi-million selling franchises such as Mega Man, Monster Hunter, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Street Fighter or Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. They were contracted by WayForward Technologies to publish the first Shantae game.



On May 30, 1979, the company I.R.M Corporation was established. The objective of I.R.M Corporation was to manufacture and sell electrically-fed game machines. In May 1981, I.R.M founded a subsidiary called Japan Capsule Computers.[1] In September 1981, I.R.M was renamed Sanbi Co., Ltd.,[2] and on June 11, 1983, Japan Capsule Computers was renamed Capcom Co., Ltd.,[1] Capcom being an abbrevation of "CAPsule COMputers".[3] It would not be until January 1989 that Capcom and Sanbi would merge their activities and take the Capcom name for the entire company, marking the fact that Capcom had become the main income provider for the company.[2]

Early years


Little League, Capcom's first release.

In 1983, Capcom released its first coin-operated games, namely Little League and Fever Chance.[2] These gave them the means to open their own video arcade, Acty 24,[4] in December 1983 and develop their first game, Vulgus, in 1984. Over the course of the next two years, they would develop three more games: 1942, Commando and Ghosts'n Goblins.[2]

Starting in December 1985,[2] Capcom would begin releasing their games to Nintendo's Famicom console (called NES in other countries) and produce externally-developed conversions to some PC brands.[4] Meanwhile, that same year in August 1985, Capcom established Capcom U.S.A. in California.[2] This move was the beginning of an attempt to broaden their scope at an international level.[4]

Breakthrough hits: Mega Man and Street Fighter

Mega man

The first Mega Man.

In August 1987, Capcom released the arcade game Street Fighter,[2] which was considered revolutionary but rough. Furthermore, the game was hard to find in a usable state, as the pressure-sensitive buttons of the arcade cabinet incited people to squash them, destroying them in the long run.[4] That same year, the game Mega Man was released, and although all the series defining characteristics were already here, its release didn't make a big impact. Furthermore, the box art of the American version was considered a disaster and repelled potential buyers.

Yoshiki okamoto

Yoshiki Okamoto, director of Street Fighter II.

However, Mega Man's creator, Keiji Inafune (稲船 敬二), developed a fondness for the character and developed a sequel with his team on their free time. Mega Man 2, released in 1989, was a smash success and is now still seen as one of the best games of all time. The series therefore became the first big hit of Capcom.[5] That same year, Capcom released Final Fight, a side-scroller brawler that was first developed as a sequel to Street Fighter but started a franchise of his own, which has also become a minor classic.[6]

The real sequel to Street Fighter, simply called Street Fighter II and developed by Yoshiki Okamoto (岡本 吉起), came out in 1991 on arcade, and later in 1992 on Super Nes. The game became a huge hit and is considered to have revolutionized the fighting game genre.[2][7]

The Versus series, movies and Resident Evil

In April 1993, Capcom launched Breath of Fire.[2] Although this RPG has sometimes been called a Dragon Quest ripoff,[8] it has spawned what is considered one of Capcom's best series.[9]

Street fighter poster

The Street Fighter movie.

In 1994, Capcom made its first forays in the cinema industry, releasing the animated movie Street Fighter II in August and the live-action movie Street Fighter in December. Although the animated film received good reviews,[10] the live-action version was critically panned[11] but was a box-office success and is the one mostly remembered today.[12]

That same year, Capcom stroke a deal with Marvel and started making games for them, eventually producing fighting games with the X-Men. In 1996, Capcom imagined producing a game starring both X-Men and Street Fighter characters, and the result was X-Men vs. Street Fighter. The game pioneered tag team fighting and was well received, spawning the Versus series following the same principle.[13]

Bio hazard

Bio Hazard (or Resident Evil).

On March 30, 1996, Capcom released the game Bio Hazard, renamed Resident Evil in its international version, which was directed by Shinji Mikami (三上 真司). The game created the survival-horror genre and was a huge hit, spawning a new franchise which would eventually outsell Street Fighter.[14] In July 1999, Capcom released Dino Crisis, which has been described as a mix between Resident Evil and Jurassic Park.[15] The game was a huge success and remains one of Capcom's biggest-selling titles as of this day.[16]

Further success: Devil May Cry, Phoenix Wright, Monster Hunter and the Resident Evil film series

In 2001, Capcom launched three new series: Onimusha, Devil May Cry and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.[2] The two former series were huge hits,[16] Onimusha being called a good Resident Evil-like[17] and Devil May Cry being considered one of the best action-adventure game ever,[18] while Phoenix Wright's sales, although slow at first, built-up thanks to word-of-mouth and became another staple of Capcom,[19] the game having been praised for the quality of its writing and dialogues.[20]

In 2002, the Resident Evil series was adapted into films. All entries in the film series so far have been critically panned[21][22][23][24][25] but are considered commercially successful.[2] Resident Evil remains as of today the most successful film series based on video games.[26]


The first Shantae Game.

That same year, Capcom published Shantae, developed by WayForward Technologies for the Game Boy Color. They had originally picked it up for release eight months earlier,[27] but by the time they released it, the game system was dying, as the Game Boy Advance had taken off by then, and despite the backward compatibility of the GBA and critical acclaim, the game sold poorly, only becoming a cult classic in the emulator era.[28]

In February 2004, Capcom entered the publishing business, making strategy guidebook for games, the first being for Onimusha 3. Later that year, in October, the first title in the Monster Hunter series was released, which won awards[2] and later titles would ensure that the series become commercially successful for Capcom.[16] It has since developed a cult following.[29]

From 2005 to the present day

On March 12, 2005, Capcom released the animated movie Rockman.EXE: Hikari to Yami no Program, the first theatrical release of material pertaining to this series.[30]

In July 2005, Capcom released the first episode in a new successful franchise, Sengoku BASARA, and in 2006, Capcom started two other commercially successful series, another survival-horror called Dead Rising and Lost Planet,[2] although the latter received more mixed critical reviews overall.[31][32][33]

Ace attorney poster

The Phoenix Wright movie.

In October 2008, Capcom launched a new CGI-series of Resident Evil movies, which was quite successful as well. In February 2009, a new Street Fighter movie, The Legend of Chun-Li, was released[2] and like the first one was derided by critics,[34] however this time, it was also a big commercial failure.[35] In February 2012, the movie Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, adapted from the video game series, was released in Japan.[2]

On May 22, 2012, the game Dragon's Dogma was released to positive reviews[36] and commercial success,[2] and is therefore planned to be developed in yet another franchise.[37]

Most recently, Capcom worked with WayForward to bring DuckTales Remastered, released for consoles in 2013.


Despite its successes, Capcom has been entangled in some controversies.

During the mid-90s, despite the fact that fans were asking for a third episode in the Street Fighter franchise after the success of the second game, Capcom only chose to release updated versions called Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Figher II Turbo. Fan reaction was negative, and it is estimated that Capcom might have lost some of its fanbase in the process.[5]

Keiji inafune

Keiji Inafune, creator of Mega Man.

In contrast to this, Capcom has been a frequent subject of sarcasm for their tendency to fall into creative complacency and choose to release sequels to existing licences instead of developing new OPs.[38] Keiji Inafune, creator of Mega Man, has stated in 2011 after having left the company that a sequels-only development policy existed at Capcom, with about 70%-80% of game development having to be sequels, and the rest going for original works. Inafune himself, when trying to launch Dead Rising and Lost Planet, had to develop these in secrecy and exceed very highly his assigned budget to force Capcom into accepting them.[39]

In 2002, Capcom accepted to release Shantae for WayForward Technologies, however, they took eight months to release it,[27] and were notoriously slow at the time to release third-party works. The game was then released on GBC after the launch of the GBA and subsequently bombed,[28] however Matt Bozon has chosen not to criticize Capcom's strategy, believing that no other company would have done better.[27]


Ōkami, much like Shantae, was a critical hit but a commercial failure.

In 2006, Capcom chose to close Clover Studio, a subsidiary originally established to develop original titles like Viewtiful Joe or Ōkami. The games had been critically acclaimed but failed to find a large audience. The decision was followed by the resignation of Clover Studio's personnel, including their CEO, Atsushi Inaba (稲葉 敦志), from Capcom, who left to form their own independent company.[40] This accelerated the already ongoing departure of Capcom creative heavyweights, after Yoshiki Okamoto's departure in 2003, and they were followed by Shinji Mikami, Hideki Kamiya (神谷 英樹) (creator of Devil May Cry) in 2007, and then by Keiji Inafune in 2010.

In more recent years, Capcom has also come under criticism for their choice of selling on-disc downloadable content. Capcom has claimed there was no distinction between this practice and full download content, other than the delivery system.[41]

Besides the games-related controversies, Capcom has also come under frequent sarcasm for the quality of the movie adaptations of its licences, almost all theatrically released movies adapted from Capcom games having been critically panned.[42] However, most of them have been commercially successful,[43] with the exception of The Legend of Chun-Li.[35]

Notable franchises and titles

  • 1942, launched in 1984.
  • Commando, launched in 1985.
  • Ghosts'n Goblins, launched in 1985.
  • Bionic Commando, launched in 1987.
  • Street Figher, launched in 1987.
  • Mega Man, launched in 1987.
  • Strider, launched in 1989.
  • Final Fight, launched in 1989.
  • Breath of Fire, launched in 1993.
  • Versus, launched in 1996.
  • Bio Hazard (Japan) or Resident Evil (internationally), launched in 1996.
  • Dino Crisis, launched in 1999.
  • Onimusha, launched in 2001.
  • Devil May Cry, launched in 2001.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, launched in 2001.
  • Shantae, launched in 2002.
  • Viewtiful Joe, launched in 2003.
  • Monster Hunter, launched in 2004.
  • Sengoku BASARA, launched in 2005.
  • Ōkami, launched in 2006.
  • Dead Rising, launched in 2006.
  • Lost Planet, launched in 2006.
  • Dragon's Dogma, launched in 2012.
  • Street Fighter V, launched in 2016.


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3
  5. 5.0 5.1
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2
  28. 28.0 28.1
  35. 35.0 35.1

External links