July 3, 2022

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Capcom's Red Earth gets a console release more than 25 years after its debut

Capcom’s Red Earth gets a console release more than 25 years after its debut

Back in the ’90s, Golfland USA was a magical place. Outwardly, it looked like any other miniature golf course with a arcade and ticket table, but it had one thing most didn’t: proximity.

It is located in Sunnyvale, California, and has been surrounded by several companies that run video game businesses in the United States. Sega was about 20 miles away. Atari was ten years old. And when those companies needed to test their games, they often left them at Golfland while they were still in development. It wasn’t uncommon to go in and watch games that were not only released, but not yet announced.

For a kid obsessed with video game news, this meant it all. I lived a few hundred miles away, but I always made a stop there when I was in the area. And I often saw games that were not officially revealed yet. X-Men vs Street Fighter. San Francisco Rush 2049. I was trying to take pictures of whatever hobbyist site or website I was working on at the time, and the staff were yelling at me to stop. It might have been a bigger responsibility concern, but it always made me feel like I was seeing something very secretive.

On one of those visits, I found red earth, a new game from Capcom that looked unlike anything you’ve seen before. It was a combat game, but it featured an elaborate story mode based on boss battles. It had an opposite mode, but only four playable characters. It took place in a strange fantasy world, but with ingenious characters and animation.

As I later learned, this was the first game for Capcom’s new CPS-3 arcade hardware, which allowed for a level of detail unmatched in other 2D games of the time. But more than anything, it felt like a game designed for people like me, who loved fighting game mechanics but were less invested in the competitive element that made the genre so successful.

red earth in Capcom fighting group
Photo: Capcom

When asked about the game’s origins now, more than 25 years after its initial release, producer Takashi Sado told Polygon that the idea behind it all came about because of a desire to level the playing field for different types of players.

When I started working on the proposal red earth In the mid-1990s, fighting games were very popular,” he says. “Of course, I followed that trend and planned the game as a fighting game, but at the time, I was feeling that skill level [difference] Among the players was growing. It wasn’t easy to bridge the skills gap, so we thought, Can’t we make up for this somewhat by changing parameters, equipment, etc.? This is why we decided to incorporate a character advancement component.”

Sado cites Capcom action games in the early ’90s as magic sword And the Dragon Kingwhich shares loose, objective fictional links with red earthas inspiration on how to implement this kind of progression, which allows players to level up their characters and use passwords to pick up where they left off.

However, on that day in Golfland, I only spent about an hour with the match. I played what I could, and Take pictures on the way outBut I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I loved the style and the style, and felt like there was a lot to see. That was the last time I saw the match at an American playground.

somewhat infamous, red earth It went on to test the limits of what is considered an official arcade release in the United States. was translated – red earth It is actually the western address, while going through it zard war In Japan – but given the small number of units that even established brands like Street Fighter They were selling at that pointHowever, the difference between an unknown amount on expensive new devices being officially released or not being released almost seems like a matter of opinion. I reached out to two ex-sales reps who worked at Capcom at the time for this story, and neither of them remember the existing game.

Despite the game’s limited access in the West, it has managed to survive in various references and appearances over the years, and still has fans in Capcom Japan. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, red earth Characters who made their way to Super Gym Fighter Mini Mix And the Capcom Fighting Evolution. Recently, in Street Fighter 5The clairvoyant Minat holds a crystal ball bearing her name red earthHalf man and half Lion King Leo. There were a number of red earth Monster Hunter series references thanks to Monster Hunter series director Kanami Fujioka, who worked as an artist on red earth Ninja Kenji earlier in his career.

As it turns out, red earth It also inspired Capcom to assemble an upcoming Capcom fighting group – Package due on June 24th includes red earth In the first console release, the Darkstalkers series, robotsand Street Fighter Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo GameAnd the super gem fighter And the Hyper Street Fighter 2.

PlayStation 4 box art from Capcom Fighting Collection features Red Earth character Leo prominently

as such Capcom fighting group Producer Shuhei Matsumoto says, the set came when old Capcom programmers, who had gone to Kobuta and Muumuu, approached him, saying, “Matz, time to bring red earth To the current generation consoles! “

One thing led to another, and the group was filled with other toys. But the team did not allow red earth overwhelmed. In the group chest, for example, instead of established characters like Ryu appearing front and center, red earthLeo gets the majority of real estate.

For many, a lottery Capcom fighting group It will be the Darkstalkers series or puzzle fighter Games that reach a certain level of success the first time around and prove their commercial appeal, or at least enough to title a group of beloved leftovers.

But for some at Capcom, it’s a chance to revisit a game that fell victim to difficult circumstances the first time around. And for me, it’s the perfect opportunity to finish what I started playing over 25 years ago.

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