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Capcom's Judd: No Online Play For BCR Was 'The Right Choice'

In his in-depth Bionic Commando Rearmed postmortem for Gamasutra, Capcom producer Ben Judd says that leaving out online play was "the right choice," arguing
In his in-depth Bionic Commando Rearmed postmortem for Gamasutra, Capcom producer Ben Judd says that the decision to not include online play with the downloadable game was "the right choice." He argues that whatever additional sales that might have been generated with online play would not have made up for "the additional pains." Developed by GRIN and released for PC, PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade in August 2008, Bionic Commando Rearmed is an enhanced remake of Bionic Commando for NES. The title was well-received by reviewers and consumers, selling over 130,000 downloads in its first week of availability. The 2D platfomer features updated graphics, mechanics, and boss battles, and also includes cooperative and versus modes, which are limited to local play and do not support online multiplayer. "As frustrating as all the 'no online play = no buy' comments were to read, in hindsight, this was the right choice," says Judd. "After seeing the large amount of headaches, additional production time, and cost that comes with adding online, I'm glad we made the choice not to include it. Bugs in online play have created a great amount of frustration in other popular digital titles and even have plagued our own titles before." He notes that online bugs have plagued other popular digital titles, including Capcom's releases, and adds, "Yes, I understand that your average consumer wants everything they want and they want it for free. But, it's a huge balancing act and I'm convinced that the amount of additional sales would not have been equivalent to the additional pains." "To give GRIN credit, even though I initially put pressure on them to add in online co-op, they gave it to me straight, the producer continues. "They knew that adding online would be a huge amount of risk, and as we got into the arduous submission phase, I realized how right they were." "As a producer, even if the company is an outside developer, you have to know when to listen. This is one time I'm glad I did," says Judd. You can read the full postmortem, which includes more examples of what went right and wrong during the Bionic Capcom Rearmed's development.(no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

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