What Could the Departure of Ryota Niitsuma from Capcom Mean for Fighting Game Crossovers?
Ryota Niitsuma was one of the producers of Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, Marvel Vs Capcom, and many anime fighting and crossover games.
Capcom producer Ryota Niitsuma announced via Twitter he left Capcom. Niitsuma was involved in many fighting games and crossover games at Capcom. The first Project X Zone, Street Fighter IV, the Marvel Vs Capcom series, and Tatsunoko Vs Capcom all have his name on them. He also worked on the Resident Evil Revelations series.
Ryota Niitsuma announced his departure from Capcom in a Twitter thread. He most notably mentioned how “fighting games will always be important to Capcom”.
In the Japanese version of his Twitter thread announcing his departure, Niitsuma also mentioned how his years at Capcom made him get involved with any platform, from arcade games, mobile games, arcade games for kids, cloud gaming, and of course console games. Handling crossover games also allowed him to interact with many companies and copyrights holders, leaving him with good memories. He got involved with companies such as:
- Japanese animation company Tatsunoko Production, for Tatsunoko Vs Capcom.
- Marvel and Disney for Marvel-related games like Marvel Vs Capcom.
- Shōnen Sunday publisher Shogakukan for anime games such as PS2 game Shijyou Saikyou no Deshi Kenichi: Gekitou! Ragnarok Hachikengou (I wish a Matsuena Shun manga got a new game).
- Shonen Jump publisher Shueisha, for anime games such as the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Capcom games.
Ryota Niitsuma also stated that he isn’t leaving the game industry as a whole, and will keep working as a game producer somewhere else. We’ll be sure to sell you if we hear about his next projects soon. We wish him all the best for his future endeavors.
Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Cross Generations of Heroes first released exclusively in Japan on December 1, 2008, on Arcade and Wii. An updated version, Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Ultimate All Stars later released worldwide in January 2010, still on Wii. Tatsunoko was founded in 1962 and is one of the oldest animation studios in Japan. Many Tatsunoko series and characters popularized anime or superhero patterns later found in both Japanese and non-Japanese fiction. Seeing Capcom’s history with crossovers, and how influential Tatsunoko was in history including on Capcom’s own games, it’s actually surprising that a Tatsunoko Vs Capcom game didn’t exist sooner. There’s a high chance Capcom already thought about it in the past, but couldn’t pull it off for various reasons until Ryota Niitsuma managed to somehow.
As a side note, you might remember a Tatsunoko-themed game but with cute girls and sexual fanservice was supposed to release in 2015 on PlayStation Vita. The game was tentatively named Bokosuka Girls: Tatsunoko Gakuen Climax. You can watch its trailer here. The game was announced in 2014 but indefinitely delayed/canceled in March 2018 when the studio behind it, V3, announced the development halted in a message. Since then, the studio seemingly closed down as their official site is unreachable.
Personally speaking, I’ve always been waiting for a new Tatsunoko Vs Capcom game, and hopefully, Ryota Niitsuma’s departure doesn’t affect too much the possibilities of a new game happening one day. Back in 2017, a Tatsunoko + Capcom character popularity contest was organized in Japan for Tatsunoko’s 55th anniversary.
The contest was largely won by Laala Manaka, the protagonist of the PriPara franchise. PriPara is part of the Pretty Series franchise, an idol-themed arcade game franchise by TakaraTomy and SynSophia (Style Savvy series), with anime adaptations by Tatsunoko. So far, the Pretty Series franchise is made of Pretty Rhythm/King of Prism, PriPara, and Kiratto Prichan. While unknown in the west, Pretty Series and PriPara, in particular, is extremely popular in Japan and South Korea. At its peak in January 2018, PriPara had more than 4.4 million accounts in Japan. I wouldn’t be surprised if Laala ends up in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at least as a Mii costume.
Lastly, I’d mention that Capcom is on a roll these past two years, with critically acclaimed, awesome games such as Devil May Cry V, the Resident Evil 2 Remake, and Monster Hunter World Iceborne. However, the fighting game department seems to be lagging behind, with Street Fighter V not being that interesting, and it’s worrying. Ryota Niitsuma saying “fighting games will always be important to Capcom” could be hinting that himself and Capcom were aware of this problem. Things are definitely changing at Capcom and moving around as Shintaro Kojima, another producer, recently left as well.