Cave CEO Bails

Cave CEO Bails

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Famed bullet hell developer, CAVE, has lost two of its big names in three months.

Things aren't going too well for cult bullet hell developer, Cave. Huge operating losses have forced the Japanese developer to refocus its efforts on social gaming projects, as its well-regarded but poor-selling shoot-em-ups weren't making enough to keep the company afloat. In May, COO Mikio Watanabe left the company, citing personal reasons and leaving two canceled Vita titles in his wake. CEO Ito Masahito was left as the company's sole representative director, but now he's announced he's leaving too, again for personal reasons.

Masahito will be leaving in three months' time, leaving board Chairman, Kenichi Takano, as president.

For those of you not up to date on your savagely difficult scrolling shoot-em-ups, Cave was one of several outfits founded by former Toaplan (the company responsible for "all your base are belong to us" meme sprouting shooter, Zero Wing) developers. Cave's catalogue is a cornucopia of boobs-and-bullets shoot-em-up excellence, including titles like Donpachi, Deathsmiles, Gunwange and Ibara.

Unfortunately, the studio's niche audience combined with the bizarre decision to release shoot-em-ups on the 360 rather than the PS3 - and we are talking about Japan-only games here - have left the company in dire straits. Back in January, lower than expected sales caused the company to lower its earnings predictions from an expected ¥10 million operating profit to a ¥31 million operating loss. That's just shy of 400 grand in US dollars, a minuscule amount for some developers, but a heavy blow to one the size of Cave.

Source: GamesIndustry International

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Grey Carter:
... Unfortunately, the studio's niche audience combined with the bizarre decision to release shoot-em-ups on the 360 rather than the PS3 - and we are talking about Japan-only games here - have left the company in dire straits...

That's the thing that bothered me about their decision. I love Bullet-Hell Shooters but getting them through legit means is a pain because of their business practices. I'd have no problem importing them but I can't when they don't even get published on my platform of choice. Even if Cave does go down, I hope someone like Rockin' Android can swoop in and pick up their games and give them releases like they've done with the Gundemonium games.

One the one hand I'm glad that the people who are actually responsible for the bad decisions are losing their jobs, on the other you know their golden parachutes are so huge they'll generate rainbows.

Kheapathic:

Grey Carter:
... Unfortunately, the studio's niche audience combined with the bizarre decision to release shoot-em-ups on the 360 rather than the PS3 - and we are talking about Japan-only games here - have left the company in dire straits...

That's the thing that bothered me about their decision. I love Bullet-Hell Shooters but getting them through legit means is a pain because of their business practices. I'd have no problem importing them but I can't when they don't even get published on my platform of choice. Even if Cave does go down, I hope someone like Rockin' Android can swoop in and pick up their games and give them releases like they've done with the Gundemonium games.

As long as they don't end-up owned by the state of Rhode Island.

>Releases shoot-em-ups on the 360
>Releases most games in Japan only
>Wonders why it's failing

Must be magic.

Kheapathic:

Grey Carter:
... Unfortunately, the studio's niche audience combined with the bizarre decision to release shoot-em-ups on the 360 rather than the PS3 - and we are talking about Japan-only games here - have left the company in dire straits...

That's the thing that bothered me about their decision. I love Bullet-Hell Shooters but getting them through legit means is a pain because of their business practices. I'd have no problem importing them but I can't when they don't even get published on my platform of choice. Even if Cave does go down, I hope someone like Rockin' Android can swoop in and pick up their games and give them releases like they've done with the Gundemonium games.

Even if they don't go down, that would be awesome. One of these days I'll make it through all of those, and go back and finish everything I had wanted to do in Jamestown, and...

I'm disappointed title-maker. It should've been more like "Cave is caving-in" or something similar. Either ways, it's sad that the SHMUP are losing some of its luster or support. I find it difficult to stomach that there's no PC version for Sine Mora as an example of it.

Mirroga:
I'm disappointed title-maker. It should've been more like "Cave is caving-in" or something similar.

I was just about to post that. You win sir, +1 internet for you.

Tanis:
>Releases shoot-em-ups on the 360
>Releases most games in Japan only
>Wonders why it's failing

Must be magic.

Well CAVEs games used to be published on the PS2 and the rumour among the fans is that CAVE's publisher at the time approached Sony about bring their games to the PS3 and Sony told them to go away and make a 3D game. There's probably a ring of truth about it since I can imagine Sony wanting to push the newly launched PS3 as a next gen system with next gen games. Also its worth noting the rule that Sony enforces about all their games using all of the screen. No good for vertical shmups made in 3:4 and these type of shmups don't translate well to 4:3 or 16:9 because of how the bullet patterns and enemy placement is. (the 2 ps3 stgs have had to put in widescreen game modes)

Another reason they choose the 360 was down to MS wanting to break into Japan cost to develop for it is very low making it attractive to super niche genres like shmups and visual novels.

And the main reason shmup devs have stayed with the 360 is because it's where all it's fanbase is, and considering how many shmups are on the 360 for its tiny fanbase that buys all of them its worked out well, atleast uptil recently with the collapse of the X360 in Japan and this console generation been so long in the tooth.

Cave is one of the last remaining oldschool studios making AAA's games for the bigscreen console and like all mid tiers devs this gen have been suffering due to the collapse of the retail market, Plus XBLA which is full of cheaper indie games and HD remakes which has conditioned gamers into thinking no retro 2D game is worth more than $15 even if it oozes high production values.

Rayman Origins had the same problem, when that game launched everyone said fuck that! i'm not paying full retail for a 2D game, it only became a success for Ubi when everyone bought at $20- $30.

Rayman Origin's is more mainstream than a super niche shmup, so there simply isn't enough ppl interested in these games to make up the numbers at a lower pricepoint, they totally rely on ppl buying it at launch and only selling 30-100K worldwide. (10-30k sales is about the normal going rate for a 360 japan only shmup)

It would be nice if CAVE could move onto the WiiU when that launches, with it's touchpad they could attract those who enjoy their iphone ports.

Ats also about time MS and Sony sorted XBLA and PSN out, having a price cap of $15 is pricing out mid tier devs who want to make higher quality digital games. Its one thing among many that Steam and PC does right.

Why don't they port games to PC and release 'em on Steam? Jamestown proved there's an audience.

TrevHead:
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The way you put it sounds like everybody fucked each other over just to get market share that they would never have to begin with, and never needed.

weirdguy:

TrevHead:
snip

The way you put it sounds like everybody fucked each other over just to get market share that they would never have to begin with, and never needed.

There is a market for STGs otherwise no one would continue making them, it's just small and insular, they are probably finding it difficult due to the fortunes of the 360 in Japan and the current console industry as a whole.

Anyway enough doom and gloom from me, CAVE don't just make shmups and this news is probably more to do with CAVE's other divisions than shmups.

 

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