Planet Work was released for the iPhone today. It may seem like just another throwaway game flooding the App Store, but there is something special about it– the game was created entirely by first-year employees at Capcom, fresh out of college.
The project is the brainchild of veteran Capcom producer, Jun Takeuchi. But why let brand new and unproven employees handle such a project all by themselves? For the learning experience. “Game projects as of late have grown into incredibly huge things in scope,” Takeuchi explains. “It’s hard to produce one game a year the way that people used to be able to do. That got me thinking that perhaps the best way to get our new employees a taste of the peaks and valleys of game development is to have them produce a game of their own by themselves.”
Planet Work was created by a team of only five people. “I felt like we were being cast away,” said Kanu Akamatsu, leader of the team. “I had no idea what we should make or how we should make it. It was a lot harder than I thought it’d be to get our thoughts together and really work as a team. Being on the side that makes the games instead of play them made me realize how headache-inducing it is when you know the game you’re working on isn’t fun, but you don’t know what you can do to make it better.”
The game is about spacemen cleaning up planets around the galaxy, and is available for purchase on the App Store (in Japanese), along with a free preview version. Takeuchi wants players to try it and be as harsh in their reviews as possible to kick the new employees into shape. “I think one of the most important missions of this group is to raise and nurture the next generation of creators,” he said.
I think this is a great idea and it’s nice to see a big name company like Capcom taking risks and putting that much trust in brand new employees. So everyone download the game and tell them how much it sucks. The tears will only make them stronger.