New Bionic Commando Happened Because of a Business Card
It’s not often that we get much insight into the decisions made by game companies — perhaps because the small events leading up to them aren’t usually given a second thought. Thanks to the enthusiasm of Bionic Commando producer Ben Judd, we now know what convinced Capcom bigwig Keiji Inafune to change the next-gen reinvention of the classic NES title from a PSP game into the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC game we know today: a very special business card.
In an interview with 1UP, Judd explained how he came to know Inafune, who is best known as the creator of Mega Man and the producer of Onimusha and Dead Rising. The two became close following the success of Dead Rising, which allowed Judd to pitch the idea of making a new Bionic Commando to Inafune. According to Judd, the creator responded with a simple, “Eh, it sounds OK.” After having one of the original directors replay the game, Inafune changed his tune, deciding to pursue a PSP game using the Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins engine.
Judd explains what happened next in the interview:
We were probably two months into preproduction. We had a full design document with some nice art in it. After E3, Inafune-san asked a lot of the press what games they wanted to see from Capcom. A lot of them said Bionic Commando. A lot of them said Street Fighter 4. One of the press guys, Ben Turner, had a business card with the Bionic Commando 1UP icon on his card, and he gave it to Inafune-san, and I just s*** myself. ‘What?! This is the Bionic Commando icon!’ I pointed it out to Inafune-san, and he said, ‘You totally set this up. His name is Ben and your name is Ben.’ I said, ‘No, he really does like the game!’ I think that was the nail in the coffin that really made him say, ‘This is really worth doing.’
I remember a week or two after that, he came back to me and said, ‘Instead of making a PSP game, let’s go with a next-gen game and make it multiplatform.’
The full interview with Judd can be found here. It delves into his journey to becoming a U.S.-born producer in a Japanese company, PS3 trophies, Virtual Console, and much more.