They say its your birthday
June 2013 marks 30 years of games from Japanese developer Capcom. The company had humble beginnings with a couple of arcade titles, and has since grown into one of the biggest publishers around. Franchises like Street Fighter, Resident Evil, and Monster Hunter sell millions of copies with each new release, but what keeps us coming back are the characters weve come to love over the years.
In honor of three decades of Capcom, we’ve rounded up the 30 best characters that the company has given to gamers. The medium wouldnt be what it is today without these people/cyborgs/deities, so join us in celebrating such a diverse set of characters as…
First appeared: Mega Man (1987)
Mega Man/Rockman has probably appeared in more games than any other Capcom-created character, so he deserves to be on this list due to sheer quantity alone. But the little robot boy has quality to back him up. He hit the NES over 25 years ago, and his first (of many) sequels is regarded as one of the best games ever all these years later. Those 8-bit classics made Mega Man famous for challenging gameplay, clever boss designs, impressively open gameplay, and some of the best music ever heard in a game.
And the Blue Bomber is so beloved that spin-offs like Mega Man X, Legends, and Battle Network have earned legions of their own fervent fans. Mega Man is such a versatile hero that its hard to imagine an era he cant work in, as the reaction to his recent return in Super Smash Bros. proves. No matter what hardships Mega Man may face in and outside of games, hell never give up hope, and thanks to his inspiration, neither will we.
First appeared: Resident Evil (1996)
Jill Valentine got her start as a member of S.T.A.R.S., an elite law enforcement squad that got cornered in a mysterious, remote mansion. Jill was a highly trained officer at that point, but we doubt she had much preparation for battling the undead that were hiding in every dark corner of the mansion. But as she watched zombies tear apart her team, she adapted very quickly, soon becoming the master of headshots as well as a master of unlocking.
After surviving the mansion, the world had need for experienced agents that could battle bioterrorists, so Jill joined her S.T.A.R.S. partner Chris Redfield in the B.S.A.A. She helped save the world a couple more times before her seeming death/brainwashing by her nemesis Albert Wesker. Thankfully Jill eventually recovered enough to assist in blasting Wesker to kingdom come. Sadly absent from Resident Evil 6, lets hope that the highly capable officer returns to active duty soon.
First appeared: Dead Rising (2006)
Lets get this out of the way: Frank West has covered wars. That explains why he thinks hes ready to cover a strange outbreak of violence solo, but the experienced photojournalist quickly learns hes out of his depth. Wars are one thing, but a mall filled with thousands of zombies, helpless survivors, and murderous psychopaths is something else entirely.
Frank is forced to adapt or die, so he slashes his way through the undead masses to find the answers behind this zombie outbreak. He eventually masters some pro wrestling moves and saves the day, becoming famous in the aftermath. That fame leads to him being a reality show joke, but he ultimately reclaims some dignity by saving the day once again in an alternate retelling of Dead Rising 2. Outside of the franchise, Frank has been a fast-rising star within Capcom, appearing in multiple fighting games and cameo roles in the handful of years since his debut. Seemingly Frank isnt a part of Dead Rising 3, but we wouldnt count him out just yet.
First appeared: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2001 in Japan)
Many of the characters on this list have superhuman strength or a world class fighting ability, but Phoenix Wright has neither. All he has is his skills as a lawyer to help save the day. And Phoenix isnt even that good of a lawyer when he starts out, but watching him grow is part of why we love him.
The Ace Attorney games are courtroom dramas that show Wrights slow ascension from bumbling assistant to unbeatable master of the law. He gets better with each innocent defendant he saves and each goofball character he cross examines. His methods might not be all that realistic, but wed still want Wrights legal skills backing us up if we ever get wrongfully charged with murder.
First appeared: Street Fighter (1987)
When people think fighting games, Ryu has got to be one of the first faces they imagine. Ryu was the star of Capcoms original foray into fighting in the streets, but it was Street Fighter II that made him famous the world over. Thats when the mild-mannered fighters Hadoken attack of quarter circle forward + punch was burned into the memories of a generation of players.
Ryu might not have the flash of some other Capcom characters, but that didnt stop him from becoming an ambassador of sorts for the series. Always searching for a great fight, Ryu has appeared in in countless side games, usually leading Capcoms battles against X-Men, SNK rivals, or the entire roster of Tekken.
First appeared: Devil May Cry (2001)
The development team behind Devil May Cry had been working on the relatively serious Resident Evil games for so long that DMC must have felt like a chance to finally cut loose. DMC lead Dante is an ultra-cocky badass that fit with the ridiculous nature of the crazy action those freewheeling developers established. A master marksman and an expert swordsman with punk rock style, Dante carved up demons with an unstoppable confidence that won him many fans.
For all his bravado, Dante is one of the good guys, battling demons with the power he inherited from his father, an ancient demon named Sparda. After being raised by his human mother, Dante became a paranormal investigator, though most of his investigations begin and end with him decapitating hellspawn. Based on kill count alone, Dante has got to be the most successful paranormal investigator of all time (sorry Ghostbusters).
First appeared: Mega Man 3 (1990)
Everyone loves Mega Man, but some fans prefer the bad boy style of his rival/ally Proto Man (a.k.a. Blues). Introduced in the third Mega Man game, Proto was a mysterious enemy that challenged Mega Man when players least expected it. His entrances were dramatic for the time, with the games soundtrack being replaced by a trademark whistle that announced his arrival. And then theres the added drama of Proto secretly being Mega Mans brother–though the family resemblance is obvious.
At first Proto Man was assisting Dr. Wilys evil plans, but eventually Proto turned on Wily to help Mega Man save the day. Since then the brothers have been allies, though weve always sensed a certain competitiveness between them. Its hard to say whos the better robot slayer, but Proto Mans scarf and shield at least make him the more fashionable of the two.
First appeared: Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (1994)
Felecia was a furry long before the internet made it into a fetish. Just like her freaky/sexy roster mate Morrigan, Felicia is an orphan that didnt set out to battle for the fate of the world. Raised by a chaste nun, Felecia only wanted the stardom that came with a singing career. But on the way to fame, she ended up fighting vampires and werewolves. How many other musicians have suffered similar career setbacks?
Felicia has the grace, agility and claws that fit her cross species, with body language comes off more cat than human, and it extends to her personality as well. Behind Morrigan, shes likely the most well known Darkstalker, and has had cameos and playable appearances in multiple games. But when will she get the spotlight she deserves in a true Darkstalkers comeback?
First appeared: Okami (2006)
Okami launched to lower than expected sales, but that didnt stop the game and its protagonist from gaining a very dedicated following. Amaterasu is the Okami (or powerful god) of the title, but the wolf creatures godly powers are diminished when she returns to Earth in its time of need. Much of the world doesnt believe in gods anymore, so she appears to be an average dog to most humans, which plays into Okamis theme of finding the beauty hiding within the mundane.
Amaterasu slowly regains her power in the Zelda-style adventure, eventually gaining enough strength to free ancient Japan of its many demons. Despite not having much to say, its hard not to be taken by her regal, fiery design, as well as her ability to draw over reality. Following the underwhelming sales of her first game, Ammy has made a handful of appearances since, including as a playable fighter in Marvel vs Capcom 3, so she clearly hasnt been forgotten by Capcom.