Keiji Inafune’s Dead Rising is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and Capcom’s brought back all of last gen’s entries as a remastered treat for fans on current hardware. Ostensibly a tongue-in-cheek homage to George Romero’s mall-set Dawn of the Dead, Dead Rising is no stranger to fan service, packing its retailer-stuffed environments with nods to other Capcom series in the form of goofy costumes and weapons. Players tend to revel in the past, particularly with a company as steeped in all-time classic series as Capcom. As such, revivals are definitely something they should get in the business of doing more often.
Dead Rising aside — the series is still going strong with a fourth entry later this year — Capcom does appear to be listening. 2016 also marks the 20th anniversary of Resident Evil, which has had one commemoration after another, kicking off with the official announcement of a remade Resident Evil 2 and a series set of remasters for RE6 through the tragically jacketless RE4, not to mention the entire idea of RE7 “going back to its horror roots.” But to lavish attention on RE and Dead Rising while seemingly neglecting two other major horror-adjacent players in the Capcom pantheon is too sad. So tell me, Capcom.
Where are Onimusha and Dino Crisis?
You can’t argue that either series lacks appeal. Koei Tecmo’s fantastically promising Nioh takes huge inspiration from Onimusha, an Inafune joint that began life as an Edo-period RE spinoff starring a demon-slaying samurai. Fun fact: It also birthed Devil May Cry from a bug that saw foes get stuck midair after an upward strike.
Minus a couple mobile spinoffs that never made it west, the series has more or less been dormant for the better part of a decade after its Ninja Blade-esque premise was soured in the overly cartoonish Dawn of Dreams, which also wasn’t granted a proper number in its title.
As it stands, Onimusha 3 saw actor Takeshi Kaneshiro teaming up with Jean Reno to fight oni in modern day Paris circa 2004; it was an utterly ridiculous way to top a fantastic PS2 trilogy, and one that certainly stands to be revisited, especially given the recent successes Capcom has seen with RE’s Gamecube remasters. An entirely new, full-fledged sequel would be even better, and for whatever it’s worth, Street Fighters Yoshinori Ono has reportedly said talks have been happening at Capcom HQ over the possibility of reviving the series as recently February.
Dino Crisis seems less likely, even if the monumental success of Jurassic World showed that the public still really, really wants to see dinosaurs eating people, and the very notion of putting that scenario in the context of horror is still intoxicating. Go ahead, watch Jurassic Park again and tell me Spielberg didn’t include some subtle genre notes with his trademark moments of pure spectacle.
Still, there’s no getting around how badly Dino Crisis 3 jumped the shark, morphing the original game’s tense, Crichton-esque premise of dinosaurs stalking an island research facility — as directed by Shinji Mikami, no less — into a bizarre far-flung, sci-fi action game featuring “smart” dinos that, ironically, would come to mirror the most asinine elements of Jurassic Parks later films.
That said, Dino Crisis was a 1999 PS One title. As great as it may be, it’s very much a product of its era, and the shift away from a visceral tone (as in evisceration, which the original DC made bloody use of) in DC2 never gelled as well as Onimusha’s did. Yet, Mikami’s first take was a marvel. If it were treated with the same type of grounded, life-or-death severity, if perhaps not a first-person perspective the RE team appears to be giving RE7, a brand new Dino Crisis would be a welcome change. Really, what’s scarier than nature?
With Onimusha having recently gotten a trademark renewal, its possible there could be some movement with the series before long, though it’s certainly no guarantee. Dino Crisis has made a few minor cameos in one form or another since DC3, but nothing too major; it’s probably more likely we’d see a new Devil May Cry before a return of gratuitous violence by giant bird reptiles.