Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono reckons the "time is right" for samurai action series Onimusha to return.
Reboots of Dino Crisis and Onimusha seem at least a long way off – but the cult action franchises have not been forgotten, Capcom has said.
Capcom has celebrated its 25th birthday today by saying a big thank-you to everyone and issuing a couple of dates for big-screen adaptations of its games.
The first is a 2011 projection for Onimusha, according to the publisher's US blog. The film was recently delayed after the death of actor Heath Ledger had a knock-on effect on various projects stacked up with related personnel.
Onimusha is Capcom's sixth-biggest selling series, according to information released by the publisher last month. The games have been largely for PS2 and are based on historical Japanese figures with a bit of a supernatural twist. Most of the games are made up of a mixture of third-person combat and puzzle-solving.
The Onimusha film has been delayed and the death of Heath Ledger is to blame, according to a aintitcool's translation of a French source.
Four games in the same series within five years is likely to prove a test for even the most ardent fan's enthusiasm, but it's not much of one for Capcom, which has been testing the laws of diminishing returns for as long as we can remember, and does so again here with an extensive but no-frills update to its hackandslash series.
Nearly two years ago, Capcom tried to sprinkle a little more of a Western flavour into the mix with the third in the series, and did so with a fair amount of success. Throwing Jean Reno into the lead role made for an entertaining time travelling adventure that (gasp) even made concessions for guns - a radical shake-up given the game's 16th century feudal Japanese-era roots. Sure, it was essentially more of the same at the core, but the balance between compelling combat and puzzling was almost spot-on - plus Capcom sorted the niggles that many of us had with the controls and camera.
But the fourth episode, Dawn of Dreams, is one of those incarnations that has a gentle whiff of "shall we pretend the last one didn't exist?" about it, and slinks back to focusing on the familiar 16th century formula that its native audience presumably prefers. As ever, the story's the usual demon-slaying bobbins that's either been translated to make Westerners care as little about it as possible, or just really is that unengaging. Whatever the truth - for the record - this one's set 15 years after you managed to defeat 'evil overlord' Oda Nobunaga, with Japan 'waking up to a blood red dawn'. It turns out that Emperor Hideoyoshi is uprooting the cherry trees (Sorry? What?!), and has somehow managed to command the (endlessly respawning) Genma demons to return to frontline action, along with a plethora of beefy henchmen. Cue lone hero to the rescue.
So much for the whole Onimusha trilogy thing, then. Less than a year after the third and supposedly final instalment in the series hit European shores, Capcom announced that another Onimusha game was on the way - but don't make the mistake of assuming it's a plain old sequel.
Capcom's announced that Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams will be released in Japan in January, and over in the States a couple of months later in March. Meanwhile, Capcom Eurosoft says we can also expect it sometime in Q1.
When it comes to game franchises, many developers are like crack whores. "That's it," they'll say. "That's the end of the trilogy. The VERY LAST TIME. I don't need this crap any more."