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Onimusha 4 on the way

So much for the whole trilogy thing, then.

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."

But give it two weeks and they're back, all cold sweats and trembling hands and "Look I can't take it let's just do ONE MORE okay then."

And today the developer checking itself out of rehab and going back to Dalston is Capcom with its new Onimusha title - turning what they assured us was a trilogy into a quadrilogy. Or a quatrilogy. Or a fourology or whatever. [Surely a quadlogy? -Ed]

Anyway, the game's title will be Onimusha 4: Dawn of Dreams, it's on PS2 (again), and there's already a teaser site up complete with a countdown clock, suggesting a full announcement will be made in two days' time. (Note too the pretty cherry blossom animation: it's all part of some big symbolism thing, apparently.)

Japanese magazine Famitsu has already unveiled some details about the game, including the fact that series producer Keiji Inafune is back to oversee the project.

The Famitsu article goes on to reveal that the game is set in 1598, 16 years after Samanosuke took out Nobunaga. Since the evil one's death everything's calmed down a bit - Japan has a new leader, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the country has united under his rule. Even better, the genma demons have stopped trying to do everyone over all the time.

But oh gosh, what's this, a mysterious red star has appeared in the sky. And look out, here comes an endless series of devastating natural disasters to wreck the country and send thousands upon thousands to their graves.

At which point, the genma demons realise all the fun they've been missing and start kicking off again. It's enough to make a man go insane - and would you believe it, Hideyoshi does.

So, unsurprisingly, it's up to a brave young warrior to sort the whole mess out. He dresses like a samurai but has blonde hair, along with two small horns sticking out the front of his head, and carries two swords, one red and the other blue.

He remains nameless for the time being, but Inafune did say that he is based on a historical figure from the Hideyoshi period. Interestingly, 1598 is also the year the real-life Hideyoshi died.

Our hero is accompanied by a spear-carrying monk, a sword-bearing lady, a big muscly bloke and an androgynous-looking person with a gun. None of them bears any resemblance to anyone you might recognise, unlike characters in previous games which were based on actors such as Jean Reno.

Famitsu says that Inafune decided to go down this route because once actors' contracts get involved it's hard to take the franchise anywhere outside the game, and he wants to explore other kinds of media. Hmm.

It's not just the characters who have changed. Dawn of Dreams will be the first Onimusha game to use a true third-person camera, with the player peering over your character's shoulder rather than staring from afar.

There's less focus on getting through the storyline this time, with more freedom to explore the game at your own pace. That said, there's said to be twice as much plot content as there was in the last game. Gameplay will once again revolve around hacking and slashing, turning into a demon and collecting souls, but it's all designed with newcomers to the series in mind as well as long-time Onimusha buffs.

Famitsu says the game is around 20 per cent finished, and a playable demo will be available at next month's E3. The finished Onimusha 4: Dawn of Dreams will hit the shops next spring.

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About the Author
Ellie Gibson avatar

Ellie Gibson


Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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