One has to wonder if Capcom has any interest in internally developing video games anymore. If it weren’t for Resident Evil and Monster Hunter, I wouldn’t count out there desire to outsource its entire line-up.
If a PS3M UK report is to be believed, the most recent franchise to be shipped overseas for development is their samurai zombie hack ‘n slash fest, Onimusha. Capcom will leave the series in the hands of Spark Unlimited, which is also currently working on Lost Planet 3 for Capcom as well as Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z for Tecmo and Comcept.
The series started out as a promising new franchise during the early days of the PlayStation 2, but interest slowly died out after Capcom tried to expand it with a GBA tactical RPG and a Smash Bros. influenced brawler. The last game to be published, Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, was a pretty well received game on its own, but it hit the shelves after the current generation had already teased us of what was to come and barely registered as a ripple.
In recent years, Capcom has been going on a tear to make their games more western oriented in the face of a shifting market. It’s a big trend for Japanese publishers these days looking to stay ahead and on top. The franchise joins a long list of Capcom IP’s being tailor made overseas by foreign developers including Devil May Cry, Lost Planet, Bionic Commando, Dead Rising and their most recent fledgling series Remember Me.
Unlike those games however, Onimusha has deeps roots in Japanese history and imagery. It’s certainly not impossible for western studios to recreate ancient Japan in a video game, but if Spark Unlimited was given the freedom Ninja Theory enjoys with Devil May Cry to do whatever they please, they might just kill the unique angle that distinguished the series back in the day.
Still, it’s just a rumor, and there’s no use complaining because I suspect this is the only way we’d every see the series make a comeback. Will that comeback be worth it if it’s just in name, though?