Earlier this month, apparent leaks surfaced from Capcom showing three unannounced games. It is unclear what state these games are in, whether or not they are actively in development, or what. All that’s included are working titles, a few blurry storyboard shots, and outlines of each game’s respective pitch. But that’s not the end of this story. These projects can be traced back to 2013, when Capcom Vancouver was fielding pitches from Capcom in Japan, including, allegedly, a rejected pitch for a new Dino Crisis.
Dino Crisis was a weird series of games from back when Resident Evil was on top of the world, a premier series given credit for survival horror as “a thing,” and a source of merchandise and brand power for Capcom outside of the declining Street Fighter and Mega Man. It was basically Resident Evil with dinosaurs, using the same engine and similar controls to tell more of a sci-fi story.
According to this speculative NeoGAF thread, a new Dino Crisis was pitched around the time one of the aforementioned projects, Knights of Aegis (rumored to be somehow related to Ghosts ‘n Goblins), was brought to Capcom Vancouver. This was in early 2013, around the time the oddly-received Devil May Cry reboot was released. Capcom was riding off the success of Street Fighter IV and things were getting weird with longtime executive Keiji Inafune. The company was trying new and unusual things with its properties and reportedly getting ready to focus on bringing back older IP.
Dino Crisis just didn’t have the same appeal to the western studio as any form of Ghosts ‘n Goblins. It was a cult hit, but not something that ever made the same waves as the more tenured Capcom classics. Its sci-fi dinosaur theme was very ‘90s. Besides, even Resident Evil was in the middle of an identity crisis in 2013. Survival horror in general seemed to be dead or dying, and Capcom was more interested in edgier action games. Though, when Devil May Cry got the response it did from fans, Capcom course corrected big time, perhaps explaining why games like Street Fighter V turned out the way they did.
But now we have to ask, does Dino Crisis still have something left to offer video games? Things are way different in 2017 than they were in 2013. Survival Horror has made an enormous comeback, with games like Evil Within, P.T., and now Resident Evil itself making people realize how much fun it is to be scared by cheesy, artificially-difficult horror games. I mean, look at the risks Resident Evil 7 took! A new Jurassic Park movie even came out, managed a wide theatrical release, and broke a ludicrous number of box office records. Branding and IP is more powerful than ever. Survival horror and dinosaurs are both cool again!
If Capcom went back to the think tank with Dino Crisis, there is great potential for possibly striking gold. A true survival horror and sci-fi game, perhaps with the western-fueled writing style found in Resident Evil 7, VR functionality, and real support from the publishers, would be money. The gaming climate may not have supported a new Dino Crisis four years ago, but now, the time could be right. After all, Dead Rising 4 obviously didn’t work, so why not try something a little different?