games / Columns

The Top 8 Abandoned Capcom Franchises

August 19, 2022 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Darkstalkers Image Credit: Capcom

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. I’m here today to talk about Capcom franchises, specifically about some of the ones they’ve left in the dust. Most of these franchises haven’t seen a new release in over a decade, easily, so many of them have been in limbo for a while now. The one extra game I’ll mention here is Asura’s Wrath. While that did come out a while ago, I wouldn’t call it a “franchise” since only there is one game, and Capcom didn’t even make it, they just published it. Most of the games on this list, Capcom either made themselves or a subsidiary do it. Let’s begin:

#8: Dino Crisis

Despite what people may think/claim, Dino Crisis was never really a good franchise. The first two games are passable, especially for the time, but the third is a mess. What Dino Crisis does have though is a great idea/concept. As opposed to (most) zombies, the dinosaurs you faced were fast and dangerous. So you really had to be on your toes to fight them. That’s why I don’t really think Dino Crisis is good because it was still using the old Resident Evil/tank controls/slow combat system despite the enemies being quick. Exoprimal should be a new Dino Crisis but it basically is multiplayer game, which isn’t Dino Crisis at all.

#7: Darkstalkers

Someone at Capcom still has some fondness for Darkstalkers. Hell, five of the games in that Capcom Fighting Collection are Darkstalkers game. That’s great and all but there hasn’t really been a new Darkstalkers game since 1997. That’s only been about 25 years. Sure, popular Darkstalkers characters like Felicia and Morrigan have been in other games but there hasn’t been an all new Darkstalkers game since then.

#6: Onimusha

The last real Onimusha game came out in 2006 with Dawn of Souls but I don’t think I ever played it. To me, the last Onimusha game was Demon Siege, the third one with Jean Reno. I really dug that one quite a bit especially with having present day Jean Reno zapped back to the time of Samurai and having Samanosuke brought to the present day. Also the two characters played different, Samanosuke still has his sword and magic, while Jean Reno (don’t remember his character’s name/don’t care) had a machine pistol and energy whip. I appreciated the overall feel of Onimusha though, it played a lot like early Resident Evil games, or Dino Crisis, but it felt more deliberate and had better enemies to contend with.

#5: Power Stone

It’s amazing that in an era of arena-based, four player party fighting games that Capcom hasn’t resurrected this franchise. To put a point on it, Power Stone and the original Super Smash Brothers came out within a mere month of each other, at least in Japan. One was a fully 3D game that was graphically impressive with a good framerate. The other had Nintendo characters in it and a lot of nostalgia. Obviously Smash would be the more popular game but outside of Power Stone 2, Capcom gave up on the franchise. Imagine if they made a new one now, it’d likely be free to play but could have dozens of other Capcom franchise characters in it.

#4: Viewtiful Joe

Viewtiful Joe, to me, is like the 2000’s version of Comix Zone, but you know, actually good. You and your girlfriend are watching a movie when all of a sudden the movie villain kidnaps your girlfriend. You jump into the screen to follow her and along the way get superhero powers to slow down/speed up time, and to zoom in on your character, all of which play a part in both combat and with puzzle solving. The PS2 version was superior to the GameCube one since it included a whole other character, Dante from DMC, who played a lot differently than Joe did. Capcom cranked out a few Viewtiful Joe games, including a very mediocre fighting game, but gave up on the franchise after the second game.

#3: Mega Man X

Basic Mega Man is still kind of going strong with Mega Man 11 being released in 2018. Meanwhile the last Mega Man X game was released in 2004. Some people didn’t like Mega Man X8’s gameplay/graphics, but I really dug it since they were really trying something new and interesting. Frankly, they should keep both franchises going, have Mega Man be the nostalgia franchise and have Mega Man X be the more experimental playground for designers to take a chance.

#2: Okami

Everyone loves, or should love, Okami. The PS2 game is a classic, it’s long but extremely rewarding, full of memorable characters, great boss fights and inventive use of your powers. It’s among one of the best PS2 games ever, which is saying a lot considering how many truly great games were made for that system. Okamiden is alright also, but obviously doesn’t rival its home console brethren. Like with Viewtiful Joe, Okami was created by Clover who was shut down a year after the game came out. They eventually became Platinum Games, who, obviously are still around and have even said they’d love to work on a Okami sequel if Capcom would let them. It’s time for Capcom to let them.

#1: Rival Schools

There is so much that could have been done with Rival Schools, which just wasn’t. Even aside from the games, there could have been an anime series, figures could have been made of the more memorable characters, sponsorship deals, etc. Instead, America got two slightly gimped versions of the game, both releases were missing content cut from the Japanese versions, and that was it. In Japan, there was a third game, another on the PS1 but nothing else. Batsu, the main character, did make his way into that Tatsunoko vs. Capcom fighting game, and Akira (another memorable character) was added into Street Fighter V as DLC but that’s about the only respect that has been given to Rival Schools in a long time. Unlike with Darkstalkers, neither Rival Schools or Project Justice has been rereleased at all, so just a simple collection would be welcome.

For comments, list which are your favorite abandoned Capcom franchises and why.

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