The calls for Capcom to make a true sequel to 2012's Dragon's Dogma have been loud for some time now - so what gives? According to the game's director, it's all about a difficult choice and Devil May Cry 5.
Hideaki Itsuno is an extremely prolific video game developer. Over his years at Capcom he's proved instrumental in the creation of countless classics including Rival Schools, Power Stone, Darkstalkers, Street Fighter Alpha and of course Devil May Cry, the series he's now returned to, with the promising-looking DMC5 set to release in a few short weeks.
Itsuno also directed one of Capcom's most ambitious games of all time: Dragon's Dogma. Capcom of course hadn't been huge on single-player RPGs since Breath of Fire fell dormant, so to see it release a big-budget single-player RPG inspired by modern Western RPGs was a shocker. The game was a hit and later built a larger cult following with PC and current generation re-releases. That makes it surprising that seven years later we've not heard of a sequel aside from a Japan-only online spin-off - but now thanks to Itsuno, we know why.
"So, when the discussion came up for Devil May Cry 5, I went to Kenzo [Kenzo Tsujimoto, Capcom founder] and I said... look, I want to make either Devil May Cry 5 or Dragon's Dogma 2 next," Itsuno told VG247 through a translator as part of a Devil May Cry 5 media tour. "He said 'okay, do whatever you want. Do whichever one you want.' So I thought, alright, y'know what... let's do DMC5. So we did that."
This news is sure to dismay some Dragon's Dogma fans, though it'll leave Devil May Cry fans cheered - while Dogma released in 2012, fans of the original Japanese-made iteration of DMC have been waiting for a sequel since 2008 - over a decade. Itsuno essentially has an impossible choice, and it's one further compounded by the other massive titles on his resume. Power Stone and Rival Schools fans would also certainly spill blood for another one of those, for instance. It might not be all bad news however, as Itsuno teases.
"Here we are - we're now finishing up DMC5. But I had ideas for Dragon's Dogma 2 at the time as well. So here we are, it's the end of this project." Itsuno grins.
"I've always got maybe around four different titles in mind, maybe about four different ideas that I'd love to make. But there's a difference between the titles that I'd love to make and the titles that I think I should make next. But here we are, we're here, and... I'm already gearing up for my next project. We can't say what it is, but we're looking forward to getting to work on it."
This is apparently a frequent topic of conversation on the day I see Itsuno, as he takes a string of media interviews from a variety of outlets. Dragon's Dogma 2 is, I'm told, the second most frequent topic of conversation after DMC5, the game the interview is actually about. I tell Itsuno that I have a running gag on twitter where I just regularly ask "When's Dragon's Dogma 2?" I do it a lot, and I do it because Dragon's Dogma is one of my favorite games of the last generation. He laughs, but the comment also makes him a little philosophical about the project.
"Whenever I make a game, I make specifically what I want to play, what I've always wanted to play. Dragon's Dogma is one of those things where ever since I was a kid this is the kind of experience I wanted from a game. I think about that and then I work towards creating that experience."
He goes on to say that he regards it as his most successful project. "The one that was kind of the biggest success in my mind, the one I'm most proud of - that's probably Dragon's Dogma. The one that was the hardest to work on, that took the most effort - that's this one. That's DMC5."
Devil May Cry 5 releases on March 8 for Xbox One, PC and PS4. With any luck, we won't have too long to wait before we hear about what Itsuno does next. In the meantime, I might have to start brainstorming a new Capcom Sequel beg joke tweet. When's Street Fighter 6? When's a Dead Rising reboot? When's Asura's Wrath 2?