My immediate thoughts after beating EA Motive’s excellent Dead Space remake were directed at Capcom, the publisher that has been regularly knocking it out of the park with the Resident Evil franchise since 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake — but somehow refuses to dig up Dino Crisis amidst a resurgence of AAA horror video games, both remade and all new.
Yes, horror games never left thanks to passionate indie studios and solo developers, but big publishers seemingly went cold on them after the flop of Dead Space 3 and the middling reaction to Resident Evil 6. Both games leaned a bit too hard on the action side of things, in contrast to what indie horror was doing around that time. Moreover, it seemed like there wasn’t really a demand for other classic horror franchises to make a big comeback when most players were fixated on riffs on Amnesia and Outlast. Traditional survival horror felt pretty dead… until 2017.
We can argue that Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was a big inflection point for AAA horror games in general. It turns out there was an interest in classic survival horror experiences, and people simply got tired earlier in the decade of messier-than-usual plots and over-the-top set pieces that belonged to Gears of War and other pure action titles with a tint of horror elements. A genuine sense of dread had to be re-injected into big franchises such as Resident Evil, and RE7’s success also became a wake-up call for the genre as a whole.
Fast-forward to 2023 and the Resident Evil franchise has experienced a major comeback thanks to sustained interest in RE7, an excellent sequel in Resident Evil Village, and the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3. Fans have even accepted the idea of a Resident Evil 4 remake, an installment that still feels modern and perfectly playable remake or not. Capcom is clearly making some good money out of the IP at the moment, and the acclaim garnered by last month’s Dead Space remake proves there’s a widespread demand for good ol’ survival horror to take over digital scares once again.
Konami has also paid attention to this revival, bringing back Silent Hill from the dead with several new games and also Bloober Team’s Silent Hill 2 remake. It only feels fitting that once-indie studios are taking over chunks of big horror IPs after keeping the terror alive with original titles (quality aside) for years.
So, what’s up with Dino Crisis? Clearly, Capcom is back in the business of churning out new AAA horror bangers as fast as humanly possible, and veteran horror fanatics have been quite vocal about more Dino Crisis (new or old) for as long as I can remember. Furthermore, dinosaurs in video games – and media in general – have become popular once again after Universal’s financially successful revival of the Jurassic Park film franchise. This includes fan-made HD remasters of the first Dino Crisis and an attempted remake of the second game with reworked gameplay.
In recent years, a reboot in the vein of RE7 and Village made the most sense for Dino Crisis, since players are currently more used to both scares and gun porn from a first-person perspective. But it seems that a “simple” remake of the original Dino Crisis, borrowing tricks from both Resident Evil and Dead Space, would be the safest bet right now.
Much has been (and is being) written about weaponized nostalgia, a creative plague currently infecting the film and video game industries alike. But sometimes, it’s just what you need, especially after terribad, franchise-killing installments… like Dino Crisis 3.
Wait, there was a third Dino Crisis? Yeah, and we don’t blame you if you didn’t know or had completely erased it from your brain. For starters, there were no dinosaurs in DC3, only mutations partially born from dino DNA. And secondly, it was a goofy-ass sci-fi shooter set in space — a wild creative turn reportedly caused by the 9/11 attacks, as Capcom felt like it needed to step away from the original “city under siege” scenario. Yeah, time-displaced dinosaurs and terrorists felt too similar to them, somehow.
Mind you, the first two games’ scripts weren’t Shakespeare either, but they hovered comfortably around RE levels of silliness and never lost sight of the tension and occasional jump scares. In fact, we can draw a parallel between Dino Crisis 1 and 2 and the first two Dead Space games; both series looked at the jump from Alien to Aliens in the realm of sci-fi horror, allowing themselves to have fun with bigger action and world-building while retaining what made the original entries work so well.
I almost had a heart attack last year when Capcom unveiled Exoprimal, a balls-to-the-wall PvPvE shooter that features dinosaurs falling from the sky and other nonsense. It looks pretty fun, but you can’t blame me for instantly thinking the folks at Capcom were bringing Dino Crisis back just for a silly online third-person shooter. I mean, they even have veteran DC producer and co-designer Hiroyuki Kobayashi working on it.
Adding salt to the wound, the first trailer for the still-unreleased game trolled Dino Crisis fans even harder with a brief look at a red-haired woman who pretty much looked like a modern take on Regina, the OG blaster of dinos. Capcom insists that Exoprimal and the long-dormant prehistoric horror franchise are unrelated, but could it have a say in Dino Crisis’s return?
While Capcom seemingly has no immediate interest in remaking or rebooting this IP, I choose to remain hopeful, especially after the continued success of reimagined horror classics. Online noise about old games that could use a new coat of paint and refined gameplay has already kickstarted more than one big remake, so I’ll keep beating this drum, as the gaming climate has never been better for bloodthirsty dinosaurs to roar once again.