Ask any longtime gamer about quality 2D gaming, and it's almost a given that Capcom is going to come up in the discussion. Classics like Mega Man 2, Demon's Crest, Darkstalkers, and Street Fighter III are generational high-water marks in 2D game art, and are far from the only games Capcom has made that have pushed systems to their limit with their expert artistry.
However, newer games like Viewtiful Joe and Street Fighter X Tekken have changed Capcom's style, giving us classic 2D gameplay with modern 3D graphics. When asked about another HD remix of a Street Fighter title, Capcom USA's Christian Svensson mentioned that making the move back to 2D graphics would be great, but would probably be prohibitively expensive--and that's just for a remake.
"...I can't overstate what a tricky project HDR (Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix) was. I'm happy with the outcome (critically, community wise, sales wise) but it was a really hard tightrope to walk and some points in development were really scary (like when we threw away about 2,500 frames of animation in various stages of completion because we weren't happy with them and started again).
And the consumer expectation bar has moved considerably. The costs of doing a project like that today, with the attention to detail/features that SF3:Online Edition had, it would be difficult for sales forecasts to shoulder."
He's not kidding--on average, a single Street Fighter III sprite had about 1200 frames of animation, and that game came out in 1997. Also looking at the current gaming scene, 2D gaming is more the exception than the rule, with most great 2D games available digitally or on handhelds, like Bastion and Shantae: Risky's Revenge.
Still, Svensson has hope!
"That said, we'll see what the future holds. Creatively, I'd like to do more 2D stuff in the future like this."
Indeed. If it involves a return to the Capcom of old, I'd really like to see what the future holds. What do you think?