Keiji Inafune's Kaio: King of Pirates has been canceled

An action-packed story of animal pirates competing to rule the seas, led by Mega Man legend Keiji Inafune, sounds great - but we'd barely heard anything about Kaio: King of Pirates since it was announced in 2011. Now publisher Marvelous AQL has confirmed in a press release (translated by Siliconera) that the game has been canceled.

The ambitious title was announced as the start of a whole new cross-media franchise, starring a cast of anthropomorphic birds, reptiles, and other beasts in a loose recreation of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Inafune hoped the project would introduce Western audiences to the famed piece of Chinese literature, much like Dragonball's take on Journey to the West.

“The story is set in the adventurous great ocean where heroes fight for their ambition, justice, and their lives,” Inafune described at the game's launch, “What I want [for] Kaio to visualize is 'human appeal' itself. What is beyond the 'right and wrong' or the 'good and bad'? What is waiting in the end?”

The game was the first project for Inafune's Intercept studio, the sister company to his Comcept game business and planning firm, both of which he founded after departing Capcom in 2010. Comcept has since kept busy with contributing to series like Hyperdimension Neptunia, not to mention the crowdfunded Mighty No. 9.

Kaio was originally expected to release in 2012, but a series of delays kept pushing it further and further back. Marvelous AQL revealed that it had sunk 461 million yen, or about $3.8 million / £2.6 million, into Kaio by the time it was canceled.