Clover Studio Co., Ltd. (Japanese: 株式会社クローバースタジオ, Hepburn: Kabushiki Gaisha Kurōbā Sutajio) was a Japanese video game development studio founded by Capcom. The studio developed the PlayStation 2 port of Viewtiful Joe, both versions of Viewtiful Joe 2 for the GameCube and PlayStation 2, and the PS2 titles Ōkami and God Hand. The name "clover" is an abbreviation of "creativity lover"[1] as well as the Japanese syllables mi ("three") and ba ("leaf") coming from the names of Shinji Mikami and Clover's Atsushi Inaba.[2]

Clover Studio Co., Ltd.
Native name
Kabushiki Gaisha Kurōbā Sutajio
FormerlyStudio 9
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryVideo games
Founded1 July 2004 (19 years ago) (2004-07-01)
DefunctMarch 2007 (17 years ago) (2007-03)
FateDissolved into Capcom
HeadquartersOsaka, Japan
Key people
  • Atsushi Inaba (CEO)
  • Kenzo Tsujimoto (vice-president)
  • Yoshifumi Yamashita (director)
  • Haruhiro Tsujimoto (senior manager)
  • Tamio Oda (managing director)
  • Shinji Utsunomiya (design lead)
  • Dragan Tosic (lead composer)
  • Ryuta Takahashi (software engineer)

The studio consisted largely of existing Capcom R&D talent, who had formed the company (then called Studio 9) to give themselves greater executive control (and thus creative freedom), like Sega's semi-autonomous studios in the early 2000s. The studio focused largely on creating new intellectual property rather than sequels. When these failed to perform on par with Capcom's more popular series, Capcom attempted to merge the studio back into their internal R&D. Those at the studio chose instead to leave the company, and Clover was dissolved.

Some of the key members of Clover founded Seeds Inc., a new development group[3] that merged with ODD Incorporated in October 2007 to form PlatinumGames,[4][better source needed] which has since built up a staff composed of former Clover staff. Other members (including the art director of Ōkami) went to join UTV Ignition Games at their Tokyo development studio, which developed the game El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. On 28 October 2010, one of the most prominent members of Clover Studio and then PlatinumGames, Shinji Mikami, joined ZeniMax Media in a deal where ZeniMax acquired his new development studio Tango Gameworks.[5]



To facilitate Viewtiful Joe 2's development, Capcom turned "Team Viewtiful" into Clover Studio, a semi-autonomous production company with a focus on developing new intellectual properties (IPs).[6] The separation was also in part due to Resident Evil 4's PlayStation 2 release, which caused significant tensions between Capcom and Mikami, who had touted the game's console exclusivity.[7][8] Clover Studio was able to produce two more games in the Viewtiful Joe series, which serve as side-stories, and commissioned an anime adaptation which was handled by Group TAC. Clover's next big project was Ōkami, a "brand-focused project" fitting with Capcom's goal for Clover to develop new IPs.[9] Although it was a critical success, it failed to live up to Capcom's sales expectations; Clover's next project God Hand did even worse.[10] Compounding this problem, Clover's developers still felt stifled under the weight of Capcom's corporate management, who were reluctant or actively opposed to risky new ideas.[6][11]

Capcom shut down Clover Studio in late 2006, after Atsushi Inaba, Hideki Kamiya and Shinji Mikami left the company.[12]

These resignations were part of a series of high-profile departures from Capcom, including Yoshiki Okamoto in 2003 and Keiji Inafune in 2010.[13] Inafune complained of similar problems, as Inaba, Kamiya and Mikami, namely that Capcom management had a rule dictating that at least 70-80 percent of all new projects must be sequels of existing properties, with the actual number very close to 100 percent at any time.[14]



They would go on to found PlatinumGames with members of their old studio.[11] In 2008, they announced the "Platinum Three", referring to MadWorld, Infinite Space, and Bayonetta, which would attempt to carry on the Capcom Five's ambitious and creative original spirit.[15]

In 2009, Capcom producer and Senior Corporate Officer of R&D Keiji Inafune, told that the company had no interest at the time to produce sequels to Clover titles.[16]

In 2010, Capcom released a sequel to Ōkami titled, Ōkamiden for the Nintendo DS.[17]

Characters from Viewtiful Joe and Ōkami have appeared in other Capcom media. Viewtiful Joe and Yami, antagonist of Ōkami, appear in the 2008 fighting game Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.[18][19] Viewtiful Joe and Amaterasu, the protagonist of Ōkami, both appear as playable characters in the 2011 fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.[20][21]

A high-definition port of Ōkami, remastered by Capcom and HexaDrive, was released on the PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Network in October 2012 and for retail in Japan in November 2012.[22][23][24] The high-definition port was also released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in December 2017 worldwide, with a Nintendo Switch version released in August 2018.[22][24][23]

Games developed

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher
2003 Viewtiful Joe GameCube, PlayStation 2 Capcom
2004 Viewtiful Joe 2
2005 Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble GameCube, PlayStation Portable
Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble! Nintendo DS
2006 Ōkami PlayStation 2
God Hand

See also



  1. ^ "Capcom Forms Clover Studio". Game Gossip. 21 April 2004. Archived from the original on 2 September 2004. Retrieved 18 July 2005.
  2. ^ "Capcom & Clover, Over and Over: Former Clover Head Atsushi Inaba on a Post-Capcom World". Gamasutra. 12 October 2006. Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  3. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (15 February 2007). "Clover Reborn". IGN. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
  4. ^ プラチナゲームズ株式会社
  5. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (3 November 2010). "ZeniMax acquires Shinji Mikami studio". GameSpot. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b Sheffield, Brandon (23 October 2006). "Capcom & Clover, Over and Over: Former Clover Head Atsushi Inaba on a Post-Capcom World". Gamasutra. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  7. ^ Bailey, Kat (31 March 2010). "Shinji Mikami Launches Teaser Site with Harakiri Flash Game". Archived from the original on 14 September 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  8. ^ Cullen, Johnny (12 November 2010). "Mikami originally displeased at becoming producer at Capcom". VG24/7. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  9. ^ Sheffield, Brandon (11 March 2005). "Postcard from GDC 2005: Lessons from Viewtiful Joe: Making a Creatively and Financially Successful New Game". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  10. ^ Drake, Shannon (8 May 2007). "Vision Doesn't Sell Copies". The Escapist. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  11. ^ a b Mielke, James (30 January 2008). "Clover Blossoms: Atsushi Inaba Interview". Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Clover Studios to Dissolve". Edge. 12 October 2006. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  13. ^ Kohler, Chris (29 October 2010). "Mega Man Creator's Departure Completes Capcom Talent Exodus". Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  14. ^ "稲船敬二氏によるセミナーが開催――クリエイティブへの思い、新会社設立の意図を語る" [A seminar by Mr. Keiji Inafune will be held - Talking about his thoughts on creativity and the intention of establishing a new company]. Famitsu (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 22 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  15. ^ Bergervoet, Erwin (14 May 2008). "PlatinumGames onthult de nieuwe 'Capcom Five'". Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  16. ^ Mielke, James (5 March 2009). "Keiji Inafune Talks Mega Man Revivals, Strider Possibilites: News from". Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  17. ^ Feit, Daniel (26 September 2009). "Hands on: Okamiden Demo Is Cute, But Short". WIRED. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  18. ^ Gifford, Kevin (5 November 2008). "Viewtiful Joe Joins Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom". Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Tatsunoko vs. Capcom confirmed for US, EU". GameSpot. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  20. ^ Aziz, Hamza (18 August 2010). "GC 10: Viewtiful Joe and Dormammu join Marvel vs Capcom 3". Destructoid. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  21. ^ Aziz, Hamza (22 June 2010). "Amaterasu and Thor join Marvel vs. Capcom 3". Destructoid. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  22. ^ a b Reilly, Jim (19 June 2012). "Okami HD Announced". Game Informer. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  23. ^ a b Matulef, Jeffery (20 June 2012). "Okami HD coming to PlayStation 3 this Autumn". Eurogamer. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  24. ^ a b Kietzmann, Ludwig (25 June 2012). "Okami HD developed by Capcom and Hexa Drive | Joystiq". Joystiq. Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2018.