Considering they have an engine up and running for 3DS RE games, it wouldn't be that hard to get one done so quickly.
They already released a port-combination thing (Mercenaries 3D) and Revelations close together and Operation Raccoon City (though not made by them exactly) and RE6 is coming out. If it is indeed a midquel for RE5 to RE6, I could totally see them wanting to get it out by the end of the year to lead into RE6.
And I don't know what the comment regarding Claire is about. People have been wanting a return of Claire. She's also the only *main* character (besides Barry and Rebecca) we haven't seen/played in a while aside from spinoffs/retreads.
As you said, Mercenaries was a quick RE5 and abit assets pull [so shouldn't really count as a full game effort like Revelations].
I don't know. One game sure. But two dedicated efforts [for RE, a console based experience] right off the bat of the 3DS' unveiling? I can't envision it [but will be pleasantly surprised, mind, if this comes to past - my older bro loves Claire].
everyone wants Claire back. But let's face it - Jill and Chris rule the roost with TPTB. And RE6 media so far seems to allude that Claire has snuffed it since...