It was a little more than two years ago now that grumblings turned to reality with the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3. The reasons for the game's abrupt demise were never fully explained, but now that the dust has sort of settled, Capcom-Unity's GregaMan has a "recap of things we've already expressed in one form or another" regarding what went into the game's cancellation. He says it's all old information and perspectives, but a lot of it was new to me. Here area few highlights.
"Remember that Legends 3 was essentially a 10-year-late sequel to a sequel to a spin-off, that had middling success even back when it was one of the only games of its kind--before 3D Action-Adventure was an established genre, if you can even remember that far back. And consider its place within the greater Mega Man brand.
If you thought DmC was a deviation from the Devil May Cry brand, remember that MML (MmL?) changed virtually everything you could possibly change about Mega Man. Even I remember scoffing at the sight of it until I got my hands on it and realized it stood on its own merits. Then consider that the game was destined for a platform that didn't even exist yet in the wild. All that isn't to say MML3 was a "bad" project--it was just weird. But MML has always been a passion project, not a cash cow. Hence the Devroom angle."
Pretty honest and insightful stuff, an there's a lot more where that came from. Read on for more selected quotes an a short rebuttal to follow.
Here are GregaMan's thoughts on how the Mega Man Legends 3 Project affected Capcom's perspective on community involvement-
"I want to believe that despite the grief, despite the years of community "managing" that have resulted for me and my team (all of whom were not in the company's employ at the time of the cancellation), there was still merit in the experiment, for you and for me. The Mega Man community is the strongest and most aligned it's ever been. We didn't get a game, but we got real stories of human beings coming together with other human beings and doing incredible things. I'm not trying to give the company a pat on the back for this incidental outcome. I'm giving you all a collective one.
We as a publisher learned valuable lessons about the role community can, should, will by any means necessary play. In my mind the Devroom marked a maturation of our still-fledgling community initiative. A milestone lesson learned and taken to heart. How lucky am I that I started my career here by helming the craziest, weirdest, most volatile experiment ever ventured by this department? MML3 realigned our compass, and whether you know it or not, you've all had an impact on Capcom. It is my hope that in time this will lead to decisions that bring happiness to each and every one of you."
As for the reasons for why fans were "mislead" into believing that at the very least, Capcom would release Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version-
"It was unintentional and that's all I'll say about it. There was never an attempt to mislead anybody. "
As a huge fan of the Mega Man series, I want to thank GregaMan for being so forthright, earnest, and honest with his assessment of matters surrounding Mega Man Legends 3's cancellation. Capcom Unity and Capcom USA have done some pretty incredible stuff int he past, which is why I think that it hit the Capcom community so hard when the the game was killed off. I remember that it almost seemed too good to be true when the Mega Man Legends 3: Dev Room was announced. Allowing the fans to help shape and create a new game was an unheard of proposition, requiring unprecedented organization and management on the part of Capcom USA, Capcom Unity, and their global counterparts.
The reason is wasn't quite too good to be true is that up until that point, Capcom had proven time and time again that they knew how to make fans feel like they were a part of the company. From the release of the hand produced Mega Man 9 physical box, to the Capcom fight night community events, to countless other examples of going above and beyond the norm, Capcom Unity truly felt to be at one with their fans and with their games. The cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 put a harsh end to that feeling for many of us. Even the funding, publication, and promotion of of an all new, totally free fan created Mega Man and Street Fighter crossover game didn't do much to get fans on their side again.
I don't think that it was the power of Mega Man Legend's fan base, the game's public development, or its eventual cancellation that caused such venom towards Capcom to boil in the aftermath. I think that most of that venom came from the fact that Capcom had planned on charging for the download of a miniature "Prototype" version of the game, that this Prototype was essentially complete by all reports, and Capcom still dropped it right before release. It seemed downright hostile.
From the consumer's perspective, Capcom had literally nothing to lose from releasing a near-complete, digitally distributed, for profit demo. At worst, they wouldn't make as much money off of it as they'd hoped, and would have to cancel the full game. Fans couldn't cry foul about that, as that was the deal all along. By dropping the Prototype version on the cusp of release, after promoting it for months, Capcom showed that either really hated their own product (which was reportedly pretty fun), or that their contempt for Mega Man, its developers, and its fans was so great that they'd rather forgo a little extra money in order to keep the series from continuing in Inafune's absence.
So what's Capcom to do about all of this now? Well, as both Microsoft and Nintendo have shown, the gaming community has been quite receptive to 180 degree turns of late. It would be huge shock, but if Capcom were to release Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version now, with the 3DS's much expanded install base, it would be sure to gain both goodwill from the fans, and (perhaps more importantly) plenty of cash. They could even do it with the caveat that there was still no possible way that Mega Man Legends 3 would ever be completed. The development of Mega Man Legends 3's may not ever be financially viable, but if consumers could see that Capcom still knew could see things from a fan's perspective, the financial viability of the company as a whole would improve immeasurably.
In lieu of that, even a token promotion of the Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version demake would be something, and Capcom has to do something. With the year half over, Capcom has gone through Mega Man's 25th anniversary with minimal recognition of the series. Right now, it looks like Nintendo values Mega Man more than Capcom does. They don't have much more time to capitalize on their dramatic heel-turn of 2011 with an equally dramatic birthday face-turn in 2013. If you stay a heel too long, that's the only way the public will ever perceive you.
I hope they can pull it off, for their sake, and for the sake of those who enjoy their games.
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