a post typed with clenched fists

So Capcom basically did the worst thing they could have done.

I suppose, in retrospect, Mega Man Legends 3 was a pipe dream. There’s not much room in this industry anymore for games that are colorful, creative, and fun. But Capcom’s sudden recollection last year that the series existed gave me ever so slightly a glimmer of hope. Granted, series creator Keiji Inafune’s sudden departure from the company (“sudden” might not be the right word, based on comments he’s made since) put a bit of a damper on things, but given the continuation of the community-focused Devroom project there was reason to think that the game might see the light of day. We even got screenshots, and a trailer, and promise of a paid demo to be released in June with the launch of the 3DS eShop. June, of course, turned into July with no sight of what Capcom decided to call the Prototype Version to be found. Still, though, it hadn’t been officially cancelled! As far as we knew, they were just trying to smooth out some rough spots.

Then, E3 came and went without a peep from the game. Mega Man Legends 3 disappeared from Capcom of Japan’s home page shortly thereafter. Disheartening, but not concrete proof the game that so many of us had waited ten years for was done and dusted. After all, it had loyal fan support, a 3DS market starving for new games to play, and come on – it wasn’t like Capcom is made up of hideous trolls bent on maximizing profits on the backs of tired zombie game retreads and the surgical removal of joy and happiness from the video game industry, right?  That would be silly.

And it would be true.

I’m not going to pretend I am anywhere near an unbiased observer in this case. I love the Mega Man Legends series. I can’t even begin to try to put myself in Capcom’s position because as far as I am concerned they do not have one. Mega Man Legends 1 & 2 (and their delightful spinoff, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne) are among the best games of their era, and probably pound-for-pound the best Mega Man series. To list off the series’ virtues would take all day, but luckily the always erstwhile and erudite Jeremy Parish wrote a fantastic essay on why the series is worth paying attention to and tracking down. I devoured all three games in the series and was left crestfallen when a resolution to Mega Man Legends 2’s cliffhanger ending appeared doubtful if not impossible. It ends with Mega Man stuck on the moon, and for ten years, I waited to find out if he’d ever find his way back home. Now, as I am older, wiser, and infinitely more cynical, I realize that he’s basically gonna be stuck up there forever now.

I rant a lot about how so many gamers, particularly those online, are jerks with overdriven senses of entitlement. I stand by those assessments, but I realize how they might explode my ground here. That said, I don’t particularly care. Because Capcom waited a decade to dredge this series up and dangled it in front of expectant, loyal faces as a possibility only to pull the rug out so they can focus on cramming Frank West into yet another game, I will never buy another Capcom product, nor will I mention them or any of their products on any Geekspeak Network podcast or production after this story is over. No games, no toys, no T-shirts, no more issues of the actually pretty delightful Mega Man comic Archie is putting out. No news and no reviews on any of Capcom’s games past or present. It’s stupid and selfish and petty to say it, but I feel personally betrayed by this decision. I played ball. I bought Mega Man 9 and 10, I bought Street Fighter 4 four times, I even defended the “one save” thing on the (actually pretty good) Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. No more.

Capcom can dress it up however they want. They can blame it on the 3DS market not selling 150 million units less than four months after its release. They can blame it on whatever “criteria” they want to cite. The fact is they mortgaged the trust of the most loyal and devoted fans they had for reasons that do not make sense. And now that it appears there are no Mega Man games are in development, the series as a whole – not just Legends – may well be dead. One of the most acclaimed and important series of all time, left to die on the altar of commerce.

As fans and as the people who keep the lights on at Capcom, we deserve better.

Edit: Steve Watts, ever the sober yin to my raging yang, wrote an equally disheartened but more charitable post on this; he even suggested a way to make it better that makes sense but will never happen.

Edit: Mr. Watts also pointed out to me in an IM how odd it was that the Prototype (paid demo) was intended to be Capcom’s way of testing the waters to see if sufficient interest existed to actually release Mega Man Legends 3; that they canceled the project without ever releasing the Prototype (the very thing that was supposed to tell them whether it should be released) seems like a terrible way of doing business in his estimation and I agree.

Edit (7/19/11): In the harsh light of day, more information is starting to drip out. For example, this image which claims to be a real unaltered screenshot of what appears to be a Capcom employee claiming the game was destined to be canceled pretty much right after it was announced last year. Am I saying I believe that Capcom would go through all the trouble of announcing the game at a 2010 Comic-Con press conference knowing they would axe it at a predetermined date nine months later? At this point, honestly, yes. But we don’t have any proof that this is real so let’s just assume it’s some strong Photoshop work.

Edit (7/19/11): The Devroom crew put out a much more heartfelt and frankly more satisfying statement on the cancellation today. It seems like as good a time as any to mention that my ire is not with the dedicated people in the trenches trying to get games made, but rather the bean-counting executives who scuttle their hard work due to their own timidity and foolishness. Everyone working on MML3 suffered as much from this cancellation as the fans did, probably moreso.

Edit (7/19/11): The plot thickens, thanks to a link sent to me on Twitter from user JakeOJack to a Reddit thread where someone who implies they have knowledge of the game mentions the following:

Legends 3 was cancelled because it wasn’t a good game, and they had no idea how to make it good. Everything about it was just so bland. Then when you factor in the low sell numbers of the 3DS, even if every person who owned a 3DS bought Legends 3 the game still wasn’t going to make a profit. So instead of releasing a game that wasn’t good and wasn’t going to profit, it was cancelled. […] In general a lot of devs are starting to back away from the 3DS, Capcom included. We have a game that isn’t turning out to be very interesting on a platform that isn’t selling well at all – just too many negatives.

Interesting if true, and if true it might cause me to re-evaluate my stance a bit. But there are a few red flags here. First, why not release the Prototype, which was likely far enough along to be released, and at least make some money back on the deal? Second, if it was an issue of quality, why not say that explicitly in the press release announcing the cancellation of the game? It would have made this a much easier pill to swallow and salvaged Capcom’s reputation among their audience. At best, they mentioned that the game did not meet certain “criteria”, which means next to nothing. Third, and this is purely subjective, since when does Capcom care if their games are bland or not very good? I personally would be much more willing to accept the cancellation if they had said the game did not live up to the high standards of the series. As it is, we’re left with nothing more than an anonymous post on Reddit and an upcoming presentation at Comic-Con. I’ll be  keeping an eye on this.

Edit (7/20/11): News is probably going to be slow in coming until later this week. Until then, I wanted to draw your attention to this really nice summation of the situation by LBD_Nytetrayn over at the Mega Man Network. Granted, I’m probably a bit biased since I’ve known him for a while and was at one point affiliated with that website but he makes some excellent points and it’s worth your time to check it out. There’s no better Mega Man fansite on the Web, which makes this pretty much the definitive take.

Edit (7/20/11): Keiji Inafune has expressed his disappointment with and apologies for the cancellation (despite the fact that it wasn’t his fault). Also, Capcom might have called my bluff on this whole boycott thing. Interesting that there’s still no Mega Man.

Edit (7/20/11): Twitter user BotMarley retweeted a couple interesting tweets from Capcom Europe, particularly this one and this one. So now the blame is shifted to the fans, huh? It’s getting harder and harder to triangulate exactly what is going on here, which is why a specific, clear reason from Capcom would be welcomed. It won’t happen, but if it did it would go a long way towards resolving the situation.

Edit (7/21/11): I’ll probably hold off on updating this until after Capcom’s Comic-Con presentation because it’s getting a bit exhausting. But I wanted to share a few interesting things – first, the 100,000 Strong For Bringing Back Mega Man Legends 3 Facebook group, which absolutely requires your Like. Also check them out on the Twitter. Steven Chase ranted about Capcom and compared the situation to the recent controversy over Chase bank and Target’s support of Michelle Bachmann.  Mega Man Legends (Dash) 3 was the number one trending topic in Japan. Protodude tweeted about Mega Man Legends 3 (and Marvel vs Capcom fans) derailing Capcom’s Comic-Con livestream so badly Capcom themselves left.  And finally, a troubling link as one of the Community Devs (the aformentioned Protodude) warns that some shadowy corners of the Internet might be planning a DoS attack against Capcom. Pestering Capcom on their livestreams and forums is one thing, hacking their servers and potentially exposing customer data is entirely different and I find it pretty disgusting. I hope this does not come to pass.

In fact, I feel it’s pretty important to remind any concerned parties reading this: don’t be a dick. I’m as guilty as anyone of being a bit dramatic over the cancellation, and I’ve certainly tweeted some stuff in the heat of the moment that I am not proud of. That said, people seeking violence against Capcom or calling for other illegal activity are crossing a line. I’m actually a bit concerned for Comic-Con at this rate.

Edit (7/21/11): This is getting a bit sad – the Twitter account of what appears to be a Capcom employee mentions concern over threats from fans, even saying they’re afraid to work the Comic-Con booth. Meanwhile, Capcom Europe apologized for their tweets, saying that they were taken out of context due to Twitter’s 140 character limit. For my part, I’m getting even more weary of this situation than I am before. Capcom’s PR bungling is tiresome, but it has also shown a dark and ugly side of the fandom I don’t want to be associated with. I probably won’t update this post anymore. You can get all the Mega Man Legends news you want at The Mega Man Network. Maybe if something miraculous or interesting happens, I’ll come back but frankly I’ve talked about it enough over the last few days.

So my final thought is this: I’m very sad this game is cancelled. Capcom will not be getting any of my money for quite some time if ever, and I stand by that. But frankly, I expected better from my fellow fans. All the good done by the Facebook campaigns and the letter-writing campaigns is unfortunately overshadowed by the reprehensible and unlawful behavior of what I hope is a tiny fraction of the fanbase. When Capcom employees who had nothing to do with the decision are scared to even go to work, there is a real problem. I’d rather have no game than to see people act this way.


13 Responses to “a post typed with clenched fists”

  1. July 19, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Your second edit is what gets me the most about this. Had they released that, and it didn’t take? Fine. At least we would have had our chance, and maybe even received closure on the moon thing.

    Instead, they lied to us, plain and simple.

    I’ll still buy the comic and stuff, and I encourage others to as well, not to support Capcom, but to support Mega Man. There is now a distinct difference, and if we ever want to see the Blue Bomber again, we need to make it loud and clear.

  2. 2 Bryan Carr
    July 19, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Your point on supporting the character/franchise is well taken but I have to wonder if it would achieve the desired end. Were I a Capcom exec and I saw that Mega Man merchandise was still selling well, I wouldn’t take it as a sign to reverse the MML3 cancellation, I’d take it as a sign that fans will buy it no matter what decision I make.

    My secret hope is that Inafune somehow manages to fnagle the rights away from Capcom but that will never happen.

  3. July 19, 2011 at 6:34 am

    Less about reversing the decision, and more about not just letting the franchise as a whole sit and stagnate; essentially “die” for all intents and purposes until someone digs it back up in 20 years.

    …and I’d love for Inafune to secure the rights.

  4. 4 Bryan Carr
    July 19, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Unfortunately, I think Capcom is at the point where they don’t have much interest in anything that doesn’t involve zombies or iterate on previously existing fighting games. There’s nary a Mega Man game in development now, as far as we know, and I don’t know how much ancillary products and media will help that (as much as I want one of those Kotobukiya Mega Man toys).

    A lot of people have defended this by chalking it up as a business decision by Capcom, who has to protect its bottom line. Fine, but if we’re looking at this as an economic issue than I as a consumer have the right to refuse to purchase any of their products, correct? I am not obligated to give them my money.

  5. July 19, 2011 at 7:41 am

    I do agree with that. That’s why I would only be purchasing Mega Man products.

    As for games, at least there’s Dragon’s Dogma or whatever, I guess.

    Regarding a business decision, maybe, but I don’t see the harm in releasing the Prototype Version to recoup losses.

  6. July 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I only saw the childish shouting in the live stream chat; I hadn’t even heard about all this other stupid drama.

    I was as upset as anyone, but acting like two-year-olds doesn’t solve anything. I’d hoped this fanbase had matured over those ten years, but I guess groups like that are bound to exist anyway. Let’s just hope they aren’t in the majority.

  7. 8 Thorkell
    July 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    The image stating that it was a scam to sell the 3DS has been proven fake.
    Yes it is unaltered.
    The post numbers don’t add up when considering the date in the image.
    You can save pages and edit them, thus creating an unaltered image.

  8. August 5, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Hi there everyone, its my first pay a quick visit at this web site, and article is in fact fruitful in favor
    of me, keep up posting these content.

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