By Jared Newman | Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 10:53 am
Capcom enraged some of its biggest fans on Monday when it announced the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 for Nintendo 3DS.
This wasn’t just an ordinary cancellation. After revealing Mega Man Legends 3 last September, Capcom started soliciting feedback from its community on how to proceed with the game. An online forum allowed fans to communicate with developers as they worked on a prototype, which would eventually become a downloadable prologue to the main game.
Capcom now says that it won’t be releasing the prototype, and will stop updating the game’s development forum.
The announcement stung loyal gamers who had taken a personal interest in Mega Man Legends 3’s development. Essentially, Capcom admitted that the whole point of this back-and-forth with fans was to gauge interest in the finished product. However excited the community seemed, Capcom ultimately felt its resources were better spent elsewhere.
I get that people are upset about the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3–bleeped expletives abound on Capcom’s community blog– but I don’t fault Capcom for the process. In recent years, the publisher has made big efforts to nurture its fans online, with fighting game tournaments, an active blog and some forward-thinking approaches to its intellectual property (notably not suing but endorsing rapper Raheem “Random” Jarbo when he created an album based Mega Man samples). None of this stuff is altruistic, but it’s all admirable.
The development of Mega Man Legends 3 was an extension of Capcom’s community efforts. This time, those efforts backfired because full-scale development was never guaranteed. That may be a drag for the fans who provided input on the game, but people need to remember that video games are a business. Experiments fail and cancellations happen. Capcom, at least, deserves credit for trying a novel, open approach in an industry that’s notorious for keeping secrets.