EA. Activision. Capcom.
Rarified air, these three. All three could be considered the gold standard for third-party gaming companies. All three have been bringing us digital entertainment for years. Now, it can be said that all three have, at one time or another, pissed off the community that they helped build to the point of riots.
Of course, people hated EA and now hate Activision for their business practices, relying on sequels to generate revenue instead of offering fresh new IPs and advancing the medium. While their practices stunk, it was good business for them, as profits soared.
Capcom, however, has earned the rage of their fans for a reason far worse than shoddy business practices. They’ve gone and done the one thing that no company, gaming or otherwise, should EVER do: They’ve ripped the hearts out of their loyal fanbase.
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have flown the blue-and-yellow Capcom flag for as long as I’ve been gaming. They’re responsible for many of my favorite gaming experiences, and I’m not afraid to admit. I used to defend Capcom in everything they did, even if I knew what they were doing was total idiocy. These days, though, it’s becoming harder and harder to defend the company I hold so dear to my heart.
I did not curse your name when Mega Man Universe bit the dust. The game was getting so-so preview buzz, and it looked like it had a long road ahead of it before it could be launched. I did not scream and pout when I found out that Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2 would not be coming state-side, as Ace Attorney can be considered a “niche” franchise and sales would have probably been subpar.
The cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3, however, is indefensible. Rage consumes me, but I know not how to put it into words.
Capcom, you created a special section of the Internet for fans to join and talk about the project with the actual developers. You led contests where the winners would actually have their entries included in the game. You introduced us to new characters like Aero and Barrett, and even announced plans for a demo version, Prototype, where we could play and critique the game for our special Internet corner. You built the hype for an INSANELY anticipated game expertly, and no one would ever argue that.
Now it’s gone. All of it. Poof.
You’ve pulled the plug on the project. You cite “lack of demand” and “not meeting expectations for greenlighting” as your reasons, but you refuse to explain yourself. The loyal fans who spent days in the Devroom communicating with the team and giving their feedback have been stepped on, crushed under the boot of executive opinion. A community that had been a major part of the game’s direction and decisions have had no say in the most important decision of all.
Capcom, this hurts. I know I’m supposed to be an objective game journalist, and I’m not supposed to choose favorites, but I do (as does everyone else, but that’s a column for a different day). Mega Man Legends is a favorite. Top 10 Personal Games Of All Time for sure, maybe even #1 on the original PlayStation. Mega Man Legends 2 was also enjoyable, but it ended on a major cliffhanger. That cliffhanger made fans clamor for more, and for twelve years they were ignored.
Finally, the news came: a third Legends game! Our voices have been heard! God be praised! Inafune himself blessed the project, and Mega Man fans around the world cheered for the return of their favorite Blue Bomber.
Then Inafune left, saying things like he hated his job and that settling at Capcom would mean “death to the creator” in him. We thought his works would be carried out honorably, as a final thank you to a man who built Capcom into what it is today. However, this was not to be, as both Mega Man titles have been, to put it frankly, shitcanned.
Let me tell you who I don’t want to be right now, a group of people that I don’t envy in the LEAST: The members of the Capcom show floor crew. Guys, did you forget San Diego Comic-Con is this week? You know, one of the biggest public conventions in the country, if not the world? Do you not understand what you have just done to your American PR team? They’re sitting ducks! Fish in a barrel! The fans will CHEW THEM UP. I’ve heard plans for picketing, bombarding employees with questions, etc…
…and yet you will offer no explanation, no true understanding of your decision. You will expect us to just chin up and take it, like so many other corporations who revel in gut-punching their consumers for the almighty dollar.
Capcom, I trust you will make up for this, perhaps even at Comic-Con. It seems absurd to announce such a demonizing thing just before a major public event without having a back-up plan, and for your sake I sure hope you have one. I will say this, though: in all my years of being a fan, Capcom, it is harder to defend you as a company now than it has ever been before. It truly seems like you have abandoned those who have followed you since the beginning. You’re slowly but surely joining the ranks of the most reviled gaming companies. Hell, I’ve already read a forum post calling you the “Activision of Japan.” I can only hope that this decision is the genesis of a new direction for not only this title, but for the character Mega Man in general. Two games cancelled and being left out of a major crossover game does not inspire confidence in the least.
I can only defend a company’s poor decisions for so long. Eventually, even the most hardened Capcom fans, like myself, will have to surrender.
I’ll leave with just one more thing, and ironically enough it’s a saying I picked up from a trailer for an upcoming Capcom game:
Rage never dies. Capcom, you’ll do well to remember that.