I understand people’s pain at Capcom’s recent announcement that they are canning Mega Man Legends 3 for 3DS. The original PSone games were fan favourites, and by all accounts an incredibly good RPG. Legends 2 left the story unfinished and the anticipation for a conclusion has now been building for ten years. When the third chapter was announced in September of last year the patient devotees were obviously overjoyed so have it now snatched from their grasp seems, frankly, cruel.
Mega Man Legends 3’s cancelation is especially unexpected as the game was already well underway. This combined with Capcom’s almost complete lack of scrutiny of their recent Mega Man titles (the twenty-four year old character currently possess one hundred games to his name many of which are iffy), makes the deletion of this game from existence almost unfathomable to passionate gamers.
Perhaps if we take a step back from the passion of the situation Legends 3’s unfortunately fate would seem more understandable, though no more palatable. Capcom is of course primarily a business, and on a financial level Mega Man Legends 3 is unappealing. RPG’s have always been a huge sink of recourses; they are long games with a lot of content and they take a significant amount of man-hours to produce. Then of course account there is the 3DS platform it was destined to adorn, with it lower than expected install base no doubt affecting any projected sales expectations.
The final and perhaps key element of course is that fans of the game, while vocal, are limited. Indeed I suspect that many at Capcom never wanted Legends 3 to enter production, but the influential producer Inafune probably used his clout to push it through. His subsequent resignation from the company then probably gave the moneymen a chance to cut their losses before any further investment was made. Basically for a time the greatest Mega Man supporter ran the company who produced it, and thus forced it into existence for the 100,000 or so people who could be consider fans of the series (that is how many copies the second game sold). Once Inafune left Capcom pulled Legends 3’s life support, and they were happy to see it die.
It sucks, I won’t pretend it doesn’t, but fans getting bent out of shape simply have to see this for what it is, a wise business move. The money it would make simply not justify Mega Man Legends 3’s existence. While it MAY recoup the cash they invest, Capcom could easily pump out another set of three Battle Network titles in the same time for half the money while cashing on the Battle Network’s current and proven fan base. Ultimately, I am sure Capcom knows good business and if they think they think Legends 3 won’t make money they are probably right. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been a great game, or that we have to be happy about their decision.