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Capcom has been under heavy fire recently by the community at large for a string of bad moves that tear away at the hearts of fans. The escalating grievances culminated in the abrupt halt to the decade-long awaited Mega Man Legends 3. It wasn't so much that the community couldn't bear the bad news so much as the colossal failure in the way Capcom handled it.
The reasoning Capcom gave was that MML3 did not "meet the required criteria" to proceed. It is widely assumed that this meant that perceived excitement from the gaming community was too tepid for their tastes. To add insult to injury, Capcom Europe then sent out a tweet in response to public outcry placing blame for the cancelation squarely on the shoulders of the fans. This created an expected backlash with fans deriding them, vowing to cease financial support.
I've flogged Capcom before for their intended business practice of selling a demo of MML3. It is an absolutely terrible idea and certainly not a good measure for gauging potential interest. However, if they can't even get around to releasing a formerly greenlit demo, what do they expect? It begs the question, "How exactly does one show support for vaporware on the Internet?" Perhaps Capcom should consult Duke Nukem's haggard fan base.
There are numerous reasons why games get canceled – it's a part of the industry we as fans aren't always exposed to. It sucks for any beloved game to come so far only to get canned, and Capcom took a big risk in exposing that process to the public through the devroom. Though as cool as the devroom was, they should have expected that it was only going to attract their most devout fans. What they failed to realize was that most of their followers don't have the time to participate but are no less likely to purchase the game.
With the power and reach of Capcom, they could have easily leveraged their position with the immense power of social networking to super-heat the excitement of fans. Doing so, they would have shown investors, shareholders and internal naysayers just how big an opportunity this was for them. Hell, a fan based FB group did just that with great success, quickly reaching over tens of thousands of supporters within days of the news dropping.
So what we are left with is a Capcom that has gone from being an innovative game studio to a stodgy business interested in maximizing profit margins and exploiting only their most lucrative IPs. The fans are left with countless remakes and ports lacking any true innovation and as buyer fatigue heightens amid a staggering recession, Capcom is in position to lose many of their valuable followers. The artists who left Capcom seem to understand, almost at an intuitive level, that this is not a sustainable business practice and opted to leave instead of trying to convince their unmovable management otherwise.
I already feel that Capcom, along with many other once great studios, has lost what once made them so special. Gone is their propensity for risk-taking and as a result are descending into decay. It is so sad to see beloved franchises fall into these circumstances but instead of mourning their loss I can't help but feel that this is an opportunity for the next generation to create new legacies. I'm pretty sure that there are a number of these inspiring success stories to learn from in the indie community along with tons of future hopefuls.