A little over a year ago, I got to see firsthand just how much gamers want Mega Man Legends 3, a planned 3DS-exclusive return to the Legends series that was scrapped early in development. Of course, games get cancelled all the time, and usually developers and publishers don't give much reason as to why interesting-looking ideas are shuttered.
Personally, I'm still sad we never got Faith and a .45--it was sorta-steampunk Gears of War in the Prohibition-era Dustbowl!
Of course, Capcom has been under a lot of understandable scrutiny lately, and Capcom-Unity's GregaMan has put together a pretty thorough explanation about why MML3 got the axe, even going into detail about how unusual it was for a company to announce a product so early in its development cycle and include fans in said development. The first question with a very long answer: why was Mega Man Legends 3 cancelled?
"As some have already pointed out, it's not at all uncommon for games to be canceled mid-production, even (or especially) for major publishers, for major brands. The difference in Legends 3's case is that it was announced publicly from its earliest planning stages, while most games that meet this fate are nixed long before ever being revealed outside office walls. This of course was the whole point--an experiment in transparency for what was clearly a passion project in need of an 'angle'--and frankly a pretty odd one, when you think about it.
"Remember that Legends 3 was essentially a 10-year-late sequel to a sequel to a spin-off, that had middling success even back when it was one of the only games of its kind--before 3D Action-Adventure was an established genre, if you can even remember that far back. And consider its place within the greater Mega Man brand. If you thought DmC was a deviation from the Devil May Cry brand, remember that MML (MmL?) changed virtually everything you could possibly change about Mega Man. Even I remember scoffing at the sight of it until I got my hands on it and realized it stood on its own merits.
When it first came out, the amount of people saying MML wasn't a "real" Mega Man game was on par with the amount of people complaing about DmC
"Then consider that the game was destined for a platform that didn't even exist yet in the wild. All that isn't to say MML3 was a 'bad' project--it was just weird. But MML has always been a passion project, not a cash cow. Hence the Devroom angle.
"I guess you could say, then, that the cancellation of the project wasn't actually anything out of the ordinary. What was out of the ordinary is that everbody knew about it. The Devroom and the MML3 project's utter transparency were nigh-unprecedented experiments with high risks. They were risks that, sadly, delivered the full brunt of their severity. Look at us. Two years later and we're still here talking about it. I want to know, guys, and please take this question in earnest: Knowing how the project turned out, would you rather have not known about its existence to begin with?"
GregaMan continued, saying that it very clearly was not the fans' fault that the game was cancelled. It was a corporate decision, and this whole debacle shows part of why companies aren't very transparent about their products until it's pretty much too late to pull the plug. You can read GregaMan's full post here.
With the video game market the way it is now, it's hard for unique, personal projects to really make an impression on the world stage. I absolutely love Platinum, and WayForward, and Klei, and Supergiant, but no matter how good their games are, their numbers just don't match up to what the bean counters want. Video games as a business are a horrible balancing act, and sometimes projects we really, really want to play get cut.
What do you think? Did Capcom just show the game off too early, and shot itself in the foot trying something new?