Fans around the world had been waiting more than a decade for Capcom to get the next installment of the Mega Man Legends franchise in the works, and after a strong start on development of Mega Man Legends 3 for the Nintendo 3DS, fans were positive that the sequel would land in stores before too long. However, when development seemed to slow recently and new updates were few and far between, the fans began to worry that the project was in trouble. Its removal from the front page of the Capcom website was another worried nail in a troubling coffin. The fans mobilized yesterday morning though, sparking a letter-writing campaign to show support for the project. Before a single letter could hit the mail, however, Capcom dropped the Crash Bomb on the enthusiastic community:
From the outset the MML3 Project was intended to give gamers across the world insight and input into the development process. Part of this process includes an assessment of whether the title will go into full production, and is based on a number of criteria with input from different sectors of the company. Unfortunately it was not felt that the Mega Man Legends 3 Project met the required criteria, and it is with regret that we must announce that the Mega Man Legends 3 Project has been cancelled.
The writing has been on the wall for this project ever since Mega Man's creator, Keiji Inafune, left Capcom last year. Capcom emphasizes that Inafune's departure has nothing to do with the cancellation, but I've always thought that Inafune kickstarted this long-awaited title before leaving as one last gift to the fans (along with the previously cancelled Mega Man Universe), and without his guidance, it was inevitable that the development process would collapse.
Personally, I'm surprised that Legends 3 made it this far. The franchise never reached the heights of its predecessors, and the last game in the series was released two console generations ago in 2000. The 3DS seems like a strange place to house the sequel, particularly as the publisher love affair with the system starts to wear off. Moreover, much of the prospective Legends 3 audience was too young to play the previous games when they were new. Those games are hard to find today in the used market for reasonable prices and Capcom is unable to re-release the previous two Legends titles on any of the modern download services thanks to licensing restrictions (and the company was unwilling to spend the money on localizing the PlayStation Portable re-release from Japan that was released a few years ago), so it's unlikely that anyone unfamiliar with Legends will jump in now without catching up on things.
It seems to me that the proper way to bring Legends back would be to re-release the previous games in the series on the Sony PlayStation Network, then bring the sequel to the PlayStation 3 or (if Capcom really wants to go the handheld route) the Vita. While Nintendo's system may contain the target demographic, I doubt that those players are familiar enough with the property in large enough numbers to justify releasing the game on the 3DS (which may partially explain why Capcom canned the project). Farewell, Mega Man Legends 3. Maybe we can try again in another decade.
(images via The Mega Man Network)