By now, we all know that Mega Man Universe, a downloadable title initiated by former Capcom executive Keiji Inafune, was given the axe earlier this year. Whether for or against it, many of those who followed the game felt that the project's cancellation could perhaps be largely attributed to one factor more than any other: the departure of Inafune himself from the company developing it. With that in mind, some have felt a certain unease for the other pet project spearheaded by Inafune before leaving the company: Mega Man Legends 3, a title Inafune had fought long and hard to get approved.
Inafune has a firm belief in what the Japanese video game industry has to do to survive, which would seem to be one catalyst for his departure from Capcom. Now the head of his own video game development studio, Comcept, he spoke with 1UP on a variety of topics in a substantial five-page feature, in which he discusses business both old and new.
And on the note of old business, what with this being The Mega Man Network and all, we have posted here a few excerpts from the article in which he addresses the direction Capcom appears to be going with his former projects, including the ill-fated Mega Man Universe.
1UP: Speaking of downloadable titles, last year you were very involved in promoting Mega Man Universe for Capcom. There was even a trailer with you on camera saying "Your world, Megafied." A short while ago Capcom canceled that project. Were you disappointed to hear that? Were you surprised when it happened?
Keiji Inafune: Yeah, I was very disappointed at that outcome for several reasons. One, they kind of started to cancel the game as soon as I left, which made it sort of like I was the only one pushing for it. And it wasn't just a game that I personally wanted to make, it was a game that, again, represents what I think the steps that are required for a Japanese company to take in order to realize the value of download content. They need to use a brand name that has value in the West -- and Mega Man is definitely one of those brands I think -- and put it into digital content so that Western gamers can purchase that and get excited about it. And if it's successful then, as I said before, they'll start to market it properly and start to work on making downloadable content in Japan that will sell like the West does.
So I felt there was a lot of potential with that title and it could have represented a very important step for the company to take in realizing the value of digital content, and now they're right back where they started a few years ago in not understanding digital content and not [being] able to keep up with the West in that area. So yes, I was very disappointed.
1UP: Is it in some way flattering that it continued without you, that it'll keep going, or is it kind of sad that it's going to go on without you?
KI: Dead Rising, Mega Man, these are all Capcom's IPs, so whether they want to continue to make sequels or outright stop making those brands, those franchises, that's up to Capcom and I really don't have a big say in it, but I can say this: for a game that I developed or had a clear concept of, to watch that game, to watch that concept be twisted and changed to the point that it no longer feels what that original game was supposed to symbolize, that's kind of sad because that's not the vision, that's not what I had in mind for that series. To have it be changed so drastically or radically, if that ever does happen to one of the franchises I've created that would be very disappointing.
The rest of the interview can be seen here, and is a fascinating read-- particularly if you are interested in the inner-workings of the video game industry, including Japan's role in it.
Thanks to PStart for the tip! And to get the full story on the life and death of Mega Man Universe, be sure to check out our retrospective.