Hey, game companies! Is your Facebook page feeling weighty? Did you ever think you just had too many fans? Well, Capcom's here to show you how to shed some of those unsightly customers. You don't need those silly fan testimonials, anyway. Just be like Microsoft and talk about how awesome you are.
Capcom's Mega PR Blunder of Legend
Mega Man is one of Capcom's most beloved franchises, but it has suffered over the past few years. Thus, many longtime series fans were happy to see the resurrection of an old RPG spinoff series, Mega Man Legends. Mega Man Legends 3 for the 3DS was announced as a particularly interesting experiment. Development would be done with heavy input from members of the community, who were invited to join discussions on Capcom's site and vote on various design proposals. Some of the things that fans were invited to do over the last year included voting on a main character's design, entering a contest to design a boss robot, and helping to choose Mega Man's costume design.
Unfortunately, Capcom also showed signs of being reluctant to take a chance on the project from the beginning. Fans were particularly concerned about the announcement that a "prototype" (read: beta/demo) version of the game would be put on sale on the 3DS e-shop with the implication that the game's release would depend on how well said prototype sold. After all, who doesn't enjoy paying for a demo? The other shoe dropped on Monday, when Capcom announced that Mega Man Legends 3 had been officially canceled.
In response to the negative fan reaction surrounding the cancellation, Capcom and its employees have made various statements blaming different factors. The sluggish sales of the Nintendo 3DS were mentioned, and Capcom Europe's Twitter even blamed fans for not participating enough in the collaborative development process. Although the nameless Tweeter has since backpedaled and insisted that the fans weren't blamed, it's hard to back down on a statement like, "It's a shame the fans didn't want to get more involved. If we saw there was an audience for MML3 people might change minds."
Now, games are canceled early into development all the time, and there may have been perfectly legitimate issues that caused Legends 3 to be canceled. However, if a company is going to announce a collaborative development project with fans, it ought to be extremely certain that it actually wants to release said game. Also, anybody with clearance to use a company's Twitter account should know darn well that it's a terrible PR move to blame the very fans who had been interested in a game for that game's cancellation.
So there you go. How to seriously tick off your fans, courtesy of Capcom.
Microsoft Claims First-Party Superiority
Microsoft is no stranger to over-the-top statements of self-praise, but this particular one might raise some eyebrows. In a recent interview, Microsoft CFO Dennis Durkin stated that he believed that Microsoft's first-party studio system was superior to Sony's and Nintendo's. Now, Microsoft has Halo, of course, and Kinect Sports did well, but can Microsoft really claim to have beaten the massive popularity of Nintendo's properties or the large amount of high-quality output being provided by Sony's first-party studios?
Durkin went on to explain that the sales figures for Microsoft's first party properties were encouraging, and that he thought that these games did a good job showing third-party developers what the Xbox and Kinect can do. There's certainly a place for confidence, but I think Xbox fans might prefer for Microsoft to admit that it could use more meat on its first-party bones. Industry analysts and fans alike noted Microsoft's relatively weak first-party showing at E3 this year, and pointed out that the next Xbox console isn't going to sell on Halo, Fable, and Kinect games alone.
We'll All Be Feeling Blue Next Gen
Speaking of Microsoft...
Well, that's something that AMD has been doing a lot this week. The chipset company is rumored to be creating the graphics technology for the next-generation Xbox. AMD has been helping these rumors along by saying that Microsoft's next console will be able to create graphics on the level of the effects seen in James Cameron's Avatar.
Of course, the problem with producing graphics on the level of a James Cameron movie is that it requires a James Cameron-sized budget. Plus, the more money a company pours into graphics technology, the less it has for other aspects of game development. Personally, while I'm certainly a fan of shiny graphics, I'd like to see companies spend more time focusing on quality visual design (also a feature of Avatar,) smoother frame rates, and pushing the artificial intelligence envelope as much as they push the graphics envelope. What about you? Do you think that pushing for Avatar-level graphics is a good goal for the next generation of console game development?
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*