Thursday, May 26, 2011

Inafune Comments On Mega Man Universe Cancellation

In an interview with 1Up, Keiji Inafune sat down to discuss his recent ventures in the gaming industry and his experience at Capcom during his last few years with the company. Whilst reminiscing, the subject of Mega Man Universe popped up, a title that would eventually face canceled some sixth months after its announcement. According to Inafune, it was during his leave of absence that the prospect of cancellation reared its head:

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?

KI: 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.

Universe, it seems, is synonymous with Inafune's philosophy in terms of how eastern based developers should handle downloadable products in the West and elsewhere. Universe was designed, from the ground up, to appeal to to the West -- not just in its form of availability but in its art style and music. Heck, the game was called MEGA MAN Universe globally, even in Japan. It sounds as if Universe was attempting to bridge the gape between two region's views on digital content. With Inafune out of the picture, however, the concept went nowhere.

Universe aside, Inafune also spent a good portion of the interview discussing his feeling towards Capcom continuing his work without him. Franchises like Mega Man and Dead Rising continue to have games produced without him, and Inafune, while flattered in a sense, expressed a general concern.

Full details on that subject, and many more topics of interest, check out the interview in full at 1Up.


  1. Looks like everyone was right with their theories. I'm not surprised in the slightest though.

    I didn't like MMU as much as the next guy, but I do feel real bad for Inafune now. They better keep up with Legends 3 or else. It's the only thing left for Inafune to hope for.

  2. I am not a cliche. I hate westernized games. I want global gameworld consistency, and constant gameplay innovation.

    I want my Mega Man like my Rockman: THE SAME. What is up with Japanese game developers and their attempts to differentiate franchises when they release them overseas? It's pointless, and just confuses the hell out of me.

    Although if it all depends on the mayority of western gamers, they're better off making "realistic" war games.

  3. I think he should get megaman copyright with him and do his own way. Wait a minute, I know he was the designer of Megaman bu what about a copyright? Capcom ? If so, he has a right to get Megman with him, no.

  4. So, Inafune's disappointed with Mega Man Universe's cancellation? What a shame. As for me, it's the exact opposite. Now that they've left that piece of crap on the cutting room floor, I actually have hope for the Classic series now.

  5. As soon as this game was announced, I had a feeling that it was destined to be a huge paid DLC-fest.

    As a fan, I do not understand the concept of why consumers would *want* paid DLC. The content that is usually reserved for paid DLC is typically content that - in the last console generation - would have been included in the game in the first place. (Skins, unlockable levels, etc.) A lot of the time it almost seems like the developers create a full-featured game, take out all of the unlockables that would typically be gained through normal gameplay, and artificially drive the price of the game up by turning these unlockables into paid DLC.

    With this in mind, I guess MMU's cancellation now affects me less because I probably wouldn't have bought it anyway.

  6. I find it rather ironic that Universe is Japan's attempt at appealing to the West, whereas Western fans consider the authentic Japanese art style something of a holy grail (regardless of whether or not it actually matches the game art depictions, I might add; just look at Ariga).

    I'm always, always disappointed to see a Mega Man game disappear in a puff of smoke. But to be perfectly frank I saw Universe as going down the same road as Powered Up: a massively ambitious title that, between an alienating art style and poor physics, largely fails to make the big splash that it's trying to.

    Maybe I'm wrong, though. The game was, after all, unfinished, and there certainly should have been time to polish up the controls between NYCC and release. Now we'll never know, and yeah, that stinks.

  7. Capcom will never let go of the Megaman license.

  8. @MusashiAA: What confuses me is your comment, haha.

  9. Inafune sounds like a reverse weeaboo.

  10. At the end of the article, he also explains his cameo in Hyperdimension Neptunia MKII, something I inititally criticized him for I guess I'm indifferent towards it now.

  11. when are they going to realise that this game is a FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT

  12. @Musashi A guy named Musashi hating westernised games.

    Are you sure you aren't a cliche?

  13. Those of you dismissing MMU as a "piece of crap" sound just like the Japanese developers Inafune is criticizing. Resistant to change, too prideful to accept other, novel ways of thinking. I, for one, completely agree with Inafune. He is not saying that Japanese developers need to pander to Western fans by exclusively producing "realistic war games." He is saying developers need to let go of their cultural pride and be more open to ideas that will appeal to a worldwide audience. Nintendo is a great example of how to do it right. Look at their franchises: Mario, Zelda, Metroid, all of which thrive on the western market. With MMU gone, it looks like it's back to square one with Megaman. You want innovation? You're not going to see it with this franchise. While some of you may be happy with that, I am deeply saddened by this.

  14. Wow there's so much sour grapes here I could start a vineyard!

  15. @Rockman

    So by that reasoning, Dr. Jerk is a jerk. And Anonymous is a really clever spambot. And you're an english-speaking japanese videogame character!

    My username is rather old, and I decided to stick to it years ago just because that's how most of my internet friends recognize me. It doesn't really mean I'm into japanese things. I was speaking as a western gamer who hates when japanese game developers try to westernize franchises in an attempt to making them more appealing to us. That got old like, 10 years ago.

    Good call, none the less XD.

  16. @Gorout:

    My reasons for disliking Mega Man Universe have nothing to do with "cultural pride" or "resistance to change". I dislike the game for being an absolute slap in the face to the fandom.

    When Mega Man Universe was first announced last year, back in September, the staff promised everyone that it was going to be something revolutionary, or at least new and original. They said that it was going to satisfy all sides of the Mega Man fandom, but as it turns out, it was nothing more than another Mega Man 2 rehash.

    Ignoring the fact that the game is overrated beyond belief, they've already milked that game several times already. It's gotten re-released in compilations, the Virtual Console, mobile phone ports, and of course, Mega Man 9.

    Also, I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I don't know why people keep comparing Universe to Powered Up, when the two games have next to nothing in common, other than a level editor.

    Mega Man: Powered Up had a good art style, an expanded storyline, several unique playable characters, along with lots of extras and replay value. Universe, on the other hand, didn't have even half of these things. Aside from having a terrible art style, the game had piss-poor level designs, all of the characters were nothing more than mere alternate skins, and whatever else I missed. I honestly cannot think of a single redeeming quality that game had to offer.

    I'm glad they came to their senses by pulling the plug on the piece of crap. It was a total kick in the nuts to anybody who was looking for something new and original (like they promised) and/or an actual Powered Up sequel. So, in short, the game failed on both accounts.

  17. *looks at his signed Mega Man Universe poster*
    If only it had been completed. =(

    I feel Inafune is very right about Capcom though. They are making some poor choices and eventually the money machines (rehashes of SFIV, MvC3, etc) will start to slip up. Capcom does need to evolve if they want to keep up with the competition.

  18. That's... kind of ironic. That a company from a country as advanced as Japan fails to understand the concept of "downloadable content". I mean, Konami seemed to get it right from the word "go". O_o Oh well...

    *pours a shot for the loss of a potentially awesome title*

    Also... @Krazy Monkey
    You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. :(

  19. For the record, I DO consider myself to be a jerk.

    It is never a dull moment in the comments section on Protodude's Corner.

  20. Considering what Inafune tried to do with "Irregular Hunter X" and the "Mega Man Zero" series, I think I'll give Capcom the benefit of the doubt.

  21. @Anonymous @6:

    Oh, trust me. I realized that from the moment I saw the trailer. I almost wanted to hurl.


    I don't know where you got the idea that peoples' dislike/hated of Mega Man Universe had anything to do with pride or whatever, but that had nothing to do with it. At least in my case. I'd elaborate on it some more, but Krazy Monkey has already summed up everything I wanted to say regaring Universe.

  22. @Anonymous before Axem White: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MHX? That game was actually one of my fave X games, because it expanded on the original game's concept and story to make a game with a very good story. The only problem I think is that there is no MHX2, which would have been awesome, considering Keiji wanted to revise the X saga, to an EVEN more awesome game series.

    Do you understand what I'm getting at here? The world is changing. It's only right that evolution take its place.

    But how awesome would it have been if an MHX4 happened?

  23. I'm too sick and tired of always arguing the same points about MMU, so I'll just say that I kind of agree with Gorout and HIGHLY disagree with Krazy Monkey and Anon6.

  24. @Krazy Monkey: Your reasons for disliking the game are valid, but I'm surprised that you're talking about Universe as if it's already been released. There is a strong possibility that extra features would have been available, seeing as the game practically flaunts the whole customization aspect. I find your criticism of the "piss-poor level design" completely irrelevant, as no one knows whether or not the levels that were shown were a part of the main game. For all we know, they could have just been there for beta testing purposes.

    I think the art style was a step in the right direction, considering one of the main goals of Universe was to reach out to a wider audience. I suspect the majority of western gamers wouldn't go for the cutesy-anime-bobblehead style that Powered-Up sports. It's only logical to give the game a design that is more relevant to the potential western consumer base.

    Whether you think it's overrated or not, MM2 is by far the most popular game of the series. With Capcom being a business and all, it's only logical to promote the hell out of MM2 and milk it as much as possible. Sure, it may sour the experience for some, but the net profit would certainly outweigh the having to deal with a few disappointed fans, don't you think?

    I'm amazed that you believe the cancellation of Universe to be beneficial to the Classic series. If anything, it is a red light that will bring innovation to a halt. From a marketing standpoint, Capcom was taking a huge risk promoting something so aesthetically alien to its established customer base. They'll see Universe's failure as a sure sign to keep playing it safe, to deliver more of the same 8-bit shit since that's the only thing that sells.  

  25. I guess Universe's cancellation was the one good thing to come out of Inafune leaving :)

  26. Am I the only one here who feels bad for Inafune, and am starting to worry more about the franchise since his departure?

    Sure Universe wasn't that great, but it was still supposed to be something to chew on had it been released. Now with Inafune gone, it really is starting to seem like Capcom just doesn't want anything to do with MM anymore, and it seems to be turning out true especially after this. Inafune was pretty much the glue in this franchise. Heck, if not for him, Legends 3 wouldn't even be considered.

    But if anything, I feel bad for Inafune. And then people just go on about the shit he 'fucked up' with. Goddamn it people, nobody's perfect.

  27. @May 27, 2011 6:07 AM Anonymous:

    I'm a western consumer. I'm part of the western consumer base.

    I didn't like how this game came to be (MM2 is a meme, and is stupidly legendary in the West. Therefore, we can slap out yet another rehash of MM2 with slick graphics and 8-bit extravaganza and expect profit!)

    I didn't like how this game happened and MM:PU2 didn't. The Powered Up series is, in all ways, one of, if not THE way to go with Classic. Expanded storyline, multiple characters (each with their own pros and cons), level editor. MMU had those things (hell, even a character creation mode), but it failed to be as concrete and well made as MM:PU, in terms of story and (OH MY GOSH NOT IN MY MEGA MAN) gameplay. The game was going to be released in a few months by the time of it's cancellation, IIRC. They even told us it was going through "heavy changes", which was a glimmer of hope to me, because I thought they listened to the many people ewing the art style and bashing the game for it's wonky gameplay.

    Even after all the things I've said about MM2, I would've bought PU2 in a heartbeat, if it was produced by Inafune OR developed in the same fashion as PU1, because it would be just as fun as what MMU had to offer, but more well defined, well thought and concrete.

    I didn't like the game's art style. I despised it, even right now. It was a blatant slap in the face to us western gamers, thinking we buy shit just because they look more slick. IMHO, MMU looked like a bad texture swap of MM:PU. Powered Up was at least more generally appealing than MMU, and then again, Inafune's art style would've worked PERFECTLY. The thing they believed was gonna be the main appeal for western gamers was in fact the first turnoff for most (the second being the gameplay). "Global gameworld consistency".

    I still don't see how MM:PU2 is not in the works, and yet we can't talk about MMU without some people requesting MM:PU2. Although I am perfectly aware why some people wanted this game (believe me, I was attracted by it's features), I was repulsed by how it was thought they needed to adapt the franchise to the western market with hypothetical appeals.

    They don't need to, it's already adapted.

    Right, Mega Man?

  28. I am so happy Universe is gone!

  29. @Anonymous #8:

    "I'm amazed that you believe the cancellation of Universe to be beneficial to the Classic series. "

    You see, the thing is, I've already been pretty disappointed with the direction the Classic series has been heading in ever since Mega Man 9. While it wasn't necessarily a terrible game, I still found it to be a major letdown, for reasons I've already explained in the past and in my above post.

    Mega Man 10, on the other hand, was a major improvement. While it was still in 8-bit, I still found that game to be less of a disappointment, as it correct just about all the problems I had with 9. I thought they truly went above and beyond in that game, and thought they were going to continue listening to the rest of the fanbase.

    Then, just when things were starting to look good for the series, Mega Man Universe came along, continuing the trend that Mega Man 9 started, only far worse. I was severely disappointed, and really began to lose my faith in the Classic series. Like I said before, I was almost ready to give up on it entirely.

    Now that the game has been cancelled, I have no reason to do that anymore. My faith in the series has been restored for the most part. This is why I believe Mega Man Universe's cancellation is beneficial to the series. I don't know about anyone else, but I think there's a chance that they may actually pull through with something awesome in the future.

  30. The game was still underwork. Check this out:

    A LOT changed. Who knows what happened with MMU during the time it wasn't shown and its cancellation...

    And I kinda liked the art style. It was different from the usual and better than MMPU.

  31. Forgot to add the link:

  32. A pity the game was cancelled. By the way... western? To me the art looks more like a serious anime-ish style. Or a "universal" art style? The gameplay was the same of MM1-10 and MMPU, but improved. The game had potential, to bad we will never known how good or bad it would be. The only negative point is those darn DLCs nowadays... Seriously.

    This reminds me the movie Ratatouille. A food was so badly prepared it makes you want to puke only with the smell, but add the right ingredients and it can become delicious! Yes! YES!!! >:D

    Would you all have the same opinion if the game was called "Capcom Universe" and besides Mega Man (and Ryu, Arthur, ...) it had more characters from games like Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Captain Commando, Strider, ...? (Now that I think about it, a "Capcom Universe" would be much better!)

    @MusashiAA: I also don't like changes between contries (specially stupid ones, like the SNES game Ranma 1/2 - Street Combat), but MMU is different from Rockman in the same way of the Battle Network series. They aren't related, it's a different game, not a "Americanization" of a game that exists.

  33. @KrazyMonkey: I'm sorry, but I don't see how the cancellation of Universe would bring any form of hope to the Classic series, nay, the franchise in general.

    As I've already mentioned, it merely proved my views that Capcom doesn't want anything to do with the blue bomber anymore. That, in my humble opinion, is more frightening than what Universe was.

  34. @Dr. Jerk:

    And I don't see how cancelling only one game means that they don't want to do anything with the series anymore. For starters, they seem to be working pretty hard on Legends 3 right now. Secondly, wasn't it established that they were currently in the process of making a new game for Mega Man's twenty-fifth aniversary? I definitely remember there being a news post about it a few months ago. I'll try to find it, in case you don't know what I'm talking about.

  35. @Toon Link: That's for MML3. Not MMU.

    @Dr. Jerk: No, you're not the only one. I'm pretty concerned about the franchise too. But I'm keeping optimism in my heart, because good things happen to those who wait.

  36. @ZeroX_Syaoran:
    I know. I'm just showing one example of a game in development. A lot changed between it and the demo, and will change between it and the upcoming final version.

  37. Right, well, I forgot about the rumored anniversary game...

    But it still seems like Capcom doesn't want to do anything with the franchise, especially after what CoJ said that MM is "largely unpopular in the west"...

    And by 'proving my view', I meant it proved that Inafune seemed to be 'that glue' in the franchise.

  38. The truth behind the game's cancellation:

    And those three aren't the only ones!

  39. GOOD, Universe is no more, can we move on to ZX3, 11 or X9 development please?

  40. don't remind me of Universe, I was soooooo looking forward to this :(

  41. a lot of people didn't like how universe looked but it was a MEGA MAN GAME it was different than beating the 8 bosses and that has gotten old. who the heck knows when we are getting a new mega man game aside from legends 3 because capcom seems to really not care about that series at all. they made 9 and 10 but its the same as the nes games and nothing new.


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