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.