Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting Mega Man Legends Re-Released Digitally Won't Be Easy


We've heard it time and time again: Mega Man Legends can't come to PlayStation Network. All three games in the series are prohibited to hit the PS1 Classics storefront because Capcom no longer has the licensing rights to use certain voice acting performances.

Yet in spite of the challenges, Mega Man Legends 1 & Legends 2 were among the candidates in Capcom's digital survey; a recent poll designed to gauge interest in future digital re-releases. Why even option the games if we know for certain they can't hit PSN? Well, it turns out Capcom might be able to do something after all... but there's a catch.


Capcom Unity member Metal pitched the question to Capcom: "Why is the survey asking us about a Legends 1 & 2 re:releases when it's impossible since the VA barriers are still unsolved????" Capcom USA vice president Christian Svensson arrived on the scene with some clarification:

"The VO barriers exist for a release of PS1 code (which can't be changed) on PSN. They do not exist if we were to port them to other platforms and replace the original VO (new development required, which is expensive). The question exists to gauge interest and only that."

Sony does not allow developers to alter PS1 code for PlayStation Network. If the games were to be re-released digitally, Capcom would have to peruse another digital platform, then re-record most, if not all of the dialog. This process would likely entail the hiring of an entirely new voice cast. Mind you, much of the original cast no longer work in the ADR business. Moreover, it's virtual impossible for Corey Sevier to reprise Mega Man Volnutt: he's all grown up now.

Hiring fresh voice actors is a costly affair already... but moving the games to other platforms? That's another pretty penny. We're talking about three games if you count the option of The Misadventure of Tron Bonne. Each game would have to retail for, maybe, $15+ to recoup production.

But if the results of the poll prove favorable, maybe this is something Capcom will look into. And that was the whole point of the poll: to gauge interest in future digital products. If there's a significant demand for a particular product, they'll discuss it. What they will look at is budget and cross check it with demand. That's all there is to it. For now, though, we can only wait and see.

Source: Ask Capcom

40 comments:

  1. I'd love if they used the VAs from MvC3 for Tron and the Servbots.

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  2. I wouldn't want a new cast. I'd rather have the original japanese voices if that was the case, just put subtitles on the cutscenes, should be cheaper than doing new voicework anyway.

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  3. I think you misinterpreted the statement a little bit. He's saying they can't put the PS1 versions on Playstation Network because you are not allowed to change anything on a PS1 re-release, and they do not have the licenses for those voiceovers, which they are not allowed to change.

    But if they released it on a different platform, then they could replace the voices and release it.

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  4. Megaman Legends... HD..?!

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  5. Then get some cheap, industry-new VA's and make this and MML3 their breakout gigs. Could they even cut out the voicework altogether?

    But only if MML3 is involved. The profit from reselling MML1 and 2 would probably only turn up from sales both from the Legends Loyalists and the smaller cowd that's new to the series and wants to play the prior entries.

    Not that I have any numbers to back that claim up, just speculating based off theoretical sales numbers and past VA decisions on similar games (Megaman X Collection, etc.).

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  6. Frankly, I think cutting out the voices would be a good thing.

    Especially in the second one. Eugh!

    Just get a new cast, Capcom. No super-macho surfer guys or mamby-pamby Mega Man though, please.

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  7. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night had a similar problem they lost the rights to the credits theme and couldn't release it on PSN. They did release a port of it on XBOX Live Arcade though.

    Why Sony is so insistent on PS1 games not having even the most trivial of changes is something I'll never understand.

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  8. I'm confused. Didn't Capcom say (repeatedly?) that the issues blocking MegaMan Legends from PSN release weren't audio related? Like, a really long time ago?

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  9. gut the voice acting altogether. Problem solved.

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  10. @Pitch: They've referenced VO stuff on more than one occasion so that's probably the biggest thorn in the side. If it wasn't related, Sven could've said so here.

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  11. @HyperSonicEXE

    That's exactly what I was thinking, about cutting the English VAs out and be done with it. I'm not sure what's stopping them from considering that option, or at least asking the community if they'd like that.
    The issue here is apparently someone on the English VA cast, so screw it. Release the games with Japanese audio and English subtitles. Only thing they have to do is add the subs. Much cheaper.
    By the this point, most of us have played MML1 and 2. Quite a few of us still have our original copies. MoTB is the only game some haven't played. I'm so used to the old VAs, I'd almost rather not hear new ones, but I wouldn't mind playing through the games with the Japanese VAs once just to see what it's like.

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  12. The problem is money both ways. If Capcom rereleases the games to PSN, they will have to pay to relicense the audio. If Capcom ports the games to XBL or the Nintendo eshop, even if they did just use the Japanese voices, they'll have to pay to rewrite some of the code for the different platform. If they did cut the English VAs, everyone but hardcore fans who knew about the problems with licensing would be upset and may not buy the games. Either way, Capcom doesn't think they can make up the cost.

    The first Legends game was released on the N64 as Mega Man 64. I wonder if that title suffers from the same limitations?

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  13. Could they post it with dummy VOs and then just pretend it was an error and never resolve it?

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  14. If they redo all the VA in the Legends games they should refer to MEGAMAN as ROCK in the game like in the japanese version

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  15. Cut out the voice acting? Voice acting which is some of the best around (in Legends 2 as well)? Voice acting which actually helped make Legends what it is? I wouldn't want it released on PSN at all then. No way.

    What Capcom should have done is port the double pack on the PSP, but it's a bit too late for that.

    Simply put though, voice acting should not be cut. If that means the original releases being pricey as the only way to play, so be it. No one can say it doesn't feel warm and rewarding to obtain a rare and valuable game. It makes playing it much more special. Plus, you can add it to your collection. It's a win/win.

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  16. @January 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Did you not read? Changing the game at ALL means it can't be released on PSN and if it's not released on PSN it'd have to be ported which would take actual effort on Capcom's part.

    You can't just dump a PS1 game on XBOX Live without doing SOME changes to make it work.

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  17. Maybe they'll finally release a legends game on 3ds

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  18. "Then get some cheap, industry-new VA's and make this and MML3 their breakout gigs. Could they even cut out the voicework altogether?"

    I smell a contest in the making.

    Legends never dies! Voice your support for Legends! Literally!

    Let's do a re-dub for digital distribution!

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  19. A new VA cast would be very disappointing, but if there is really no other way around this, then it's probably what Capcom would have to do. On the plus side, a new VA actor for Volnutt in Legends 2 probably would be a positive, but the rest of the voices were like gold to me, even if they were voice acting from the horrid 90's. But it's also a given that, if Legends 3 were to be finalized, they would have to hire an all new voice cast for that as well.

    It's unfortunate that this cannot come onto the PSN, but if there are options for porting or even remaking the games for a different platform, then I would be up for that, even if I don't have said platform.

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  20. Shoutouts to reading comprehension.
    But at least CAPCOM (USA/Japan) isn't making promises it can't keep (with regards to a possible-not-likely-at-all rerelease/"fixed" port).

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  21. Why are the voice acting licenses so damn problematic? Does it really cost THAT much to take care of? So many complications for just ONE game...

    I guess it's nice they're at least considering alternatives.

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  22. Would be nice to keep the old cast. I found the voice acting in Megaman 64 [only version I own] to be well aged for the time. I pop in games made around or even a few years after and dear god the dub work is just nasty. Still updating the voice work, maybe add an option to keep the Japanese cast I'd love that. Also I hope it isn't only on the PSN I don't own any Sony system. Put it on the Nintendo E shop or XBLA, heck Steam! Why limit themselves to one platform? I just hope something comes from the Legends games.

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  23. I have reservations about some or all of the English VAs being replaced, but if that's what it takes to get the damn things re-released, then hey.

    What's worrying me is that Capcom would have to expend money and effort on this, two things they seemingly no longer want to do with MM.

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  24. @January 15, 2013 at 2:21 AM: The contract probably has one of the following in it. The VAs are to recieve a set amount of money or % of the sales for any rerelease of the games. In addition, it may be for an indefinite amount of time and require ALOT of money in order to break it. Some lawyers/attorneys then really thought ahead. Some bands that signed in the 90s had lawyers/attorneys that managed to somehow guarantee the band control over stuff like Digital Distribution. Which didn't really exist.

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  25. Release the N64 version on Virtual Console? That didn't have voice acting, right?

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  26. There was a point where Sven said that the issues surrounding a Legends re-release were not audio-related. I guess he meant by that that they had a work-around and Sony's policy blocked said work-around? *sighs*

    Regardless, Legends takes some extra "oomph" one way or the other to happen, which means more cost/risk to Capcom, and a higher price to us.

    Bring it on.

    But for the love of God, if you're going to the trouble of getting a new cast to begin with, try to throw DASH2 Ep1 in there this time.

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  27. @January 15, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Even if the N64 version had voice acting, it'd be less of a hurdle, Nintendo actually allows some games on their Virtual Console to be changed in order to be released. Such as that whole censoring every instance of the word "Yo-yo" in Star Tropics, obviously replacing VA would be harder but they don't seem fundamentally against it like Sony.

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  28. The 64 version did have voice acting, just less of it. But the second one never made it over.

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  29. Removing the voice acting is a stupid thing. Keep it how it is Capcom. Go the extra mile and you will have partially redeemed yourselves.

    I may have physical copies, but I'm willing to buy them again to show my support for Legends...including reviving Legends 3.

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  30. Well, normally I would say, just put the JP audio with subs. I would guess it would be cheaper to do that option than to cast a new cast; however, Capcom might only own the license to use the JPN audio only in Japan (and possible Asia.) So they would have to spend money just to get the license to publish the JPN audio as well.

    As for the games selling for $15+, I have no problem buying the games, as long as they cost less than $30 each. I myself got ML2 for $35 (new) back in the early days of PS2

    The games are already going on the second hand market for $15+ (if you're lucky that no one else bids on it) and Tron is going for at least $60+ used (again, if you're lucky)

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  31. @ShadowNeko003

    Unless they flat out released the Japanese version, they couldn't do that.

    They can't make any changes PERIOD on PSN, moving vocalizations from one version to another is a change as trivial as it is.

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  32. @samuraisnake.com: Well I guess you won't be saying Legends any time soon then if you get your way.

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  33. Isn't there a way to get the voice work through even if the people no longer work in the industry? I mean how are remakes/recoloration/etc of movies done if the voice actors or actors are long dead?

    If new voice actors are a must can't we just put out an add on voices.com and say look we need someone who sounds like *Insert video clip of mega man and other people talking* thats how voice over work is done. Trust me I know i did it tons of times for my own projects and people never fail to amaze me how well they can sound like what i ask.

    Please keep the original voices if possible capcom I know you got it in you to somehow make it work. Worse comes to worse. Make some calls and see if you can work out a deal. Don't you have lawyers for this?

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  34. @January 15, 2013 at 8:15 PM Anon: Because the movie industry can easily earn alot more profit from the movie in question. We have initial release, rereleases on big screens(whether it's regular or 3D), marathons(the avengers marathon before the Avengers movie), then home release(Blu-Ray, DVD, VHS(when it was still around), digital), director cuts, soundtracks, 'special' editions etc. It's easy to recoup lost costs for them.

    For the gaming industry, merchandise is really hard to start up, movies and shows are considered high risks, most people just go to youtube for the soundtracks, DLC, and GOTY editions. When a game fails to meet a profit... that's generally when the franchise either reinvents itself, tries for a better sequel... or goes to rest.

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  35. Nice B.S. Capcom.

    Pretty sure many are altered considering I've seen some PSN ones boast about adding new features to re-releases.

    1-point.
    Stop the freaking excuses. :I

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  36. Well, it'd be nice for a new cast... I mean it's a chance to not hear Volnutt being referred to as Mega Man but as Rock. AND not to mention consistent voicing for Volnutt in MML1 and 2. AND if this gets released on new platforms, it'll mean new exposure to Legends.

    But the only drawback to re-recording:

    TEISEL!!!!!!!

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  37. @danmakuknight Are those games listed under PS1 Classics?

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  38. @danmakuknight

    Those tend to be called "HD re-releases" and cost more to produce, and get on there in the first place basically requiring the devs to tweak the whole game to be in higher definition. See the Silent Hill games.

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  39. As much as I would like to think that it's just mere excuses, this is an unfortunate reality. The VA's contracts obviously however don't make a HD-release very likely either, in case anyone has forgotten.

    It's almost funny in a way, sad-funny that is, how the Legends series seems to always be at the end of the stick when it comes to pretty much, well everything, whether that be new releases, or even re-releases. It's almost like it's cursed.

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  40. Mega Man Legends/Rockman DASH HD? Make it happen! :D
    Maybe its success can raise interest from CoJ's Top Men to release MML3?

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