News Article

Talking Point: The Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D Save File Debate

Posted by James Newton

Is a single, permanent save file ever enough?

Capcom's decision to limited Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D to a single immortal save file has drawn plenty of discussion recently. It's a big issue, and one that deserves another look.

At face value, only having one save file for life is baffling, and there's no precedent we can think of: certainly past Resident Evil games needed multiple save files and playthroughs to unlock everything, but Mercenaries is a very different affair. As a score attack game, it's less about story progression and more about tightening up your scoring ability, something that comes with practice.

While Capcom has denied the move is intended to combat second-hand sales, UK retailer HMV has blocked trade-ins on the game, though other major chains will still be taking the game in and selling it pre-owned. Traditionally it's only PC games that require Internet registration to function that are unable to be traded in, and it's extremely unusual for a handheld game to be barred from trade-in.

Of course, part of the justification for the high price of gaming is the ability to play through the same story repeatedly: does a game offering just one total playthrough have the same value? Would the issue of a single file be more acceptable if the game came in at a budget price?

Gamers have been using past purchases to fund future games for years, and the restrictions on trading in RE: Mercenaries 3D could ultimately hurt the game's new sales even more than a prevalent trade-in economy. To many, dropping £30 or $40 on a game that has a significantly depreciated resale value doesn't seem like a good way to spend money, no matter how good the game is.

The permanence of the game's save file has certainly made waves with retailers and gamers, and it doesn't look like the discussion will go away any time soon.

We want to hear what you think — has a lifetime save file put you off purchasing the game? Do you feel you're missing out on something by only having one go-around? Let us know in the comments section below, and make sure you read our Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D review to find out if the game itself is actually any good.

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User Comments (64)



Alpha2797 said:

It's true. I was going to buy the game but not anymore since I can't start the game over. Hopefully this "no new save files/no deleting" isn't in re:revelations. I got first comment. Cool!



Drake said:

It really doesn't matter to me - I'm buying the game new, and since it's almost completely highscore-based I doubt I'd ever want to wipe the data anyway. I think people are getting a bit too worked up over this.



sykotek said:

I was never into Resident Evil anyways, so it wouldn't have made a difference to my purchasing that title, but I am irked when I can't initialize saves/scores. on Tetris Party Deluxe for DS.

I don't buy used games and I don't really ever trade in the games I buy, but I think all the talk about how used game sales cut into publisher's profits is incredibly shortsighted and I wouldn't care except for my fellow gamers who buy into that.

Used games are part of video gaming's ecosystem and the loss of used games would not do the industry any favors, in fact, it would be a huge step backwards for video games.



SBCG4AP said:

I can see why people would be somewhat upset over it, since buying a used copy with all the medals, characters, etc., takes away much of the challenge of it.

But I bought it new and I'm finding it impossible to put down, so I have no foreseeable plans to trade it in (if I trade it in all, which I doubt). So in my case, I really don't care.



daznsaz said:

im buying it new in the morning i dont think ill be to bothered by the one save like it says in the article its not story progress its just high score and with the online for me its a good keeper



ThomasBW84 said:

In truth, this isn't a title that I'll buy, mainly due to the fact that Mercenaries mode was my least favourite part of Resi 4 and there are some sketchy reviews criticising this as a 'rushed' job. I'd much rather play through an adventure, that's what makes a Resident Evil experience for me.

The subject's interesting though, and in my view this is a pretty cheap tactic from Capcom. They can dress it up and PR spin it all they like, but this is ultimately a move to push gamers towards buying it new. For one thing, I actually re-play games from the start quite often (normally a couple of years after the last playthrough), not to mention the fact that more than one person plays games on my 3DS. If a big motivating factor of games like this is to chase unlockables and achievements, then surely having multiple profiles or the option to start that chase again is fair. Their statement that this is an 'arcade' experience is BS of the highest order, in my view.

As for the trade-in market, I agree with @sykotec. Gamers don't all have jobs and a lot of money all the time, so trading games or buying second hand is a good way to feed our hobby. It's still supporting the industry, because keeping games retailers in business does the same thing for publishers; without high street stores, Capcom's and other publisher's revenues would take a major hit. The second-hand trade-in gaming market isn't the threat to the industry, aggressive profit-driven moves like this one from Capcom are.



StarDust4Ever said:

I've always found it fascinating when buying used, to see how far the previous owner got on a game before they sold it. This permanent save scenario is kind of a stark contrast to those old SNES and Game Boy games with flailing battery-backed saves that are slowly losing data.

Seriously, though, that's a dumb idea. I can't remember exactly, but the original DS and GBA systems had a special mode that allowed the user to delete all data by holding down certain buttons when he/she loaded the game, a yes/no menu item would pop up to confirm deleting the save file. I don't know if that was a game function or a system function, but it was mentioned in the manuals. I seriously doubt that the flash chip cannot be erased. It would be fairly easy to use the game cart in conjunction with a future Action Replay type device designed for backing up or swapping game saves.

Another sure-fire way to delete saves on any game cart is to deliberately corrupt the data. Simply disconnect power supply or remove the game cart from the game while data is being written. When the game is powered on again, the corrupt data will be deleted and a new save file created. The 3DS has no hard-off switch, but the game card could easily be yanked out during a write operation.

Provided that deliberately corrupting the save data does not brick the game cart, you should be able to start over fresh again.



DrCruse said:

That's strange. I'm hearing on almost every other website that you can restart your game, just not unlockable content.



Spoony_Tech said:

I typically don't have time for a second play through so it wont bother me at all. Ill be picking up my copy in a few short hours and glad I decided to get it new as I wasn't going to wait for a used copy anyways. Sucks for whoever buys my copy I guess but if I can get value out of it then I will.



Paulymate said:

I was thinking of buying it on release day, but now I'm not.
I'm not actually that*bothered by the save game issue in terms of resell value, but it is annoying, and so has convinced me to wait until the price drops, which I think it inevitably will. I'll pick it up for £15 or so (which if the reviews I'm reading are right, is the price I'm happy to pay for what I understand is fairly limited content).
I would not buy a used copy, though. So I guess Capcom have stopped that from happening, but have made it much, much easier for me to wait and buy cheaper. That doesn't seem like a win for them..
Generally, I think the 'no reset save' thing a bad idea. Once I've bought it, it's my game - I should be able play it how I like and when I like...and that includes starting over.



blackknight77 said:

I'm not as concerned as much for the save file issue because of the nature of the game. If it were Revelations that would be a different story though. I'm still a little put off at the $40 price tag. If it drops below $20 then I will check this out regardless of the save file issue.



Weskerb said:

I love this quote from 1up:

"Mercenaries 3D is the slimy result of a Capcom executive meeting titled, "What can we get away with this time?" Add in the fact that the game basically has no resale value, and you're left with a worthless chunk of plastic that would probably poison you if it could. Like toxic waste, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a disposable byproduct that can't even be disposed of properly"

I can't say I disagree. lol



wanderlustwarrior said:

I was never going to get this game anyway, but it bothers me that Capcom would do this, seemingly be dishonest about reasoning, be insensitive to economic concerns of potential customers, and especially on a game that doesn't seem to have much value anyway.

I'm just hoping this is an experiment, and I hope it fails.



MF_MaxiMillion said:

I don't think I see the big fuss here. It's not like I'm gonna pass my game down to anyone. And I also don't really have the urge to delete the save file and do everything all over again.



WesCash said:

It's not as bad as people think. All unlocks, highscores, and skill progressions are permanent. It's not the type of game I'd ever want to restart, though I can see why buying a used copy wouldn't be great...



Despair1087 said:

i usually buy all my games new (unless there's a buy 2get1free sale) and i don't like to sell them because gamestop doesn't really give you that much on trade-ins and then you go back the next day and see your game on the shelf for three times what they gave you for it. i'd rather hoard all my games and put them on my shelves.

anyways... i pre-ordered and got this game at launch and the save file thing isn't as bad as you think. it's a score attack game. there is no progression or save points. you beat a stage another one is available. you can chose what ever stage you want it doesn't force you to play the new one. so in the end if you want to start over and play the levels in order (like if it was a linear game) obviously you can. no big deal. why would you want to erase the high scores? isn't that the whole point of the game, trying to surpass your previous score? erasing them seems pretty dumb to me. you tried so hard to get that score i hope it stays in the game forever.

the only downside about this is the unlockables... kinda. you unlock most of the weapons with playcoins, and most of the characters simply by playing the game. (haven't unlocked everything so i don't know about the other stuff) that stuff probably should have come unlocked from the beginning since you get them for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. (i had a buttload of playcoins so i unlocked everything i could right away)

also IF i was a person who bought it used i would actually like it. i would try to beat all the previous owners scores LIKE A BOSS. beating my own high scores is good, but beating someone else's is better.



Azooooz said:

The goal of this game is to get the highest score as possible, so that may be the possible reason why save data is permanent. A solution for this issue is to buy a new one instead of used.



Ichabod said:

Yeah, this would be a sale killer for me if I even owned a 3DS. Hopefully this nasty virus doesn't jump ship and spread to other systems.



CerealKiller062 said:

I was going to buy it at release. The save file thing didn't ever bother me, but the gameplay reviews did. It seems boring now. So I guess I'll take my money elsewhere.



Supremeist said:

I honestly don't really mind it. If I can play a portable Resident Evil with my best friend on my 3DS, I'm in for it. Yes, but lets hope It's not on Revelations.

Honestly, though. Get over it.



liammiller18 said:

I just want to point out that Super Monkey Ball 3D had an un-erasable file as well. People didn't whine and moan over that, so I don't get why people are complaining over this.

EDIT: After quickly glancing over my 3DS games, I found that BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II did this as well.

So, I deplore you, make individual topics about these two games as well, it's disgusting that people can't buy them used and expect the same experience. /maximumsarcasm

Or you could quit being so childish and accept that there has been precedent and nobody complained because it really doesn't matter.



pikku said:

I'm sorry, but can I just say that I dislike these 'talking point' things? Especially when they become featured and are always the first thing on the NL homepage. I mean, isn't this exactly the purpose of the forums? To talk about stuff? Sure lately it's been filled with silly 'games', but stuff like this could be what makes the forums awesome again.



James said:

@Kid_Pikcarus Our "Talking Point" articles are intended to get some discussion going on hot topics from everyone, including people who may not necessarily visit the forums. We just love hearing what you guys have to say and don't always get time to check the forums!



TrueWiiMaster said:

Honestly I don't think this is a big deal. This game barely has a story to begin with, and you CAN replay it, you just won't unlock anything that has already been unlocked. If this were to happen to a game with a story/real re-playability, like Pokemon or Zelda, I could understand the frustration. I've restarted Pokemon games many times. But restarting this game would be like restarting an old Tekken. All you would get to do is fight to unlock characters that were unlocked before, while you could have replayed the "story" mode for each fighter without deleting the data. The only difference is the pop-up at the end that says a new character is now playable. It's pointless. The content you get from this game by buying it new is very, very little more than the content of buying a completed used copy. Besides, one shouldn't necessarily expect a like-new copy when buying used. When I buy used, I can't really complain if I don't get a booklet or bonus disc, or if the disc is scratched. That's part of the difference between buying new and used.

I also think people are looking at this wrong. As a score-based game, a person who buys used actually gets content that a person who bought it new didn't get; real-life high scores to beat. Think back to arcade games. There was a lot of fun in beating other people's scores and putting your name where theirs used to be. This game could actually become cooler and more hardcore the more times it is traded in and re-bought.

BTW, I imagine a new copy of this game could be worth a pretty penny in a few years. Some purists who want to play from scratch might fork over a hefty wad of cash for a factory sealed game that can't be bought in stores except used, with used copies not being restartable.



pikku said:

@James, Oh, okay thanks for clearing that up. I wasn't trying to start trouble, just thinking aloud. (typing, whatever D: )

Anyway, back on topic: I think if they hadn't announced they were going to do this and just did it, there would've been a lot less of a fuss and most likely not many people would have known/cared. Many other games have gotten away with it as other people have pointed out, and this would have just been another game.



SolarJetman said:

The single game file isn't such a big problem — although more would be better.
However, the fact that it's permanent is absolutely unacceptable.

When my brother and I were kids, if a game had just one save file, one of us would play it until we eradicated it or were done with it, then the other would erase the data and play it. (Today we still do the same thing, although we live about 2 hours apart now.) Imagine if Zelda or FF3 had only one, permanent save file. My brother and I, when we were kids, would have had to purchase two cartridges for the same household!

I happen to enjoy unlockables — it's one of the few challenges contained in modern-day games — and I want to unlock them myself! And I'd never buy that Resident Evil game new, so I guess I'm never going to play it.

I honestly hope this was just a mistake by Capcom, and not a sinister plot to boost sales. If the latter is true, I'll never buy a Capcom game again (although I've purchased very few since the SNES-Genesis days).



Tare said:

Not my biggest concern at the moment.
It puzzles me more than anything. Remember this isn't some deep game where you feel good after achieving something that was hard. It's meant to be played in short burts and obviously with other people. In a game like this, it'd be pretty convient to have all of the stuff right off the bat.
This isn't some 40+ hour RPG, it's a frantic shooter. The replay value is the same, you just miss some of the begining bits.

This shouldn't be some deciding factor of whether you buy it or not. merely something to shrug your shoulders about.



jkshaz said:

Let me just state first that I do not like the idea of nor support the notion of a reportedly unalterable save file. However I'm not sure its as awe-inspiringly awful a condition as some have led me to believe. Quite frankly I don't think it would have changed my mind to purchase it if I had been so inclined. Frankly though, that may be easy for me to say since I had no real intention of buying it in the first place. I love RE but this just isn't my cup of tea.



Token_Girl said:

I wasn't going to get this anyways, but seeing how launch day DLC and online passes are quickly becoming standard, I do worry that this is something that will take off. It's a stupid move. You want to know why there's a thriving used game market Capcom, Activision, EA, etc.?

IT'S BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T THINK YOUR GAME IS WORTH $40-$60! So they buy used, or they buy new with the intention of recouping some costs on the trade-in. If game companies are going to crush the used market, they're going to lose a lot of launch window sales unless prices drop. Many people who buy used won't buy new. People who legally supported used gaming will probably just throw on some eyepatches and go to town on torrents. Then publishers won't get any of the secondary benefits (using cash from selling a used game to buy a new game) of the used game market.

This is why the Steam model has been so profitable. Games start at full price, and the hardcore fans buy in. When games aren't profitable at full price anymore, there's a sale, and they get TONS of new buyers. There's no used market, but that's ok. People know if they wait they'll be able to get a game at a price they're willing to pay (often lower than what they would have gotten it for if there was a used market). You also don't have to worry about things like backwards compatibility, getting a new computer, losing your games, etc. The benefit to customers is that they can play their game forever on any computer linked to their steam account. You need to understand your market and give them incentive to purchase your game. Steam does that. Most other major publishers' decisions recently only hurt those who purchase legally, new or used.



Traxx said:

The only thing that troubles me about this debate are:

  • Too many big mouthes out there make it seem you could only play this game once.
  • Too much buss about it will lessen my used sale profit. Keep it quite people, shhhh.
  • There are at least already two other 3DS games with no-delete option: SMB3D and PES20113D, wheres the uproar here?


JebbyDeringer said:

I'll still buy it, so I can burn it releasing the toxic fumes into the atmosphere which will hopefully eventually make it to Japan and get in the developers noses.



greyfawx said:


(youtube) i found a way to reset save data! in ur face capcom!



triforceofcourage said:

Well this is what I do. I play through the game on my first try with file 1. I let friends try the game with file 2. I re-play the game with file 3 and keep file one to make me feel good at my accomplishments.

I prefer 3 files. I geuss I can live with one, but I think it's a really poor choice considering how people have generaly come to expect multiple save files, never mind being able to delete the first one. I don't understand their reasoning for this... I really don't...



SwerdMurd said:

if i were the type of person that had the free time to play a game start to finish twice and get all the unlocks multiple times, maybe this would affect me. As it stands, once will be more than enough.



shonenjump86 said:

For a game like this I really don't mind that you can't erase the save file. I really like the game, and have no plans on trading this in. If this was a big story action adevnture game or something like that, then yeah, that would be a problem. To be honest though, I think there is a bigger problem with Capcom. Not releasing the lastest Ace Attorney game outside of Japan.



47drift said:

I've got it and having one save file is not an issue to me at all. In short, it's an arcade game. How many times do you go to an arcade and beat a high score, only to have someone approach you and say, "Yeah, but you didn't beat it on THIS save file!" Never.



DrDaisy said:

You want to know what I think? I think some third-party will make a device you can stick a 3DS cartridge into that restores the software contained to its factory setting, and people will buy it to use with games like this. They'll either be smart and have it operate independently or attached to a computer or they'll be stupid by having it interact with a 3DS, meaning its termination of function within a few 3DS software updates.



TLink9 said:

Honestly I would to have it pre-owned from several users. The game is like an arcade game. I think it would be more satisfying to beat somones score than my own. Also if they unlock everything they just did the work from me.



retrox said:

Thanks very much for continuing to bring attention to this story, James.

As far as I'm concerned, Capcom can take a long walk off a short bridge. As much as I love my Monster Hunter, I'm blacklisting them for this. Now Atari doesn't have to be lonely all by itself in my A-C column.

It's kind of funny, really: I probably wouldn't care about not being able to reset my unlockable/achievement data if I bought the game new, which I certainly would have; if not for the fact that Capcom decided they didn't want to give me the option to reset my unlockable/achievement data if I chose to do so. I think the worst of this is that their PR response to the backlash thus far is comprised of some of the most disingenuous, half-truth-laden-double-talk corporate drivel I've read since the rise and fall of Master of Orion III for the PC. Their official statement reads more like an advertisement than an explanation. Bad thing, because there definitely needs to be an explanation as to exactly WHY they chose to omit such a fundamental game feature as player data management from their game. The "arcade experience" thing? Nah, not buying it. If the game contained zero unlockable content fresh out of the box, sure.

It's an insult to my intelligence, really, and most folks don't take kindly to that.



Spoony_Tech said:

The person I bought the game from today told me the last she heard they weren't allowed to buy the game back. This was at gamestop. She did say that was two days ago though.



k8sMum said:

@23: 'So, I deplore you, make individual topics about these two games as well, it's disgusting that people can't buy them used and expect the same experience. /maximumsarcasm'

it's difficult to tell with the level of sarcasm in your post, but did you perchance mean 'i IMPLORE you' i said, it's hard to tell. you don't seem to care for anyone else's opinion.



retrox said:

Yeah, so this is an entirely new form of DRM exclusive to a brand new platform, so I'm not surprised Monkey Ball and Blaz slipped under the radar. I can just hear the Capcom execs now: "Well, some publishers have already utilized this method with no discernible effect on new unit sales. I see no reason why we shouldn't use it with our new titles as well!"

And then there was much clapping of backs and guffawing as the wine (sake?) was passed around.

Regardless of 23's questionable choice of wording, it's on the radar now. Game on.

edit: Wow, 23 knows what he's talking about. Get on this stat, NL. This could be a story to shape the future of 3DS game sales. I'm kinda at a loss for words... Wow. They're assaulting the used games and rental market right under our noses...

edit2: JAMES! Serious. The more I look into this, the more nefarious it seems. Amazon has the trade-in value of RE at $6.75, well below average for second-hand 3DS titles. And yet BlazBlue and Monkey Ball 3D, which are hampered by the same persistent save scheme, are not de-valued at all. Dude. Somebody get Ninty on the horn, something stinks awful.



LordTendoboy said:

If other companies do this then I'm done with modern gaming.

Nintendo should have put the save file on the 3DS itself. The Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii all have save data tied to the system, and you can simply go to System Settings and delete it yourself.

Even better would be cloud storage, but I'm not sure if Nintendo would ever implement that.



LordTendoboy said:

Also, could you imagine playing a Mario or Zelda game and not being able to restart the game after you finish it? I've replayed many of my old Mario games multiple times, just for the heck of it. If I'm unable to restart my game or delete save data, then the game will just sit on my shelf forever.



Henmii said:

Quite simply, it's a bad, customer unfriendly move! I agree that it isn't the biggest problem for a scored based/multiplayer game, though it still sucks! It would be worse for games such as Mario or Zelda! What if you only have one save-file that you can never erase? That means you can only play your Mario or Zelda once! That's not good! I always want the option to play those games a second time! And on a second file, since I don't want my hard work (finding all heart-pieces in a Zelda title) go to waste!

Let's face it: Nintendo does this all the time! I understand that Nintendo doesn't want to lose a lot of money because of Piracy and people waiting for second-hand copies, but they are extremely rich. One of the richest companies around. Why must they annoy us by region locking the 3DS? Why must they annoy us by making games on their download-systems so expensive compared to other systems? Why do they annoy people with this Save move?

Nintendo is extremely greedy! If they went a bit more "loose", they would still earn piles of money while at the same time better their image! And in case of downloadable titles: Earn much more money, since much more people will download!

"Nintendo should have put the save file on the 3DS itself. The Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii all have save data tied to the system, and you can simply go to System Settings and delete it yourself"

One of the fun things of a cartridge is that you can save on the card! You know, so you don't have to waste precious space that you could use for downloading games!

"Even better would be cloud storage, but I'm not sure if Nintendo would ever implement that"

That would be awful!!!! I want to be the owner!!



sykotek said:

It's funny that other games were mentioned because upon further thought, Capcom has already done this with Super Street Fighter IV 3DE with the special figure mode passwords.

Once the passwords for figures are redeemed, that's it, they're one time use only. If you erase your data, you'll lose your special figures and never be able to get them again. It's the same exact thing, but in Street Fighter, it's for a secondary feature that people arguably don't care as much about.



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

the fact that the trade in value is diminished doesn't bother me because I have never traded in a game in my life.

The fact that you cannot go back and start from scratch does bother me however as the game value to me will be seriously diminished once I have unlocked everything; whats the point if I can't start again.

It is fine to have immortal high scores, but not immortal unlockables



retrox said:

I wonder if Capcom, Aksys, and Sega bothered telling any of the retail giants who deal in used games that their new 3DS titles would not allow second-hand consumers to experience their games in the same way as the original owner. Capcom obviously didn't tell them, but they damn sure know now. They'll know even more once the 3DS used game shelf starts filling out and pissed-off people start bringing back used games with undeletable saves demanding refunds.

Folks, get ready for a clash of corporate giants when this undeletable save thing comes fully out into the light of day. Break this story, NL. Do it before Gamespot/IGN/1-UP do it. You will absolutely pwn all.

Is Nintendo supporting third-party publishers with this scheme? If so, I wonder if GameStop will be so eager to move Nintendo's hardware for them? Talk about a crazy conflict of interest. Holy crap, considering the amount of revenue used games generate for brick-and-mortars like GS, the implications are staggering...

Break this crap, you guys.



Sh00kst3r said:

What do I think?

Suck it up. Restarting isn't even what the game is for. It's a great game, and you'll spend hours trying to unlock everything. And when you do? Just play like normal. SIMPLE AS THAT, FOLKS.

In case you were smart enough to realize that this whole argument is a bunch of baloney and bought the game, my FC is 2363-5629-7333.



Capt_N said:

I'm still skeptical about this actually being a piracy/used-game sale counter measure, that is actually a part of Nintendo's dev kits for the 3DS, in their overtly obsessive paranoid war on piracy.

Btw, I believe in having a function to @ least delete not only your save in-game file select, but also to be able to wipe the memory of the cart/card.



Tare said:

I would almost imagine it would increase piracy. Oh the irony.

But back on the rage. The reason for all of the anger and comments in all caps is because it's cheeky on capcoms part. People don't really feel like they own all of the game. People want to do whatever they want with whatever data and by doing this Capcom is effectively deciding what you can do with what you've purchased.
Capcom just did something rude, and it doesn't feel good when people are rude to you. I imagine thats what the anger sparks from.



Dr_Salvador said:

What was the reason Capcom did this anyway? If it was not to prevent used sales...!? Does anyone know?



EarthboundBenjy said:

I recently bought secondhand WarioWare Twisted on eBay, which is kind of the same sort of thing. You unlock things as you progress, challenge yourself to high scores, and you can always play previously-played content. However, as soon as it arrived, I deleted the save file so I could unlock everything myself.

While I have no interst in Resident Evil (not my sort of thing), I don't see why they wouldn't give you the option to start a fresh game.



Fang said:

Serious question: How do I register a name for Mercenaries? Whenever I play online my name is just several lines like this;------Some other people have the same thing as me but most people actually have a name.

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