A few days ago Capcom announced Street Fighter X Mega Man, a free PC game to be released on 17th December that blends the two iconic franchises together as one big anniversary celebration. Capcom has assured fans that this download will be just the start of celebrations for Mega Man's anniversary, and that the interest in the upcoming release will provide key information on the demand for the series. In other words, download it if you want more Mega Man.
The initial enthusiasm for this title within the gaming media and among enthusiasts is already clear, but it's also attracted a share of criticism. For some there's frustration that what appears to be a well-polished fan-game is what's on offer and that, initially, it'll only be on PC. Speaking to Polygon, Capcom senior vice president Christian Svensson has admitted that this project represents an apology to fans, while defending the decision to not bring the release to console download platforms.
To some degree, there is a bit of a mea culpa here and part of the reason why I wanted to [release the game]. It was a great way for us to build free content that people will enjoy, and in some way to make up for the lack of Mega Man that's been in the world in the last two years.
...We may look at it on other open platforms [such as Mac, Linux and iOS]. At this time we're not looking at bringing it to consoles in any form. Obviously certain consoles are not receptive to free content and while people may be willing to pay for it, the act of collecting revenue for this adds extra complexity for us on the legal side.
The cost of bringing a product like this to consoles, even if we were to charge for it, is not insignificant to say the least. It's a lengthy process and by the time we got it there, by the time we released it, they might not be as interested in paying for it at that time.
Svenson did shed some light on the collaboration between the fan-creator, Seow Zong Hui, and the relevant parties within Capcom itself.
We had to do legal agreements with all of the members of the team. Anyone who contributed anything to it. We had to speak to the gatekeepers of both brands to get their sign off on the concept. And of course I had to talk to my boss as well, who is responsible for both R&D and global publishing, and get him to say "Yeah, I get it".
There was no antagonism on either side, [it was] one of the more smooth development efforts I've seen. Once people signed off on the general concept, (Capcom Japan) left us to it, which suited us quite well.
If this is an admittance of fault and regret on Capcom's part, are you Mega Man fans happy with it? While it can be argued that it's free so complaints are irrelevant, neglected fans may feel that a PC game conceived by an enthusiast may not be a suitable investment from Capcom in its iconic brand. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
The game will be available to download from Capcom Unity on 17th December.