Here's why you shouldn't buy Megaman Legacy Collection 1/2 on Nintendo Switch
February 19, 2018

I can tell I'm not going to be able to move on with my day until I compose a blog post on this topic, because I'm simply too angry to let the rage fester inside my head, so here goes: Capcom has announced a physical release for Megaman Legacy Collection + Megaman Legacy Collection 2 on the Nintendo Switch. The compilation will retail for $39.99 MSRP, and will be shipped on a single cartridge. It will release this May in North America. Included on the cartridge is Megaman Legacy Collection, plus buyers will receive a key they can use to tie Megaman Legacy Collection 2 to their Nintendo account and download it onto their system memory or an XD card. There are notifications to that effect on the front of the box.

So, why am I so angry? Am I one of those folks who doesn't like physical copies of games? Am I bitter because Mega Man will appear again on a Nintendo platform? The truth is that I'm angry because I absolutely love physical copies of games, and because I want Mega Man to appear on Switch, but Capcom is botching his debut in ways that boggle the mind.

The price is the least of my concerns. Megaman Legacy Collection and Megaman Legacy Collection 2 are both widely available on PlayStation 4 at $20 or less. They came out months ago, and they were decent but not great. Capcom's decision to include them together when bringing them to Switch was the right one, because now fans get all 10 of the original titles, as they look forward to the impending arrival of Mega Man 11.

Except they don't, because the last four games aren't actually included until you download them. This eliminates much of the point of even buying them in "physical" form. From what I've read, Megaman Legacy Collection takes up roughly .5MB, an amount so small that it likely won't fill quite half of the smallest card Capcom might press in order to produce a retail copy. Meanwhile, the bulk of the content will take up another 4GB or so. This means that combined, the two games likely will require an 8GB card, which is still one of the smaller cards and shouldn't cost Capcom a premium. In other words, Capcom should easily be able to afford to include both games on a single cartridge, at no great expense.

I've seen people say that Capcom is being lazy and simply didn't want to spend a few minutes (or somehow, maybe a few hours) producing a menu that ties the two games together so players can select them from the title screen or whatever. I've also seen reports that the new release will include additional challenges not available in previous releases (perhaps they're what's locked behind amiibo functionality?), which suggests that developer laziness is not the issue.

Why wouldn't Capcom include both games, then? The cost of the cartridge is one suspect, but another is the realization that if it includes only half the experience on the cartridge itself, the company has found a way to prevent dissatisfied fans from playing the game and then selling it used. After all, it's difficult to sell a game second-hand when it includes only half of the content.

"But Nintendo itself did the same thing with Bayonetta," people point out, referring to the recent release of Bayonetta 2, which includes the featured game at the standard MSRP of $59.99 and then throws in a digital download of the first one. To that I say "It's not the same thing." For starters, you're not being asked to pay Nintendo's going rate for both games. One is a freebie. And the free game included takes up just over 8GB on the card, which would have meant Nintendo had to either include two cartridges in the packaging, or produce more expensive larger cartridges. I would have preferred that the company take either of those approaches, but I'm ready to live with the route it did take (even though my code for Bayonetta was faulty and I had to call customer service to get a new one that actually worked).

Another argument I see on Capcom's behalf is that at least they're shipping the game with neat artwork. But although I agree the cover art is decent, it also is marred by all those warnings Capcom has to conspicuously include to remind you that you won't even really own the game. So that means the ugly white bar at the top with a notice that you should be ready to buy a microSD card, as well as text at the bottom to mention what is and isn't included. If you ask me, that text does the cover art--which is otherwise okay but not great--no favors.

Let's return to the matter of the price. I'm okay paying $39.99 at launch for a true physical copy of the games, even though I already own each of the Mega Man titles included on multiple platforms (I even have the PlayStation 4 editions of the Megaman Legacy Collection titles). However, Capcom will probably offer the games regularly at 20% savings or whatever on the eShop. I expect to see them semi-routinely offered individually at sale prices of around $16 apiece, if there's not an outright price drop. And since the physical edition is likely to be produced in more limited qualities because Capcom knows on some level that this is just a bad move all around, chances are decent you'll never see it commonly available at a lower price at most retail outlets. You'll have to troll bargain bins or eBay. Otherwise, you're stuck paying a premium for some cover art that isn't even particularly great.

My final issue is that, knowing Capcom, this release's near-inevitable future as a flop could affect what games the company brings to Switch in the region, or at the very least will be regarded by company executives of further proof there isn't any interest in physical copies of its games. We already know the company is reluctant to print physical copies of sure-fire hits in North America, based on its shameful treatment of the Phoenix Wright series. You have to buy the latest releases on the eShop or you don't get to play them at all. If it were any other company, I might say "Well, I guess you could buy it to prove there's an interest," but Capcom has shown in the past it doesn't care if there's an interest; it will routinely fail to release physical copies of its most marketable games (or perhaps any copies at all, in the apparent case of Monster Hunter XX). Consumers aren't the ones with something to prove. Capcom is.

I want to stress that I love physical copies of games, and I'm especially eager to support them on the Switch. I bought Lost Sphear in physical form from the Square-Enix store, because that's where it was offered. I ordered Soldam from Best Buy, because Amazon wasn't carrying it. I obtained Sine Mora EX on a cartridge by purchasing it from an eBay seller in Canada, and Has-Been Heroes as a direct purchase from Gamestop. I will probably buy Snipperclips on cartridge because Nintendo didn't offer a physical edition at launch--when I bought it originally--but now does. In other words, I'm ready and anxious to support physical releases. But not like this, Capcom. Not like this!

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pickhut pickhut - February 20, 2018 (12:58 AM)
I don't understand it myself. And considering it's just been revealed that the Mega Man X games are also going to be released into two collections on the Switch... this makes even less sense. Like... what's the issue? Assuming these X Collections are going to have physical releases as well, wouldn't two separate collections double the cost of production? Boxes, carts, etc? Why go the distance with those collections but not this one?
TomatoMan TomatoMan - February 22, 2018 (10:44 PM)
I agree, this is not the first time Capcom has done this either. Resident Evil Revelations Collection did the EXACT same thing, half is on a cart(Revelations 1) and half as digital code(Revelations 2), which really got under my skin when I read that the Japanese release has a cart for each game in their package! I mean seriously, talk about disrespecting your fans, it's picking favorites, which is not cool!

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