According to the US and UK instruction manual, a scan of which was first posted on NeoGAF’s forums, the upcoming Resident Evil 3DS title The Mercenaries 3D will only support one save file that cannot be reset. This means that once you finish the game, you can’t erase your file for a fresh playthrough, nor can anyone you lend the game to or whoever buys the game used.
A spokesperson for Capcom told Eurogamer, “The game’s value at second-hand in the UK is not affected by whether or not the game can have its data reset” and “Customers in the UK will not experience a reduced second-hand value should they wish to trade in their purchase.”
This isn’t the first Capcom game to feature restrictive DRM. The PC version of Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition would have required players to be logged into Games for Windows Live; if they weren’t, they would not be able to access any DLC purchased, could not save progress on challenges or settings, and only 15 out of 39 characters would be playable. However, Capcom later announced that they would release a patch to remove this restriction. Two PSN games, Final Fight: Double Impact and Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, require players to be logged into their PSN accounts to play them. While the former does have online co-op play, the latter’s co-op is strictly offline.
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D comes out today for the 3DS.
EDIT BY CB @ 1205 EST 29 JUN 11 – Amidst news of the save game issue, retailers have had mixed responses. In North America, Gamestop/EB Games initially refused to accept trade-ins of the game. However, they have since reneged on this stance, stating that they will now accept trade-ins. However, their Australian EB Games arm is reportedly pulling the game out of stock, and not selling it. In England, retailer HMV has announced that they will not be accepting the game for trade-in, but will still stock it new. Game and Gamestation will be accepting trade-ins, though values are still not set as the game comes out in the UK on Friday.
Analysis: While this doesn’t actually limit one to a single playthrough per cart as first thought, it still limits unlocking things in a fresh playthrough to a one time deal, which rubs me the wrong way. I get that publishers don’t look favorably at used game sales – hence the pointed attempts at discouraging trading in or buying used games. However, measures like this are more likely to alienate people than lead to more sales, given that it clamps down on those buying the game legitimately. Plus, unlocking things along the way provides a sense of progress, which you wouldn’t be able to get with anything other than a shiny new untouched copy unless you were to resort to physical means of wiping the save data (which could mess up the cart if done wrong). Some people may like or not mind not having the option to flash, but its omission is still a sticking point since it’s long been a basic feature in cart based games. Naturally, retailers like Gamestop won’t be too keen on this either, as it cuts into their own profit margins since this aims to cut down on secondhand sales. Despite the Capcom spokesperson’s claim, I can’t see this not affecting trade-in values – in fact, in Japan, it already has. For an arcade style game where you could go back to previous levels and try for a higher score, it isn’t as big of a deal as it would be in, say, a lengthy RPG, where such a limitation would be much more onerous. But I don’t like the precedent this could set.