Capcom issued an official statement in the official forums regarding Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D’s single save file that cannot be reset. Capcom Community Specialist Shawn Baxter stated the following:
In Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, all mission progress is saved directly to the Nintendo 3DS cartridge, where it cannot be reset. The nature of the game invites high levels of replayability, encouraging fans to improve mission scores. The save mechanic ensures that both original and unlocked game content will be available to all users. Secondhand game sales were not a factor in this development decision, and we hope that all our consumers will be able to enjoy the entirety of the survival-action experiences that the game does offer.
The statement was followed by a short Q/A about the game, which emphasized that players would not be limited to a single playthrough or miss out on any content in a secondhand copy due to the lack of save data resetting.
Analysis: I’m still skeptical that used sales did not enter the equation while they were making the decision to do the saves this way. Even with the official statement, I still can’t see any good reason or benefit in the lack of ability to reset the save data. In fact, it’s had repercussions: Gamefly does not have it available to rent, and Gamestop and UK retailer HMV refused to accept trade-ins for the game (though Gamestop later changed its stance). These indicate that despite Capcom’s attempts to claim otherwise, there are enough downsides arising from the inability to wipe save data that secondhand copies lose value and appeal for another person picking up from where the previous player left off. Sure, some people may like having things already unlocked for them, and some might not care either way about save data resetting, but the fallout from its removal only served to leave a dark cloud hanging over the release of Mercenaries instead of the effect Capcom intended.