Say you spend a dozen hours with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and hand the cartridge to your buddy, who decides he'd like to start from square one. Delete the data, move on, play. Logical.
That option's not included in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. There's a line in the manual that makes this abundantly clear:
"Note: Saved data on this software cannot be reset."
The narrative that's been building amongst fans is how this represents a move on Capcom's part to push back on used game sales. If you want to have your "own" progress in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, you need to buck up and purchase a brand-new copy of the game at $39.99.
As Tiny Cartridge points out, some Japanese shops are reportedly selling used copies of the game for very low prices because the data can't be reset, lowering the incentive for users to sell.
Capcom's issued a statement to me disputing this, however.
"Secondhand game sales were not a factor in this development decision," said the company, "so we hope that all our consumers will be able to enjoy the entirety of the survival-action experiences that the game does offer."
If used games aren't the issue, what is? Is there a technical reason that's preventing them from including data reset? That part's not totally clear, but here's what Capcom said.
"In Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, all mission progress is saved directly to the Nintendo 3DS cartridge, where it cannot be reset," said the company. "The nature of the game invites high levels of replayability in order to improve mission scores. In addition, this feature does not remove any content available for users."
I've followed-up with Capcom and will let you know what I hear back.
Regardless, if personalized progress is important, a used copy is out of the question for now.