A newly reformed Digital Eclipse announced today that, in partnership with publisher Capcom, it will release Mega Man Legacy Collection later this summer for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC, and following up with a 3DS release in the winter. The collection will bring together the first six titles of the Mega Man series, each in 1080p, and it will offer a set of new challenges and bonus "museum" content.
I know, I know, why am I writing a news story about the re-release of some Mega Man games? Well, first, Capcom hasn't exactly treated the Blue Bomber well over the past few years–the cancelation of Mega Man Legends 3 is still a real sore spot with some fans.
Second, between Silent Hills and Desura, there's been a lot of conversation recently about game preservation, with fans worried about losing access to games as they slip through the cracks of digital distribution networks and short-term contract agreements. On top of the concern around access to games, there's also a case to be made that we should care about the quality of restorations, ports, and re-releases.
This seems to be the modus operandi for the newly reformed Digital Eclipse, which is developing the collection. The history of the company is a weird knot that involves merging and breaking off of other studios (like Backbone Entertainment, Other Ocean, and Foundation 9), but Digital Eclipse has always been involved in porting and emulation. Over the years, they've had their ups and downs–I wasn't a big fan of the "smoothing" look that it gave to the emulated Sega Genesis games on XBLA (Streets of Rage 2 deserves better!) But the new version of Digital Eclipse seems singularly focused on quality game preservation.
The company has even created a "Head of Restoration" position, held by Frank Cifaldi, to oversee the quality of their emulation. Over on the Capcom Unity blog, Cifaldi lays out the case for why we should be invested in game preservation:
“Movies have the Criterion Collection, but there hasn’t been anything like that for games. We’re living in the golden age of a brand new form of artistic expression, and we’re not doing a very good job of making sure our games will be available five years from now, let alone fifty. The more we can do right now to take video game preservation seriously, the safer our history will be.”
I have to admit, maybe this just appeals to me because I've been banging the drum of "the Criterion Collection, but video games" for years now. And I'm not so out of touch as to think that solid Mega Man ports are the single most important goal in the field of games preservation. But my hope is that this new Digital Eclipse will bring this same amount of love and rigor to future projects, especially to games that really have slipped through the cracks.
Check out the trailer for Mega Man Legacy Collection below, and head over to the new Digital Eclipse site to get a bit more on the company and their emulation process.