Capcom has clarified its position further in a brief FAQ style post on its forums surrounding the Resident Evil: Mercenaries controversy that's come about because the game doesn't allow users to overwrite their save data. Essentially, what's going on is that you can unlock content a single time for each cartridge, and after that, it's always unlocked. Many gamers immediately assumed that this was to make the game more difficult to sell once it's finished. After all, who wants to buy a cartridge with all the content unlocked? Or rent one?
"Essentially, RE Mercs was treated like an arcade fighting game," Capcom posted. "You unlock characters, levels, etc and they just stay unlocked as they would in an arcade machine. There was no hidden motive to prevent buying used copies. It's not some secret form of DRM. It's simply the way we designed the save system to work with the arcade type of gameplay."
Except, as Leah Jackson pointed out, you can reset an arcade game if you want...
Anyway, below are the answers to Capcom's questions regarding the unique save feature that Capcom swears is not a used-game-sales-prevention device.
Q. What type of game is Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D?
A. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a time-based score attack game very similar in style to an old school arcade game. Across the various levels, players must defeat hordes of enemies, unlock new weapons, and collect hidden bonuses to rack up high scores. After time has run out, a rank and score are displayed. The game does not feature a traditional campaign or story mode.
Q. Is it true that the game can only be played through once?
A. No. This is not true. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a non-linear experience where there is no set end to the game. It is a score attack game and progression is defined as improving upon previous high scores. Players can replay each mission as many times as they like to continually challenge themselves to improve.
Q. Does the inability to reset the save game data mean that those purchasing a secondhand version of the game will have content missing?
A. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D consists of 30 time-based missions, through which the player unlocks skill upgrades as they progress through the game. Anyone purchasing a copy of the game secondhand would have access to all the missions and skills that the original owner unlocked, in addition to the content that was available to the original user.
My question: If Capcom really feels an "unlocked" game has as much values as a "locked" one, why would they bother locking anything in the first place? Unlocking characters, weapons and other cool things is "content," in a sense, because it's fun. A used version of Mercenaries would be missing that fun of unlocking, and thus is worth less. I can't speak on whether this was Capcom's intention or not, but the missing "unlocking fun" does mean the game is worth less to used game buyers, not to mention your friends who you might lend it to.