"Mega Man Legends 3" is a big experiment for Capcom. Throughout the course of the game's development, the company will open certain development and design choices up to fans through online voting. Seems the experiment isn't just limited to the game's development process, but also to its release schedule. Capcom is planning on releasing a small portion of the game with the title, "Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version," as part of Nintendo's 3DS eShop launch festivities.
According to the official announcement, "'Prototype Version' gives players the first taste of Mega Man's upcoming open-world action/adventure game, and lets them see a game still early in the development process."
In addition to a small chunk of the game, "Prototype Version" will also include work-in-progress areas and debug options which unlock special abilities.
Conceptually the release sounds similar to what Capcom did with "Dead Rising 2: Case Zero," which was basically a demonstration of the full game in a more bite-sized package. Unlike "Case Zero," though, "Mega Man Legends 3" will still have a long way to go after the release of "Prototype Version." Capcom is encouraging people to hop on their Dev Blog to make suggestions and track the progress of the game.
The release doesn't mention a price or release date for "Prototype Version," so I'm assuming it's not a free release. Capcom had huge success with the $5 price point for "Case Zero," so I wouldn't be surprised if this installment followed suit. And while this won't console me over the cancellation of "Mega Man Universe," at least it's something to look forward to at the launch of the eShop.