While most people are talking about the fate of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, I think it's a good idea to switch gears and explore the idea of a whole new frontier. Hideo Kojima is no longer shackled to pumping out MGS games, where does he go now?
What Can Capcom Do With Mega Man?
This is a bitter topic for me to talk about. Mega Man is one of my favorite gaming franchises. It was the game that got me into video games and the focus of entertainment for my hang outs with one of my old friends. I’ve played almost every single Mega Man game out there. I’ve imported some from Japan. I bought a Wonderswan for some. It was the reason I tried learning Japanese. In fact, the only games I was unable to play were the ones for Japanese cell phones because, well, I don’t live there. The Blue Bomber has had a significant impact on my gaming life and I know I’m not the only one. Since 1987, Capcom has supplied us with over 60 titles in Mega Man’s franchise branching 7 different time frames and/or alternate time lines. Recently, however, things are looking pretty grim for this gaming legend.
Capcom has seemingly lost the spirit to continue the fight against evil robots. With two cancelled games and no news whatsoever on any upcoming ones, we’ve been reduced to seeing the Blue Bomber in DLC packs and rosters for fighting games. Capcom even seems like it is “trolling” fans by not even giving Mega Man a proper inclusion in those games. For Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mega Man was one of the most requested characters and we were finally awarded… with a DLC costume for Zero. In Street Fighter x Tekken, we’re getting “Bad Box Art” Mega Man which is just a joke. I understand that even Kenji Inafune, Mega Man’s creator, is alright with this but in times like this when you cancelled anticipated games and give no news to fans it’s just a bad move. Not everything is completely doom and gloom on the fighting front, though. The recently announced Project x Zone which features a ton of characters from Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega features X and Zero in their normal forms. The only bad part about this is that it is the only good news about Mega Man we’ve heard.
Back on July 18th, 2011 Capcom decided to end development of Mega Man Legends 3 for the 3DS. The highly anticipated sequel to the PS1 smash hit series was cut short due to “not meeting the required criteria”. What does that mean? Capcom was treating Legends 3 as a project more than an actual game. The contests that were being held over at Capcom Unity’s Devroom were advertised as a “get your creation into the game” sort of fun thing to do with fans. However, Capcom was hoping to receive more submissions instead of spending time creating things for the game it seems. The entire time we were goosed into thinking we would actually see the game release. It should have been made completely apparent when Capcom announced that in order for the game to continue and eventually complete development, fans would need to download a “Prototype” demo off the 3DS store. The demo would need to hit a certain number of downloads in an allotted timeframe.
The demo never released. The game was cancelled and a shallow promise that they may continue development with enough signs of support from fans was given. News about petitions and groups advocating the release of Legends 3 hit all across gaming sites but to no avail. Capcom has no intentions of going back to Legends 3. The Facebook group Get Me Off The Moon was made to get 100,000 likes to show support. The group was created the same day of the cancellation announcement and has garnered almost 87,000 likes. The people behind this movement are also heavily involved in the continuing community growth over at the Devroom. You can sign up there and get a Servbot number and sign a petition thread which has almost 10,000 replies. They are also continuing the fan contests to create art, enemies, and much more for the game. There is still no word from Capcom other than “no plans”. It’s pretty bad when a guy who no longer works for Capcom and created the damn character wants to work on it for them and gets told ‘no’.
Even before then, we saw the cancellation of Mega Man Universe. Granted, this was a brainchild of Inafune who left the company during its development. The game also seemed a bit convoluted in terms of what it was supposed to be other than “play as different characters in Mega Man stages”. We have heard no news of any upcoming games in the rest of the Mega Man series, either. This December the Blue Bomber will be turning 25. We’ve seen the 15th and 20th anniversaries for Mega Man mean something with big releases and events but it is hard to believe this next milestone will revive the franchise. Capcom refuses to talk about the event and with the lack of news, it is quite a possibility that we may see 25 go by ignored.
There is still plenty that they can do with Mega Man. While some series seem “completed” or have the story lines ready to be ended, other series such as X are primed for another release.
Mega Man Legends 3: The game was already started with an unknown amount completed. There is no reason as to why this shouldn’t be completed. Can you imagine the sales if Capcom “listened to the fans” and did this? Even more than before, this is a time bomb waiting to top charts.
Maverick Hunter X 2: Inafune once said that he’d like to give X2 to X6 the same treatment they gave to the original 21XX game on the PSP. He wanted the early games in the X series to be up-to-date and on par with X7 and X8. Obviously Inafune is no longer with Capcom but the probability of Maverick Hunter X still being a good seller is high. X2 and X3 were some of the best games in the series and seeing them updated with new graphics, animated story scenes, and music would be incredible.
Mega Man X9: X8 ended with a tease in the story that Axl may have been infected by Sigma or Lumine. With X and Zero carrying their friend back to headquarters, we need to see what happens. The story in the X series is top notch (except for X6 and X7) and should be finished.
Mega Man Battle Network v2.0: The Battle Network series (EXE in Japan) was released way too frequently on the GBA and for plenty of reasons was stopped at number 6. However, it’s spiritual successor Star Force was in no way equal to the adventures of Lan and MegaMan.EXE. The card battle series was great fun and a different take on the classic time line of the Blue Bomber. With years passed since the last adventure, showing an evolved world with a grown up Lan and Mega Man would be cool. Battle Network could see a revival on the 3DS and Vita. Keep the same battle system but make it look a bit nicer and it’s gonna sell to fans.
Mega Man Universe: With Inafune gone, the purpose of this game seems too unfocused to make it correctly. Maybe he had ideas to make it work out but without his vision for Universe, this is a lost project.
Mega Man Online: I can’t be the only one who’s thought of this. Taking the X series, it would extremely cool to create either a Maverick or a Hunter and run around Abel City trying to stop a common threat.
Mega Man 11: The classic series has reached it peak and passed it. You know they’ve run out of ideas when we’re fighting Sheep Man. At this point, the only new thing we see in classic series games are the music.
Mega Man Zero 5: I’d like to see another Zero game but they wrapped up the story. The only way they could continue it is by saying Zero is still around, which looked very unlikely at the end of 4.
Mega Man X Command Mission 2: The first one, while having a pretty cool battle system, didn’t go over so well. I don’t see Capcom putting this much effort into Mega Man again.
Capcom, please stop killing one of my past times. Mario is still around. Sonic still runs. Mega Man needs to jump and shoot. It is gaming law.