It’s 2018, and it is going to be a fantastic year for gaming! One particular reason for this is the return of Mega Man to the wonderful world of platformers.
I was born in 1991, so I wasn’t introduced to the franchise until Mega Man X4. I had received the game for my birthday, and from the moment I placed the disc into my slim white PlayStation I was hooked. Constantly replaying the game and attempting to find all the pieces of Mega Man X’s armor consumed countless hours of my childhood. (And remember, this was before you could look everything up on the internet!) I remember carrying the instruction manual around with me and copying the bios of the bosses in a small notebook because I thought they were so interesting. It wasn’t until a few years later until I branched out and began to play every other Mega Man game Capcom had to offer.
While Mega Man is one of Capcom’s longest running IPs, it’s one that has not received a release for the past 7 years. In terms of video game development, it’s not unheard of to have several years between installments, but Mega Man was a different story. Since that December day in 1987, Mega Man has had several different iterations that staggered in their releases. These iterations include the main Mega Man series, Mega Man X, Mega Man Legends, Mega Man Battle Network, Mega Man Star Force, Mega Man Zero, Mega Man ZX, as well as spinoff games such as Mega Man and Bass. In addition, Mega Man served as both a console and handheld series, releasing on countless platforms.
Mega Man 10 was released on March 1, 2010 and was the final mainline Mega Man game to be produced, with no mention of any future titles.
“It was hard for anyone to say ‘I want to do this.’” – Kazuhiro Tsuchiya
In October of 2010, Keiji Inafune submitted his resignation from Capcom. In almost every way, Inafune was as essential to Mega Man as Shigeru Miyamoto is to the Mario and Zelda franchises. After 23 years of designing and producing Mega Man games, Capcom had lost an essential piece of its production team. Afterwards, it only makes sense that Capcom would be hesitant to create another Mega Man game. “It was hard for anyone to say ‘I want to do this (create another Mega Man game),’” said Capcom producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya.
So, for the past seven years, Mega Man has faded into the background. He hasn’t been completely absent from gaming: he appeared as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS, was created into an amiibo, and appeared in both the Mega Man Legacy Collection and Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, which contained Mega Man 1-10 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. While these were welcomed appearances by some, many fans appealed to Capcom for the return of the Blue Bomber.
30th Anniversary Livestream
Tuning into the 30th anniversary livestream this past December, many fans kept their hopes to a minimum. As the livestream began the producers reflected upon their personal involvement with Mega Man over the years, reflecting on their favorite games and bosses.
The first major announcement was that Mega Man X through Mega Man X8 would be coming to all current generation platforms. While this was a welcomed announcement and something to get excited about, it wasn’t what the fans wanted. A Mega Man X collection had already been released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube, so this wasn’t anything new. The Mega Man X Collection will release for all current generation consoles and PC this spring.
“We had the fans wait foreeeever…but your wishes have finally taken shape!” –Kazuhiro Tsuchiya
After the Mega Man X announcement, fans were treated to a short video of the history of the Mega Man franchise. This video had Mega Man running through a typical Mega Man-type level that contained a timeline of every Mega Man game and every Mega Man spin off that has been released. From the release of Mega Man in 1987 to Mega Man 10 in 2010, it was bittersweet seeing the dozens of Mega Man games that had been released. I will admit that it was also very sad seeing Mega Man run past 2011 through 2017 without any releases. But there, under 2018, was a small circle with a question mark inside of it. Upon touching the circle, Mega Man teleported…
When Mega Man reappeared, he did so in a brand-new level with a brand-new style. Fans were treated to a first look at Mega Man 11, which is set to release late next year. At last, fans were given what they had been waiting on for the past seven years.
“If there is a strong desire for something within the community, I feel it is Capcom’s job to make it happen.” – Koji Oda
Instead of trying to describe how wonderful the game itself looked, you can view the full reveal video below.
In the video, we see several familiar aspects of the game as well as a few new additions. Most notable is the new art style penned by art director Yuji Ishihara. All of the backgrounds and characters within the game are hand drawn and help to compliment Mega Man 11’s new 2.5D style. Instead of going with the traditional 8-bit or 16-bit of the classic series, and wanting to avoid placing Mega Man into 3D, the producers of Mega Man 11 decided to place Mega Man in a more interactive and aesthetically pleasing visual display that will appeal to both hardcore fans and newcomers alike.
One large deviation from the traditional Mega Man style is how Mega Man changes when he acquires a new power up. Traditionally, when Mega Man acquired a new power from defeating one of the eight bosses he would change color to reflect the equipped weapon (a red costume for a fire weapon, blue for water, light blue for ice, etc.) In Mega Man 11, not only will Mega Man change color, but both his helmet and buster will change to reflect the equipped weapon.
While this is not a huge difference in terms of gameplay, it does make this particular Mega Man entry more interesting.
Mega Man Legacy Collection
One of the final announcements of the livestream was the port of Mega Man Legacy Collection and Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 coming to the Nintendo Switch. Mega Man Legacy Collection released digitally on August 25, 2016 and physically on February 23, 2016, both over a year before the Nintendo Switch. While the initial collection did release on Nintendo 3DS, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 was not released on a Nintendo console. Mega Man Legacy Collection and Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 will be released for the Nintendo Switch summer 2018.
With hope in our heart containers, we look forward to the future of the Mega Man franchise and the possibilities that come with it. In a recent interview with Game Informer, Koji Oda acknowledged that he has heard the fans’ desire for the other Mega Man series to receive sequels. “I am well aware that there is a voice out there that wants something new for games like Mega Man Legends and Battle Network,” stated Koji Oda. Despite the desire of the fans, Oda was reluctant to confirm any further sequels, admitting that the team has only begun reviving the Mega Man franchise and he wants to see how fans react to Mega Man 11 when it releases in 2018. Mega Man 11 and its team will make another appearance this summer at E3 with more information about its release.
2018 is going to be an amazing year for Mega Man fans, and with Capcom reviving the Blue Bomber and expressing interest in bringing as many games to the Switch as possible, the sky is the limit.
What Mega Man game would you like to see next? Mega Man X9? Mega Man Legends 3? Let us know in the comment section!