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In My Opinion: Is Mega Man Game Over?

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In its current state, Mega Man is dead. We all know that right? I've seen quite a few people make that statement. I've seen people say their farewells. And I agree with them. Keiji Inafune, the series creator, is gone from Capcom. Mega Man Universe was going to suck (from what I played of it). Mega Man Legends couldn't even get a decent group together to come up with ideas. It was a Portable Game for goodness sakes.

When I say these things, don't take it as meaning I'm not a Mega Man fan. But as people, we fear change. We want to be in our comfortable little worlds where things are familiar and nostalgia rules our warm, fuzzy lives. No one wants Mega Man to go away just like no one wants their dog to be put to sleep. But it eventually happens and someone has to do it.

If you look back at the series, Capcom had run Mega Man into the ground over years and years of lackluster sequels. Sure there were a few choice gems here and there. But for every one good game, there were half a dozen quick copies to capitalize on the formula. The number following the title Mega Man would approach double digits and Capcom would slightly alter the formula and rebrand the character. There was the X Series, then the Legends, then Zero made an appearance, then came Battle Network, and eventually an abomination called Mega Man Star Force. I'm surprised people stuck with it as long as they did. Well, the kids did at least anyways.

About ten years ago, I knew Mega Man was in trouble. I was working at a summer camp as a part time job. All the kids were playing Mega Man Battle Network and I decide to wear my classic Mega Man shirt to work. You know the one that shows a picture of 8-bit Mega Man and has "Say Hello To My Little Friend" written below it. The kids were confused, "Who is that?" I told them it was Mega Man. The same one they were currently playing. They laughed. Their answer, "It looks like he's wearing underwear!" I realized then that Mega Man had not kept up with the times and it was only going to get worse.

Fast forward to today: Mega Man Legends 3, a last gasp for Mega Man glory is canceled, exactly a week ago today. Fans try to rally together to push for support to bring the title back. The goal is 100,000 strong the Facebook site says. In couple days, they've gathered 30,000 or so followers. Some may see this as hopeful, but I see it for the truth.

No one cares about Mega Man anymore. 100,000 isn't nearly enough. Imagine the amount of effort it takes to be browsing the internet, come across an online petition, and then click the like button. Now think about all the coverage from the major gaming blogs, indie sites and other news sites that knee jerked fresh off the cancellation announcement. If that didn't generate enough clicks from that initial cauterization of the wounds, then there wasn't really enough interest in the first place. If anything, we just proved Capcom made the right decision.


Even had we gotten those click on the first day, they're just clicks. There's still no guarantee that even half of them would materialize into actual game sales. Name one game company that would be willing to release a game with the possibility of 50,000 copies sold or even 100,000. We can make this an argument about Capcom betraying their fans, but I think we can all realize that it would have been insane for them to release this title. I don't think ANY video game company loves their fans enough to do that.

Truth be told, I don't actually think Mega Man is dead. He's definitely comatose but maybe that's what he needs to be right now. Put on the shelf for a while and given his time off to rediscover his image. He could use an extended vacation, and the general population could use some time to forget about him and let their wounds heal.

Think of it as a broken relationship. We can keep trying to smash things together trying to make it work because we're love, but we both know that we've been hurt immensely. That hurt carries with us each day and at any hint of trouble we'll immediately be at each others throats. This isn't a goodbye but more of a time for reflection. People have to change/grow before they can try to be together again, otherwise we're going to reach the same outcome.

So how does Mega Man have to change?

Visually for one. I don't think he can be this robot boy in the blue spandex suit anymore. I think that's gone with the times of our childhood, like Power Rangers. Make him a real person or give him some real life character. He's a robot but he loves some human girl. She doesn't know and he doesn't have the courage to tell her. Some bullshit like that.

I hate to say this but they should probably ditch the Mega Man name. Maybe so far as to lose the Rock Man name as well. He's not a comic book hero and the MAN suffix naming system doesn't work anymore, especially for all his overused adversaries.

Here's my idea. Imagine an open world. Same Mega story. There's an evil organization. There are eight bosses but this time they're scattered through Mega City or whatever it'll be called. Maybe there's a guy in the icy mountains. One guy in an underground cavernous lake. Maybe there's a guy in a woodsy area. They form whatever super evil bad guy club trying to take over the world. Now go stop them. No select screen. Just a world to explore and an over arching objective. Help people in need. Find and buy upgrades in shops. Battle through the enemy's strongholds. Gain the defeated enemy's powers and use it to navigate the world easier. Take the things that make the series unique but cut out the things people want around just for comfort's sake.

We're in a time where reboots have been made successfully. Now is a little too soon but maybe in 5-10 years, I could see a comeback. Bigger and better than ever. You can't hold a good man down and Capcom won't throw away a chance to make money. There will be another day. I just hope when the time comes that it's done right.

David

Comments

  • Macklin Farrell 8 years, 4 months ago

    This brings up bad memories of the Sonic The Hedgehog games.

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    • xzr 8 years, 4 months ago

      "Make him a real person or give him some real life character. He’s a robot but he loves some human girl."

      Oh, Sonic 2006, you're so memorable.

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      • Macklin Farrell 8 years, 4 months ago

        Yeah, that's one of them. >_<

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  • Kamui 8 years, 4 months ago

    I agree, maybe Mega Man does need a time for reflection, But I would also like to say that it's the burden of the developers that made him lackluster over the years. Admitting I did play MM:Battle Network, But I got as far as the end due to boredom.

    Some blame could also be put onto Capcom for being jaded thinkers these years or maybe they have always been this way and we are not realizing this now since most of us are older and we probably didn't know how Capcom really was until the previous decade.

    Those ideas you mentioned are good and can only be done by talented developers willing to think outside of the box without restriction of creativity.

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  • oplock 8 years, 4 months ago

    I'll have to be honest and say I haven't been interested in a Mega Man since the Nintendo. From my perspective it just seemed like the same game was being remade over and over with little to no change in the formula. If you look at other games from that generation (Zelda, Metroid, Castlevania), they all have matured over time and expanded or reworked their core mechanics. The core audience that grew up with these games is now in their 20s and 30s; we've certainly changed so it makes sense to say that Mega Man needs to change.

    I think they could stick with the Mega Man brand and all of their "Man" suffixes but only if they made it satirical and self aware that it is absolutely ridiculous to call a villain "Bubble Man" in this day and age.

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  • J52 8 years, 4 months ago

    You're forgetting to count the two clicks to remove the group owner's constant posting from your news feed.

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  • Relay 8 years, 4 months ago

    T^T I was one a Megaman Battle Network playing kid growing up.

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  • Arxidus 8 years, 4 months ago

    Honestly, out of aaaaaalllll the reiterations the Blue Bomber has seen over the years, it seems that the X series has the most potential to be something great. Not the "X series" in name, but in concept. I mean, just look at what they called the guy... "X". What is X? It can be anything, it's a variable, it changes. And like a variable, this series would need to change, need to expand. But at its core, it can still be the same. It would just need a few touch ups. What's to lose now, anyway?

    Yes, make it about that Ultimate Weapon of War, designed to mimic the most advanced military grade weapons and information systems out there. Make it to where the Weapon of War would need to travel to different locations World Wide to shut down alleged "terrorist activities," or even destroy all attempts for other nations to re-create these Ultimate Weapons of War. Maybe along the way, the Weapon can meet with people and see places that make him re-think what he was created to do. AND WHO KNOWS?! Hahah, maybe that great scientist that designed the weapon had other plans in store, entirely.

    Y'know? This is all basic stuff, simple things that I am POSITIVE Capcom higher-ups have thought about. But this is what the series needs, honestly, a breath of life again, making the name Megaman relevant again. Maybe not now, but soon. Soon enough that the name isn't forgotten, and all that potential gone to waste. Honeslty, I see something like this having huge, HUGE, potential as a HD Wii U launch title, showcasing the graphical prowess of this new system as well as that new control pad the've been featuring. Y'know? That extra screen would be great for switching between awesome new powers and abilities that would look equally as awesome on Nintendo's new powerhouse.

    Got DAYM, sorry for the wall of text, but this really got me thinking. If anyone got far enough to read through it: am I crazy, or is this even a possibility?

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    • Breakspeed 8 years, 4 months ago

      I really like this idea of a "mature" and somewhat morally struggling Megaman, a weapon that questions itself (if I'm reading correctly.) But I fear that over at Capcom they believe they have other franchises under them getting to this same audience while Megaman can always be a surefire way to get to kids and preteens and I think that is the direction they have been aiming the series for a while now so when it comes to that age group that was their cash cow.

      Maybe more focused and aggressive mobile/touch pad or Facebook releases for Megaman over the next five years then a really big "reboot" for consoles with a rebranding is the way to go and perhaps being discussed right now. I would also think a Megaman game "free to play" on Steam or XBoxLive in the vein of Castlevania:HoD with massive customization in how "your" megaman plays would be big and have a lot of revenue potential as they would be charging for customizable traits - you purchase the way your character plays in the game as opposed to purchasing the game itself. It might set off some consumers but this model works very well for a lot of games (looking at Team Fortress 2.) The game could have a speed run/replays feature to keep it competitive and also feature randomly generated maps for running along with friends (with a boss or "multi-boss" room at the end of each map.)

      There is a lot that could be done but I think that the game needs to try itself out elsewhere in different mediums before returning to consoles and still being able to maintain that image that it currently has.

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  • Bombader 8 years, 4 months ago

    They will never ditch "Megaman" name since it will always represent something, the insides might be different though. After all we have an XCOM game that is no X-COM.

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  • Breakspeed 8 years, 4 months ago

    I remember Megaman being one of m earliest gaming memories, back when I was growing up with a Nintendo and eventually a SNES my father would take me out to rent movies and often a video game. Countless time after time I spent renting each Megaman game available spending hours in front of the TV trying to conquer bosses or inch further learning from my mistakes each level. Rentals would be finished in 5-7 days and I nearly always tried to push that deadline, it was never enough time with those gems.

    I grew older and got into a phase of "RPG" and "adventure" titles on the N64 and PS1 and I rediscovered Megaman legends and I'll admit that I was briefly in love with that game as well. It's sad reading your thoughts now David because it rings so true that some of these early memories have run their course and need to grow up yet again. I would enjoy a reboot that brought us something very different while still staying true to the Megaman universe.

    Perhaps in ten years when/if I have children they can begin some of their fondest moments in gaming with the same series.

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    • jon2435 8 years, 4 months ago

      That is almost exactly how I see Mega Man. I always hate to good series end, but if it's not making money Mega Man can't continue on as is. I agreed, with some time off Mega Man could make a comeback.

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  • Sideshowshayne 8 years, 4 months ago

    I'm still angry at Capcom and what they did, waving a Game people have been wanting for, for 10 years right in their faces, and right when I seemed like we were going to get to see what happened after MML2 ended they Cancel it.
    But they could Reboot the Series and center it around the more Mature MegaMix Comics (Maybe the new Archie ones, but those are just like the old games with a Scrip, so I could just see those being Remakes) But I do remember Reading MegaMix Online, and the newer Translated in English ones(took'em a long time to equalizer them too >.>) But if they could reboot the Series like that I could see that working well for the Original Rock Story Line,More Story Driven, Badass Robot Masters, and Darker Tone.
    I always thought Rock was a Human, I was shock to figure out he was a pure Robot 0.o and I thought that for Volnutt even more since how human he acted. But I could see your Idea of an Open World Megaman game working well too.
    Man it's funny I remember Hating Battle Network, and Star Force as a Kid, I played The Rock,X,and Zero series the Most. Why not give X,or Rock an Anime, They gave one to freaking Battle Network, and Starforce. They completely Ruined Bass, and Protoman for me, and especially "Megaman the computer Program, and Space Alien Wolf Robot Thing" I know about the old Megaman Super Fighting Robot Cartoon, but that was just Blarg to me....... It was okay for a Show based on a Video Game but still, I think an X, or Megamix anime would work a whole lot better.
    -Sorry for the Long Comment, I tend to over write.

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  • Comradebearjew 8 years, 4 months ago

    Nice article, but I disagree. I do not think Mega Man needs to change his name.

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  • nikki n fargus 4ever 8 years, 4 months ago

    Phenomenal write up David, very interesting all around. I have always adored classic mega man, in fact i firmly believe the Mega Man Anniversary Collection from last generation is the greatest compilation of games ever, but I can't say i'm too heartbroken about the whole Mega Man Legends controversy. IMO Mega Man hasn't been enjoyable in years, at this point he has been dragged through the mud just as much as Sonic, Crash, Spyro, etc... Just let him rest along with the others who's best days are behind them.

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  • David Liao 8 years, 4 months ago

    Thanks for chiming in so far guys. I always like to hear you guy's opinions.

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  • Sammonoske 8 years, 4 months ago

    MML3 on the 3DS wouldn't have done it ANY justice. Who wanted it on a handheld? Plenty of people want it on a console and not be shoveled onto a gimmicky 3D device.

    Much like Sonic, Mega Man will return again and again. I just hope he doesn't become a shadow in the background for very long.

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  • Aromanx 8 years, 4 months ago

    Im really sad to see megaman plummet so low seeing as megaman X2 was the first game i ever played back in the SNES era, but time shows, megaman has hardly evolved, I enjoyed MMBN for the fresh look as to what megaman could be, it doesnt havta be "pick a boss and go" it can be just him living in town and a robot master is fucking shit up in the shadows, you eventually discover his plan and fight him before he can unleash it, all while at the same time theres an even higher orginization working behind the scenes.

    Now imagen this kinda story on a megaman legends type of world, you dont fight random robos in a dungeon, but face a robot master after stopping or preventing his plans....

    Im straying away from the topic at hand here but I'll agree, get away from the megaman of today, and have him make a comeback that'll bring back his former glory

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  • UglyKatsuki 8 years, 4 months ago

    Despite what has happened, there will always be a place in my heart that belongs with the Megaman franchise. Despite how many times Capcom has driven the series to the ground, I will always love Megaman.

    My first experience with Megaman started in the X series. Sure the Nintendo Megaman games were also available at my local Blockbuster back in the 90's, but the X series was what got me interested in Megaman in the first place. I remember renting them over and over again just so that I could experience the game countless times, despite the fact that I was actually never really that good at Megaman games. I also never cared to notice that I was playing the games in the wrong order. I started with X2, then X3, and then X. But whatever game I played, I felt like I was experiencing something new in the series, something that made my imagination soar. The bosses, the levels, the music, all of it made me keep going back to the series.

    As the years went by, I played newer Megaman games. I tried my hand at the first Megaman Legends, and loving it. Sure it wasn't the same as the X series, but it had everything that still reminded me about Megaman, despite the change of mood and the obvious fact that it was in 3D.

    I really could go through the list of all the Megaman games I've played and talk about my experiences with all of them but this is suppose to be a comment, not an article or essay. Oh well, it's going to end up being one. But I just wanted to talk a little about why I loved the Megaman series.

    Even though it looks like the franchise is either dead or in a coma, I can't help but feel conflicted. I love the series so much and was really looking forward to another game coming out. But at the same time, I can recall when "Reviews on the Run" were talking about Megaman X5 and were already tired of the series. It reminded me that even though we hold certain things dear to us, there are also times when things need to take a break, if not sleep for a while, or better yet die. I don't believe that Megaman is gone forever. But to be fair, I still don't want Megaman to leave, at all. But I believe that he will make a comeback like he did when Megaman 9 came out. I can understand that perhaps Capcom needs to re-evaluate what made Megaman such a hit in the first place. Maybe that time away from Megaman will spark some new passion for the series. For now, there's probably nothing that we can do, but I will keep playing my older Megaman games, and appreciate why I love and continue to love this series.

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  • Rendrak 8 years, 4 months ago

    Did David just suggest they make Mega Man a Metroidvania?

    Brad must be rubbing off on you.

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  • Breakspeed 8 years, 4 months ago

    Jim Sterling just put out an article about this topic as well...

    http://www.gamesradar.com/f/mega-man-is-dead-and-why-thats-a-good-thing/a-20110726142935769044

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  • RedAma131 8 years, 4 months ago

    Wasn't really too into the Mega Man series. One thing I noticed is how the nes format is constantly reused. I wasn't interested in Legends because it look like it won't change much from the original. I think that when older video games are being remade, I think about it, remaking/rebooting a game for the fan's nostalgia is a bad idea because like in the article that would only 100000 or less. Remakes should be re-imaginings.

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  • Marsh D Teach 8 years, 4 months ago

    David, I believe the changes that you're suggesting could prove to be a double edge sword. Some games that change to become more mature or edgy are met with alot of negative reaction from people, because they get the since the game is trying too hard to shed it's old skin.

    The only game I can bother to remember that's done this that was well recieved is Conker's Bad Fur Day. But at the same time, they managed to make it a balance of cartoony, yet mature.

    If Megaman were to head in a more serious direction, it'd be best for them to ease into it. Maybe the first game in this series he's still mega man and by the end by some event or whatever he becomes human, and with that transformation he decides to rename himself [insert catchy badass name] and thus the game's ditch the megaman title.

    in the next game some evil spurts up and bad-ass name resolves to go back to Dr.Light and undergoes an operation to augment himself with his old capabilities, making him bionic. He can still bleed and stuff, get broken limbs from getting the shit beat out of him, etc etc etc.
    copy powers etc etc. Dr light gets killed oh no now I can't be turned back to a full human!!!111

    Bored, I'll stop here

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  • Minyme 8 years, 4 months ago

    Megaman is a classic, I sense a fairly long haitus, but its not dead. Companys don't let series die *cough* MGS rising *cough*

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