In a recent Twitter conversation with members of Sidequesting, the topic of the canceled Mega Man Legends 3 came up. Instead of bashing the title and series which has been driven to the ground by it’s publisher, we ended up collectively thinking of better ways in which Mega Man, as a series, can redeem itself and maybe become the Blue Bomber we once thought was so cool.
This piece is my attempt at saving Mega Man.
My first experience with Mega Man was on the Super Nintendo with Mega Man X3. Given that I was very young and unaware of what titles were in the series, I played MMX3 beyond belief. Intricate platforming, upbeat music and a large variety of busters to use, it was definitely the kind of game to keep a kid entertained.
I believe it was the first in the series to introduce Zero, who at the time defined bad-ass for me. Mega Man seemed like a softy who would bake cookies for everyone while Zero gutted cyborgs in half. He was great until Capcom confidently milked him over the coming years, but we’ll get to that later. Zero was great and I wanted more. That moment became definitive and stands as the center of this piece: Mega Man, himself, is old. It’s time for him to pass.
After Mega Man X3, the series slowly diminished from importance in my life. Until, that is, I found out that Capcom was releasing Mega Man Legends. Originally I thought it was Capcom’s attempt to grab fans away from Mario, Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. I came into it with negativity; a whole new series with a character I once enjoyed, in a 3D polygonal space? I was afraid, and I had every right to be. It was do or die for Capcom’s Blue Bomber.
I first played the game via a cousin’s bootlegged copy. I spent hours on weekends playing the crap out of it, wandering and going town to town, finding easter eggs. I wanted to roam, be free in the open world, and see what I could find that others didn’t know existed. Obviously, I played it wrong. I should have been focused on the story. To be honest, I can’t tell you anything about it’s plot. I only knew that I was Mega Man and Roll was in it as well.
There is where the problem lies. It was an open-world game. It’s very difficult for Capcom to have a successful open-world game when the focus should be on it’s action. Mega Man originated as an action-platformer and I believe it will never succeed unless it stays just that. Capcom clearly noticed with its release of Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10. Then again, as I stated before, Mega Man is old and his time is done. There is dead weight on the name and the series’ many spin-offs. Critics and gamers will forever compare and contrast one title to the next if it holds the same name. We did it with Mario, Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia and the obvious definition of old, Sonic.
Now here’s the exciting and positive part — at least for Mega Man. An act of greatness occasionally comes upon us in which a well respected developer is bestowed upon a series we once had in our hearts. Fresh minds and new ideas, rolled into a classic series series. This is what Mega Man needs.
Imagine if you will, we were in a world in which Naughty Dog, developers of the Uncharted series, were given the rights to create a Mega Man game. Imagine a hi-def MM, with a new suit that doesn’t make him look like a wimp, completely decked out with a Transformer-like body with which he rolls out different busters, unleashing combos left and right with punches and shots. It could include intense puzzle platforming and a (more) realistic plot, a better telling of a new origin story — a definitive one. It could even forget 20XX and take place in the year 2011, in which Dr. Wily somehow takes the whole Mayan Calendar debacle to heart and decides to create a new empire of Cyborgs to rise up once the world ends. Of course, the prototype will be half-man/half-cyborg, and he wouldn’t even have to go by the name Mega Man. It would kick ass, enough ass to make me excited on my own idea that will never come to life.
But alas, back to reality. Back to where corporate companies hold on to failing games. Where we see rehash after rehash with the same tired development folks and the same tired ideas. (We still love you Sonic.. Well I still do, somewhere, somehow). The fact is, as long as Mega Man is in the hands of Capcom, we’ll never see it succeed and progress.