Last year, UDON Entertainment brought us Mega Man Zero Official Complete Works, a fantastic and rich artbook for the Mega Man Zero series. This year they're stepping it up quite a bit, releasing both Mega Man and Mega Man X Official Complete Works, and on top of that releasing translated editions of some greatly sought after Rockman manga early next year. These will no doubt be heavily desired books for us Mega Man fanatics. To find out more we went straight to the source: Matt Moylan, UDON's managing editor and all-around cool guy. In the following interview, we get the scoop from Matt about what to expect with the upcoming, and perhaps what might be yet to come. TMMN: First off, Mega Man Official Complete Works has just been released, and Mega Man X Official Complete Works will be forthcoming in a couple of months. So for starters, please take some time to explain the contents of these books and what makes them so great.
Matt: Mega Man: Official Complete Works and Mega Man X: Official Complete Works are video game art books that collect all the official game art, character designs, sketches and more for the Classic Mega Man series, and the Mega Man X series respectively. One of the coolest parts is having all the character artwork for every hero, every enemy, every boss, and every Robot Master from all the games in one place, from Air Man to Yellow Devil and from Axl to Zero!
Mega Man: OCW covers the original Mega Man 1-8, the Playstation remakes, the Game Boy series, plus spinoff titles like Mega Man & Bass, Mega Man Soccer, Mega Man Powered Up and more. Mega Man X: OCW covers Mega Man X 1-8, plus the Xtreme games, Command Mission, and Maverick Hunter X.
Now originally, both these were released in Japan as a single book: R20 Rockman & Rockman X Official Complete Works. What led UDON to the decision of splitting R20 into two books for its English localization?
There are a few reasons we split up the original R20 into two books.
First, it’d be a pretty thick book, and big chain book stores are unwilling to display books over a certain price point face out. Some won't even carry a book over a certain price except in special cases. So, since we think that Mega Man has a lot of mass market appeal, we split the book in two to keep the price point down.
From the fans' perspective, we also get the added bonus of spreading out the cost across two smaller purchases instead of one big one. Plus, I’m sure there are many folks who would love to have only the classic Mega Man, or only the Mega Man X book, so they have that option now.
Though Mega Man Official Complete Works has been released, Amazon is giving shipping estimates of one to two months. Has there been any delay in production, as Mega Man Zero Official Complete Works had, or is this perhaps Amazon's miscalculation for receiving a new product? Are copies of MMOCW printed and ready to go?
Actually, neither of the two new OCW books has been released. We’re a little late for various reasons, but in the end it means that Mega Man OCW will be released at the end of November, with Mega Man X following in early December.
The books are all being printed now, so don’t worry, we won’t have a year-long delay like with the Zero book. ;)
Months after R20 released in Japan, the game Mega Man 9 was released. Is there any possibility materials and information from that game made it into Mega Man Official Complete Works? Are any other special contents or features being added? Such as the shiny cover Zero OCW had.
We did ask about including the artwork of Mega Man 9 in the book, but unfortunately Capcom Japan wouldn’t allow us to include anything that wasn’t in the original book. We would also loved to have added artwork of Zero from the upcoming Tatsunoko VS Capcom North American release, but no-go.
We will be doing some special cover treatments, though. This time, we’re adding some 3D embossing to really pop the main character out on both art books; should look pretty cool! Do you have plans to localize the Official Complete Works book for the MegaMan Star Force series that released in Japan earlier this year? And do you know if Capcom is planning to continue Official Complete Works with any other Mega Man series?
As soon as the Star Force OCW was announced, we made sure to get the ball rolling so that we could add it to our English art book library. We’ll wait until our current Mega Man art books are on sale, though, before announcing a date on that one.
Currently, we don’t know of any more Mega Man art books in the works, but I’d love to see a Battle Network OCW put together some time, or a book collecting all art of the the shorter MM series, plus odds & ends like Legends, ZX, MM9 etc. Speaking on Mega Man manga, we know UDON plans to come out with Hitoshi Ariga's Rockman Megamix, and Shin Ogino's Rockman ZX. With all the Rockman manga that's come out in Japan over the past two decades, how did you decide to start with these two? Do you have intentions to move on to other series, such as Yoshihiro Iwamoto's Rockman X manga?
Yup, Hitoshi Ariga’s Mega Man Megamix is finally getting translated! If you’re going to begin doing Mega Man manga, there’s nowhere else to start than this 3 volume series. Fans have been dying to read this for years, and we’re glad to finally bring it to them.
The Mega Man ZX manga series was also an easy decision as the latest installment of the core Mega Man universe. That, and the artwork is simply gorgeous!
If these titles do well we’re certainly going to keep it rolling with other titles. The Rockman X and Zero mangas are a possibility. Ariga also has begun his new “Gigamix” series, which would be first on our list for new Mega Man manga.
How much involvement do the original manga authors have in the localization of their works? What are they like to work with? Any fun stories?
For Megamix, we went directly to Hitoshi Ariga to get the artwork files, to ensure our edition is as high quality as possible. He’s a very nice guy, and seems ultra excited to have his work released to a whole new group of readers.
We haven’t run into too many issues localizing it, though some of the changed names have had to be addressed. For instance, Ariga was curious how we would handle the fact all of Dr. Light's robots have a giant letter “R” on their chest (since he is named Dr. Right in Japan). In this case we’ll be preserving the original art, and just add a note at the beginning explaining the Japanese VS English names.
As far as other projects go, how much of a possibility is there for UDON to put together a Mega Man Tribute book, like you did with Street Fighter and Darkstalkers? And what can fans do to help realize its creation?
A Mega Man Tribute would be a great project, and is one of the ideas that has been batted around. Though, it is a much tougher project to get off the ground than our last two Tributes. With Street Fighter, we have worked with the property so long that Capcom trusts us whatever we do. Darkstalkers was pretty easy too since it is an inactive property. Mega Man though is an active and very tightly controlled property for Capcom, so I think we need to show them we can take care of Rock & friends with the artbooks and mangas first before we approach them on anything that big.
What fans can do to help is let Capcom know at conventions, through email, or on the official Capcom-Unity forums that you’d like them to let UDON tackle a Mega Man Tribute book. Helping make sure our current Mega Man books sell well couldn’t hurt either, so be sure to tell all your friends about them!
And finally, it really seems UDON is bumping up their Mega Man coverage this season, and of course we fans are thankful. Any final statement you want to impart with the fans or about UDON's works? Maybe a little insight on anything else in the works?
We’re all very happy to bring Mega Man in as a bigger part of UDON’s regular publishing projects. There are a lot of big Blue Bomber fans at UDON, and part of choosing the projects we do is because we just want to read them ourselves!
As for future projects, maybe the fans would like to let us know what they want to see. If there’s a cool Mega Man manga or art book that you’ve heard of from Japan, or if you’d like to see UDON tackle an original Mega Man project, then please let us know any time at email@example.com.
Thank you for your time, Matt! We eagerly look forward to these lovely Mega Man artbooks and manga!