It's been quite some time since Mega Man last took to the race track in Mega Man Battle & Chase; over a decade, in fact, in a game which North America never even got to lay its hands on until 2006's Mega Man X Collection for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. Since then, Capcom appears to have been rather reluctant to put the Blue Bomber back on the racetrack, but his fans have shown no such hesitation in the beta for Sony and United Game Artists' ModNation Racers for the PlayStation 3. This game has several highly-customizable features, including the tracks you race on, the cars you drive, and even the drivers themselves. As you can see to your right, Mega Man is among the many creations people are making with the beta's more limited options, with others including the Mario Bros., Metal Sonic, Master Chief from Halo, Kratos from God of War, Old Snake from Metal Gear Solid 4, Clank from Ratchet & Clank, and many more.
For more of these creations, you can check out galleries at Destructoid, SCRAWL, and the NeoGAF. Then, you can wonder what (and who) might be possible with the final game's fully-realized feature set.
As an aside, I am well and truly surprised that we haven't seen a new Mega Man racing game in all this time. In fact, I thought one version was a shoe-in.
Does anyone remember the "The NetMobile Grand Prix!" episode of the Rockman.EXE/MegaMan NT Warrior anime? Each NetNavi (or group of NetNavis in some cases) had their own unique vehicles, including MegaMan's race car, ProtoMan's motorcycle, and the World Three's locomotive. For items? Battle Chips, of course. And the CutMan Brothers even appeared on the scene to try to thwart MegaMan's efforts to reach the finish line.
An episode like that simply screamed for such a title to be made, and yet, it never came. And as bit as MegaMan Battle Network was for Capcom, it's really quite a surprise. A lot could be done with the concept, and since Capcom is more or less rebooting the Battle Network series with Operate Shooting Star, perhaps there is still hope. Perhaps once Capcom has whatever they're planning for game ideas in place.
Oh, and for those who think other Mega Man titles should perhaps have the honor instead, I submit that the original series has had a turn, and it doesn't seem as though it would fit the scenarios of X, Zero, or ZX's worlds very well. But nothing says there can't be "special data" found to unlock such racers in a Battle Network game.
But for now, at least we can see what racers, cars, and perhaps even tracks inspired by the Mega Man franchise fans come up with for ModNation Racers.