If you're anything of a Mega Man fan, the ambiguous dating system of the series should be very familiar to you. For example, the Battle Network series takes place in 200X. The X series occurs through 21XX. Star Force kicks in at 22XX. Legends... honestly, I don't really know; I think they used the Mayan Long Count in that one, or something. Now, returning back to the original Mega Man, we have the first three games taking place in 200X. Then starting with Mega Man 4, the games moved into 20XX, much like we're doing now. Why the change in the games? Perhaps once Capcom got to working on 4, they realized there probably wouldn't be cute, child-shaped robots running around by the year 2000. I am pretty let down myself. Instead of Mega Man, we got ASIMO. Instead of Robot Masters, we got smartphones. Instead of Dr. Wily, we got Bernie Madoff. Man, real life is never as interesting - though I do think we should still keep our eyes on Dr. Weil (no disrespect sir).
But now that 200X is wrapping up, we need to look forward to 20XX. Capcom is definitely pledging to start things out on a high note be delivering us Mega Man 10. I really have high hopes for this game. While Mega Man 9 was largely an effort in reverse engineering the earlier Mega Man titles to see what made them fun, I think Mega Man 10 will serve as an opportunity to really implement the lessons they learned. Furthermore, while not exactly a Mega Man game, the fast approaching Tatsunoko vs. Capcom will allow us to jump into some insane brawls as Roll, Zero and MegaMan Volnutt. Should be a game that fighting fans with a warm spot for Mega Man won't want to miss.
I did consider a list of my picks for top Mega Mans in 200X, but lists are often made to get criticized and picked apart, and then you end up forgetting some things. Furthermore, the New Year is about looking forward, not looking back. And being the dreamer that I am, here are some games I think would really rock in 20XX.
- MegaMan Legends 3 - I'm gunning for this pretty much because it's all people seem to ask Inafune about anymore. Actually I did write an article some time back predicting that Legends 3 would be announced by the end of the decade, though I think I meant the end of 2010. Either way Capcom is making me look like a sucker on this one. But I know it's coming. There's no way Inafune will be able to retire without getting to this game. The series has a following that seems to grow more with each year. Games have progressed enough technologically that Legends 3 could be much more effectively made. And c'mon, MegaMan got left on freakin' Elysium. Don't you feel awful yet?
- The ultimate Mega Man game - I'm more than happy with classic Mega Man's revival on the downloadble scene. I love the simplicity, I love the 8bit, I love the tight, arcade action. But why not just cut to the chase and dump it all in one, magnificent game? All the Robot Masters, all the weapons, tons of stages. The disc based games of today can hold gigs of content. Could have some more modern graphics, though it doesn't have to be anything cutting edge. And to top it all off, how about some local multiplayer? How great would it be for friends to be blasting through stage after stage together? Could throw in lots of playable characters: Mega Man, Proto Man, Roll, Bass, Duo... maybe even some new guys?
- Zero in motion - Some of the other TMMN guys don't agree with me on this one, but I totally think Zero is ready for his Motion Plus debut. The Wii has more than enough proven to be an entertainment phenomenon by now. Why let Nintendo run away with all the one-to-one swordplay action with their next Zelda? A 3D, action Zero game with Motion Plus hack and slash action would be extremely awesome. There are definitely enough Zero fans out there, I know that much just from the reaction he got in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Even Inafune regards Zero as one of his most beloved characters. How could this go bad?
I can always wish, anyway. 20XX is only going to be around for 90 years, so I guess we'll see what Capcom has time for. Regardless, I'm sure they already have plenty of ideas stewing for Mega Man's upcoming 25th and 30th anniversaries that will greet us this decade (and thinking of those makes me feel very old).
This may just be the passing of another year for some, but to me, entering 20XX is a big deal. Among my resolutions for this brave new decade, I resolve to actually learn Japanese and stop making up the news. I also resolve to say 20% less demeaning things to Tabby. But most of all, I resolve not to let Mega Man have it any easier.
Thanks for the inspiration, Mateo.