With the impending closure of Nintendo Power now on the horizon, many have taken to reminiscing and looking back at older issues of the beloved publication. In one instance, a peek at the "Pak Watch" section of the September/October 1990 issue has revealed something interesting:
Keiji Inafune has expressed that Mega Man 3 is his least favorite game, as he felt it was still "unfinished" when the time came to release it. This has led to some speculation, such as the possibility of an original intent on having eight Doc Robot stage revisitations, but now it seems that there could be more to the tale.
As you can see, the blurb notes that the eight Robot Masters we've come to know and love were supposedly but a "sampling" of 20 super robots in the game. The question then is how this was supposed to be broken down: Were they all supposed to be Robot Masters?
For that matter, was Doc Robot even supposed to be an actual part of the game? Or was it just a quick fix when they couldn't produce a full 20 in order to make deadline?
And then there is the possibility of misunderstanding, or a misinterpretation. Or were Wily's fortress guardians to count? What about Proto Man/Break Man? Even without the latter, it would seem that the Wily bosses would push the number past 20, though that could have simply been a rounded estimate.
Nonetheless, this is a very curious part of the Blue Bomber's past. If someone reading this ever gets a chance to ask Inafune, perhaps we'll get an answer. But until then, all we can do is continue to speculate as to the nature of the "true" vision of Mega Man 3.
Thanks for the scan, Loki!