When Mega Man 9 came out four years ago, it showed that old school can still just as fun in a world of HD cinematics, tutorials and quick time events. What's more, a great deal of effort was made to ensure the game retained that vintage 1980s charm. However, according to Hironobu Takeshita, the game's producer, this proved to be challenging to do and a good deal of had to be started over to better capture the classic feel. Until now, we've never really seen how Mega Man 9 was coming along before this big shift, but the recently released R20+5: Rockman and Rockman X Official Complete Works sheds a lot of light. Just from the image above, you can get a feel for the style the game was originally gunning for. I'm not going to show everything for the sake of not spoiling all the contents, but I'll still show you a lot!
Beyond is an image heavy post, so brace yourself! Some of what you see may make your head go tiun tiun tiun!
Here's Concrete Man, who began life as Cement Man, and had the weapon Cement Shot. He was devised as a "workman" type character similar to Guts Man, and coloration aside, his design didn't change a whole lot. As you can see, they tried giving him a drill at one point.
Now here's a major change! Tornado Man originally started out as Weather Man, and carried the weapon Hurricane Blow. He originally began looking something like a satellite. A change to a design inspired from a mix of Quick Man and Wind Man, however, cemented his final appearance.
Splash Woman shocked tons of fans with being the first female Robot Master, but before that, she was a man, baby! Ocean Man, to be exact, although "his" weapon was still Laser Trident. When Keiji Inafune proposed the idea of mermaid-themed Robot Master, Ocean Man got uhh... neutered, you might say.
Plug Man began as Plasma Man, with the weapon Plasma Ball. Fittingly, his original design made him a big plasma globe. But again with Keiji Inafune's intervention, his design was altered into more or less a plug variation of Heat Man.
Here's Jewel Man, originally conceived as Diamond Man with the Diamond Satellite. His concept was conceived as the "dandy one" from the start, and they tried various different color schemes for his body bling.
Splash Woman wasn't the only one to undergo a gender bend. As Mr. Takeshita mentioned before, Hornet Man began as Honey Woman (though she still possessed the Hornet Chaser). But apparently with some "one woman rule," Ocean Man becoming a woman meant Honey Woman had to become a man. The redesign was named Sting Man for a time, before finally settling on Hornet Man.
Compared to the rest, Magma Man's concept was nailed from the get go. In fact he's the only Robot Master not to undergo a name change, although his weapon was originally Fire Bazooka. As you can see, they did play around with a more humanoid design, but the volcano themed finalized his form pretty quickly it seems.
Galaxy Man was first conceived as Space Man, and still possessed the Black Hole Bomb. Before he was finalized with his UFO-style design, the designers seemed to try out some fairly more complicated concepts for his form.
Some other goodies. Fake Man had a number of concepts, since the designers weren't sure which sort of police officer he should be modeled after culturally. One design even gives him a cowboy hat. Hanabilan, the flower miniboss in Hornet Man's stage, originally was a clown robot that resembled the Pierrobots from in Metal Man's stage. Meanwhile, the Spike Pushers were originally designed to look like a pair of oni inspired robots. And then the Twin Devil, well, it was just plain nasty!