Looking back at the Waves of Change which took over from Mega Man Battle Network.Read More
Capcom Unity has released the track list for their second upcoming Mega Man anniversary album: "MM25: Mega Man Rocks." This album features songs old and new by Mega Man and gaming tribute bands. What's more, you can have a listen to some samples, too.Read More
Here is a Capcom 30th anniversary wallpaper featuring a host of characters done up in 8-bit Mega Man style. This was given out to those who registered to the newly opened Capcom moble site, My Capcom. But outside of Japan, you can get the wallpaper just by coming here. Sizes below: 1920 x 1080 (PC) 1280 x 1024 (PC) 1136 x 640 (iPhone) 960 x 640 (iPhone) 960 x 854 (Android)
It's a fact a lot of people have been disappointed in Rockman Xover - I can't even say I'm excited about it myself, though I'm waiting to see its details. Still, some of you nutty nuts immediately assumed that this would be the only thing commemorating Mega Man's 25th, and that Mega Man is dead, and that Capcom stole all of your candy bars in the dark of night. When the question of "is anything else planned?" was brought to Capcom's Christian Svensson, this is what he had to say:
Yes... but we don't start until the 25th birthday actually happens (which is in December). Japan has its schedule of things its doing and we're working on our own things. However beyond that, unfortunately I won't be able to shed any light at this time. You will just have to wait and see.
Others at Capcom, such have Brelston, have also been saying there's a lot of planning in the works for Mega Man's 25th, and we just need to be patient and stay tuned. I will also personally say this: Don't worry about it. It doesn't need to be explained how bad times are for Mega Man lately. But constantly thinking and speculating and hoping about it will probably lead you building up expectations that are too high. Don't force yourself into a position to be underwhelmed and miserable.
Thanks to Magnet_Man for the tip!
Not unlike a comet that flares up in the sky as it makes its approach towards the sun along its orbit, today marks the fifth anniversary of the Mega Man Star Force series, which first released in Japan on December 14th, 2006.
Truth be told, I don't expect too many to pay homage to this series. It was definitely an "out there" kind of production. Its theme and formula was very similar to the successful Battle Network series. But whereas Battle Network was set in a world recognizable to our own, and rife with characters and elements borrowed from classic Mega Man, Star Force was set in a future where people wore puffy space pants and made whatever they wanted out of radio waves. Furthermore, aside from the titular hero, the game felt like it had virtually no relation to previous Mega Man series, including the very Battle Network it piggybacked off of. Ultimately, I believe it was a series that many people had a hard time connecting with, besides devoted Battle Network fans and total newcomers.
That all being said, Mega Man Star Force did get off to a good start. Releasing in three varieties right off the bat, it seemed a little like overkill. But the game's sales would approach a million worldwide, nearly matching sales of Battle Network 4. It also had a very charming story about a boy coming out of his shell, both socially and as a hero. I also really liked the interactions between Geo and Omega-Xis. Whereas Lan and Hub of Battle Network were brothers and typically very chummy, the timid Geo and gruff Mega had more of a personality disparity, with Mega often pushing Geo into awkward situations. I would have liked to see more of this.
Star Force 2, however, was where things took a slip. The game did a little more than half as well as the first. I attribute this to how much the game seemed to toss away elements from the first. After having made new friends and strengthened relationships, Geo seldom interacts with those people this time. Sonia, who wanted to get away from the stress and burden of her musical career, became a commercial sell out. And what few Battle Network elements the first game had, such as Navis and going in machines, were stripped away too.
The last formal game in the series, Star Force 3, would go on to fix a lot of these issues, but it was too little too late. Rather unfortunate, because this was the game where the series finally pulled up its pants and got to work. A very fun and engaging story, interesting characters and villains, and lots of new features expanded the battle system. But with the amount of disinterest that would be allowed to settle, this title sold the weakest of the three entries.
Geo and Mega would make their last stand in the Japan exclusive Rockman EXE Operate Shooting Star. Advertised as an exciting crossover between Battle Network and Star Force, it was ultimately just a port of the original Battle Network with an additional Star Force themed scenario shoved near the end of the game.
Despite the efforts put into, Star Force fell away rather quietly. Nevertheless, there are still those who appreciate it. To this day I occasionally see banter on 2channel with people hoping for a Star Force 4. For myself, while I can see the demerits in Star Force, and the things that didn't allow the series to catch on, I still appreciate the fun I had with it.
Earlier this year, Mega Man Battle Network turned ten (and made us all feel a little bit older). Now on 1Up, writer Jeremy Parish has a feature running commemorating the series, with a focus on how it saved Mega Man, if at least for a time. I don't know if I agree with all of Jeremy's points myself, but it is certain that the game was successful in generating a new audience for Mega Man while still managing to appeal to a degree of the original fans, thanks to its liberal use of characters and themes from the classic games. It definitely was meant to be aimed at kids but it managed to tie together fun gameplay (gimmicks aside) and an amusing tale.
Personally, I still think there's a lot of potential left in the concept. Battle Network may have eventually been mishandled and petered out, but its high point is proof of the success it's capable of.
Earlier this year, Mega Man Battle Network turned ten, but that doesn't mean there's no room for another anniversary (and they tend to group up like this). On July 6th, 2006, in the country of Japan, Inti Creates' followup to the Zero series came into the world on the Nintendo DS. Five years later, however, its only real lasting quality has become replacing Mega Man Legends as the most unsung series in Mega Man. Straight off the bat, Mega Man ZX is very unique. It retains essentially the same gameplay mechanics and style from the Mega Man Zero series. It even tried to revive the open world aspect the original Zero kind of had. But it put these elements into a world that feels very... un-Mega Man. You have kids doing henshin cosplay with mythical heroes and villains obsessed with evolution and godhood. It just seems so strange that the story of a little blue robot fighting a mad scientist could develop into this, and I do believe that's the largest reason ZX never caught on.
That's not to say the two ZX games were awful or anything. Aside from retaining the traditional action gameplay of X and Zero, ZX and ZX Advent typically had fantastic music, incredibly beautiful environments, and personally some of my favorite boss designs from any Mega Man title. It also forwent new weapons instead with the ability to gain new forms, which was very novel although in practice I think most players just stuck with the most useful ones. And while the story and world can be seen as strange, I know at the same time how much it appealed to fans for attempting to tie together the past with the present. It felt like we were solving mysteries, and for the time when ZX was new I was hooked by it myself.
It's hard to say what the future holds for ZX. A likely answer is probably not much, but then you never know. Even after ending years ago, the Zero series still lives on in other merchandise like albums and model kits. So long as the fan voice is there, there's a chance ZX can at least have the same as that.
A short-lived series, but still one worth looking over.
When I think of Mega Man Battle Network, it still seems like a pretty new series to me. But the original title released in Japan on March 21st, 2001. And as the day has just turned over to the 21st in Japan, that makes Battle Network a whopping 10 years old. This makes me feel unnecessarily old.
Mega Man Battle Network was always a bit different, and attracted a new kind of gaming fan to the world of Mega Man. But it's also one of the most successful Mega Man series to be released, wielding one of only four Mega Man games ever to sell over a million worldwide (Battle Network 4). The series also has a lot of personal meaning to me. While I'll always consider classic Mega Man my favorite, Battle Network played a large role towards my ambition of learning Japanese and working on websites like TMMN. Funny enough... I thought it looked awful when it was first shown. I thought the characters looked ridiculous! But the series grew on me in a really big way.
I don't know what the future holds for Battle Network, especially following the lackluster Operate Shooting Star a couple years back. But I still think it has a lot of potential, even if it technically "ended." Nevertheless, who knows what the next ten years will bring!
Though it's been the 17th in Japan for sometime now, Mega Man is officially 23 today. Culturally, I guess there's nothing real significant about age 23, but this 23rd year for Mega Man has been anything but dull. First, the games. Even though they seem like such a long time ago, we did get a couple this year. Mega Man 10, the retro followup to Mega Man 9, came out back in March boasting even more content and features. As well, Mega Man Zero Collection hit in May, delivering a great package of games at a value price.
But perhaps more than than the games was the merchandise we got. This was a tough year not to spend money! UDON Entertainment released a slew of long-awaited localizations: Mega Man Megamix and Mega Man ZX, and just recently announced Mega Man Tribute. Bandai brought out a collection of Rockman mini-figures, and Kotobukiya started their line of high-quality Rockman model kits. Not to mention there's much more coming the following year; more from UDON, Kotobukiya, Archie and Jazwares, just to name a few!
And then there were the announcements. First we got the enigmatic reveal for Mega Man Universe, which came to light as a DIY Mega Man side scroller based on Mega Man 2. In recent months, however, there's been a complete blackout and information. What could be going on with this one?
Perhaps because it got overshadowed by one of the biggest Mega Man announcements since Mega Man 9 (I'd reckon to say bigger than that): Mega Man Legends 3. A game fans have passionately waited a decade for. And what's more, the fans get a hand in the development too! For many it's a literal dream come true...
...Only to be followed up by the departure of Keiji Inafune. Hardly a month after announcing Legends 3, a game he claimed he always wanted to make, Inafune resigned from Capcom citing uncertainty with his place in the company. Many were shocked, and it's left some speculation in how Capcom will continue to handle Mega Man.
Ah, and let's not forget Rockman Online. Even though it's a game we may never get here, it astounded fans with its sheer amount of Mega Man content and mythos rolled up together. I do feel Capcom could stand to take a page from this approach!
All-in-all, this has definitely been a memorable year Mega Man, with some large highs and large lows. But as we usher in 2011, we continue to look forward to what Mega Man has to offer.
Incidentally, today is also the 17th anniversary of Mega Man X, tomorrow will be the 13th anniversary of Mega Man Legends, and a few days ago was the 4th anniversary of Mega Man Star Force. Time sure flies, doesn't it?
During the short but remarkable run of the Mega Man Legends series, Capcom took a break between the two major titles to release a curious game focusing on a series antagonist instead of a protagonist. 10 years ago, on July 22nd, 1999, that game released in Japan as Tron ni Kobun, but we know it better here as The Misadventures of Tron Bonne. I must confess that I'm not a big Misadventures fan, and it's one of the few Mega Man titles I haven't played to completion. But like the other two Legends titles, it has its very devoted fans. While the game my not be one of my top faves, it's easy to say that the Bonnes are definitely one of the most endearing groups of villains amidst the entire Mega Man franchise, and I give those characters much of the credit in why so many people demand for a continuation of the Legends series even today. Incidentally, I'm also pretty sure that Misadventures is the first Mega Man title that starred a female protagonist. So to you Misadventures fans out there, this is your day of celebration.
News Credit: CAP Kobun
Sure this really has nothing to do with Mega Man, but the Game Boy is a legendary handheld gaming system, and Mega Man V for Game Boy is probably one of my favorite Mega Man times of all time. To be honest, with all the 20th and even 25th anniversaries that have been going on in the gaming world, I'm surprised the Game Boy is only 20 now. Almost seems young. But man, what a great system. I literally played my original Game Boy to death. Had a knack for losing them too — I probably had three Game Boys in all but for the life of me I can't recall what happened to them. Fortunately though, I still have every Mega Man game that was released on the system, and I still enjoy them on my Game Boy Advance.
With so many great titles on the Game Boy, outside of Mega Man too of course, it's a little sad that the system has been unsupported for some time. Maybe either via the DSi store or other means, classic Game Boy games will somehow be able to enter the market again for a new generation to enjoy. It's also unfortunate that the Mega Man Game Boy collection that was supposed to be released on the Game Boy Advanced, and then was rumored for a short time to release on the DS, seemingly went up in smoke. With Capcom remembering the potential of classic Mega Man with Mega Man 9, I hope they remember the Game Boy titles too. Who wouldn't like to see Rockman World 6?
Nevertheless, thank you, Game Boy! For all those good times when my parents dragged me to the boring furniture store!
Image courtesy Retro Junk