Concepts Unearthed - The Beginnings of Mega Man 10

rockman10boxart Late last year, we revealed to you the eye opening initial concepts for the Mega Man 9 Robot Masters, and Mega Man 10 was promised in short order. Well... better late than never, right? Right!?

Truth be told, unlike Mega Man 9, which featured wildly different boss concepts to what was finally in the game, Mega Man 10 appears to have been more straightforward from the get go. Not so many drastic changes and gender swaps here, but still some interesting pre-designs nevertheless.

This time I'm going to show you a bit more than I think you deserve *nudge nudge* and translations of commentary by character design Yuto Watanabe. Nevertheless, if and when R20+5 reaches western localization, you should definitely pick it up! Our coverage here just doesn't do the tome justice.

DWN-073 - Blade Man

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At the immediate start I drew him with a helmet that had a cockscomb-like sword extending up, but since the novelty in that wore off, I settled on a design outside of my expectations from my early stage doodles. Likewise, when thinking of other bosses, which the Mega Man series already has plenty of, I paid attention not to mimic a past boss's design. With Blade man, I decided on making both his hands sabers, instead of just the one, to attempt to differentiate him from the similarly sword themed Sword Man.

DWN-074 - Pump Man

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With Pump Man, I'd heard from the planner "I want him to have an action where he pumps water by cranking a lever on his own head." After deciding where his water spout would be placed, the final design resulted relatively early in planning. When we looked at the bosses side by side at a certain stage there was no one with a bitter, angry looking face, so Pump Man was bestowed that honor.

DWN-075 - Commando Man

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The previous game's "power character," Concrete Man, featured a design constructed of rounded parts. Since Napalm Man, another military type boss, also featured a rounded kind of design, it was decided early on that Commando Man would feature a design with sharp edges and corners. After that, it was discussed what number of armaments you'd see on him for the attacks he uses in the game. In the end we made his armaments simple, and transferred the chest cannon attribute to the present Pump Man design.

 DWN-076 - Chill Man

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In the initial plans, Chill Man had been the "power type" character, but while changing around the overall positions of the eight bosses, Chill Man became the cool looking humanoid type character. As there were already enough hero-ish humanoid bosses that had some key symbol or fixture on their forehead, I made him a boss that expresses an interesting design among the other cool ones.

DWN-077 - Sheep Man

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In Sheep Man's initial stages, he was thought up as a character with rounded eyes like Heat Man. Being a sheep he had this sleepy eye image, plus I had thought it was necessary that one or two bosses among the eight have rounded eyes.

Sheep Man gave me the roughest time for a number of reasons. In the end I went with a design that I'd got from Inafune, but with this I feel that it continues the line of animal type bosses like Uranus and Hyper Storm H.

DWN-078 - Strike Man

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In the beginning, Strike Man's designation as "a boss who's skilled at all sports" was vague, and working out a suitable design was really frustrating. After a while, I got instructions saying "Narrow his theme down to baseball" and "We want his body to be a ball," so his design was decided as an Air Man type, and from there the present design passed with no objections.

DWN-079 - Nitro Man

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Both Nitro Man and Strike Man were devised as Air Man type characters, so Nitro Man was switched to a humanoid type during revision. Along the way, I troubled over his transformation mechanism. A person riding a bike type form was the coolest in my mind, so with that he gained a form representing the rider and the bike separated. To clearly differentiate him from a car, handlebars extend from the top of his shoulders.

DWN-080 - Solar Man

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Originally I'd thought of Solar Man as a boss who emits solar rays, like his name suggests. But I heard the staff wanted him to release fire, not sunlight, so I changed the design to one where an artificial sun is produced. Following suit, his head portion became the sun part, and his stature shrunk down. I was surprised at what an incredibly merry character he'd become with the finished sprites.

Concepts Unearthed - The Beginnings of Mega Man 9

megaandcoWhen 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!

 Concrete Man

concrete1concrete2Here'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.

Tornado Man

tornado1tornado2Now 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

splash1splash2Splash 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

plug1plug2Plug 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.

Jewel Man

jewel1jewel2Here'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.

Hornet Man

hornet1hornet2Splash 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.

Magma Man

magma1magma2 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

galaxy1galaxy2 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.

Other Enemies

others1others2others3Some 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!

Rockman Online is Likely Cancelled, According to Artist (Updated)

Well, unfortunate news tonight, though probably news a lot of you were expecting. After concerns about the fate of Rockman Online after NeoWiz announced internal restructuring, the game's environments artist Kang Dong Hwa, aka Cantio75, has admitted that the project he was on was dropped (without mentioning Online specifically) on his blog. Furthermore, he posted numerous pieces of concept artwork (such as the above) he devised for Online over the years. This also points to the game being cancelled, since it would most likely be illegal for him to post the artwork if the game were still in development.

Of course, we'll wait for official confirmation from NeoWiz to say for certainty the game's cancellation, but honestly, after nearly half a year with no updates, and growing concerns, this development probably shouldn't be shocking. It is a true shame - Rockman Online was looking like a very interesting game, despite being one fans in the west may have never got to play.

UPDATE: An inside source has confirmed that the team working on Rockman Online was disbanded. If Online is even still in development, it would likely be a very different game than anything we've seen so far. We're choosing not to name the source

UPDATE 2: Mr. Kang appears to have removed some of the unseen environmental art from his gallery. Chances are he's just playing it safe with the advent of this news catching on - apparently it's since been widely spread among Korean and Japanese news sites and blogs.

We also wish the best to Mr. Kang, who says he's currently looking for new work, and that it's hard finding jobs that suit his specialty in science fiction imagery. At the very least, we have this additional artwork you can enjoy after the break.

Thanks to Amunshen for the information (based on a story originally from Protodude's Rockman Corner).

Old Mega Man Docs Reveal Interesting Art

A user by the name of Buyatari has uncovered an interesting collection of materials, seemingly distributed by Capcom back in the days for various purposes. They include things like character model sheets, ad mock ups, and concept package designs. Lots of rare and fascinating stuff! Some of it gets pretty out there. A Mega Man 2 toy line? Ground Man in the Mega Man Mania box concept?? Mega Man X Soccer??? I would love to know the story behind how and why much of this stuff was made!

You can check out many more materials on this Digitpress forum post. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Buyatari!

The Unseen Worlds of Mega Man Legends

I think it's fair to say that Mega Man Legends was pretty ambitious for its time. It was an all new series that departed greatly from what many people recognized as Mega Man then. It was also Mega Man's first step into a 3D adventure, a game design that still had a lot of unexplored territory. Of course before things could jump to 3D, they had to be plotted out in 2D by artists and planners. Above is Mega Man Legends' Apple Market. On the left is a concept design, and on the right is what we got in the game. Quite a disparity, but understandable given the technological limitations of the day. Furthermore, the concept art isn't simply to picture something for a game, but also something to draw ideas from and help flesh out a world. Plenty of material like this is made, creating the world we see in Mega Man Legends, as well as the world we don't see!

Since it's a holiday, let's sit back and have fun taking a look at these concepts after the break. Just a warning, however, it's pretty image intensive!

Here's Apple Market again, for you to view in larger size. Next to it is a scene from Apple Market's back alley, seemingly between the market and Downtown. I don't believe this is an area that made it into the game. Playing Mega Man Legends I always got the sense the town on Kattelox was like a 1950s, TV sitcom middle American town. But these concepts give the air of something more warm and less modernized. There's a very European feel to the layout and detail.

A concept design on a main street in Downtown. Again, a very European style environment with the clocktower and double decker bus and such. I really like the small details, like the umbrella tables out on the sidewalk.

More of Downtown; here we have a rough concept of a residential district. This looks a bit closer to what we got in the game, with its flat-sided buildings and equal areas segmented by streets. Again, keep in mind this art doesn't represent what they tried to make the game look like, just what they imagined it could be like.

Speaking of residential, although Downtown is full of houses you don't get to go into any of them. But that doesn't mean the planners didn't conjure up what they would look like on the inside. Of course, this style of open floor design made its way into Battle Network and Star Force as well. This looks like it could be out of one of those titles.

More of Downtown. It's got such a quaint and organic feel to it. Though I guess it would be a little odd for people to create such a town with the limited resources on a small island like Kattelox. But who knows?

Moving to Uptown, we have the hospital and art museum. The text on the hospital notes that the rounded structure on top could be made larger, and resemble a syringe. They really went full blown with that concept in the final design in the game. Meanwhile, it seems the art museum originally started out as a general museum, and was a bit larger. It even would have had a planetarium at the top. It makes me wonder what thoughts they'd have on space, considering things like rockets and space travel are very fanciful concepts here; the stuff of myths.

Of course, surface-dwelling society is just one side of the Legends world. There's also an entirely different world beneath the ground.

Here are some of the earlier concepts for underground ruins. They were definitely running with more of a mechanical theme, and come off more like the insides of a factory or a battleship, with all the pipes, ladders, grates and such. I suppose they have a bit of spookiness, but they don't command the kind of awe you'd expect when uncovering an ancient and advanced civilization.

Here the design is starting to get closer to what was found in the game, at least in consideration of the sub areas that connect the major ruins. The notes indicate a yellow colored water or some other type of strange liquid flowing beneath. Hrm.

I really love this image. This is definitely starting to get closer to the kind of weird and awe-inspiring elements the ruins ought to have. The strange mechanical pillars are really cool.

Now the concepts are much closer to what we see in the game, with greater emphasis on an advanced and polished look with repetition of geometric shapes. And of course the trademark red Reaverbot eye. The top image is pretty interesting; it was conceived as a life support system room for a boss, centered around a shielded monolith which presumably has its own defense system. The second image is of a reactor room, which would eventually translate into the room where the treasured Refractor rests. The last room is a control room. I can see these becoming the control center found in the Clozer Woods Sub-gate. But you really have to marvel at what this thing is with its floating clockwork and eye. Is it a building or a Reaverbot?

The last images we'll look at leave Kattelox entirely. These images are intended to conceive what kind of world all these events take place in. This is the most fanciful stuff, which is of course why I saved it for last!

First we have what appears to be concepts for a home for the Caskett family. On the left is a castle-style home. There is a place for the Flutter to moor in the space between the home and the windmill (which is partially cut off). On the right is a factory-style home. Here Roll appears to be gazing out the window while bathing. I guess maybe she's not actually that shy. Since the Flutter itself is a flying house, I never before imagined MegaMan, Roll and Barrel having an actual home somewhere in the world. But it's certainly possible they would have a piece of land staked out for themselves; it would be tiresome to always be flying around.

Here is a concept for a typical city. It appears that as the city grew, they just kept making buildings over buildings. That's perhaps why it's such an interesting combination of houses and factories. I think there's even a cannon in there!

A city suspended in the air, constructed on an enormous brace. Possibly something left behind by the people who came before. Notes indicate it looks like it once may have been a veritable paradise, but has now fallen into disrepair.

An underwater city; assuredly not in present use. Considering Mega Man Legends takes place in a time where the world has been largely flooded, these types of submerged cities ought to be all over the place.

This is not so much a city but one of the first takes on designing ancient ruins. Surrounding it are mountains of wreckage presumably that remain from whatever form of society may have once been present. A little depressing to look at.

And again, saving the very best for last. This impressive image is really what inspired me to put this article together. A depiction of the general world, these cities built atop enormous cogs suspended in the air seems almost too fanciful for what we're used to from the games. Then again, if a place like this truly exists in the world, it's understandable how air travel would have become so prevalent. This image simply adds so much more mystery and awe to what we already have seen from Mega Man Legends. I love it.

Taking all this in, it really feels like the games have only shown us a shred of the bewildering world the Legends series takes place in. It also makes me wonder what kind of fascinating stuff we'll witness in Mega Man Legends 3. I do know one thing, though. Recall that I began the article commenting how the technology didn't allow the game match the detailed and expressive landscapes the designers envisioned. Looking at what we've seen from Legends 3 so far, I don't think that's going to be an issue any longer!

All of the artwork from in this article is featured in the Rockman DASH Capcom Official Concept Document Great Adventure Guide (ロックマンDASHカプコン公式設定資料集大冒険ガイド). Many thanks to AWD! for scanning it for me to show off.

Rockman 10 Concept Designs Are Eye-Opening

As previously reported, the latest issue of GAMESIDE in Japan would contain a special "Rockman 10 Big Picture Book," including conceptual designs of the Robot Masters and their stages. And thanks to our Japanese connections, we've got the concept art here to show you!

What's most interesting is how some of the stages were thought up. A few of them looked like nothing I'd ever imagined back when I was first playing Mega Man 10. Check them all out after the break! You can click the images for super-sized versions.

GAMESIDE Magazine Features "Rockman 10 Big Picture Book"

GAMESIDE, a Japanese gaming magazine, features a special selection of Rockman 10 artwork in its latest issue, including lovely concept art, as you can see. The whole six page feature includes concept art of the Robot Masters and their stage designs, a section on the downloadable contents, an artwork gallery, and an interview with the Rockman 10 staff. We'll work our connections to bring you all of this awesome content ASAP!

News Credit: CAP Kobun