A Peek at Yellow Devil in Super Smash Bros.

dailyThe Super Smash Bros. Official Site treats fans to a new screenshot everyday. Of course Mega Man has shown up here and there, but here's our first direct look at Yellow Devil (previously we only see him assembling at the end of the trailer). They really nailed his classic appearance, even with the shape of the hands. And just what is Kirby doing up there? Is he stuck in the Devil, or just clipping through? Or maybe he's even controlling the behemoth (unlikely, but neat idea). I've been curious what kind of role Yellow Devil plays in the game. I'm supposing he's probably a hazard that shows up in the Dr. Wily castle stage. But what do you think?

Thanks for the tip, KXN!

Famitsu Rockman Xover Item Indicating a Near Release?

Presently, the iOS social game Rockman Xover still has the vague release date of Autumn in Japan (and no clue with regards to the west, but it is coming). However, a notice from Famitsu indicates the game may be coming out soon - as early as next week even. An issue of Famitsu App, a sister magazine to Famitsu Weekly that covers smartphones, releases next week on the 18th. This issue will contain "limited edition items" via serial code for a variety of games, including Rockman Xover. While this is no guarantee of release date, it would still be a bit odd for a magazine to publish a limited availability promotional item long before a game actually comes out.

Whatever the case may be, I am curious to finally try out the full version of Xover and see if the game lives up to all the, ehem... "hype."

News Credit: CAP Kobun's Daletto Blog

Speculation Train: MMU a Kinect/Move Game?

Been a long time since I did one of this. We are at the eve of PAX, and many things we've wondered about Capcom's Mega Man Universe will be answered in a scant 24 hours. However, a small realization struck me yesterday, and Boss Man insisted I write about it. So then, here we go. What if Mega Man Universe is a game meant to utilize Microsoft's Kinect and Sony's Move? What kind of game would that be? How would one even reach such an idea?

Truthfully, I owe my "epiphany" to Lance, based on a comment he made in a post yesterday. There was a little joking about Mega Man Universe actually taking place in a kid's bedroom, based on the teaser trailer Capcom put out at Comic Con. However, with Kinect and Move, couldn't Mega Man Universe take place in your bedroom? To be more definitive, Mega Man Universe could be a game that generates stages, obstacles or different forms for Mega Man based on things the Kinect and Move cameras pick up. It wasn't until I started considering the evidence that this became clear:

  • In the trailer, the boy looks at different items around his room. These items transform Mega Man into other forms. This could be achieved with a camera
  • The trailer's tagline is "Your world. Megafied." This could be taken literally - things from your world are going into the game.
  • In an interview on GameSpot a while back, a Capcom spokesperson stated this would be a Mega Man game where imagination is the star.
  • It would explain why Capcom is not releasing the game on the Wii.
  • At Comic Con, Keiji Inafune said it would be a little ways yet before MMU releases. This would be because Kinect and Move still need to launch.

When you consider the points that way, it does seem compelling. However, I could easily be reading into it too much. After all, Capcom Unity's original hint at MMU had many of us thinking it would be a 3D game.

To play the devil's advocate, I tried to consider why MMU wouldn't be a Kinect/Move game, but these speculations reflected more on why it shouldn't.  But essentially, how would such a game work? How much would Mega Man fans want to cart all kinds of stuff into their room just to affect the game? How many Mega Man fans want to actually buy a Kinect or Move to play something like this? Kinect is especially vexing, since it's marketed as the "controller-free controller" but I don't see how a Mega Man game could be played (enjoyably) without a controller. However, Lance did point out to me that the Xbox 360 could use any old webcam to fill the technical need.

I'll be honest that I'm not really good at these speculation things, and my past track record isn't that fantastic. But it is still a provocative idea to consider. What we do know right now, at the eve of PAX, is that the trailer was made the way it was for a reason. The things going on in it aren't just random, but were thought out. So, what would you think it means?

We'll know soon.

Inafune Announcing New Game at Comic Con

Get the speculation train a-chuggin'. At this year's San Diego Comic Con, on July 22nd, Keiji Inafune will be making a surprise announcement at Capcom's corner. Quoting from the show schedule:

4:45-5:45 Capcom 2010 and Beyond!—See the latest trailers and get the inside scoop on all of Capcom’s most highly anticipated games for 2010 and beyond:Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Sengoku Basara, Okamiden, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, Ghost Trick, Dead Rising 2, and more. On top of all that, hear details on an exciting new game announcement by Capcom legend Keiji Inafune, the father of Mega Man!Room 6BCF

Of course, there's no confirmation if the new game has anything to do with Mega Man. But considering Mega Man Universe is being trademarked all over the place, and we went through a Mega Man-less E3, I'd say there's a pretty good possibility of the Blue Bomber poking his head up. While we have no plans to attend the event as of yet, we are organizing some means of coverage to bring you up to the minute info.

News Credit: Destructoid

Identifying Mega Man 10's new Robot Masters

With the new Mega Man 10 trailer we've now seen sprite silhouettes of the eight new Robot Masters. So then, it's time to get speculatin'! Of course, we already have positive IDs on two of the new Robot Masters thanks to Nintendo Power. These are Sheep Man and Commando Man.

sheepspritesheeppic

commandospritecommandopic

But how about the rest of the guys? Here's where the fun begins.

sportsguysprite

This guy is the boss of the stadium stage, though if I didn't know any better I'd say he's Air Man. He seems built like a football player, though his stage is designed more around baseball and soccer. I really like the locker doors that flip open and shoot down at you. For now I'm going to say this is Sports Man, though given the embarrassing names Robot Masters sometimes have, maybe Ball Man.

sewerguysprite

Boss of the sewer stage. His head seems to have a bulge and them some kind of little tail, almost like a slug or something. However, the image here seems to imply a blue color scheme, so that moves me away from saying Slug Man or Snail Man. He could possibly be Poison Man or Toxic Man, though having a pipe-centric stage as well, perhaps Pipe Man or Plumbing Man.

cityguysprite

Not really sure what to say about this guy. It's a little hard to say what his stage is, some kind of city district or maybe a truck depot. He also seems rather small and nondescript. It kind of looks like he's wearing a bandanna or a backwards cap, but that also could just be an antenna. Still I'm stumped. Splashman says he's probably Road Man. I'd guess something like that, or Drive Man or Truck Man.

lavaguysprite

Well your typical fire stage. Blaze Man, Flare Man, Lava Man and the like are all fair game. Though I'll admit, with the conveyor belts and stuff in this stage I get kind of an industrial vibe on top of the typical hot stage with lava pools. So it'd be interesting to see something like Steel Man, perhaps. It's hard to tell what's going on with his head.

iceguysprite

And the typical ice stage. The silhouette doesn't lend too much detail either. He looks a little like Jewel Man, maybe with a big ice shard for headgear instead. So, Snow Man? Chill Man? Tundra Man?

bladeguysprite

Wow, is that a big sword you've got or are you just happy to kill me? I want to say Blade Man or Knife Man with this guy. Splashman feels this castle stage seems Japanese themed so he's betting on Katana Man. Personally I think the stage seems more Russian or Arabic, but then I'm not terribly cultural either.

So, what do you guys think? Let's hear your speculations!

Zero a new character in Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom?

x4_zerodefendWith the announcement that new characters are slated to be added to the US release of Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom, fans have been hopeful to find out who those characters are. Now we may know, but unfortunately I must file this one under speculation. According to COCOROG, a page on Capcom of Japan's new website for Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars had unused source code which named the new hidden characters to appear: Zero (albeit which series is unknown), Frank (Dead Rising), Yatterman #2 (Yatterman) and Joe the Condor (Gatchaman). Additionally there is Tekkaman Blade, who is actually on the site.

Looking into the site myself, however, I was unable to find this code spoken of. Nevertheless, COCOROG is a long time trusted source of mine. So either COCOROG is simply wrong, or Capcom got wise to their mistake and removed the code. If anyone is up to some investigating though, we'll be happy to hear what you find. Nevertheless, if this information is true it should be confirmed by the time TGS rolls around.

Update: A post on GoNintendo appears to indicate that the source code did in fact used to be on the website. So Zero appearing in TvC seems that much more likely.

Ippo Yamada potentially working on new Rockman soundtrack

ippoFamed Rockman composer Ippo Yamada, who has been involved with the music for the Zero series, ZX series, and Mega Man 9, among others, may be working on a new Rockman soundtrack. Thing is, all we know is he's working on his next CD, with no other particular details about said CD given. The catch? In producing the booklet for the CD, Ippo has so far been interviewing Manami Matsumae (AKA Manami Ietel) of Rockman 1 and 2 fame, and Yasuaki Fujita (aka BUNBUN) of Rockman 3 and 4 fame. Makes one wonder, no? News Credit: Protodude's Rockman Corner, Spiceman @ Blog

Speculation Train: Rockman EXE Operate Shooting Star part 2

exe_oss_logoMake sure your luggage is packed away well, and that you have your ticket ready to be checked by an attendant, because it's all aboard again. In my last segment, the primary argument in my speculation was that Rockman EXE: Operate Shooting Star would more likely be a brand new Battle Network game instead of a remake. Well, I was wrong! I must concede that. However, the reasoning I used to come to that conclusion has not been far off; in fact much of it still applies. The primary reason I argued that EXE:OSS would be an all new title is because ultimately people want new content, not recycled content. But at the same time, fans of a series will want content that also feels familiar. I know it sounds like I'm contradicting myself, but it makes sense, trust me. We'll cover this near the end.

For now, we must speculate how much of an influence Star Force is going to have on this Battle Network remake. Will it just be in the game's gameplay, or in the plot and characters as well? To me the gameplay makes a lot of sense, especially battling. While Battle Network and Star Force have fairly similar battle systems, Star Force's system allows for simpler, faster-paced battles. By removing Battle Network's alphabet system, you're assured to be able to select at least two cards at the start of a battle. Also, Star Force's Mega Attack lets yo get right in the enemy's face no matter how far back they are - no more area stealing just to slash an enemy with a sword attack.

The original Battle Network's battle system feels incredibly clunky in comparison, which is ironic because it's the simplest. Your HP refreshes at the end of battle, you can stuff up to ten of the same chips in your folder, and there's no standard/mega/giga limitations. And yet, it still feels slow somehow, especially in the beginning. While hardcore Battle Network fans might complain, adopting Star Force's battle system would be a big boon to the game.

I also suspect that the game will have some kind of transformation system, or at least an improved armor system (the original Battle Network did let you equip elemental armors). To what extent this system will go is anyone's guess, though, since it will likely be tied to the game's story. It would also be necessary for Capcom to release two versions of the game, if they're planning to go that route. Other features, such as wireless and wi-fi gameplay seem obvious, since it's on the DS. It may even have its own form of Brother Band system (maybe setup like more of a friends list, or an instant messenger program). And of course, the internet worlds will be much more distinct and easier to navigate. They were really a mess in the first Battle Network.

bnandsfBut what of the story? Will it be a faithful reproduction of the events in the first Battle Network? Is that picture of both Mega Mans shaking hands figurative, or a literal meeting? In my last speculation article, I reasoned that the story would somehow involve time travel, likely via the character Clock Genius, and let Star Force characters go back in time to the Battle Network era. However, I was also assuming then that EXE:OSS was going to be an original game. But... it still looks like it's going to have time travel. We have this enigmatic message from Japan's Ryuusei no Rockman 3 website: "Currently, it sounds like the Satella Police are secretly developing a new program to be included in Wizards. It’s rumored that if used one “can control time” but… is something like that really possible?"

This can't have anything to do with the Star Force series, that series isn't continuing right now. And the message came up th same day Capcom of Japan opened their EXE:OSS teaser site. Thus, we may be facing an "alternate reality" Battle Network, one where the same general events occur, but in a different manner than before. To be honest, I had actually pictured this possibility, but it was one of my least favorite ideas. I really don't like when stories are changed because of time travel. Of course, this is reasoning from my personal opinion on storyline, and not from logic. So, it's something we may be facing. Oh well, it worked pretty well for the new Star Trek movie (uhh, spoilers?), so maybe EXE:OSS will do it nicely.

I think the main reason this would hurt the game would be having two Mega Mans in the same game. It means either they'll both be vying for the spotlight, or one (the Star Force Mega Man, certainly) will take a back seat, and not have much to do with the gameplay. Granted, I do think Geo's and Omega-Xis's commentary on the times might be charming.

Geo: I don't know what's going on, but let's go, Mega! Omega-Xis: Yeah, time to get buck wild on the past! Geo: ...Ahh! There... There's no wave road! Omega-Xis: ...Geez, what kind of backwards caveman world did we end up in?

My main issue, however, is how much new content there will be, and how well that content will fit. As I said above, gamers always want new content. But fans of a running series will want that content to feel familiar. In my last article, I argued that this put a lot of importance on the Net Navis of the Battle Network series. These allowed older Mega Man fans to feel comfortable in a new type of game. And yet, each game always had a batch of new Navis. After Battle Network 4, however, the number of new Navis in each game decreased. After Battle Network 4, sales of the series also started to drop. While there may be many reasons for this, a lot of fans were disappointed with what 4 did to the series, and I have to think one of the main problems was a shortage of new Navis.

I argued that this would be a great chance to introduce new Navis, but since this is a remake I'm not sure how well that could be handled. The original Battle Network was pretty rounded on its amount of characters and content, and any new characters introduced here would likely be Star Force themed. This makes me think that Capcom still might not realize how important Navis based on classic characters really are to the series. Still, nostalgia for the Battle Network series might be enough to keep this game afloat.

For now I think I've considered enough. I may do one more speculation article in a month or so, but at that point CoroCoro will release its first major scoop on EXE:OSS and we ought to have a good idea by then what this game will try to do, and speculation will only be necessary for the smaller, more specific details. Until then, watch your step getting off the train.

Speculation Train: Rockman EXE Operate Shooting Star

bnsf2All aboard the choo-choo, boys and girls. It's time to get speculatin'! Sometimes I don't know why I do this to myself, since it's become a bit hard to predict what Capcom is doing with Mega Man lately. But I have to admit it's fun too. It's kind of like gambling, but with more logic involved, and nothing to lose (except my credibility I guess, but I don't stake much on that anyhow). So we got ourselves a nice upcoming Rockman game here: Rockman EXE: Operate Shooting Star. Very little is known now. We know that it's a game that's being made, it'll be for the DS, it's releasing in Japan in the winter season, and it's somehow a collaboration between Mega Man Battle Network (Rockman EXE) and Mega Man Star Force (Ryuusei no Rockman). What could it be exactly? A cross-over game? A remake of the original Battle Network? Just something else completely weird?

My money is on a cross-over, sort of. It's definitely going to be a game in the Battle Network series - the main title of the game is Rockman EXE, after all. If it were more of a balanced combination, your Flintstones meet the Jetsons kind of cross-over, I'd expect it to be called Rockman EXE & Ryuusei, or some such. But clearly this is going to be a Battle Network title with Star Force hitching a ride.

clockgeniusIf this were simply a remake of the original Battle Network, I don't see why there'd be a need to tie it to Star Force at all. Furthermore, there's one more thing we know will likely be part of the game that I didn't mention above. Clock Genius. Remember that fellow? He won the CoroCoro boss character contest earlier this year. He's destined to appear in a Rockman game, and this is most likely it. Now we don't really know much about Clock Genius either, but his name does not seem of the Battle Network ilk. It definitely sounds more like a Star Force character's name, otherwise I think he'd be Clock Man or something.

One of the confusing aspects to a Battle Network/Star Force cross-over is that the series take place 200 years apart in time. But now we have a time themed boss expected to make an appearance. Knowing that, it's not hard to conceive a storyline where Shooting Star Mega Man and some other SF characters get sent back through time to the Battle Network timeline thanks to this Clock Genius. I'll admit I'm not crazy about time travel plots, but it seems like a very reasonable element with what we've got here.

The next thing I wonder about is whether or not there will be two versions of this title. Since Battle Network 3, having two or more versions of the game has been a staple. Yet this EXE game already has a subtitle: Operate Shooting Star. Are we yet going to see Operate Shooting Star Versions 1 and 2? Or is this just a standalone title?

Or is it something more unique? While the announcement boasts a collaborate between both the Battle Network and Star Force series, this game is in effect a Battle Network game, we presume. So, what if the second version isn't? Whereas this game is grounded in the Battle Network timeline, its alternate version may be grounded in the Star Force timeline. Ryuusei no Rockman: Operate Battle Network, or some such. This would surely make for an equal collaboration, although it's also a bit out there I'll admit. Rather than having two versions of the same game with slight differences, this would practically be two different games, but tied to the same story. It would present some problems for sure, such as how the differing battle systems of both series would work in linked gameplay. A possibility perhaps, but not as likely in my opinion.

Finally, all I can wonder about is why Capcom decided to go this route. In a sense, I feel this is Capcom's way of admitting that the Star Force series wasn't going as well. While sales can't be the sole measure of how good a game is, I think it's evident that the Star Force series hasn't captured the same spark that the Battle Network series did. Among fans, there is generally a preference for Battle Network over Star Force. It's a little hard to see why, since both series essentially have similar themes, similar characters and similar storylines. The only thing I can think of is that the content indicative of Battle Network had greater appeal.

What content is this? For the most part, it's Net Navis. I believe these characters are one of the biggest draws to the Battle Network series. By redesigning the classic Mega Man bosses, Capcom provided a way for older Mega Man fans to relate to the series. In fact, I'd say the "downfall" of the Battle Network series was Capcom's recycling of previous Navis, and making fewer new ones. Star Force doesn't really have Navis. In fact it has very few connections to any other Mega Man games. I feel this is a major detriment to the series. I said as much in a previous editorial.

So, I feel that this game is largely a means of Capcom creating move Navis. It may seem kind of trivial, but Mega Man is very much a franchise that's carried by memorable characters. Many of the original robot masters have that strong of an appeal, you see them everywhere. There are still a handful of robot masters yet to be transitioned into Battle Network style: Crash Man, Hard Man, Wave Man, Crystal Man, Spring Man and Frost Man, just to name some. On top of that, one of last year's big releases gave us eight new characters with the potential to be Navi-fied. I'd definitelty expect a MagmaMan.EXE, since Capcom used up its pure fire characters pretty fast. New Navis would be a big driving force for a return to Battle Network. That's another reason why simply doing a remake wouldn't be as viable an option. Expect new Navis.

So, the two versions thing aside perhaps, these are my predictions for this upcoming title. The announcement in August should give us a definite idea what direction the game's going. Until then, why not share some of your own thoughts on what you think.