Earlier today, Capcom made an announcement that they would be releasing a brand new Mega Man game in celebration of Mega Man’s 25th Anniversary. The main draw being that it’s a free, PC download title and hits two anniversaries in one; Street Fighter and Mega Man’s. It’s drawn in quite a few fanfare and criticism. As someone who’s been a fan of the series since his childhood and was annoyed by the company’s ridiculous decisions through out the past year, I felt it was best I give my two cents on the subject.
I first learned about this whole thing via a post from 100,000 Strong for Bringing Back Mega Man Legends 3. Right off the bat, I learned the whole thing was actually a fan-made project. This isn’t really new, as Mega Man fan-projects have existed and are still being made, to this day. What is new, however, is Capcom actually stepping in and releasing the game. Never has Capcom ever gone about not only promoting a fan-project, but actually working with the project makers to release the game to the public. This is actually a pretty cool thing. Game companies rarely do this, with the exception of companies like Valve.
Then it hit me. This is partially an attempt by Capcom to get back in the good graces of the Mega Man fan community. Let’s jump back in time a bit. March 31, 2011 – Mega Man Universe is cancelled. July 18, 2011 – Mega Man Legends 3 is cancelled. Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 did not feature Mega Man (nor X, aside from being a DLC skin for Zero). Street Fighter X Tekken features American Box Art Mega Man as a playable fighter, while incorporating some background history of Mega Man Legends’ Rock. On December 9, 2011, Capcom revealed an iOS remake of Mega Man X…and it was horrible. Skip ahead to August 15, 2012, where a brand new Mega Man game is finally announced, Rockman XOver. The biggest problem with it was that it was a social, online RPG for the iOS format.
At this point, Capcom’s really hurt the Mega Man fanbase a good number of times. This month and year marks Mega Man’s 25th Anniversary, as we had yet to find anything out about Capcom’s plans for it. Mega Man X on the iOS had the anniversary logo hidden within the game’s code, but wasn’t used. Rockman XOver started making use of it. Now Street Fighter X Mega Man is supposedly the real start of the anniversary, according to Capcom. In retrospect, Capcom announced a nice collection for Street Fighter’s 25th Anniversary back in May and released it in September. Meanwhile, it feels like the announcement of the Mega Man title is more of an afterthought, as it was announced today, the 8th of December, and is set for release on the 17th. Even worse when you consider just how much love they gave the anniversary collection for Street Fighter, yet hasn’t really released anything for Mega Man, outside of a music CD collection in Japan for an absurd price, despite being nothing but reprinted CDs in an E-Tank canister.
This also brings me to another point – the way this is all viewed, this is more Street Fighter than it is Mega Man. The game is titled “Street Fighter X Mega Man,” not the other way around. The big focus seems more on the fact that it’s Street Fighter characters set in Mega Man’s world. The idea of Street Fighter in 8-bit using Mega Man-style sprites is nothing new, as fans have made sprites of the sort long ago. Capcom also didn’t miss a beat when it came to bringing up that this is still a part of Street Fighter’s anniversary as it ends.
Now let’s look at the game. The game does look good, don’t get me wrong. I just feel it’s a particularly weak looking fan-project to support as an “official” game and that the only reason Capcom opted to push it was because it has Street Fighter in it. Many fans have gone on to say “Oh, well, at least it’s free” and “Hey, at least they’re giving us something!” To which I have to ask “So?” Mega Man fan-projects have always been free and whenever they’ve been completed, they’ve been released to the rest of the community to enjoy. The only difference behind this project and others is that Capcom is standing behind it.
In all honesty, there were and currently are better Mega Man projects that are completed or in-development that deserved a push from Capcom. Here’s a few examples:
Mega Man Unlimited
Mega Man 25th Anniversary
Mega Man 2.5D
Mega Man X: Corrupted
Fans have even gone as far as making demakes of existing Mega Man games, such as Mega Man 7!
At the end of the day, it’s great to see Capcom is giving us *something* Mega Man related, but the truth of the matter is, they didn’t really do anything. All of the work is being done by the fans, while they take in the publicity of “Hey, we remember Mega Man!” while stealthily claiming they have “more Mega Man stuff to come.” Something they’ve been saying for months with nothing really to show. It feels more like “You got Mega Man in my Street Fighter!” than anything else. Will we be seeing anything more Mega Man-centric? Who knows? Will it actually be made by Capcom? Let’s hope. Will it be good? Oh dear god, let’s hope it’s not another XOver or Mega Man X iOS.