Photo Source: The Game of Nerds/Sean A.
Being a Mega Man fan in the past few years has been… rough, to say the least. Prospects were initially bright after the success of 2008’s Mega Man 9 and 2010’s Mega Man 10. Capcom followed these successes with the announcement of Mega Man Universe on July 16, 2010 and Mega Man Legends 3 on September 29, 2010. It seemed like this decade was set to be one where the Blue Bomber would prosper, and yet, the opposite has been the case. What happened? That’s what I’ll be taking a look at in this series. Note that this won’t be the most exhaustive history lesson; I’ll be trying to keep it pretty simple.
Photo Source: Capcom
2010 started strong, first with the release of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars for the Wii in January. An updated version of the Japan-exclusive Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross-Generation of Heroes,Ultimate All-Stars featured the playable Mega Man characters from the original, Mega Man Volnutt and Roll, along with the addition of Zero from the Mega Man X series. The game was well-received. On March 1st, Mega Man 10 was released on the Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3, after its announcement in December of the previous year. It was met with positive reviews, although it was not received quite as well as its predecessor.
June brought us Mega Man Zero Collection for the DS, a compilation of the GBA’s four Mega Man Zero games, along with the announcement of Rockman Online, a Korean MMO, which, at
least in the Western world, had far less buzz around it than the other announcements of 2010. And in July, the first of those other announcements came: Mega Man Universe was to be a spiritual successor to 2006’s PSP cult classic Mega Man: Powered Up – a full remake of Mega Man 2, customizable characters, a boatload of Capcom references, and a fully-featured level
editor with sharing tools similar to LittleBigPlanet. They even had Bad Box Art Mega Man!
Details were still pretty scarce, but fans were excited to see the next step for the franchise after two fairly same-y entries.
And then, in September, the even bigger announcement: Mega Man Legends 3. Slated for release on the 3DS, the third entry in the commercially-unsuccessful, critically-mixed, but cult-beloved Mega Man Legends series, a series which had the misfortune of ending on a cliffhanger in its second installment. Not only that, but said rabid fanbase would be playing a role in the creation of the game by voting on and submitting character designs and generally influencing the direction of the game! And a standalone “prototype version” would be released alongside the 3DS eShop!
It seemed to good to be true, and it was: the beginning of the end was only a month after the game’s announcement – in October – with Keiji Inafune, the “Father of Mega Man” announcing that he was leaving Capcom, and doing so in November. Inafune had made his interest in making Legends 3 clear for a long time, and was thought to be the driving force behind the project. The Legends 3 team said his departure would not have any effect on the game’s development, and, at the time, people believed it. Despite skepticism, everyone still had hope. No one can really say for sure if it did hurt the game or not, but looking back, it’s at least very symbolic of the fall of Mega Man.