Mega Man Online was finally put out to pasture this week, canceling the only the Mega Man game that was currently in development by Capcom. This is, of course, after the cancellations of both Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe which were done away with in 2011.
Mega Man can’t catch a break. Sure we got the fan-developed Street Fighter X Mega Man, but that doesn’t really count for me. I mean, seriously, publishing a free fan-made game is the best Capcom could do for the 25th anniversary of our favorite little Blue Bomber?
I’m not sure what happened, but Capcom at some point quit loving and respecting their once most profitable franchise. Need proof? Look at this picture of him from this console generation’s Street Fighter X Tekken.
Yep. Rather than make one of their greatest characters a robotic murder machine, they turned him into an overweight, middle-aged guy in sweats with a gun. (And before I get called out; yes, I know that this was a homage to Mega Man‘s horrendous NES box art. It’s still really embarrassing. )
So what happened?
Well, there are plenty of theories, but the one that seems to get the most traction is that Keiji Inafune, the co-creator and one of the major driving forces behind Mega Man and just about ever other big Capcom game, left the company in 2010.
Keiji was just a young artist working at Capcom during the development of Mega Man in the 1980s. At the time, only 6 people were working on the game, so he ended up creating (or co-creating) many of the characters, and then set about doing the pixel art for the sprites in the game.
Due to the success of the Mega Man games, he was able to progress through the company ranks, eventually becoming Capcom’s “Global Head of Production.”
He was at that position around five months after he left. Again, we don’t know for sure why he left, beyond him saying that he wanted to start his life over. His criticism of the Japanese game industry during the year he left, though, got a lot of press. He told Destructoid, “Man, Japan is over. We’re done. Our game industry is finished,”
This is just speculation, but I think we were seeing Mr. Inafune getting fed up with Capcom. And, from what I’ve seen of their lineup lately, he had every right to be. As much as I like games like Street Fighter, Capcom’s other big games haven’t been doing well critically lately.
So, maybe it was better that Capcom canceled all of these Mega Man games. While, I thought they seemed intriguing based on their trailers and the previews I read of them (Mega Man Universe was going to have player created levels, which seems like a pretty good idea to me and of course Mega Man Legends 3 would be great since it’s precursor game ended on a cliffhanger), maybe they just plain sucked. Or maybe Mega Man’s vocal fans are simply a minority. I don’t know.
But, I will say, I would love to see Capcom put some full support behind the Mega Man franchise again. Or really, just do some smaller downloadable titles like Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10. I would be tickled to see a new 2D Mega Man X game.
And, while there may not be a huge audience for it, I bet that if Capcom did the math, they could figure out a way to make the franchise profitable again.
Here’s hoping. Capcom reps have said that they are going to release some information that will make Capcom fans very happy, so maybe it’s a Mega Man game. It’s always darkest before the dawn.
There’s also a fan game in development called Mega Man Unlimited. You can follow them as they create it on their Facebook page.
And hey, if you want a comedic taste of Mega Man without playing his game, here’s the webseries “Mega Man Dies at the End.” Hopefully it’ll tide you over.