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Mega Man 11 Marks the End of a Long, Sad Period for Mega Man Fans

Will the game be any good? Who knows? For now, it's just nice to hear Capcom say Mega Man's name without adding the words "for mobile."

Opinion by Nadia Oxford, .

Today we learned Mega Man 11 is coming, which means today is a pretty good day to be a long-time Mega Man enthusiast.

Under most circumstances, news about a game sequel will elicit a pleased sound from fans. Maybe a little Twitter buzz, too. But Mega Man 11's reveal at his 30th anniversary livestream generated significant noise across the social medias. Non-fans took notice of the hullabaloo, too. I imagine for them, it might be like a non-believer observing the return of Christ. Even if you're not a Christian, witnessing the Son of God gallop across the skies behind an entourage of apocalyptic Horsemen is enough to make you stop and exclaim, "Say! Would you look at that?"

OK, so the reveal of Mega Man 11 isn't quite as thrilling as the Second Coming (that'll be the reveal of Mega Man X9, whenever it happens), but it's a very nice change of pace for Mega Man fans. We're more used to receiving disappointment, not game news.

It's a little bewildering to look back on, but from the mid-'90s through the early-Aughts, you could always count on hearing news about a new Mega Man game. We'd get follow-ups to the 2D series while Capcom simultaneously dabbled with the Blue Bomber in the 3D realm. We'd get tributes to the series' retro roots while Capcom re-invented Mega Man for handheld systems. There was always something to look forward to, even if the final product was very occasionally hideous.

(Which reminds me: Today, Capcom also announced the Mega Man X games are getting a re-release for modern platforms. This is your warning not to touch Mega Man X6 or Mega Man X7. You'll turn to stone, your reproductive organs will crumble, and then you'll die.)

But Mega Man's period of good health ended (not coincidentally) when his producer, Keiji Inafune, left Capcom in October of 2010. The Mega Man Legends 3 prototype being developed with the help of fans was put to death in July of the following year, and that, more than anything else, was a big metal-jointed middle finger to Inafune and Mega Man fans. We'd been waiting ten years for a follow-up to Mega Man Legends 2, a delightfully unique adventure game that ended on a huge cliffhanger. Its cancellation stung like lemon juice on a paper cut. Unsurprisingly, the Wiki page for Legends 3 turned into a toxic waste dump for a few days afterwards, and I admittedly still get a laugh out of "[Legends 3] was cancelled because Superboy Prime hated the game."

Capcom responded to the wailing and gnashing of teeth by assuring fans Mega Man is still important to the company. We were assured proof was coming. So, we waited.

And waited.

Let me tell you, I'm glad Capcom waited this long to give us Mega Man 11. In the passing weeks, days, and years, my weary and broken-down body has truly learned how to become one with my couch and my controller. I thought I was ready for a new Mega Man experience in 2011, but I was young and naïve. Now, I am ready. I am a Viking.

In all seriousness, Capcom did remember to feed Mega Man a few times, and we benefitted. For one thing, we got Street Fighter X Mega Man in December of 2012. Capcom Unity deserves buckets of love for its efforts to keep Mega Man alive during his hibernation, but as charming as Mega Man X Street Fighter is, a worked-over fangame wasn't an ideal celebration for Mega Man's 25th year of life.

So, why'd fans stick around? I suppose we all subconsciously hoped and dreamed there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We all clustered together, muttered obscenities, downed whiskey, smoked a lot of cigarettes, and waited. Capcom had to give us something—or so we reasoned. It couldn't stay mad at Inafune forever. Right?

The arrival of the Mega Man Legacy Collections was welcomed as a sign Mega Man was slowly surfacing for air. We still had plenty of leftover bile to power our snark about the lack of a new game reveal at Tokyo Game Show's Rockman presentation, however.

But despite fans' forever-furrowed brows and oh-so battered souls, we finally have proof positive Capcom hasn't forgotten Mega Man. He's getting a numbered sequel, not a spin-off based on the upcoming cartoon from DHX. He's getting a real console release, not a mobile game. And it looks … it looks pretty good! Not everyone's a fan of the visuals thus far, but seeing how the game's still a year out, there's plenty of time for spit and polish. There are goofy Robot Masters, there are googly-eyed mini-bosses, and you can rip off weapons from bad guys. That's what matters.

I choose to remain cautiously optimistic about Mega Man 11, but I'm a little more "optimistic" than "cautious," which is a nice feeling. Heck, just seeing excitement over a Mega Man title again is nice. I never felt right about pledging allegiance to the other guy.

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Comments 11

  • Avatar for CK20XX #1 CK20XX 11 days ago
    I want to know what's happening with the new cartoon now. Shouldn't its Mega Man be like this Mega Man for the sake of a stronger, unified brand push?

    If the new cartoon is being revamped because no one liked it and it's going to come out alongside a new game, and with all the merchandise that's been around for years, then all that will be missing is the cherry on top: guest fighter status in Super Smash Bros. 5.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #2 Roto13 11 days ago
    I was so sure this stream was going to be about a mobile game based on that garbage looking Mega Man cartoon they announced a while ago and hopefully silently cancelled.
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  • Avatar for bad-scott #3 bad-scott 11 days ago
    I am oh so excited about this, except for his voice. I hope that's not final. But of my goodness am I excited
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #4 KaiserWarrior 11 days ago
    It's a little weird to think that it's been 7 years since the last proper Mega Man game -- and by the time this new one comes out, it will have been 8.

    Here's hoping Capcom can do with Mega Man as Nintendo does with Metroid, and use that 8-year gap to produce an excellent new game that keeps the series relevant.
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  • Avatar for camchow #5 camchow 11 days ago
    I just wanna be that guy and say hey, maybe actually do play X6 cause it's flawed but awesome. Best music after the original X too. Love that intro stage's music SO MUCH.
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  • Avatar for docexe #6 docexe 11 days ago
    @CK20XX I actually forgot that cartoon was still in production. But frankly, I think I prefer it if the games remain distinct from it.

    @KaiserWarrior Yeah, it’s pretty surreal how much time it has passed since the last proper console Mega Man game. Somewhat ironic considering how in the early 00’s we tended to get at least a new game every year. Hopefully, the new game will live up to the better ones in the franchise.

    @camchow I also like MMX6, more than X5 anyway. X7 on the other hand… ¬_¬
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  • Avatar for moochan #7 moochan 10 days ago
    Never touched the X series after the SNES. Heard a lot of mix things about it as a whole. Which is sad because I loved the idea of messing with the different levels depending on the bosses you fight. As for Mega Man 11 I'm a bit torn. One thing I really want another one I wonder if they have it in them. Here's hoping it's fun and I can't wait to get the 3 collections on Switch.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #8 VotesForCows 10 days ago
    I'm not really sure how to process all this MM related news. It's like the 90s all over again.
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  • Avatar for SpoonyBardOL #9 SpoonyBardOL 10 days ago
    I love the classic 8-bit look of Mega Man as much as any other fan, but I actually really like what I've seen of MM11 so far. It won't have the ratio issues that MM7 and (to a lesser extent) 8/& Bass had (specifically how much larger Mega Man was on the screen, slowing the action down and making the levels feel cramped), nor does it seem overanimated, the movement looks snappy from what I've seen so far. If it feels as tightly controlled as the 8-bit entries but looks as good as they're showing I am all for it.

    Plenty of fangames still out there to deliver the classic 8-bit feel anyway, they'll never go away as long as Capcom is fine turning a blind eye.

    Looking forward to seeing more of the zany Robot Master adversaries and whatever ridiculous plan Dr. Wily has now. Maybe he'll frame Roll this time around, he hasn't done that yet.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #10 yuberus 10 days ago
    @docexe X5 is great though! The localized boss names alone make it my second favorite X game.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #11 Kuni-Nino 10 days ago
    The only thing I thought when I saw this trailer was: "I'm happy for Nadia."

    Don't know if that means I've been reading too much USGamer, but whatevs. I think the game looks cool and, man, it's great to see Megaman back.
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