Capcom has seen ridiculous success with their Resident Evil franchise by making it more accessible for everyone. Why not do this with Mega Man?
Business has been good for Capcom over the last few years thanks to the insane success of their Monster Hunter series, which helped more than quadruple their stock value. Their Resident Evil games have also seen a huge rise in popularity due to the remarkable amount of work they’ve put into both new games and remasters. And their fighting games will always remain popular, despite the difficulty they always seem to find running them. But there has been one franchise that, while important to me, keeps sitting in the back closet of Capcom’s offices collecting dust. Mega Man.
You might not think that though if you looked at recent releases. The last few years have shown the rerelease of almost every Mega Man game of the main series as well as the X line and the ZX line leaving out only Battle Network and the spin-off games.
But as for actual new games? It’s been rough. Mega Man 11 came out two years ago and Mega Man 10 came out *cleans metaphorical glasses* a decade ago. A decade. And the Mega Man X series sort of faded out shortly after the SNES with only scattered spin-offs in the years following.
But here’s the thing, the Mega Man series is filled with some of the best character designs ever. My seven-year-old can often be found reading the Mega Man encyclopedia and the Mega Man Battle Network compendium. Mostly just because the designs are so appealing to him and this is why I think Capcom might be struggling to keep the Blue Bomber from…well…bombing. They aren’t using him towards the correct audience.
I worked retail a LONG time, and while the internet may have sounded excited for Mega Man 10 a decade ago for going back to its pixelated routes, no one really bought it. And when Mega Man 11 promised to be a more modern take with beautiful graphics featuring a ton of clever two-stage bosses, it sat on the shelves going nowhere.
Here’s the thing, we NEED to accept that if Capcom is just going to make Mega Man games difficult, they aren’t going anywhere. Monster Hunter: World proved to Capcom that making a game more accessible equals huge success and Mega Man needs to download that thought process into his armory.
So, here’s an idea, why not go full Mario? Make a spin-off line for younger players like Let’s Go Eevee did for Pokemon? Something like the excellent PSP Mega-Man: Powered Up which also added a Little Big Planet-like stage creator AND the ability to play as Robot Masters like Cutsman and Iceman.
We can make them multiplayer like New Super Mario Bros. games to get people playing along.
Let’s go further. We’re going to really take this into your mind’s eye so turn off your Mega Man blinders and just give yourself a moment to visualize this.
What if they put work into a Mega Man kart racer? I know they had one already but this time REALLY give it to the full Mario Kart treatment. Each four-track tournament could be based on the games. Tournament one could have four stages based on iconic stages in the first Mega Man game. An icy world, an elec(tric) world filled with zapping dangers to dodge, things like that. And have a ton of racers with a ton of the Robot Masters being playable. There’s endless potential in just that alone.
But what if we went further? Mario Party? Sure, we could have a Mega Man Party where the boards look like iconic Mega Man stages. I’m picturing the Snakeman board right now and I want to live there.
Sports titles too. Mega Man had a really fun soccer game on the SNES and then they never did it again. There is no sport on the planet that couldn’t be turned into a fun multiplayer experience if you filled it with Robot Masters. In basketball, Topman spins around an opponent, passes the ball to Gutsman who dunks. In golf, Bombman readies a long drive, reads the wind, swings. The golf ball lands deep in the fairway exploding and knocking the opponent’s nearby golf ball off to the side. And if you think Mario Baseball was fun, wait till you see Chargeman round the bases, going full train.
There’s a ridiculous amount of potential for Mega Man titles. Heck, how many fighting games are they going to throw Mega Man into before they realize how good a real fighting game would be with just Mega Man characters. Not Mega Man: The Power Battles where you could ONLY play as the good guys, I’m talking where you can play as the Robot Masters as well.
Potential abound, especially as Nintendo just purchased the Canadian team who gave them Mario Strikers back in the day, there might be a spin-off resurgence and Capcom might do well to get in on that and Mega Man is the perfect franchise for them to go with for this.