It was this past Saturday when my definition of reality crumpled into a quivering heap on the ground. My cousins and I were gathered around their TV watching youtube footage of Grand Theft Auto V‘s gameplay when it happened. As I sat on the couch, the kids were gleefully pointing out how cool GTAV‘s new features were, while I did my best to seem interested. I’m not much of a GTA fan, so after the video ended I snagged the XBox controller and directed us to the E3 reveal video for Smash Bros. Swing and a miss; the kids thought the game looked just “meh”. Still, I figured I had a trump card coming at the end, when the camera pans and you see the silhouette of Mega Man for the first time. I mean, who can resist Mega Man for crying out loud? As it turns out, my young cousins could easily resist, particularly because… they didn’t know who Mega Man even was!
I suppose I can’t blame my cousins for their ignorance of the Blue Bomber, but it’s definitely a sign of how far Capcom has let the ball drop that Mega Man could so dangerously be bordering on the edge of obscurity. We’re talking a franchise that was as stalwart as Assassin’s Creed or Super Mario back in the day, now languishing in the data banks of Capcom’s servers. A flash drive here, a re-release there, but otherwise virtually nothing new has has been seen from the series since 2010’s Mega Man 10. (I’d count Street Fighter X Mega Man, but it’s release was confined to PC gamers alone, leaving out a big chunk of his core audience).
Capcom execs have insisted that something is brewing for Mega Man, but that they aren’t quite ready to make any announcements. Talk of reevaluating the series’ direction and finding the right way to reinvigorate it has been circulating the web for years now, with little sign of any progress. No one wants a rushed, mediocre game, but enough’s enough; when can we play a new Mega Man game?
We all have our favorite titles that come and go, some to never see the light of day again, but Mega Man shouldn’t be one of them. Keiji Inafune’s creation is on par with some of the most influential games in videogame history and it’s very disappointing that Capcom’s current management is doing such a poor job with Mega Man’s legacy. Whatever Capcom has up its sleeve, the time is now to reestablish Mega Man as the marquee franchise it is. The Blue Bomber might not mean much to my cousins now, but if Capcom can make something that adheres to the series’ solid core gameplay they might be able to change that.