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Mighty No. 9: Is It Time To Give Up On Megaman?

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As some of you may know, Mighty No. 9 was revealed at PAX in late August, and launched on Kickstarter on September 1, 2013. To many, the mention of the man behind its creation, Keiji Inafune, is enough to ring a bell. For those not so involved, looking at the character design for the game's protagonist, Beck, is surely enough to invoke a recollection of a certain blue clad hero, one whose addition to the latest Super Smash Bros. title was confirmed in June of this year. Of course, I'm talking about MegaMan.

 

Keiji Inafune, of course, is one of the creators of Capcom's classic sidescrolling action platformer that defined the childhood of many owners of the NES and SNES consoles. As we grew, so to did MegaMan, being brought from simple action platformers of the classic series to the more intricate MegaMan X series, even branching into new territory of adventure game in MegaMan Legends, and almost Pokemon style RPG in MegaMan Battle Network. MegaMan became one franchise to cover a wide array of what people wanted from a video game, no matter what your gameplay style of choice was, and for a long time, Capcom continued to make excellent games that had lasting appeal to the old audience, along with enough change and addition to attract a new audience without alienating them entirely. Outside of using the same formula for most of the games for a bit more than 20 years without ever really trying to change anything, MegaMan was a formula that just worked. Of course, Capcom's less than savory actions regarding the cancelled MegaMan Universe and MegaMan Legends 3 projects, along with releases of a less than stellar remake of MegaMan X for iOS devices, along with a new spinoff series "MegaMan XOver" pretty much killed the franchise in the eyes of many fans - especially after Keiji Inafune's departure from Capcom to form his own company, Comcept.

 

That's where Mighty No. 9 comes in - after a lot of hard years, fans of what made MegaMan great got to see a new idea flourish on Kickstarter with the promise of Inafune's lead, along with the talents of a variety of artists and workers who have spent the greater part of their career working on MegaMan titles of the past. The game intends to be a return to the roots of sidescrolling action platformers like MegaMan, while adding the much needed new content and slight change that the games have needed to stay fresh. It's not about breaking away completely from the old, it's about taking what worked and adding more that works, while keeping it accessible to everyone.

 

Mighty No. 9 was funded on October 1, 2013 with more than 4 million dollars total, reaching every stretch goal the developers had planned out, and breaking the minimum funding of $900,000 by $3,100,000. The game is slated to be released in 2015, with a beta version released to backers of the Kickstarter earlier in 2015, possibly even in late 2014. Few details are known about the game, but the general consensus is indeed that it is a rebirth of the hero that many fans have known since they were small children, along with the hope that it will be the birth of a new hero that future generations can enjoy the same that our generation enjoyed MegaMan. The question is though, is it time to abandon MegaMan?

 

Of course, that's a strange question. You can't just literally abandon something. The memory's always there, and the legacy that Mighty No. 9 is building upon is one that was founded almost entirely by the MegaMan Franchise. That's not even really what I mean by abandon MegaMan - I'll never forget the fun I had playing MegaMan games, nor will I soon decide to just stop playing them. MegaMan X, MegaMan Battle Network 3, and MegaMan 10 are some of my favorite games of all time, and I play them when I have time and really want to relive some past fun. When I ask if we should move on from MegaMan, I ask it more from the standpoint of as a franchise itself. Should MegaMan fans, after the repeated failures and broken promises of Capcom to produce what the fans really want, stop wanting MegaMan games? It seems like a logical conclusion: a new face has come to replace one of the video game industry's most beloved characters, and with such overwhelming support, it barely seems like it's worth asking if people like this new hero as much as they liked MegaMan, the answer is a clear and overpowering "yes".

 

Of course, MegaMan is a franchise that has garnered quite the fan following, and there's many websites dedicated to the preservation of the good times we had, and some that still continue to bring up to date news of the less than good times that we have now. Even if a schism hasn't been created, it almost feels like one has been, between the hope of a new sort of golden age with Mighty No. 9, and the clinging to the past and hope for an official rebirth of MegaMan as a franchise. It isn't wrong to be on either side, or to have no real side at all - it's still video games, and as people who enjoy video games, we should feel proud that both can exist.

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