As awesome as Mega Man X Collection was it could have been a lot better. At one time, in fact, it almost was.
In mid 2005, Capcom sought fan support to create the collection, hoping incorporate feedback on what sort of content fans would like to see. Eventually, a collaborative effort between Capcom and The Mega Man Network was formed: readers of TMMN were asked to submit ideas for bonus content and unlockables.
As expected Capcom's inbox was flooded with requests. TMMN was then asked to personally handpick the good requests from the bad. This did the trick; a short time later Capcom representatives returned with the top four requested features:
- Remixed soundtracks for Mega Man X1 and X2.
- Corrected X5 Maverick names (i.e removal of Guns 'N Roses references).
- Revised script for X6, intended to rid title of infamous "engrish" and inconsistencies.
- All new English vocal tracks for X4 and X6 courtesy of Ocean Group, the team behind the acclaimed voices of Command Mission and X8.
Great ideas, yeah? Needless to say, everyone -at the time- were pretty excited. The X Collection wasn't even out yet and already it sounded a lot better than the effort that went into the Anniversary Collection.
Unfortunately, our excitement would not last. As X Collection's release drew near, disheartening news began to circulate: early press copies of the game indicated that these features where "missing." Sure enough, proof of these claims were in the pudding: when the collection finally released on January 10th, 2006, none of the requested content was there. What happened? Well, the answer may surprise you.
I direct you to an old editorial written by The Mega Man Network in 2005 that explained the whole conundrum in full. It's a bit long but, dammit, is it a good read:
"We've been told that all the extras promised were, in fact, completed. X1 and X2's music was remixed. X4 had the voices redubbed, and X6 had the script revised, retranslated, and was dubbed in English. So why, then, if this stuff was done, did it not make it into the Collection?Hold on; it gets better:
The answer is pretty simple. Keiji Inafune and Irregular Hunter X.
But how could one man and one game affect the outcome of an entire Collection? It's rather easy, especially if said man is the mastermind behind the entire X series, and in a high-up position at Capcom. Back in early November, we heard that there were problems with the MMXC - Inafune was "concerned" that the Collection's extra content for X1 would interfere with what he wanted for Irregular (Maverick) Hunter X (it was inferred that the XC would use the same remixed music that appears in IHX). When we spoke with representatives from the X Collection production team, they were able to shed a lot more light on things, and after hearing it all, I have to say I'm a little less disappointed with the MMXC than I was, and a bit excited for what might come as well.
What we've been told is that Inafune wants to retool the X series up to Mega Man X6. Irregular Hunter X2 is already on the books, we're told, and Rockman Rockman 2 is in the pre-planning stages (incidentally, we were told that if the Powered Up ports are successful, they might be remade all the way up to Mega Man 8). As for the work we did for the X Collection, the suggestions we took were examined and reviewed by the CoJ staffers, and they have been set aside to be used in consideration as each X series remake is done. The extra features that were done - remixes, dubs and script revisions - will be used for the North American versions, provided circumstances don't force revisions of the revisions already done (such is the case for X4, which, if IHX1 is any indication, will probably get a new script). CPS1 was pretty much told to keep the X Collection as close to the originals as possible, and that's why we received what we did."
"We got a few explanations on why certain elements of the X Collection remained as they were, or got changed, what-have-you. Below we've compiled the list of applicable changes we asked about.
Mega Man X:
- Script revised to include "Damn!" in the intro stage. This was done while X1 was being retrofitted, and left in there after the remixes were pulled.
Mega Man X2:
- Music was remixed, but then pulled for use in IHX2.
Mega Man X4:
- Original voices were reinserted after the redubs were removed (this lends to the slightly different sound quality of the in-game voices).
Mega Man X5:
- We got no word on whether the names of the Mavericks were at any point actually changed, but our Capcom representative expressed disappointment at the fact that they remained the Guns'n'Roses names. When the time rolls around for IHX, we're told, they will be changed.
Mega Man X6:
- Oh, the horror of the Sentsuizan. There's actually an interesting story behind this one. The move, originally mapped to Up+Attack while in the air, HAD been fixed, as evidenced by the "Got weapon" screen telling you to press Down+Attack in the air. This was changed for an unknown reason in post-production when one of the programmers mistakenly remapped it to the original button combo. *sigh*
- We're told that pulling the voices from X6 was an executive decision made by Robert Johnson. He reasoned that if the voices were left in, people would complain. If he took them out, people would complain, so he went with the choice to minimize the Japanese and removed them."
And so, the rest is history: IHX/MHX failed to perform in the market, thereby spelling the end to future MMX remakes and squandering any chance of enjoying the "shelved" X Collection content. At this time, Capcom has no plans of resuming the MHX remakes as indicated by Inafune himself.
All in all, the X Collection could have turned out to be something fantastic – a true example of a fan influenced production. It is my wholehearted hope that Capcom, in the future, will re-release an updated X Collection, one that will contain all the removed extras and the like.
Oh, and before I forget, it appears a bit of conflicting information has recently come to light:
TMMN's writeup indicated that redubs for X4 and X6 were recorded (presumably by Ocean Group) however, according to Lucas Gilbertson, the voice of Ocean Group's Zero, no such recording took place:
"As far as I know nothing was recorded for X4/6. But the actors are pretty much the last people to get filled in. I first learned of the possibility of those rerecordings through you guys on the internet! You bastards got me all excited and then....... nothing."
It's possible Ocean Group was not hired for the redubs, but that would seem a little inconsistent considering the fact that Capcom continued to use the team for future Mega Man related dubbing afterwards. We may never know.