Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mega Man X7's Lost Multiplayer Confirmed

A true blue, multiplayer Mega Man game. It's a dream shared by many fans across the world. Disregarding the likes of Battle & Chase, RockBoard, and the prospect of Rockman Online, Capcom has yet to produce a multiplayer Mega Man game in the traditional sense. You know, something like this.

Mega Man X7 was once believed to be that game. The summer of 2002 yielded an early look at X's first foray into the third dimension, with promises of never-before-seen spectacles. As exciting as that was, there was something else that manged to caress the fanboy heart: multiplayer.

According to the game's infamous E3 '02 product description, MMX7 was being prepped with co-op play:

"Take advantage of the new Double System, where you and a friend can play together simultaneously. Fight bossed cooperatively and execute the new change combo attack by switching characters at any time." 

Holy moly. This was it, man. This was the multiplayer Mega Man game! Oh did we ever set ourselves up for disappointment.

X7 arrived in our hands multiplayer-less. Attempting to rationalize the situation, the fanbase of the time concluded that multiplayer was never a sure-fire thing after all.  They theorized that the prospect of multiplayer was nothing more than the Double Hero system -- the ability to switch between two characters, on the fly, mid-gameplay -- grossly mistranslated.

It was certainly a viable theory, given Capcom's early 2000 mistranslation track record. Well, guess what? It's time to give that theory the boot, because Mega Man X7 once DID have multiplayer, and its inclusion was confirmed by none other than the game's producer....




An old, overlooked interview holds the key. In a 2003 Q&A session with Game Bunker, Tatsuya Minami actually confirmed the presence of simultaneous two-player.

GB – How many people can play at once?

Minami – With the inclusion of so many other characters in the game we decided to make it possible for two people to play at once.

Three characters is many? Eh, I wouldn't look into that too much, but still, there it is: X7, at one point in its development, had multiplayer. The E3 pamphlet was right all along.

The interview was conducted Spring 2003, but wasn't published until later that summer. With X7 due for release in July (Japan), we can assume co-op play was dropped within a rather short time frame. Question is, why?  Time to do what we always do best -- theorize.

While certainly a far cry from being an awful game, X7's production values took quite a tole on the final product; the game's quality suffering as a result. Capcom wanted X7 out the door ASAP, rushing the title to completion.  Designing stages around the idea that two players could explore simultaneously may have proven too daunting a task, given time and budget constraints. Co-op play was ultimately dropped in favor of allocating resources to complete the game's core, single-player experience.

To my knowledge, no one has unearthed any remnants of multiplayer assets. More often than not, final code contain traces of beta and even alpha material. Mega Man games are no exception. It's just a matter of someone taking the initiative to dig around X7's guts.

Regardless the outcome of that venture, it's a shame co-op play was omitted in the first place. It's 2011 now. The franchise is nearing its 24th anniversary. Where's our co-op Mega Man game?

One day, maybe.

23 comments:

  1. Where is ANY Megaman game?

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  2. My response:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rddRQyBmBkw

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  3. I remember one Inafune interview where co-op Mega Man was questioned, and he answered:

    "I think this is quite difficult--even close to impossible with the current style of Mega Man. With a different style of game, I think this could be possible."

    If there is a new Mega Man game, without the supervision of Inafune, maybe co-op would become a reality this time.

    Also, I have to mention mafoosh's 2 player online co-op Mega Man fangame, which is downloadable right now for anyone wanting to try it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW3VTSDncqw

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  4. Awwww, that stinks. I mean the game was alright. Far from the best game but it was still enjoyable. The added co-op would have been pretty nice with my other friends who were into the X series.

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  5. Another mystery solved, but still many out there, like why MMU and MML3 were cancelled and the MM9 and 10 secrets.

    And Mega Man Perfect Harmony is amazing!

    Maybe Capcom cancelled MML3 because they were ashamed that fans can create games better than theirs using only 8-bit graphics. (and there isn't a strict deadline, some "criteria", among other things. Haste makes waste, and the results can be noticed in a few games like Mega Man Soccer's ending, X6's localization, and X7's lost feature)
    Mega Man had a small fan interaction from MM2-8 and MMBN2-6, but many fans + Mega Man staff + a game "in the making" (in imagination) for a long time = quality overkill?

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  6. /\ Saying that it is quality overkill is overkill, but it is true that fans had a small part in it. Inafune says so himself:

    http://protodudesrockmancorner.blogspot.com/2010/02/inafune-answers-your-questions-part-ii.html

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  7. inb4 Power Battles/Fighters 2 are co-op

    If Contra can do it, Mega Man sure as hell can.

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  8. Meh, A mutliplayer megaman game would be awesome, but it'd just feel weird. After all, It's been more then two decades and there's only been a few short thoughts by the devs to make them co-op - I feel if they did it the game would just feel awkward.

    Also, Protodude, Any idea on what happened to the MM9/MM10 mystery that was going a while back?

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  9. @Anon who said Mystery solved but there're more:

    What's wrong X6's localization? If you're talking cutscene dialogue, I don't know what you're talking about. X6 had BEAST Japanese voices and audio it was sick!

    And the bosses had WAY better names than, say Optic Sunflower. o_O Don't get me wrong; I love X8, but Optic Sunflower as a boss name never really made much sense to me.

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  10. At least X6 kept the voices (Excluding MMX Collection), unlike Mega Man Battle & Chase which removed most voices. Plum and Chest disappeared.

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  11. @ZeroX: maybe he meant X5's localization. with all those "unintentional" guns 'n' roses references. if he does mean X6 though, then he's probably referring to the version used in Collection, since it had the JP voice overs removed. collection was the first time i'd played 4 and 6, so the missing audio never bothered me, because i didn't know it was missing. and yeah, LOL at optic sunflower. i mean, i get the name, (plants use sunlight to give themselves energy, and lasers are extremely focused light, hence optic) but, SERIOUSLY? a SUNFLOWER?

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  12. you know, to be honest, i'm not sure i'd like a co-op mega man game. think about it. a fast paced shooter, and you're playing with someone who doesn't get the concept of "screen won't scroll unless you follow". now, if it were SPLIT screen... well, it'd work better, but consider MM as a split screen game. seriously? i could see it with X7 (as bad as the camera and controls are) but none of the side scrolling parts, which is what all but Legends, are made of... come to think of it, why did they never include a VS. mode for legends!? that'd have been sweet!

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  13. I seriously doubt a Multi-Player feature would've helped this game. Face it,X7 Sucked!

    The Only good thing about this game was it's Music.

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  14. @ZeroX_Syaoran: Well, there's the part where 'Repliforce' is translated 'Reploid', and all of the other typos and mistranslations in the dialogue.. and yes, thankfully the original Japanese audio is there so the small percentage of US fans like me who understand Japanese know what's actually being said. That didn't help this game and it doesn't help Disgaea 2, because both have poor English scripts, and most of the English-speaking consumers don't know Japanese.

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  15. @ZeroX_Syaoran

    He meant the fact that the game was poorly translated and the dialogue badly done, full of mistakes and typos.

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  16. A Captain Commando / TMNT / Power Rangers / X-Men (arcade) / Metal Slug style Mega Man game? Do want!

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  17. People give X7 so much flack its disgusting.
    Anyway, co-op is something that needs to happen to the Megaman franchise. Of course, at this point we need to worry about how long we need to wait to get another Megaman game.

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  18. @Model M:

    And the sad thing is, $50 says most of these people who talk crap about X7 now, bought the game and loved it like crazy back when they played it. They just wanna "look cool" by calling it bad now.


    It's like the 17 year olds who talk shit about Battle Network now, yet they got into Megaman because of Battle Network, and would frequent message boards with names like "DarkForteEXE" and shit.

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  19. People suggesting that MegaMan should be co-op in the style of Contra or beat-em-ups are PRECISELY proving Inafune's right when he said the current style of MM game isn't very compatible with co-op gameplay. MegaMan is not Contra, and it's certainly not a 4-player arcade brawler.

    That doesn't meant I don't think co-op can't be done in a style that is reasonably faithful to the current MM games.

    And on that topic - I have to say I really enjoyed the Power Battle games. I admit these are different from the MM style, but I see alot of potential in that style of game for MM. I'd love for there to be more of them, centered on co-op gameplay. Imagine a new Power Battle as a downloadable title, with quality 2D graphics and varied 3-player gameplay, set against some of Ariga's Megamix battle scenarios.

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  20. Whoah, why assume that anyone bashing on X7 is immediately "wrong?" Is it because it clashes with your opinion? I bought the game when it came out and was really disappointed.

    The control and character movement is sluggish, the level design is just not fun, and I don't really care for any of the bosses. Plus, having to unlock my favorite character was not something I enjoyed. For a game with so much promise, it just felt rushed and unpolished. Even if you aren't speaking from opinion, you do have to admit that X7 is nowhere near as polished and presentable as X8. I won't say it's "awful" because it's at least playable though (at least when the camera isn't killing you >_>). Even a "bad" Mega Man game is still better than a lot of other stuff out there. I just do not like it as much as X1-5 or X8.

    X6 has plenty of problems. The script is poorly translated, for one. Also, I get the feeling that the inclusion of Japanese voices was not for the sake of authenticity, but rather for the sake of rushing the game out to the store without having to hire a dub cast. Even then, the game suffers from some nonsensical level design and general balance issues. Still, I played the heck out of it because of some great music and cool armors (Shadow Armor FTW)!

    A true Mega Man co-op game (arcade titles notwithstanding) would be cool. I did enjoy Mega Man 7's hidden versus mode, and Perfect Harmony is pretty cool.

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  21. Well, Rockman Online can be considered a co-op platformer Mega Man game.

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  22. Need I remind everyone who's complaining about a SUNFLOWER...

    X2 brought us a vine sponge.

    A SPONGE, PEOPLE.

    And X7 gave us an ONION.

    AN ONION!!!!

    Yes, I can see X wailing away at Prickly Pinapplead now. eeeeyup.

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