Thursday, June 20, 2013

Captain N's Mega Man Almost Had a Mega Family

Captain N's Mega Man. What more can be said? He's a pint-sized chum who speaks in a raspy voice and wears different shades of green and yellow. He shoots lasers from his gloves. The Blue Bomber? Anything but. What's interesting, though, is during the cartoon's early production, Mega Man was almost developed even further removed from the source material.

Character designer Fil Barlow posted a set of concept art from an early version of the show dubbed "Buddy Boy" (the premise originally based on Paperboy). Alongside Executive Producer Richard Raynis, Fil pitched Captain N's Mega Man as a young lad with a mother, father, a pet bird and... a rat. This is depicted in the lower left cel above.

Fil writes, "Lower Left shows Megaman's family, his Megamum, Megadad, Megabird and even Megarat. Megaman was more of a boy, a reflection of Buddy in the Game World." He adds, "Megaman's parents were just the Incredibles idea ahead of it's time, they were once heroes, who had gotten out of shape. I wanted to base all of the character and creature designs of the games, that was the whole challenge for me."

All of this would have certainly been interesting, to say the least. One one hand I really dig the early art direction. On the other... well, I think we dodged a bullet here. I don't believe many of us could have stomached a "Mega family." Mega Rat? No thank you.

Fil has a lot more to say about the primordial Captain N. Head over to his deviantArt for the full read!

Source: NeoGaf


  1. I've seen this before (presented on a certain weekly event on Fridays) it's worth noting that after this pitch the staff changed a bit.

    The new guys took parts of the old pitch but didn't bother to fact check things, which is why for instance Mother Brain is the primary antagonist but the people making the show had never heard of Samus.

    Just some trivia for you all.

  2. I find stuff like this absolutely fascinating. The "misses" with properties are often more interesting than the successes. I mean, how does something like this happen? The awesome thing is, reading through this and some of the comments, Barlow TELLS US! I mean, how cool is that! Yeah, it's weird and kinda' silly a times, but it's history all the same. I love Captain N for that very reason. It tells us about the time period and how the characters were viewed back then. It's information.

    This is probably why I'm such a big fan of the Ruby-Spears Mega Man. :P

  3. Barlow's comments confirm what I've pretty much always suspected. Mainly that the people who came up with the concepts and character designs for the show had very little time to play or research the actual games and there was no one in charge who cared about maintaining faithfulness to their themes.

    But yeah... I'm not sorry "Mega Family" got cut. I never imagined there was a less faithful take on classic Mega Man than the one in Captain N, but... hooo boy.

    I like Pit better than in the show, though.

  4. Just when I thought Captain N's Mega Man couldn't get any more worse and inaccurate... I'm glad to hear that this didn't exist in the end, not that I ever watched Captain N nor do I have any plans to... Although I will agree that this is some interesting bit of trivia and insight into the making of this cartoon. I always did liked bits and pieces of development history like that, even with a bad series...

    The only thing I probably did liked was Megagirl, she had a bit of a decent design, but otherwise the series could have done without her as well. Actually the series could have done without a lot of things, but hey.

  5. Also I just thought of something, but is it bad that Megamum makes me think of Aunt Fanny from the movie Robots?

  6. I like the Blader in the group shot. I also like DK and Junior in the back.

    Still that Mega Family is scary beyond belief. Who would have thought that was a good idea?

  7. *Sees this picture*

    *starts to vomit and vows that he never look at this picture ever again*

  8. "Megaman's parents were just the Incredibles idea ahead of it's time"
    I actually resent that. The Incredibles are funny/charming not simply for the fact that they were washed up, but because of exploring the circumstances as to why, and because through it all they maintained their friends and family being top priority. Mega-family sitting at home just because their son is supposed to do the work now kind of flies in the face of that.

    And yes, the imagery is also scary as all heck. I liked Captain N for being the goofy, bat-shit crazy offshoot that it was, but sometimes I seriously wonder if it was a blessing or a curse that Roll was so easy to miss in the early games (I can only assume these people didn't know she existed if creating a "family" was such a big idea for them).

    1. Well, to be fair the guy never got a chance to develop the mega-family beyond just the germ of an idea. The plot and character development on shows and movies takes months or even years of many people working together to come to fruition, and on this project it never happened. I'm sure the ideas and themes of The Incredibles didn't spring forth fully formed in one night.

      In the first game, almost all of the plot is in the manual, which he may not have had. He mentions in the comments that no background information was available. There's no intro in the game and not much plot until you get to the very end, and even then it's only a few short sentences. Roll is not mentioned anywhere at all, and only appears in the ending cutscene with no dialog. I'm sure he didn't get to that in one night, since MM1 is arguably the hardest out of all the games and has no save feature.

      If you handed a MM1 cartridge to someone who knew nothing about the character or story and said "Come up with some ideas for a show with this character by tomorrow" I'm sure the results would be equally inaccurate and hilarious.

  9. Mega Man's Mega Family makes me want to Mega Hang myself. Still not as bad as what they did to Simon Belmont, I guess.

    And then there's Pit yelling at that kid for praying to a deity other than Athena.

  10. OK, guys, I know that this concept diverges pretty heavily from the source material, but don't some of you think you're reacting a bit TOO poorly to it?

    I mean, IIRC the guy who drew these didn't have a lot of time to do so AND had virtually no resources. Cut him some slack.

  11. Haha! This was the show that made me wish the internet existed as mainstream back then. XD They could have actually done the research easily instead of making up those ridiculous concepts. Granted, they could be creative, but blech!

  12. RADIX is right, you guys. Though it's not noted here, Fil Barlow went this direction for a good reason -- reason being that Megaman was intended to be the "video game world counterpart" to Buddy the paperboy. Thus, we'd see Buddy interact with his family just as Megaman interacted with his own.
    On top of that, DiC literally gave him one day to play a bunch of NES games as best as he could and come up with some designs. I'm assuming he got far enough in Punch-Out!! and Kid Icarus to draw King Hippo and the Eggplant Wizard, but you'll notice all the other designs there are pretty much stage 1 or stage 2 characters.

    Unfortunately, DiC continued the trend of playing a game for all of five minutes (despite presumably having more than one day per-episode) before throwing it into the show after they decided on Captain N. This is why most of the music in the show is title, first level, or password screen music with an occasional game over screen thrown in for ha-has. This is also why so many things are either wrong, or extremely weird, compared to the source material.

    All things considered, I'd say Fil did a good job with what he had and how long he had it. DiC's lack of research compared to Fil's deadline is absolutely inexcusable.

  13. Quirky. But it's not the worst idea anyone's ever had when it comes to butchering Megaman.

    For one thing, Megaman's not some schoolboy's virtual pet and there aren't any roswell-shaped robots or pixie elves floating around either.

    If nothing else, these guys have a sense of humor about the source material.

    1. Whatcha got against poor old Galaxy Man?

    2. Eh, if you ask me, we should just ignore Sir Grumpalot up above. He rarely gives a reason to his opinions, and even when he does, they usually just boil down to "I hate it, just because I don't like it." Which would be fine, except that instead of giving valid criticism, its coming off as pure fan boy rage.

      Back to the topic at hand, this little bit of history is quite fascinating. And while I see the show as a relic that was created for the sole purpose to promote & sell Nintendo products, there we're a lot of programs that we're pretty damn bizarre.

      For example:

  14. This made my day! That's so... so many things I don't even know what to say.

    Although he lost the main character role, does Paperboy appear in any episode?

    And look! Peng and Blader!

    1. As a matter of fact, yes. The Paperboy world appears in the Season 2 episode, "The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers" [sic]. Unsurprisingly, the main character (Julio) looks quite a bit like Buddy, here. Unfortunately, Death does not make an appearance.

  15. Dic always sucked at making cartoon adaptations of games. They never cared about being remotely faithful to the source material, they just created original cartoons with heavily Americanized and misinterpreted versions of game characters shoehorned in. To this day I refuse to forgive Nintendo of America and Sega of America for letting them near their IPs.


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