Monday, March 21, 2016

Mega Man Battle Network Started Out As A Horror Game

Recounting Mega Man Battle Network 1's early development, series scenario writer Masakazu Eguchi reveals the game started out quite different. In a time long past, MMBN1 was initially conceived as a portable horror game...

Coming from an interview at Inside Games, translated by MMBN3D:

Thank you very much for giving us the privilege of gathering these staff members for this round-table discussion— 10 years after the last entry in the series.

Eguchi: It’s been such a long time. Since the launch of EXE6, I think. At any rate… all of us have gotten older! (laughs)

Ishihara: Back then, Matsuda’s hair went all the way to his shoulders. (laughs)

Matsuda: Right right, I had blonde hair. (laughs) I still clearly remember how the development went— We were developing a launch title for the Game Boy Advance. That day’s environment felt fresh.

Now that you mention it— It was a launch title, wasn’t it? Even though EXE was of the first generation (of GBA titles), it already gave an impression of perfection.

Eguchi: Actually, the team’s first game was a horror game.

Oh? What do you mean?

Eguchi: It started with, “what should we make for the GBA?” It had us making a game that links to your heartbeat with a wearable device. The theme was “having fun while your heart pounds”-horror game.

Matsuda: I went to Expoland’s haunted house for research.

Kaji: You remember it quite well, huh? (laughs)

Eguchi: Thinking that now… how did that become EXE? (laughs) I wonder…?

Kaji: Certainly, the mechanics became quite difficult to handle.

Matsuda: After that, card games gained popularity around that time. We wanted to reap the trend while upholding Capcom’s pride.

And when you truly think about it That’s how EXE came to be, correct?

Eguchi: Of course. I can say with confidence that it followed the proper process, but it had that sort of feeling at the time. (laughs)

Looking at the computers and internet affairs from that time— Windows 95 had come out, Y2K didn’t happen, the worldview had really become one of [Computer networks].

Eguchi: We spoke about this earlier— At the time, card games were popular so it started [with a card game only Capcom could make] as the theme. In addition, this project’s goal was decided from the start, it was decided that Rockman’s IP would be used.  The system was a mix between Rockman’s action and a card game. This became Data Action.

In short, the cards were replaced by data as Battle Chips and using those to fight was the  Rockman character. Adding to that was that the worldview, quite appropriately a network society.  And just like that, those became the setting and system from the very start.
Upon constructing the system, what points were you focused on?

Eguchi: EXE was an action game with no jumping. Innovative, right?

Matsuda: “Let’s make a game where a kid who’s not great at the action, can rely on strategy instead and still win.” That was something we kept in mind at the time.

Lately, smart housephones and smart houses have been coming about, and everything’s connected through the internet. You can also easily talk and reply to people with a smartphone. For better or worse, that which occurs in EXE has been steadily coming to fruition in reality. How do you feel about that as the creators?

Eguchi: Finally, the times have caught up. (laughs)

Everyone: (laughs)

Eguchi: Originally we took great care to make it, so to kids it would be like “standing on your tippy-toes". Let’s take cellphones as an example. At that time, adults had cellphones but they wouldn’t let kids touch them. So there was that “longing” for that. So we expanded on that “standing on your tippy-toes” feeling by adding the PET factor (into the setting).

We took great care for this “standing on your toes” feeling for the story/scenarios, too. We drew on [a probable near future] as a theme. First and foremost, we thought to create an world that kids would say, “If net society was real, it’d be kinda like this!”

Matsuda: Definitely, “standing on tiptoes” was something that we kept in mind greatly.

More Battle Network development secrets will be translated each day from MMBN3D! Stay tuned!


  1. "Horror game"

    ...I have no words...

  2. That doesn't sound like BN1 started as a horror game. That sounds like they were designing a horror game and then completely changed tact and made BN1 instead.

  3. Brilliant just brilliant, their thought process while creating MMBN really shows in the finished product.

    I always knew MMBN had a ton more in common with Yugioh, Card Fighters Clash/ Tales of Phantasia, than retarded ..... sigh Pokemon which by the way is the biggest copy cat series ever.

    1. Such a shame that it didn't quite reach the success that Pokémon did(which I think is a good series, and I can see why it's so successful).

      I think it had so much potential, but the games after didn't offer much variation besides small tweaks in concepts like Soul Unison and card elements and types. Liberation missions in 5 and the virus collecting mini-game in 6 were some of the most interesting features to come out of the later games, in my opinion.

    2. Besides small tweaks? What did that crappy series Pokemon offer? Two Pokemon in the generic turn based battle system left nearly unchanged since 1996, a freaken beauty contest?

      MMBN consistently revised its battle mechanics, Soul Unison for example worked differently than the Cross/Beast system (not just stat altering BS, real effort revisions), ways of enhancing MM, glitches (the sub mechanic) and programs were consistently revised, chip set-ups and how they were used in battle with things like the ADD system and chip-codes being consistently revised. Not to mention the effects of chips, sometimes animation/input revisions for balance, new modes like the aforementioned MMBN6 subquests, and Liberation Missions literally the essence of the games. What the heck else could they possibly change, what do you guys want a completely different genre of game each game?

      Pokemon is the most overrated series of all time. Not only is it unoriginal as DQV not only had the main characters collecting monsters and recruiting them as allies, it had the caretaker/raising system, it let you shallowly enter them (your monsters) in competition with other monsters AND had an enormous well told engaging single player JRPG storied experience before Pokemon. All Pokemon did was take away the narrative, and add community connective play/trading of monsters and items (which further legitimately breaks the single player experience as it doesn't account for overpowered things gotten early in the game, so instead of a legitimate single player experience they just bog the game design with tedious redundant time wasting endeavors for artificial "depth"). Yet it overshadows every other great JRPG or heck even video game (look at what Pokken has already done to many fighters) because it is constantly being propagated by fanboys to new fanboys and corporations to people. Most big companies won't even attempt to make a new IP with JRPG elements that they could use internationally because they say that stupid IP hogs the market share. In fact that was a reason Brett Elston while under Capcom listed for the no release of MML3, how MML3 is even in the same market I don't even know, but what can you expect when anything that even slightly "feels" like Pokemon (like MMBN) people scream clone at.

      And no MMBN should not be as successful as Pokemon, I would never wish in my life for people that don't like MMBN to have to put up with it being shoved in their face as much as Pokemon has been. While MMBN promotes well made gems (like Boktai), Pokemon and its legion of fanboys step all over them rip them off and reap the rewards. Actually I am shocked there isn't a Legend of Zelda Pokemon, unless there is (PM games do come out like sun and moon) IDK.

    3. @Anon March 22, 9:25 AM

      As a Pokemon fan, I find your comment offensive. This year is Pokemon's 20th anniversary (Which was last month) and Pokemon is a popular RPG series that is beloved by almost everyone in the world. MMBN is a good series, but it is almost Pokemon level of popularity.

      What gives you the right to insult a monster capturing and raising RPG series that was a hit in Japan when the very first game came out years ago and soon hit the West and became better with each version over the years? Pokemon never needs to change up its gameplay (Well, the Double Battles and Mega Evolution is what made me love Pokemon even more plus with online mulitplayer and trading Pokemon over the internet.) and Pokemon will always be a series that is cherished by almost everyone.

      Call me a Pokemon fanboy if you want, but I liked MMBN as well, but you have to accept the cold hard truth that despite being a good series, it can't compete with Pokemon. And no, Pokemon is not a copycat series. I am not sure where you got that from.

    4. @Anon Alright I love Megaman way more than I do Pokemon but I still feel the need to defend it here. You want to know what pokemon introduced and changed up? I'll tell you just that.

      Gen 2: Two new types plus the Special stat split.

      Gen 3: Introduced Abilities and Double Battles.

      Gen 4: Physical and Special attacks are split up completely, this is a huge one.

      Gen 5: Introduced Hidden Abilities, Triple Battles, and Rotation battles.

      Gen 6: Introduced the Fairy type, Weather Nerf, and most importantly Mega Evolution.

      All of these may not seem like much to you but I can assure you it is. If you try to play Gen 6 as if it was Gens 1 or 2 you would probably get beaten pretty badly.

    5. Are you serious right now.........

      A. Sorry for insulting Pokemon, if I did so just take that out and focus on my explanations of the series and why it is problematic or mediocre, in my opinion at least.

      B. Just because something has a massive following and has longevity/"created a long time ago" that doesn't make it right or good, all that says is that it is popular, that is it. For a direct gaming example a bunch of mediocre Sonic games continued to sale as its quality was consistently on a decline up until Sonic Boom which was the very latest, in comparison to many great but unfortunately less brand effective platformers releasing at those times. Even if I'm wrong I'm sure you yourself can find an example of something bad/negative/mediocre being popular for no particular reason.

      C. MMBN was never ever EVER even close to Pokemon in popularity, what are you smoking when you say this? Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire alone out sale the entire MMBN series more than 3x over. Pokemon is the best selling series ever period! It out sales CoD, it out sales Super Mario, it out sales everything, and is more profitable as well since it is generally cheaper to make than most AAA titles. The only reason why Super Mario is at the top right now is because it had a massive and I mean massive head start. And get this... Pokemon and its fanboys still try to destroy anything that is even slightly viewed as competition. I can almost guarantee if you where some random guy without a predisposition to MMBN, you'd be talking smack about it right now. In fact some of your fanboyism is appearing in your words already. "you have to accept the cold hard truth that despite being a good series, it can't compete with Pokemon"-Musashi the Master Well I've got news for you I've already accepted that, literally nothing can compete with Pokemon, let alone lowly little MMBN, doesn't mean it doesn't piss me off especially when half the time it is constantly being put down by Pokemon fans (as does everything else in relation). And no MEGA Evolution is not what sales it, that is just Super Saiyan 4 (in other words another albeit temporary evolution), it just sales, it soled without it, with it and will continue to sale without it.

      "Pokemon is not a copycat series. I am not sure where you got that from."

      Soooo... Pokemon Puzzle/Challenge/League has just nothing to do with Tetris, Tetris Attack... Pokemon Mystery Dungeon just had nothing to do with the previous Mystery Dungeons and Dragon Quest Monsters that came before them, I see. Yup Pokemon Dash was the first animal style rail track racer. Pokemon Pinball, the very first mascot franchise inspired pinball video game, not like Sonic, Kirby, Mario ever did it before and continued to do so later. Yes Pokken takes no inspiration from Tekken and Street Fighter and attempts to combine them (which btw is the most creative thing ever to come from Pokemon). The entire foundation of the series has just nothing, nothing in common with Dragon Quest V (probably never even played it so why bother) despite me explaining just above how it does, Yup. But MMBN hold your horses that's a Pokemon clone. The word Pokemon is so popular it doesn't even bother with spell check.

      It's not even like copying a little is a bad thing, but you fanboys act like Pokemon is the most original franchise on earth when in actuality it isn't, it is quite the opposite.

    6. @Unknown

      First off I'd like to state that Pokemon at its core is a poorly designed game for competitive play. Things like random stats, massive roster, changeable move set and hidden elements of the opponents gameplay in conjunction to the previous two issues makes it very not friendly for competitive play. The only reason why diehard fanboys fight so hard to say that it is and has massive "depth" is because of the same reason (even though I think this is the most competitive Pokemon title outside of Puzzle) Pokken took a spot at EVO despite, having poor reception in Japanese arcades, not ever having proven to have a viable competitive scene and not even have been released in the west, because its Pokemon and no matter what it's genius. What traditional Pokemon's meta devolves into is finding the highest tiers of Pokemon that have the most versatility and constructing a team based on that. Many times the core of Pokemon's game design for competition is dictated by external rules, bans, and restrictions to play, because it is not traditionally made to be played highly competitively.

      Let me Tell you what MMBN added to shift it's game design.

      BN2: Revamped power-up system (the stat builder mechanic), forms that work with elements, card hazards, and panel elements *as well as different default movesets.* Folder revisions, additional chip codes for balance, an enhanced overworld completely revamping the previous build. CustScr revisions now with a sacrifice mechanic, and can be effected by styles.

      BN3:The introduction of folder categories and the ability to build folders based on this balancing mechanic. Completely different stat building mechanic (this is a huge one). Revamped Style change system which works in conjunction with the newly introduced custom parts, added limitations and ways of acquirement BugFrag sub mechanic Virus Breeding Sub Mechanic for currency building and equipment gathering. Duel versions that make trading and battling less monotonous.

      BN$:The emotion system which adds to and enhances the counter system, by having the ability to increase stats add effects. The replacement of Styles with Soul Unison, I don't even what to get into how freaken differently these two work, and drastically chage the battle mechanics.

      BN5. Liberation Missions, additional playable characters,in DT the team system that lets you play as multiple navies in a game outside of summons. Man I'm tired, all you need to know is that it has significantly different mechanics for it's core battle gameplay. I'm not even scratching the surface BTW.

      Whatever I'm done there is no way I'm winning this. I didn't mean to upset anyone have a good day.

    7. I'm not even sure why we're even having this Pokemon debate when fans of both series realize that they are actually nothing alike in the end outside of the whole versions thing.

      If anything the Pokemon comparisons in the past were only ever used by people who utterly hated the MMBN series before, to talk down the fanbase as inferior and less important in some way.

  4. Actually, all that HAD SENSE.... so the card system was later adaptedin SF series. But why no "Hadouken" Battle Chip?

  5. The mere fact they said horror game really had me go what the hell when i read title.

    Neat interview from them cant wait to read the rest

  6. I wonder if Mega Man would even work as a horror game.

    1. The implications of the plot of each Mega Man series is as bad as RE and such. In fact, Legends IS the bad end.

      But as far as gameplay goes, eh, just some nice zest to raise the stakes occasionally. Certainly BN2 was relatively brutal (though the crises were localized, believable), and it made for a great story.

    2. It would work well, some themes revolving around Sigma are pretty freaky. Sigma X6 final is like a titan that can think summon globs of skulls, shoot black hole looking balls of energy huge blasts of plasma all sorts of bs.

      Humans in Mega Man X and Zero are so fortunate for the existence of their heroes. All it would take to make a horror game is put it in the perspective of the humans without the presence of the heroes directly there to save them.

  7. SO that's why Hub died of a heart illness... he busted the game concept into reality or something, I dunno.

  8. Hmmm, well being frankly, MMBN saga = horror.

  9. Protodude it's Spring any news for "that" game?

    1. Can't say I'm privy to what you're referring to...

    2. I don't know if you figured it out or not, but in case you didn't I'm going to make it more obvious "Spring 2016".

  10. BN4 was a horror title. Remember the WaterGod Comp?


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