Friday, May 20, 2016

Ask Protodude #1: '17 Mega Man Cartoon, New Games, X3 Proto, Book

I often receive questions about different Mega Man topics, so I'm rounding everything up here in a new monthly feature called "Ask Protodude." These queries come through my e-mail, Twitter and even the comments here. This month I talk about the 2017 Mega Man cartoon, new games for 2016, the Rockman X3 prototype and more! Shall we?

1) What do you know about the 2017 Mega Man cartoon? 

This was a topic I was tweeting about extensively last month, albeit cryptically. Yeah; I do know a little something about the show.

Back in April, I received a portion of early production notes dated somewhere between January-February 2015. In this small (and I mean really small) set of notes, the show was described to largely take place in a "middle or high school" setting. Now, this is concept isn't entirely foreign to the franchise; Dreamwave's short lived Mega Man comic placed Mega Man (i.e "Rocky") in a similar locale. The idea here is to provide Mega Man with a foundation to discover his humanity, living among children his own "age." Further, the school setting is meant to provide the target demographic with a relatable context.

Why didn't I make a blog post about this? The source of this information - a good friend who currently works in Western animation and comic books - indicated these were preliminary notes scribed during the "brainstorming" phase of production before Man of Action and Capcom settled on a unified vision. The program we'll be watching next year may or may not take a page from Dreamwave's playbook.

In my opinion, though, I say it's likely Mega Man will be attending school. Some of the most successful corners of the franchise -- Battle Network and Star Force specifically -- placed our protagonist(s) in a school setting. For the target viewing audience, there's something very enduring seeing heroes roughly there own age doing something they can relate to. In the case of Battle Network, Star Force and possibly '17 Mega Man, that's going to school.

While Man of Action, Dentsu Entertainment and Capcom want to appeal to longtime fans, it's important to be mindful of show's core responsibility: to cultivate new fans. In recent times the franchise has become increasingly difficult to "get into." To those outside our little walled garden, "getting into Mega Man" is perceived as an overwhelming feat. For the franchise to survive, it falls on the 2017 show's shoulders to provide an accessible outlet to attract new fans. If that means exploring less-than-popular settings and themes, so be it.

2) Do you think there will be a new Mega Man Battle Network this year?

Honestly, I'm not sure. The pessimist in me will say 'hell no'... but in the last few months or so we've seen some interesting developments from the Battle Network camp. From new merchandise to an entire 15th anniversary EVENT, Capcom are paying an unusual amount attention to an individual series' anniversary, more so than ever before.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, more than any other Mega Man series, I believe Battle Network has the best chance to make a comeback. It may be a stretch to say "Battle Network 7!" buuuuut a collection/compilation would be a worthy 15th anniversary product. Hey, another collection is on the official radar, mind you.

Capcom are beefing up mobile software this year, too, with at least one Mega Man game in development. That will arrive (in Japan) between now and March, 2017.

3) Where's the Rockman X3 prototype dump?

It's still coming. We intended to put this out days after the original announcement, but the hardware we got wouldn't cooperate. Unlike retail cartridges, the Cx4 chip is extremely finicky here. Right now we're in the process of locating better quality hardware; a Super Wildcard DX2, to be specific. There will be new footage to consume in the meantime. Soon-ish.

Your patience is really appreciated, though. And honestly it's hurtful when we're accused for "lying" about releasing it. Of course we're going to release it. There hasn't been a single prototype in our hands that we haven't. Chill out.

4) What's going on with Rockman 5 and Rockman 6 on PSN?

The Complete Works versions of these titles have yet to arrive on PSN outside Japan. In the interim, we've seen Tron Bonne, Mega Man Legends and Mega Man Legends 2. Now that Mega Man Legacy Collection is out, I don't think Capcom sees much value in continuing Complete Works on PSN. It's hard to say... but hey, the PSN output has surprised us in the past.

5) What's up with that 'I Am Toast' button on the sidebar?

I haven't really talked about this here, but I published a children's book. Long story short, it's about a guy who thinks he's a piece of toast. It deals with comprehending figurative language and even a bit of existentialism. Anyway, it was a fun little project I did on the side in relation to my elementary education career. Is this shameless self-promotion? Oh you bet. Check it out, won't you?

That's a wrap for this month. Keep sending questions through e-mail, Twitter or comments. Thanks to the wonderful AnnaMaria Coppi for the caricature!


  1. I have been speculating for a while that the 2017 cartoon will probably be something akin to Sonic Boom, in that it'll try to reboot a new, fresh continuity along with a (possible) companion game of some sort.

    While I'm not exactly a fan of the high school setting, I'd still welcome it because it has the opportunity to introduce some fresh ideas to the franchise. As much as I love the various sub-serieses in the franchise, just making a new "rehash" doesn't guarantee long term pull.

    Of course, if the cartoon (or companion game) does poorly, then things are going to get pretty rocky fast.

  2. I'm just gonna toss this out there: If I had kids, or planned to have them, I would get I Am Toast. I've only seen the preview pages available on Amazon, but it looks cute, clever, and educational! I think adults and kids alike are going to enjoy it (and already do, if the few reviews I skimmed are any indication). Congratulations on your book, man.

  3. Huh. Nice art on "I am Toast." Also nice banner image for this article. Didn't realize you could do art stuff. Cool.

    As for the '17 cartoon...well, that doesn't terribly excite me. Then again, I'm an adult with a house now, so maybe it's not supposed to excite me. Shucks. Hopefully there will be something down the pipeline to keep me entertained so I'm not just hanging onto the glory days forever.

  4. Do you have any information about Archie Comics Megaman? I started reading them this year and loved them! I'm all caught up on the volumes that have been released and am eagerly awaiting the rest, but I'd heard that it's currently on "hiatus". Will it ever get continued or will it drop off the face of the earth?

    1. I'd also like to know if you have anything to share about the Archie Mega Man hiatus. Besides World's Unite, Archie isn't really talking about the great work they did, and they stopped releasing collections for the series about a year ago after the 8th story line (Blackout). There was even supposed to be a Mega Man Master Edition coming out this month collecting the first 12 issues, but I can't find anything to indicate it ever did. I never read anything but glowing critical reviews of the series, but is it possible it didn't sell well enough to make a return? Could it be politics?

    2. Yeah I had Megaman vol 9 on pre-order not too long ago and then it just suddenly dissapeared. It isnt listed anywhere. I figured it may have just been rescheduling with the next crossover getting released first. I hope it doesn't dissapear! I was looking forward to the next volumes! Are they really not going to release them?

  5. Dude, that thing about the TV series makes me cringe; aside, I was curious about that I Am Toast button, I was like "Huh? What's that? He's doing a favor? That's his book? A friend's book?" but wow, I didn't know that about you, I would totally buy it when I visit USA.

  6. Megaman in middle or high school? Yuck. Oh, well. Hopefully it'll do alright despite that.

  7. As long as he's not constantly at the school like 99% of anime trope shows we see (something balanced like original PPG), I'm all for it, since going to school would be part of the critical human experience for A.I. mimicking and becoming friends with humans to go through.

    Come on, MoA, write it to where he plays soccer! That tags the Mega Ball and MMSoccer for the series fans, as well as the sport's increasing popularity for the new audience!

  8. For some reason, the first time I saw that I'm Toast icon I thought it was something about this game:
    Or something related to the "Toasty!" line from Mortal Kombat...

    Bread Man, Toast Man, Loaf Man, Sandwhich Man, Breakfast Man, Jelly Man, Butter Man, and Dough Man? XP

  9. Please leave Protodude and he will release X3 when its time. Just leave Protodude alone and be thankful that he has those beta and prototype ROMS for us. BE PATIENT! COME ON!

  10. TBH, I won't mind it if Mega Man '17 takes a high school setting. We've had elementary and middle school before, so having a somewhat more mature Mega Man (compared to Lan & Hub and Geo & Omega-Xis) while still being marketable to kids may be interesting. As long as it's not as cringe-inducing as High School Musical, I'd be curious to see Rock and Roll in the setting.

  11. "In recent times the franchise has become increasingly difficult to 'get into.'"

    I'm not sure I entirely agree with this. Capcom hasn't really done much to attempt to get more people into the franchise in a long time, so I'm not sure it's a valid claim. Don't get me wrong, I love Mega Man 9 and 10 as much as the next guy, but the 8-bit style of those games is going to turn off a not insignificant number of casual gamers who care about having the newest and best looking stuff. Throw in general lack of advertisement the series has outside of Japan and I really have to question things.

    Smash was probably the biggest thing Mega Man has been a part of when it comes to mass appeal, but Capcom didn't really do much to capitalize on that either.

    All that said, I still understand the desire for whatever they do with the series to attempt to bring in as many new fans as possible. They just need to be careful not to alienate too many old fans, which was a potential problem with the numerous spin-offs as well.

  12. I believe the reason that Battle Network is getting anniversary attention is less the idea of "new installment," and more that its target audience at this point is all grown up and may have disposable income to put towards related merch.

    Battle Netwrok 4, for how much it was hated in the end, was one of the very best-selling Mega Man games period - right behind Mega Man 2 itself if I'm not mistaken. So, the potential for the merch to generate revenue is a lot higher than, say, merch based around ZX.

  13. I wouldn't mind a megaman animated series in the same vein as the archie comics, or maybe if they do go witht the whole school route it could be like the Astro Boy 2003 anime which still had Astro attending school but was still overall a great series.

    Still hope it's more like the archie comics with no school tho lol

  14. Fascinating stuff. I know a lot of people hate the hypothetical school setting scenario for the new cartoon, but jeez, good luck making a cartoon with only how the games worked. Before anyone tells me "But Archie comics made it work!," keep in mind those are 22 pages as opposed to 21 minute episodes. If I were a kid in this day and age and I was shown the same thing over and over, I wouldn't stick with it. Yeah, it may appeal to older fans, but since they want new fans along the way, get ready for something different that's going to be beyond our comfort levels.

    BTW, I work with elementary children, as well, and I'll check your book out to see if it be something the kids I work with will enjoy. =) Consider it a fan of your blog helping you out.

    1. I don't know, I think the Archie comic storyline could work as a base. I would have liked each individual robot master to get more attention for example, which I think could potentially be better achieved with a cartoon.

      Though that would also stretch things out. Taking one episode per robot master, combined with the other storylines Archie came up with would take a while. Still, I think there's potential. I also think the Mega Man games have enough of a base to make a story around without having to put him in a school setting. Worked for Satam.

      That said, I'm willing to keep an open mind. I do wonder how they are going to do the double life thing though, considering Rock's face isn't hidden at all.

  15. even if i think, a megaman classic or/X (or crossover) could be the best idea to reboot the serie....i could cry a lot if i see a GOOD new megaman EXE...i like so much this atmosphere (+crossover Star Force?)
    Anyway, we will see...but i have no more hope, personaly :/

  16. Been coming to this page for years now. You've gone above and beyond to not let me down on the news regarding my boys in blue! Thanks for all your hard work and dedication, on top of your very full time educational occupation! There's a lot that goes into this, and a WHOLE lot that goes into children's education and upbringing (kind of an educator myself, you could say)! So keep it up, Proto! I think many of us, if not most, are very grateful!

  17. What happened to Archie MegaMan?
    Will it ever come back?
    What can be done to get it back?
    Will they release the rest of the volumes at least?


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