Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mega Man Star Force Reaches Fifth Anniversary

Had it not been for a few vocal tipsters, this would have totally slipped my radar. Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Mega Man Star Force! The first game in the series, spanning across three versions, released in Japan on December 14th, 2006. Goodness time certainly flies! It feels like just yesterday the original teaser trailer hit the web:

Mega Man Star Force began life under the tentative title of "Rebirth of Rockman ZN." The ZN project aimed to succeed the Battle Network series, concurrently ushering in the franchise's 20th anniversary. It wasn't until the summer of 2006 that the game was officially dubbed Ryuusei no Rockman (Shooting Star Rockman). That winter, Pegasus, Leo and Dragon versions blasted to store shelves in Japan. In total, the games collectively moved 593,675 units by the end of 2007.

Although things seemed like they were off to a good start, the series never quite found its footing financially. Beginning with Star Force 2, sales entered a death spiral.

Failing to meet projections, SF2 would go on to sell far less than its predecessor. By 2008, both version sold a meager 291,962 units combined. SF2's lackluster performance spelled the end for numerous cross-media ventures. In fact, Star Force 3 marked the first time in a little under a decade a "network timeline" game was not accompanied with an televised animated series or toy line. Star Force's financial viability reached an all time low.

Star Force 3 would go on to sell the worst of the lot -- Black Ace and Red Joker, in total, sold 174,426 copies by year's end. What's really sad about that is the game actually met Capcom's projected forecast.  Capcom had little faith in Star Force 3 from the get-go!

In the end, Star Force couldn't hold a candle to the success that was Mega Man Battle Network; a brand that kept Capcom fed and happy for nearly ten years. Operate Shooting Star did little for the ailing series. Failing to live up to its potential (a crossover between Battle Network and Star Force), the game was met with negative criticism from fans of both series. Sales were ultimately lackluster.

It's hard to say what the future holds for the network timeline. Despite its shortcomings, there exists a truly passionate fanbase for this particular series. So long as the fan voice is there, there's always a chance for something like Star Force 4 or true crossover.


  1. I personally liked the Star Force series and would LOVE a 4th Star Force title. After all, Star Force was the Megaman series that got me into the Megaman brand in the first place!

  2. People just seemed to have gotten very tired of the Battle Network series by the time Star Force came in. With the gameplay being very similar to BN, people were just burned out after playing the first title.

    And as much as I'd love to see Star Force 4, I'm not sure in which direction it should go. For all intent and purposes, every loose end the Star Force storyline had was all neatly taken care of in Star Force 3, including the return of Geo's father.

    It would make more sense for Capcom to pursue a TRUE BN/SF crossover, rather than a cheap port of BN1 with a stand-alone crossover chapter shoe-horned in.

  3. They would need a full refresh of the series. Higher-end or higher budget. Just a really well-made game to go out. Other 3rd parties make much more detailed games which is sorely missed.

  4. Starforce sort of gave Mega Man a questionable public image...

    It's probably better off it stays dead now that people think we're the new Sonic fanbase.

  5. The series are both based around the progression of technology and projecting what the extreme would be like, no? BN was an extrapolation of the truth that the internet has become more or less vital to our everyday existence. SF looked at all the wireless technologies we have today and took them a step further. What do you think a third series could be based around? My money's on 3D, if they can think of a way to do it. Would fit the 3DS, certainly.

  6. @Wantcookie: As much I would like another series, I don't think Capcom would be willing to take that risky route yet, especially after what's happened recently.

    It'd be nice though. I'd love to have a Rockman A/Axl series personally, just to know whatever happened to Axl. Sure he's got haters, but I liked him.

  7. Star Force was simply the Battle Network for the DS as ZX was the Zero for the DS. However, I enjoy ZX a lot more and it actually plays a valuable bridge from Zero to Legends. We desperately need a third and final game, Inticreates! Hopefully Capcom greenlights it. ^_^'

  8. As much as I like SF, I would rather Capcom waits till fangames for BN such as CX and Legacy are done... That would hopefully lead to renewed interest in the network timeline.

    In addition, I'd rather SF and BN stay dormant for at least this generation, or at least a couple years. Let them rest. If anything, they were milked way harder than the Classic/X/Zero/ZX/Legends timeline.

    Part of the problem SF had, in my opinion, was the dancing between 3D models and Sprites. It would be best for it to be 100% 3D models and good 3D models at that as well. In addition, lets not forget these and BN were annual releases, often reusing assets from the previous game... which SF became a major offender for with it's bosses, cards, and viruses.

  9. I'd love a 4th star-force game, but I have no idea what direction they should take it in.

    I liked the series much more than Network, Geo was in real Danger a lot of the time and he kept his secret identity hidden for the most part.

    The cast was smaller but everyone had a role to fill. The gameplay might have not been as good, but the narrative had a lot more potential.

    It's a shame 3 was the worst selling because it was by far the best in the series.

  10. Five years? You're kidding me.

    I was so excited for this series, and was completely underwhelmed and disappointed by it.

    What have I been doing these past five years? I think I'm stuck in a rut or something.

  11. I think both Battle Network (which I loved) and Star Force (which I didn't) should be left. They're done, both reached the end. What the Network timeline needs is either a new series between the two, or something after Star Force. Bring back the more detailed battle from Battle Network, make it more fleshed out, bring in new characters, a new Mega Man... There's a lot of time space between the two series, so it would make sense.

  12. I'd love for StarForce to continue. Just revamp everything from scratch and add a few things here and there and you're set. I enjoy it far more than BN, and BN got me into Mega Man.

  13. Issue I had with with StarForce was that it was just about impossible to get in the UK.

    StarForce 3? I eventually managed to pick up a second-hand copy, and it was the best game of the bunch. But, it didn't sell well here because no one could bloody well buy it.

  14. I only want more if it's a good crossover with BN. And actually, I really just want more BN. I liked Star Force well enough, but its world was less believable than BN's.

  15. Five years since the first incarnation of MegaMan that I didn't give half a damn about.

    Has MegaMan been in the tank for that long? Depressing...

  16. Battle network was more complicate and skilled than Star Force, why everybody like (casual) starforce...just tell me.

    3 panels to play, what a joke!

  17. And Star Force is a false 3D game, put it in 2D, it sucks i think.

    EXE was a true RPG/ACTION tactic game, SF is not so good. Just a false FPS.

  18. And tell me too why they stopped the serie at the third game without a lot of goodies, arcades machine and all the goodies there is for the EXE serie?

    The developpers of rockman exe need just time to find a new "timeline" or a new game like exe 4.5 (for the timeline), i mean no timeline, just a game for the fun(like the MMO, Eguchi wants).

    EXE 6 was sold in japan, the first year, more than 600 000 units.
    Star Force 3 didnt do better than 100 money.....

  19. @Dr Jerk
    my thoughts exactly. Hell, Zero's already gotten in in BN/SF series, Why not a version with Axl? He's really cool and honestly, should be a more mainstream Megaman character. Hell, VILE is more known them him and he's only been in a few games as a major role in only one or two.

    IMO Star Force was great mostly because of how great the Multiplayer was. I liked its story, but I never really felt it like say, Mother 3, barring a few points but overall it was good, just not memorable. I'm not going to say its the best Megaman game, But its for sure one of the best ones to screw around with, especially with a few friends, and was decently easy to get into.

  20. I loved all 3 Star Force games and I do hope for a 4th Star Force game,

    Next to Legends, Star Force recieved the absolute WORST treatment from Capcom of any Mega Man series, not only did the games sell poorly, but they were barely advertised (which is the reason they sold poorly), there wasn't much tie-in merchandise (such as toys), and the views from the fandom on the series are quite polarizing.

    Arguably, Star Force was pretty much when Capcom stopped caring about the Mega Man franchise, which each game after Battle Network 6 recieving a lack of advertising, polarizing views from the fandom, and progressively worse sales. The only true successes after BN6 were Mega Man 9and 10, and then it got worse, with Inafune leaving, the cancellation of Universe, and the death of Legends 3, it's obvious Capcom no longer cares about Mega Man anymore...

    To be honest, the Star Force series gets more appreciation from fans today than they did when the series first started, I, for one, loved the Star Force games since the start (the second game is my favorite game-play wise, and the third is my favorite story-wise), but found them severely underrated and saw the games recieving unnesicary hate from the fanbase.

    The future is unknown for the Network Timeline, but it's not looking bright for the entire Mega Man franchise given the recent cancellation of Legends 3...

  21. RnR's problem was that it should have been as good as the third game from the start. It really had little to no excuse for how clunky it played. This is why we should have games released every year, you can't polish it like it needs to be. Instead, just keep us informed while you work out all the kinks and things holding it back. It's better to have one great game every three years than one bleh game every year.

  22. I'm not happy that Australia/Europe(?) never got the 3rd game... gah I think I'm going to have to import it/hunt them down...assuming DS games are not region locked.
    Well I still definitely love the Star Force series even though it's stabbed to death.

  23. The battle network series was awesome, but I did enjoy the starforce series, good story, good characters, (expect for Luna). heres hoping that there will be a fourth one.


Keep it friendly. Disparaging, belittling and derogatory comments are not permitted.