Sunday, January 6, 2013

Did You Know? Roll Was Almost a Damsel in Distress

Roll literally had nothing to do in Mega Man 1. Seriously; she just stands there in the ending cutscene. Most players at the time had no idea who she was. Not until Mega Man 3, at least. But in Mega Man 1's heyday, Roll almost had a bigger... role.

The Rockman Character Collection is a 60-page booklet given to those who entered the boss design contest for Rockman 4. Towards the final pages, a round-table discussion is transcribed between Keiji Inafune and other Capcom dev team members. It is here they drop the bomb: originally, Mega Man 1 was about Roll being kidnapped.

The translated discussion comes courtesy of #20 of the Reploid Research Lavatory:

P: Oh that reminds me, at first the story was going to be about Roll-chan getting kidnapped and having to go save her.

K: Oh yeah! And then in the final stages there would have been a giant Roll-chan that appeared as a boss.

I: Sure, and I bet when she made that praying gesture it would fire a giant laser. (laughs)
P, K: There really was something like that planned!

Wow. Mind boggling, no? So many games of that era involved saving a "damsel in distress." Mega Man almost, almost fell into that cliche. And to top it off, Roll would have been an end boss? Too cool. Frankly, I'm a little surprised Capcom never revisited this concept! I don't believe the rescue Roll scenario from The Power Fighters counts. Nor Wishing Upon A Star or that obscure children's book. This could be the plot for a new game entirely.

There's lots of other neat tidbits covered in the round-table discussion. For the rest, please head over to the Reploid Research Lavatory.


  1. Wow. Up until now, I had never given Roll's "praying gesture" any thought. I guess this explains why she has it. In a way, this kind of reminds me of what happened when the Sega Genesis version of Sonic 1 was in development, with the only difference being that Roll didn't get scrapped from the series altogether, like Madonna was. Looks like another similarity between the Sonic and Mega Man series has been added to the list.

  2. I'm glad they didn't. Saving the girl was a cliche even back then.

    1. As a matter of fact it still happened, just years later and in a phone game called Jump Rockman which is similar to that first Mario game called Jump Man:!_Rockman

  3. Fascinating! I am kinda glad they didn't go with that damsel in distress plot because it is really overdone and honestly, I'm a bit sick of it thanks to the Mario games. XD Also, as a girl myself, it is a little condescending that a female character (and usually the only one in whatever-the-hell media) always needed saving and that was her only damn roll. I was always glad MM never went that typical route, except in a few obscure media that nobody really knows or cares about. :)

    But, Roll-chan as a boss character! That would have been kinda boss to see. XD If a new game comes out, I would like to see that. lol!

  4. You don't think that the theoretical boss form Roll would've had ended up being used in MvC1 and 2, do you?

    Granted that thing may have instead been a cheeky reference to some show or what have you, but who knows at this point.

  5. To add to the list, Roll is also kidnapped in the Archie Comics and in the Drama CD.

  6. Very interesting. Although I'm glad they dropped it in the end. There were far too many titles with damsels in distress as the plot line.

    Wasn't there also once mention that Roll was supposed to be an additional player in MM1? Or was that only true for MM2 at one point?

  7. I've been a fan of Mega Man for 20 years, and I'm going to be honest. I have never felt Roll was all that important to the games. She'd run the shops in later games but others before her and seemingly better suited for it did that before her. I believe the most she's contributed as a character in the main titles is the driving cutscene and a couple. I really can't find much enthusiasm for her; since I'd taken the position she's a wallflower that just coasts on completing a name pun.

    Still whether she's underutilized or just a symptom of Mega Man Classic being simplistic? I'm amazed that given how slight most plots in the main series are; it took until MM10 for Roll's wellbeing to even be at issue as a plot point and for Mega Man to need to save her. Though that does set aside the mangas, the cartoon, her legacies in other game series, and the defiant spinoffs like the Power Fighters and Super Adventure.

  8. I wonder why Wily would be interested in kidnapping Roll, though? To turn her into a fighting robot?

  9. Yes... Capturing Roll actually makes sense.

    Dr. Wily captures Roll at the beginning of the game because of those things what happened to him by Dr. Light, and Rock is being upgraded to a ♪super fighting robot♫ in order to save Roll, from Dr. Wily! He creates 6 Robot Masters (Which may be originally planned to be 8 after some research...) in order to keep away now the new, and powerful, Mega Man, from Roll. Wily's plan is to make a "Mutant Roll" of Roll, to get revenge on Dr. Light, and sends on Mega Man when he get's to Wily. Mega Man destroys Roll, or save her, whatever... Maybe the Yellow Devil can be connected to the "Giant Roll"... Or maybe that mysteriously unused Wily 5 level...? Yes, Bloggers, there is actually an unused Wily 5 level in the game data! And also had a Boss 10 slot in the game! I've hacked this game, I've found it's data, so I know it, huh. (0-5 Robot Master slots, 6-9 Wily Fortress slots, 10 may be the second phase of Wily 4, I don't know this however, I'll take a look at it for a chance.) It's possible Wily Machine #1 was meant to be a one-phase boss, and Boss Slot 10, was meant to be Roll herself. I don't really know. But sounds really interesting, doesn't it?

    With this plot I think this would be only one game. I'm sure this game wouldn't have a sequel/next part... Hopefully, the game series focuses on Dr Wily and his plans to take over the would, instead of saving Roll...

  10. Now i understand why Roll is always saved by megaman in mangas and acting as a princess waiting for his knight to come for the rescue, XD:
    Rockman and Forte manga

    Megaman Megamix:

  11. It's funny that you mention a Giant Roll as a boss because there's a skin available of "Giga Roll" for 8-Bit Deathmatch, in either "hi-rez" or "blocky" flavors.


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