Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Mega Man Worries of 1999

Here's a Letter to the Editor scan from a 1999 issue of PSM. I present this to you for two reasons: 1) the doubts we face today aren't particularly new and 2) things change. Also, I find Robert DeJesus' illustration charmingly amusing. It's just as relevant as ever.

1999: The Year Without a Mega Man

In North America, there were no Mega Man games released in '99. Japan, meanwhile, were treated to the Rockman Complete Works lineup and The Misadventures of Tron Bonne.  That's six enhanced ports and one new title built from the ground up (the latter didn't even star Mega Man).  The annualiztion we grew accustomed to wained for the first time.  A year of uncertainty brought plenty of doubts: "where's MMX5?" "I didn't like Legends all that much. Where's the REAL Mega Man?!" "Mega Man 9 when?"

Yes; those were real questions being tossed around on forums. Looking back now, it's all pretty nostalgic. That brings us to point #2.

Charles' letter (and a share of similar inquiries in previous PSM issues) goes to show you how much can change in a few short years.  The new millennium brought us Mega Man X5 and Mega Man Legends 2. A couple of years later, Capcom dropped the big one: Mega Man Battle Network. An action/adventure RPG where you trade firearms with a friend?  Goodness, Charles, you practically predicted the future.

Battle Network acted as a resurgence of the brand, earning Capcom big bucks for many years to come and ushering in a new wave of fans. I don't believe any of us in '99 ever imagined the brand would reach such success again. Oh, and don't forget about Street Fighter. The franchise has grown considerably since its "dormant" days in the late nineties. It was gone but not gone forever.

All in all things change. Better days may yet come.


  1. I think the mention of Street Fighter in their response is relevant to the current Mega Man situation, too. 1999's SF3: 3rd Strike was the last new release in the series for nine whole years, until Street Fighter 4 hit arcades in 2008. Now Street Fighter is considered one of Capcom's most prolific franchises.

    Just because there's a long gap in releases doesn't mean that Mega Man can't come back bigger and better than ever.

  2. That picture breaks my heart.

  3. @Wilynumber13: True, but...with CoJ's current business practices, will they even last nine years?

    Apparently there's been quite a few restructures going on in the VG industry, so hopefully CoJ will undergo one before all their bad decisions from 2011 onward catch up to them.

  4. The difference is that Capcom wasn't actively canceling games and, not counting Xover(please don't count Xover), Mid-2010 was the last time we saw a Megaman game get released.

  5. @Rockman:

    Not to our knowledge. The only reason we knew the games were cancelled is because they were already announced. 90's Capcom was more competant. They announced games that were guaranteed to come out.

  6. I remember that picture from back in the day. Found it totally depressing back then, lol.

    We'll see what comes around the corner. I think Capcom's (wisely) playing MM closer to the chest than in the recent past.

  7. I. Absolutely. Remember. This. Thing! Though to be fair, I kind of forgot all about it until now. This is a neat stroll down memory lane. Heh heh.

  8. ... That said, I wish Capcom were more like how they were in the 90's. Announcing games before they were even greenlit was a very stupid move on their part, and I hope they learned their lesson. If they hadn't announced Universe, Legends 3 and hell maybe even RMO early on, I think we'd be in a slightly better place right now.

    Granted, Legends 3 was probably announced early solely because of the DevRoom idea, but even still. A lot of people were bothered when they heard it wasn't even greenlit at the time.

  9. Not to be a downer, but I do think it's important to point out that when this happened back then Inafune was still a part of the company.

    How big of an impact that had on things, I'm not sure, but I can't imagine him being gone will help this time around.

  10. By the goat, power!

  11. The difference is that Capcom hadn't recently canceled four Megaman games at the time.

  12. Mega Man Legends 3 will certainly be released in 20XX!

  13. Inafune was behind the Street Fighter revival and he was behind all rockman projects

    Capcom that we always knew is gone. I'm pretty sure that they will no longer developping Rockman games, but instead they will let a company like WayForward to handle the franchise like they did with the Ducktales remake

  14. Depressing. I am clinging onto a sliver of hope that Capcom will produce a quality game in the future, but thanks to their track record these past couple of years, that is a hope that is difficult to cling onto. I don't know. I hope someone will rescue the franchise and do something good with it. Also, hopefully, they will keep their mouths shut about a game until a release date is confirmed rather than get our hopes up and cancel. That's just plain dumbassery that I wish they avoided.

  15. So basically, what we've learned from this is that Capcom was full of idiots from way back when.

    1999... Wasn't that about the time Megaman Legends came out? My memory of then is fuzzy, seeing as how I was still a little kid. Still, Legends fits this guy's description of a Megaman RPG pretty well.

    Man... That's irony for ya.

  16. It'll be interesting to see Mega Man without Inafune. I personally think overall it could possibly improve without him there. Possibly move beyond the stupid c+p format that the Classic timeline has fallen into.

    And before the Inafune fans get mad, let me explain.

    For years we've been hearing 'Oh Inafune was responsible for encouraging execs to keep Megaman alive.' and 'Oh Keiji is the only hope for the franchise'. Have we ever considered that his actions were the cause of the franchise getting milked? Have we considered his history with Dead Rising and Lost Planet? While they were rejected by execs, he ignored their orders and continued working on them, and how he went over Lost Planet's Budget by 500%, and how that could have carried over to Legends 3 and Universe? Has anyone ever stopped for 5 seconds and thought about all of this? Of how Keiji couldn't maintain the franchise he helped create, unlike Kojima and Miyamoto who are somehow gods over their franchises?

    Inafune was just as reckless with the franchise as the execs were. He should be held just as accountable.

  17. Yes Inafune did cause some problems, that much is certain...

    But to assume that the series will improve just because he is gone now is also irrational thinking, and I do believe Capcom's current track record is proof of that.

    In short, pretty much everyone in Capcom is at fault in some way. Though I still do feel for Inafune. Prior to his departure, the man actually seemed fairly depressed, and I think working at Capcom for all those years finally got to him. At least there is one true positive to his departure - the man can finally rest now.

  18. Since I was in the same boat I can't say westerners being ignorant of the Complete Works games is out of the ordinary. But their existence sort of mutes the concern of the time. As 1999 was the year Capcom would put out more individual releases of Mega... err Rock Man than any year they had prior, and is still one of the higher volume release years for the franchise.

    I feel like there's something of a difference there, because even though they didn't make it to the states launching those games shows a confidence in Mega Man as a brand. Where the last few years has shown anything but out of Capcom. Which is more troubling than it would have been back in '99, since Capcom's general business model is intensely focused on the AAA domain. New or old IPs that do not reliably make millions of sales on each release don't get much attention from them.

    Sure it's true that all that can change. But Capcom would have to change as a business, or change Mega Man in some way or another to fit into their current model before we see any resurgence of Mega Man games.


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