Monday, August 23, 2021

Yoshiki Okamoto Wishes He Could Have Stopped Mega Man 1's Box Art

The North American Mega Man 1 box art is nothing short of terrible. And yet it's become something of a cultural icon; a source of parody across the ages. But what if we lived in a world where the "worst box art of all time" never existed? 

That's the question on the mind of a one Yoshiki Okamoto. The former Capcom designer, best known his work on 1942, Final Fight, Street Fighter II and Resident Evil, often imagines a world where his younger self had the authority to reject the now-infamous box art. Had the decision been in his hands, he would have killed "Bad Box Art Mega Man" on the spot...



Recounting his early days at Capcom before "rising to the top," Okamoto had this to say about the package design:


"So, the overseas version of Rockman is called Mega Man. Have you ever seen the package illustration? It's an old man in blue tights wearing a helmet. He's standing in a bendy, crab pose with a tube in his hand. 

And I couldn't believe this was allowed to happen. It's like, I'm sure everyone hates it! I mean, we made this game together, you know. But because it had to cross the ocean...

...We had to listen to the opinions of the marketing staff over there [Capcom USA] about what's "appealing" and "popular".

If I had more authority then -- if I was stronger -- none of this would have happened. That's what I thought. As a matter of fact, I *still* think about it. In the end, if I had the final say... I could have said "NO!"

If Okamoto had his say, we'd be living in a world without Bad Box Art Mega Man. There'd be no Resident Evil 3 easter-eggs. No "Man Man". And definitely no Free Guy-Mega Man

So, did all this play out for the better? It's a matter of opinion, I guess. But for Okamoto, it's a nagging case of "coulda, shoulda, woulda". 

Now if only we could learn who, exactly, illustrated the thing...

(Many thanks to Sidier and MamaLuigi for the translation!)


  1. it's one of the reasons why the first game sold as badly as it did, and the first game selling badly caused the second game to be a broken unpolished mess, even if a very successful one... but everything happens for a reason - if it wasn't for the first game selling badly and the second game being mediocre yet famous, so many games could have never existed - changing the past is a bad idea no matter what, so i guess it's for the better that it ended up the way it is. who knows, maybe there would have been no "MEGA MAN 3" or "MEGA MAN X" if the first game had a good box art and sold well in the US.

  2. I’m starting to think CAPCOM(USA) is mainly the cause of most problems regarding to CAPCOM(JP) IPs being tarnished from the original content going overseas.

    1. In their defense, it wasn't just Capcom USA, that was standard industrywide.
      It wasn't just the company selling their product overseas, but the overseas subsidiary was basically it's own corporate entity with it's own opinions and strategies. It's literally a culture clash.

      So the western branch of Japanese companies, was trying to sell things according to their data and their marketing research and trends. And sometimes, corners get cut, communications break down, and East/west dont see eye to eye. Remember Sega Japan and STI. Remember the debacle behind stuff like Sonic Xtreme, that was a combination of overambition,(the game was shifted console like 3 times) ego, (Yuji Naka threatening to quit if the team used his Nights engine) and miscommunication. (the jap reps visiting the studio got shown the wrong demo before the lead devs were aware)

      it's difficult selling things overseas pre-internet. All you have is telephone, marketing data, and written correspondence.

      In later years Capcom USA was fine. Essentially acting as a hypeman for Capcom products, without a lot of the skullduggery of the old days.

      And mind you, Capcom JP did well enough on it's own to mess up it's reputation, with lazy cashgrabs, "westernized" properties, unrealized projects, as well as cancellations

  3. In the end, the larger blame for the design was that the artist was contacted out of the blue, not long before launch, to make a cover for a game he got almost no description of. For the little info he was given, it's honestly amazing it's even recognizable even remotely as Mega Man

  4. I too wish Capcom had that kind of integrity...
    Maybe they could have started with the NAME!

    1. The name changing to Mega Man was for copyright reasons, if that's what you are talking about.

    2. Not according to my research... @Emperor Rockman. And I quote
      "However, Capcom Consumer Products Division president Joe Morici changed the name from Rockman to Mega Man because he felt "The title was horrible.""

    3. Yes, this is the same kind of thinking which led to the Ruby Spears cartoon; American kids need muscles and guns.
      I'm glad this kind of "localization" seems to be going away. The idea of "localizing" art to make it more appealing to another culture is gross.

    4. That's silly of him considering it's not much better. It's (blank) Man. How creative, right?

  5. I agree with Yoshiki Okamoto. Mega Man is my favorite video game franchise of all time and I don't like that he is known for memes. I hate Bad Box Art Mega Man. I just hope hereinafter Bad Box Art Mega Man is buried and they never use or mention him again.

  6. While I felt it was an odd decision at the time, I'm glad we had that era where the brand wasn't homogenized. Sure the designs were terrible for almost all licensed products, but that also made them more interesting. To me, anyway. And it makes for great joke material nowadays.

  7. If we never had "Bad Box Mega Man", we would have never gotten that killer parody character in Street Fighter x Tekken, nor all the other references, like the Mega Man 9 and 10 mock-up US box art. And honestly, I think "bad box art" is a misnomer. The box art isn't bad. It's just awkward and drawn kind of weird. But, it has its charms.

    No one can really say what would've happened if things had stuck to the original design and name. I see no reason to regret the past – especially when it brought people such amusement.


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