The Hidden Palace community recently shared several Xbox 360 prototypes of Mega Man 10. These early versions were sourced from PartnerNET, a testing environment for authorized developers. While the prototypes exhibit few discernible differences from the final release, they do reveal a significant omission: Co-Op multiplayer.
Each prototype build includes demonstration videos featuring the "Assist Co-Op Mode" and a set of "How to Play" instruction screens. From the footage and instructions, it appears that players had the option to assume the role of either Mega Man or Proto Man to tackle stages together and face obstacles not seen in the final game.
For example, in Commando Man and Pump Man's stage, as well as the first screen following the Weapons Archive fight in Wily stage 1, players encounter a blockade that impedes their progress. To dismantle it, both players must "Sync Up" to unleash a powerful Buster Shot. Players enter a "sync" state when they are in close proximity to each other, marked by a sparkling effect.
Assist Co-Op also featured a mechanic known as "Pick Up Standby," which allowed players to stop falling objects using Mega Man or Proto Man's raised hands. This provided an opportunity to rescue a teammate or collaborate in navigating through confined spaces (heck, you could even pick up, carry and throw each other!). Notably, "Pick Up Standby" is functional in single-player mode, and proves useful in carrying the Keeper's Fists in Strike Man's stage and the Crushers in Dr. Wily stage 2.
Here's the full rundown on Assist Co-Op:
Currently, Assist Co-Op Mode is not available in a playable state. It's possible that the flags to access it are hidden in the code, but further investigation is needed.
But, wait! There's a little more! A scrapped "Greeting Card" feature allowed players to customize and exchange identity cards with others online. You could pick from a range of sprites, including Mega Man, Proto Man, Robot Masters, and enemies, to use as stamps and design a one-of-a-kind card. Unlike Co-Op, the Greeting Card feature is fully functional in the prototypes. You can access it from the main menu screen.
And that's all for now. We'll keep you posted if any developments arise. In the meantime, you can download the prototypes from Hidden Palace and try them out.
Many thanks to MiniMacroSound, Colgate and Roxanne Royer for the find and capture footage!
UPDATE: OtherScott managed to enable debug features and discovered that Bass is fully playable. The latter was possible by injecting a save file from the retail version into the prototype builds. Check it out from the playlist below.