Super fighting robot No. 9!
If you heard over the weekend, Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune went to PAX to announce Mighty No. 9 along with an accompanying Kickstarter. Fans rejoiced (and we have to imagine some people in Capcoms Japan offices grumbled), because this was clearly a spiritual sequel to the Mega Man series. And you have to admire the sheer audacity of Inafunes design of Mighty No.9.
At no point in the Kickstarter pitch do they come out and say that Mega Man is the inspiration--they simply refer to Mighty No. 9 as an "all-new Japanese side-scrolling action game that takes the best aspects of the 8- and 16-bit era classics. But the connections are easy for any Mega-fan to make. In case you missed some of the more subtle ones, weve compiled this handy list.
Just look at him
Well start with the most obvious. Seriously, just look at these two side by side. Youve got a robot boy wearing a helmet, gloves, metal underwear, and knee-high boots. Mighty No. 9s outfit is considerably more detailed, but Mega Man was designed in the 8-bit era, so the gulf is pretty easy to dismiss. They even have little ear thingies on their helmets, though No. 9s look to be headphones to go with his goggles. Perhaps those and a hat come together to appear exactly the same as a helmet, which would then make it totally unique from Mega Mans headwear.
The minor detail that separates them: Mighty has green eyes to Mega Mans blue peepers.
The two may move around the same, but basically every sidescroller character runs and jumps. Of course, not all of them have a laser cannon on their arm that shoots yellow pellets, but Mega Man and Mighty No. 9 do. Based on the concept art, Inafune didnt even bother to put the blaster on a different arm than Megas. Also Mighty No. 9 can steal powers from the enemies he beats, which is Mega Mans whole gimmick. No. 9 appears to transform more than putting on a different color of boots, but that just feels like a natural evolution for Mega Man, doesnt it?
The minor detail that separates them: Some of Mightys transformations seem way more extreme than anything Mega Man would attempt.
Mighty's real name is Beck
In case you didnt know this bit of trivia, the Mega Man series has always been known in Japan as Rockman, and that was reflected in the US with the Blue Bombers real name being Rock. Mighty No. 9s real name is Beck, and in case you just learned English, thats just two letters away from Rock. This is less of a wink than a strong shove to Capcoms lawyers while saying, Well, whatre you going to do about it?
The minor detail that separates them: As far as we can tell the character is called Mighty No. 9 in Japan and not Beckman, though that could always change.
He has a blond, red-wearing lady pal named Call
Mega Mans sister is the blond, red-dress clad robot named Roll, while Beck appears to be supported by a female partner named Call. Outside of the shared puns--Rock & Roll, Beck & Call--the young ladys design is waiting to be finalized by a poll among Kickstarter backers. If the fans dont pick one of the blond, red dress clad looks for Call, we will be shocked.
The minor detail that separates them: There doesnt appear to be a Rush replacement. Wait is that a robo-cat sidekick we see on Calls back?
The first normal enemies look like Mets
Mets are the little hard hat guys that have appeared in multiple Mega Man games, and theyre possibly his most well known common enemies. Who are the first guys we see Mighty No. 9 fighting? A bunch of short robots that wear traffic cones on their heads. We havent seen proof that they hide under the cones for protection, but we see that as likely as the sun rising tomorrow.
The minor detail that separates them: Hard hats at least offer some real protection, while a traffic cone flattens real easy. We learned as much in high school Drivers Ed.
He's fighting the eight robots made before him
Mega Man games wouldnt be half as fun without eight Robot Masters to battle in each adventure. In the original game, Mega Man was activated to stop Robot Masters thatd been twisted by Dr. Wily, and the eight Mighties that came before No. 9 had been similarly twisted. So now Mighty No. 9 has to beat eight other robots, slowly adding their abilities to his own. Yeah...
The minor detail that separates them: Well, Mega Man only fought six Robot Masters in his first game. Huh? Oh, Mighty was originally only going to fight six bosses until the Kickstarter hit a stretch goal.
This guy sure looks like Doctor Light
Doctor Light is the bearded, friendly father figure that invented Mega Man along with thousands of other robots. Mighty No. 9 has a similar creator, though part of the Kickstarter is to determine his design via fan outreach. And that drawing above really looks like Doctor Light. We suppose that how similar he ultimately will be is up to the fans. We doubt all the Mega Man fans will want him to look as close to Light as possible, right?
The minor detail that separates them: Lights beard is way fluffier.
And he sure looks like Doctor Wily
Assuming this design is of the main bad guy, this look replaces Dr. Wilys mustache with a pointed beard thats almost as evil. Same with the Light clone, were betting the backers will vote for this potential design.
The minor detail that separates them: Based on the rock hes breaking, he appears to be stronger than Wily.
More Mega vets than Keiji involved
Beyond what little we know about the game itself, we know that the development team is full of Mega Man vets beyond Inafune. Level design, character art, director, and composer all have a background working on multiple Mega Man games for the last 25 years. The team sure has the credentials to make a Mega Man game, all of which theyre bringing to Mighty No. 9.
The minor detail that separates them: Though the team is dense with Mega vets, surely there must be some Mega Man devs that still work at Capcom, right?
Very similar soundtracks
The Mega Man games have arguably the best music the NES had ever seen, with catchy tunes we that have echoed in our minds for more than 20 years. Inafune looks to be placing similar emphasis on the soundtrack of Mighty No. 9 when he hired Manami Matsumae to write several songs for the game. When you hear the theme song for Mighty No. 9 youll immediately recognize its connection to the original Mega Man soundtrack , which Matsumae also composed.
The minor detail that separates them: Inafune hasnt hired Mega Man 2 songwriter Takashi Tateishi yet.
And that's only what we know right now
Mighty No. 9 may be fully funded already, but the game isnt planned to be released until April 2015. By the time its done, who knows how many homages Inafune will add or subtract from the current design? Until then, does the connection to Mega Man get you excited for the game, or does it feel too much like an imitation?