Mega Man is dead, and why that’s a good thing

The following is a guest editorial from frequent GamesRadar contributor Jim Sterling. For our response, and our thoughts on the fate of Mega Man, listen to TalkRadar podcast episode 168 this Friday.

To say that Capcom has found itself on the receiving end of some ill will lately would be an insultingly mild understatement. Since the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 last week, the publisher has suffered a swift and thorough backlash from fans, with the exclusion of Mega Man from Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 only embittering their brewing malice.

It seems that, for all intents and purposes, Mega Man is dead. With Keiji Inafune no longer at the company, the character's last big supporter has fallen away and Capcom is free to bury the beloved blue hero for good. As I see it, however, this is not the moment to grieve a fallen warrior so much as to celebrate his timely demise – Mega Man's downfall is not a tragedy.

For proof, take that other blue mascot. Many have complained that Sonic the Hedgehog games keep getting made while Mega Man games keep getting cancelled, but look at how Sonic exists today – considered a joke by most, with three games released per year that invariably disappoint his increasingly bitter fans. Would you rather have your hero die with dignity now, or live in a state of permanent undeath, trotted out like a whore in embarrassing spin-offs by a studio that's thoroughly burned out? That's Sonic’s fate, and I find it laughable that some wish the same for Mega Man.

Of course, there's one big difference between Mega Man and Sonic – Sonic is actually popular, a mainstream icon as opposed to a cult figure. Mega Man's fans need to realize and acknowledge that this "flagship" series has never been a flagship series. The character’s starred in a few gems, of course, but he hasn’t had a consistently brilliant run. Nowadays, the games are most successful when tugging at retro heartstrings, but although Mega Man 9 was a hit, Mega Man 10 already saw sales drop significantly enough for the publisher to worry. So when fans say Capcom made a terrible business decision to cancel Mega Man's last two games, I say they're full of shit.

The cancellation of both Mega Man Universe and Mega Man Legends 3 was, in fact, a GOOD idea. Capcom Europe implied, but didn't have the nerve to outright say, that fan interest wasn't high enough for Mega Man Legends 3. I'm going to say it myself, in no uncertain terms -- fan interest wasn't high enough for Mega Man Legends 3. This was an experiment, a plan to get the community involved and contribute to the design of the title. The response was poor, however, and experiments that don't work get scrapped. Only an idiot should be surprised by this.

Gamers are acting like children who don’t play with a toy but start crying as soon as it’s confiscated. While there was a slight modicum of excitement for Mega Man Legends 3 while it was in development, people only really started caring once the game got the axe… once they had a reason to be angry at the terrible betrayal of trust that had been committed. Maybe Capcom was naïve to think this situation would play any other way, and it was silly to expect gamers to actively and consistently contribute, but the publisher never hid the fact that this was a fan-led project. That the fans didn't contribute enough, in the face of reinforcement of the importance of their involvement, is a sure sign that they didn't give a stuff.

And if they don’t, why should Capcom? And if Capcom can’t commit to making good games – with or without community support – why keep Mega Man alive? To the fans who truly still care, I suggest you be happy with what you’ve had and celebrate the series as it was rather than wish for it to continue past its prime. At least this way, the memories are preserved instead of trodden on through weird spin-off titles from a company that no longer knows what to do with him.

I do not blame you for feeling sad, and I support your efforts to get Mega Man Legends 3 back into production, If only for closure, if nothing else. We all need to accept, however, that Mega Man is never going to be "back" in any lasting sense of the word. If Legends 3 is ever finished, it'll be under duress. If the franchise ever returns, it’ll be for the occasional nostalgic cash-grab. But that's better than the alternative – a series of soulless, pointless games churned out by a company that doesn't want to make them. At least with Mega Man dead and buried in the ground, gamers can get the hell over him and move on.

Agree? Vehemently disagree? Don’t care about Mega Man either way? Share your comments below, then listen to TalkRadar episode 168 for our thoughts and response.

Jul 26, 2011

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  • scarper - May 18, 2012 12:11 p.m.

    There are some flaws here. First off, the newer Mega Man games did what Sonic fans have been wanting Sega to do for 10 years. Mega Man went back to the original formula (in the most literal way possible too.) The Sonic series has since tried to echo this concept, but still stumbles. Mega Man is in fact one of Capcoms flagship titles. When someone says the word Capcom, people think of Street Fighter, Mega Man, or both. The fans do care. Otherwise, Capcom would have never announced these new games in the first place. The economy has gone to shit. That, combined with Keiji leaving, put Capcom under some pressure. They had to pull a few of their most important projects to keep themselves from going under. If they pulled MvC 3 and kept Mega Man, just as many people would have gotten pissed off. And the same number of ego hungry writers would have written articles like this.
  • DeadEcho - February 8, 2012 6:23 p.m.

    Dammit! Megaman was my childhood! I watched every Nt Warrior episode, and played the games whenever I could. I even said no to Halo and Cod for him! Now hes being put to rest like some rabbit animal?! Childhoods are being destroyed! I cant believe capcom did this!
  • zx2654 - August 2, 2011 12:40 a.m.

    I totally agree about Legends. It was never very popular. Mega man universe was much different. With a little big planet community it could have been amazing. Ending Mega Man shouldn't be done. Nintendo did the same with Mario for it's anniversary with that piece of crap called all-stars. Mega man should have been excluded from MvC 3 and as all fans I WANT HIM IN THE NEW SMASH BROS.! More series deserve it, but Mega man's last game was Mega man zero collection. He at least deserves to go out with a bang.
  • Zizz01010101 - August 1, 2011 7:19 a.m.

    Well I think there's one critical difference between modern Sonic games and Modern MegaMan games. Modern Sonic games suck and Modern MegaMan games are worlds better and are actually fun. I was so disappointed to see Legends get canceled. I recently saw some game play and it looked like it would've been one of the best MegaMan games out there. P.S I used to be a Sonic AND MegaMan fan until this modern crap showed up...
  • PanaMusica - July 29, 2011 6:51 a.m.

    All hail Jim Sterling, but he ain't no Mister
  • VaneTrago - July 29, 2011 3:07 a.m.

    The way that Sterling comes across, in both this article and many others, just screams that he's an insufferable prick. Even the few points I agreed on I ended up agitated by, purely by his diction and tone. And it's not even the content, it's the context. Antista could have written something about the death of Megaman and even if I disagreed I would come away from it feeling... Annoyed as I do.
  • snothammer - July 28, 2011 10:28 p.m.

    As much as I do agree with this article, I still find the exclusion of Mega Man in MvC3U (so far) to be perplexing. Granted, Zero is there, but even just a semi-palette swap would be easy and appreciated. As far as Mega Man Legends 3 goes, I never even knew about it, nor did I care. The fact of the matter is, Mega Man was already being whored out, just not as a major console title. It's just that now that Capcom can't Activision the shit out of him in downloadable and handheld games, they've decided it's past his time. Which is fine with me, because Mega Man passed his prime during the SNES years. The Mega Man Legends games weren't good, admit it. If you want to play a good 3D game as a character with a blaster on their arm, play the Metroid Prime series. Capcom not whoring out Mega Man anymore is a good thing, even for the sheer fact that it can save gamers money. There's no reason to pay for games from a developer who doesn't care simply because you like the lead character. That's the ad hominem fallacy, and you're better off moving on to other developers who care about their IPs.
  • augustoflores - July 28, 2011 7:03 p.m.

    you have an opinion and i respect you for that. it is no mystery that i love the mega man franchise, but i will speak for the community in multiple perspectives. My Perspective: I would have bought the game. I knew about the dev rooms but didn't take part in it due to my game art school homework being more important and being tied down with other things. (it was a stressful time, okay?) i had also reviewed some of the things that had been said in the dev rooms and thinking to myself "hmmm... i'd like that in the game!" it wasn't until recently that i became a servbot since it has been noted that it will help show fan support... i am Servbot # 005611. if it wasn't for Kid Icarus: Uprising, i would have purchased a 3DS to play MML3. i still haven't purchased a 3DS since i have no job. Furthermore, i only knew about it due to me being in Megaman-Evolution, a group within based on all things megaman, thus, because of them, i knew about it since the beginning of the dev rooms of MML3... i did vote on the design for Trigger and i voted for Mega Man X as a character i wanted for Marvel vs Capcom 3 DLC. Uninformed Megaman Fan Perspective: this is the perspective that most people like yourself, screwattack, and capcom don't comprehend. with this perspective, a future consumer of the game would have purchased the game had they seen it on the shelf. the internet wasn't spreading the news well enough and there are people who don't seek game news and still buy games like megaman whether you like it or not (even if it is a small percentage, it is consumer money). even now, there are still megaman fans who don't know about the game at all, as well as fans looking forward to it but don't know that it has been cancelled yet. the knowledge that the game has been cancelled affects the gamers that didn't know about it because they didn't know about it. it's as simple as that; not because, "people only really started caring once the game got the axe… once they had a reason to be angry at the terrible betrayal of trust that had been committed." that is the primal way of thinking (like saying humans exist to reproduce... primal). things are way more technical than anyone can comprehend. Your Perspective:... well... you know your perspective... not comprehending/knowing of the second perspective.
  • IIIIIACEIIIII - July 28, 2011 2:15 p.m.

    Ugh, I couldn't even get past the first few sentences. You don't need to try and sound as intelligent as possible you know, it makes your writing unbearable you pseudo-intellectual.
  • ranman311 - July 28, 2011 1:10 p.m.

    Why is this Destructoid a-hole writing articles on GamesRadar???? Please get Jim Sterling off of this site before he ruins it.
  • NeoKef - July 28, 2011 4:38 a.m.

    ...So does this mean I have to wait even longer before they announce "MEGAMAN X 9"? Thats all I really cared about for the last 3 years really.
  • TheKey - July 28, 2011 4:08 a.m.

    Everyone talking badly about Jim, SHUT UP. This is his honest opinion, and you're fine to disagree with it, but stop personally attacking him. I mean, I personally don't think Mega Man is DEAD(I mean, I'm sure they will do SOMETHING with him)but just because you're mad at the cancellation of the game doesn't mean you should call both him and his entire article, "biased and poorly informed". I mean, that just makes you sound like more a whining fanboy.
  • rongunz - July 28, 2011 2:47 a.m.

    i didn't give a rat's butt about MML3. I want a MM11 with MM8's graphics -- it looked so much more fun. That or a new Mega Man X because, well, I'll always favor X over regular Mega Man.
  • crumbdunky - July 28, 2011 1:17 a.m.

    Another JS piece calculated to annoy fans of a certain game purely to enlarge his own ego. Usually I concede that he writes his formulaic bait pretty well but, this time, even the language is shoddy. Mainly, with the actual issue, i just feel Capcom led people on and that's why people are annoyed-and just WHAT did they expect of fan input? It's not like they handed out access to any tools worth making much with and asking for gamers to do their job, beyond vague and opposing ideas is always going to be MORE work than just doing a bit of market research, showing the first/alpha to select fans and seeing what they think is right and wrong with the plan. This way they just asked for fighting from the start then act shocked when a complete game hasn't leapt into reality for them-seriously, though, just what were Capcom after as it seems to me that they just didn't have a clue. Given that this is a company who seem to have gone downhill on everything that isn't MH or a fighting game on the SF engine(HOW much SF will they release with HOW much on disc DLC?)this generation(even mnew IP like DR or LP have got worse after semi promising first efforts and the less said about the way RE has been exploited across platforms the better)a clueless aproach is little shiock-Christ, they gave NT DMC to revoot FFS. Why expect any sense or anthing good and new from them in this day and age? Even Dragon's Dogna looks pants. I think they're lost when it comes to story based games and any franchise that doesn't involve monster hunting or street fighting(or it's close relatives) they are totally at sea. Why would we think Capcom would do anything great with MM these days anyway? they probably asked the fans just in the hope they'd give them enough rope and, it seems, they succeeded. Jim, though, just did his usual, lazy piece where he hopes to get hits by being abrasive and then feeds off the vitriol in the comments. I'm a bit sick of Jim AND Capcom even if I DO accept, though he got there for bollox reasons and didn't need to enjoy pissing on MM fans chips so very much, he has a point when it comes it being time to put MM out to pasture-though thinking MM hasn't been milked already is amazingly naive or plain ignorance of the sheer number of MM games foisted on us over the years-and Capcom probably had more IP than Sega TO rotate so to see MM with more games than Sonic s a bit off. Cap[com have gone from being my favourite Japanese publisher/dev house in every other(or nearly) gen to being the most listless and aimless(worse than sE for me as , at least, i loved CC and TWEWY on their respective handhelds!)I can imagine-they bother making CTYD and marketed THAT while when they actually make the BEST third party Wii game ever they fail to realise they've done it and Zack and Wiki drops through existence without a blink., let alone anything LIKE an ad!
  • IronCyclone - July 28, 2011 1:01 a.m.

    OKAY everyone has to admit they were fans of the old mm games but the new ones suck with the new megamans i only will miss old megaman games and megaman in mvc
  • reveffect - July 28, 2011 12:13 a.m.

    I will agree that a lot of the people crying over this didn't even know about megaman or play any of the games but you do have to admit that there are a lot of people (including me) who have played them and actually were looking forward to this when it was announced. Hell yeah I am pissed. I was really hoping for a true end to the MM legends story. How the hell did capcom expect to get a lot of fan support for something they barely (if at all) advertised. Its like what activision pulled with the last few games Bizarre Creations made before they completely shut them down. All they had to do was release it on console (and pc maybe), advertise it, actually put effort into making the game instead of relying on fans who have other things to worry about other than doing their job for them, and they would have come out with more money and happier fans than they would have going down the road they planned.
  • D0CCON - July 27, 2011 10:26 p.m.

    I just want one more Battle Network-esque game (since somehow that and Pokemon are the only game franchises that I am incapable of getting tired of). I was playing Starforce 3 for the past six hours on our drive back home from vacation (I just got back actually) and while the game is good, I really, really want the 3X3 grids back. You can keep all other new additions, but I don't like only being able to move left and right across 3 grids (while your enemies get to use the full board). If a Megaman game like that did get announced for 3DS, I'd buy a 3DS for it, no joke.
  • ThatGamerDude - July 27, 2011 8:31 p.m.

    Megaman may be dead but I believe Zero will take his spot pretty soon... (wink wink)
  • slimjim441 - July 27, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    I'll miss you Mega Man... I'm really only sad that Capcom never had the chance (or took the chance) to make a final original series game connecting to the X series. Could've been cool, unlike the Transformers movie. The only reason they made that was to introduce Hasbro's shitty new toy line. But that's a whole different story. Farewell, my beloved Blue Bomber.
  • PizzatheHutt - July 27, 2011 6:23 p.m.

    HOW DARE YOU SIR! The cancellation of this Mega Man game that I just heard about just now is an insult to every one who has ever gotten angry over things they have never played and know nothing about. This is obviously only an attempt for you to make some kind of name for your self Jim Whatever your name is. As a part of the collective crybaby that is the internet I demand that Capcom resume making this Mega Guy game immediatley or I'll hold my breath and stomp my feet and yell really loud. I mean it. Jerks.

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