Mega Man Universe: Capcom's LittleBigPlanet?

Mega Man crator Keiji Inafune has been talking about the upcoming Mega Man Universe, that most mysterious of MM games with that most gleeful of claymation trailers. Just what the hell is it, and what was that trailer hinting it, with its appearances by Ryu and Sir. Arthur from Ghouls 'n' Ghosts?

Well to be honest, we still don't know for definite. But we certainly do have some clearer ideas. So join us now, as we go through Inafune-san's new info, andthen detail what we strongly suspect it all means. Hint: It's something awesome.

Most excitingly, Capcom seems to be using MMU to fully embrace all23 years of Mega Man fandom, the central design philosophy being, according to Inafune-san, 'the idea of what Mega Man is and what it means to [different people].' Acknowledging that Mega Man evokes different ideas for different player, depending one which games first exposed them to the blue bomber, he also revealed that MMU will let players 'play as the Mega Man of your dreams'.

Possibly the most important hint of what the game will be though, came with Inafune-san's statement of his wish to encourage creativity and 'unite Mega Man fans from around the planet to play together in one place'.

So what do we reckon it's going to be? Well given all of this, as well as Inafune-san's recentadmission that 'the feedback we have received from the fans of the series has always been the biggest influence to our game design', right now, one idea and one ideaaloneis burning in our brains. Mega Man 2.0.

The talk of creativity, unified play, and customised experiencesgives us the unswerving impression that Capcom is taking Mega Man down the LittleBigPlanet route with Universe. The title itself fits that concept down to the ground.

Above: If you think this is hard now, just wait 'til the fans start designing it

The idea is a perfect fit for Capcom's current direction. No Japanese developer is embracing western gaming ideas more rapidly at the moment, and after so many western collaborationsfollowed bythe co-op focus in Resident Evil 5, a connected, user-generated-content approachwould bea logical next step.

Is Mega Man a good fit for that sort of thing? We think he's perfect. In MM you've got a franchiselong enough to have engrained its tropes and mechanics into the minds of millions, spanning a couple of generations at least. And crucially, those mechanics are simple, bold, easy to understand, and robust enough to take a whole lot of tinkering about with. It's ideal material for a level-editor-focused game. Is it any co-incidence that MM gameshave been prime fodder for fan-made ROM hacks for years already?The 'feedback' Inafune-san mention doesn't have to refer to just e-mails.

And thecharacterhimself is so perfect it's almost hilarious.

The central concept of Mega Man games is that of unlocking new tools with which to upgradeand adapt the little fella in order to pass new obstacles. Scale that up and you've got a seamless starting point for character customisation. The switching in and out of abilities in the trailer gave a strong hint that this is going to play a major part in MMU, and Inafune-san's comments only back that up. And with the possibility of including elements - if not the entirety - of other Capcom characters as well, this now sounds like the best idea ever.

Part Mega Man, part LittleBigPlanet, part Super Smash Bros., and all fan-service, it's a killer idea, and if it isn't what Inafune-san is referring to in Mega Man Universe, Capcom needs to start working onitimmediately. And then pay us a lot of money for the concept. The Big C has always been fantastic at giving its fans wonderful things to geek out over, and if it does follow our theory, Mega Man Universe will be the ultimate example of that. A big, community-driven, cross-franchise mash-up built for and by Capcom fans. Right now, we can't think of anything better. And right now, we want it right now.

But what do you think? Do you think Mega Man going Sackboy is as great an idea as we do? Or would you rather Capcom made their own Mega Man games, and kept Street Fighter out of them? Let us know in the comments.

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.