Mega Man Xover, which developer Capcom just announced, isn’t a continuation or re-imagining of the series’ classic 2D roots. Nor is it a revival of the recently cancelled 3DS exclusive, Mega Man Legends 3. Instead, it’s a social RPG on iOS.
Mega-fans, still reeling from the downfall of a much-loved franchise, will immediately cry foul. To be honest, they’re mostly justified. But before you join in their chorus gibes and boos, consider Capcom’s perspective. With director Keiji Inafune’s departure, Capcom isn’t sure how to handle the Mega Man series. Crank out too many cookie-cutter sequels or bizarre cameos, and the series will lose brand value. Spin it in a new direction, and the fans will never forgive you. Capcom ultimately took the most conservative approach, pulling the veil over Mega Man, setting him down in the closet and turning out the lights for a while. That move, while understandable, irked some fans as well – after all, they were used to a never-ending deluge of games starring Mr. Blue.
Now it seems that Capcom is timidly peeking, flashlight in hand, back into the dark corner where it left Mega Man. “Take it easy,” they’re saying. In business terms, that likely translates to a low-risk, trendy sort of project, like… well, like a mobile game with social features. In the eyes of fans, it translates to defiling a corpse. In any case, here we are: the next Mega Man game will ask us to pester our friends for power-ups during our morning commutes.
But let’s take an objective look at what we know. The game itself — something ultimately forgotten in the midst of its context — seems to involve classic villains like Dr. Wily, who apparently teams up with a gang of baddies to lock up all the Mega Men from classic blue to new-school Zero. The player, of course, gets to design their own Mega Man and save the day. (Funny to think that in the eyes of some, Capcom itself could use some help designing a new Mega Man.)
Compared to other mobile games, Xover could be a robust and fulfilling experience. But any Mega Man junkie worth his weight in zenny will take one look at the game’s “AutoPlay” feature and tap their device’s home button in disgust. That’s right: one of the indutry’s most influentially frustrating, nerve-wracking and confidence-destroying action games now has an AutoPlay button. Mega Man Xover, I’m sure, will only stoke the flames of controversy.
Capcom, bless their hearts, are trying to tie this announcement in with their so-called “celebration” of their most beloved franchise’s 25th anniversary. For most fans, it’s not much of a party.
If you happen to speak Japanese, you can read more about the game at its official website.