Today Is A Beautiful Day. Granted, it's technically 1AM my time and I am tired like no other, but It Is A Good Day Nonetheless. Why??
Capcom Unity, Capcom's in-house social networking site, hosted a Mega Man birthday party and streamed it live to the internet, registering 80,000 unique visitors watching the stream by the end of the two-hour production. Keiji Inafune, creator of the Megaman franchise himself was present, as was Hitoshi Ariga, mangaka for the up coming Mega Man Megamix comic books -- which, confirmed as of tonight, will be published stateside by Capcom's main squeeze Udon Comics. There were plenty of other important Japanese people and I'm sure they had names but I was sharing a video stream with 79,999 of my closest friends...it was kind of choppy. I missed their names. My apologies.
So, what came out of this little event? What was the BIG UNREVEALED NEWS?!
According to Inafune-san, they're "putting the finishing touches" on Megaman 10, the completely unexpected sequel (threequel? tenquel?) to the recently revived classic Megaman franchise, and it should be due out "soon" on WiiWare, Playstation Network, and Xbox Live. There's an upcoming games show in Tokyo and Megaman 10 will be playable at said show, along with plenty of other Megaman 10-related goodies.
Not only that, but Megaman 10 will hold your tiny baby hands as you cut your teeth on real 2D gaming: there will be an Easy Mode included with the game. Protoman will also be a playable character right out of the gate -- no extra DLC microtransactions for the Blue Bomber's brother. A third playable character will be included as well, but no reveals there other than confirmation that Blues and Rockman won't be alone this time around.
There was also a Q&A session using questions Capcom Unity members asked on the USA announcement blog. Capcom USA's Ben Judd absolutely, positively was dead set on getting everyone's one burning question out of the way. (Forgive me for paraphrasing here, again, Unity will post a recording/transcript/some sort official reproduction of the broadcast soon.)
"Will there ever be a Megaman Legends (Rockman Dash) 3?"
"If Ben Judd-san produces it, sure, there will be a Legends 3." Ohhh Inafune-san, you funny guy you.
Now, I've been a member of Capcom's various social networks since 2003, so forgive me if I am a little excitable here. Yours truly squeezed a question into the event announcement's comment section very early on, and the generous souls at Capcom USA decided they would use my question to get the user submissions rolling. "This one comes from 'bigopinion'..." Woah. It's always exciting to hear your question read to a super big international video game icon, especially Inafune-san of all people. I WAS EXCITED OKAY!!
"If you could take the Megaman franchise into any new direction -- away from the 2D sidescrolling action adventure we have grown to love through the years -- where would you go with it??"
Inafune-san paused for a moment, trying to decide how to answer. My wit clashed with Inafune's. You can hear the 8-bit gears turning.
"We have to be careful with that, because 2D gamers [people who have grown up with Mega Man and are fans of classic Mega Man, Mega Man X, etc.] have far different expectations than 3D gamers [people who are fans of/started playing games in a more recent gaming era] and people who are new to Mega Man. Many of the game mechanics fans love most about Mega Man games are strictly 2D elements and would be very difficult to translate over into 3D as well. Mega Man is very much a game that appeals to people our age (20s - 30s), but we would want a game that was very widely appreciated, so we would have to keep that in mind." I don't believe he went into any specifics. Not quite the answer anyone was hoping for, but it gives us valuable insight into how the man behind Mega Man thinks -- dedication to that core demographic is high on his list of priorities.
Another two questions from Unity members were posed to him, concerning the fate of other games in the Mega Man franchise -- the ZX series, the X series, Powered Up!, etc. The only real useful bits of info gleamed from those questions is that the possibility of Capcom making Mega Man Powered Up 2 has gone from "questionable" to "Inafune-san said it was highly possible." The general consensus among Unity members that participated in tonight's broadcast is that this is Inafune's way of saying "Yeah, it's coming. Probably." Take it with a grain of salt, of course.
Other highlights from the party:
- Capcom Store USA is holding a 10% off all Mega Man merchandise sale starting....yesterday. (12/16 through 12/26)
- Inafune-san talked a bit about his creative process with Robot Masters: "I have to play the stages and draw multiple drafts of each boss over and over to really ensure that their personality comes out in their design. This is important," he said, deferring back to Ariga-sensei, "because in the manga, every character is a main character."
- Further commenting on the Mega Man Megamix manga, Inafune-san was quoted as saying that he hasn't really trusted anyone else to design characters for Megaman other than himself in the past -- people would submit ideas and they would have to be approved by Inafune directly. This may change soon, as he now feels he can confidently leave character design to Ariga-sensei's hands, saying in earnest that "he may possibly surpass even me one day." You can rest easy, Mega Man diehards -- the upcoming manga is Inafune-approved.
- American E-Tank brand energy drinks are 50% bigger, 100% more carbonated, and 150% more American than Japanese E-Tanks. There were murmurs that American E-Tank drinks would be made available at comic book outlets nationwide.
- Capcom Store Japan is running a set of special Mega Man Kubricks, as well as those round vinyl painted figures that literally every game gets for merch since six months ago. Trendy.
- Inafune-san is incredibly bad at his own game. The man needed Easy Mode. He apologized at the end of the broadcast: "I'm sorry I wasn't able to show you the boss at the end of this level..." I believe he was playing Sheep Man's stage as that's the only boss they've announced and there were lots of electricity-related things in the stage. He was, fortunately, able to get past the mid-boss.
- Capcom Japan's Merchandise promoter is "a pretty lady!!"
- Unity's Mega Man Tribute contest winners were announced and shown directly to Inafune-san. 3rd place was a stop-motion of a cut-out Mega Man shooting a massive flower with a frowny face. 2nd was a collection of plastic LED lamps shaped like Mega Man's 8-bit sprite. 1st place was a brick wall built in the pattern of Mega Man's 8-bit sprite, to which Inafune-san could only laugh and ask "wow, just how much did that cost!?"
- Inafune-san and his buddies like to talk about a whole lot of nothing at these events.
- Capcom USA's staff are very good crowd entertainers when Inafune-san and his buddies decide to talk about nothing.
An accurate reproduction of Capcom USA's broadcast will be posted through Capcom Unity within the next few days. Until then, this is probably the most coherent writeup you'll be able to find about it.