Evolution is necessary. Let's just get that out of the way, first and foremost. Nothing survives in this world without changing, without adapting to the times and the environment that surrounds it. Sometimes all it takes is a simple modification to a behavior, sometimes all it takes is a single tool to do something you couldn't do before, and sometimes it takes a complete overhaul of everything you know to make survival possible. No matter the measure or the reason, evolution must take place in order for survival to remain possible. As times change, tastes change and cultural / technological landscapes change, so too must we all.
With that out in the open, I'm going to switch gears to an idea of mine that I want to flesh out here and now, so that everyone can see it, and perhaps the great powers that be can see it as well. It is an evolution of an icon. It is what must be done, and I'm hoping that this message reaches the ears of those who need to listen. This is not just an evolution, but a potential revolution if done right.
And you should listen to this in the background.
Pardon the image, I think the Splash Woman titty-squeeze is beyond stupid, but it was the best quality version I could find, audio-wise...whatever. Just roll with it.
Megaman is a strange subject for me these days. It's an iconic franchise that has shaped me as a person. I have lived my life according to tenets passed down from its gameplay mechanics, if that makes sense - you tackle difficult situations in order to earn weaponry, items and lessons that allow you to tackle other difficult situations, eventually culminating in your ability to defeat major obstacles in life. I know that's corny, but it is so very true - and it's been the recipe for all of my successes. I also played a fair amount of Metroid when I was growing up, exploring labyrinthine worlds and all of their nooks and crannies, looking for secrets and items, much in the same fashion as I would a Megaman game, but from a different approach if still seeking the same sort of final resolution.
With the Megaman franchise in the most dire of ruts, but the fanbase being stronger now than possibly ever before (and with the fact that they have become more vocal and more united due to repeated tragedies), it's time for a major shakeup. It's time for more than a new coat of paint - it's time for a revolution in evolution. And I'll tell you how I see it, my personal vision for the next step into the future of the Megaman franchise, from a fan who gives quite an awful lot of damn. I can't make this game, but I sure as hell hope somebody can or does, and wants to involve me in the process (I'd be honored).
First, let's talk visuals. 8-bit is great, it's got a retro charm that never loses its spark, but it can wear out its welcome (and has done so). There's so many games out there that have done 2D art some amazing justice in the HD era we live and play in, from simplistic yet clean to complex and frame-heavy, there's no excuse to not move things forward with the Megaman franchise. The one thing that keeps coming to mind is how Arc System Works made their visual stamp on the Contra franchise with Hard Corps: Uprising. The visual style of the game is beautiful to look at, wild, vibrant, colorful and just imbued with a sense of life, albeit a very anime-styled life. An anime-styled life that worked very well in Megaman 7 and 8, actually. So, this kind of look is a natural fit to bring Megaman into the 21st century with the same design aesthetics he was born with almost three decades ago.
You don't have to go all hand-drawn - you can pull a New Super Mario Bros. and use 3D assets on a 2D plane, just make sure that the visual aesthetic matches the tone of the series. Keep it light, keep it cartoony, but don't go too far with that - there's got to be some grit in there, as things definitely blow up in the world of Megaman. Everything blows up eventually. And I would have the final acts be rather dark territory for the series, with Megaman looking beat up and run down...and perhaps acting as a segue from the classic to X series. You never know.
Next, let's talk gameplay. Nothing is as cool as selecting a boss, running a stage, beating said boss and stealing his shit, just to go kick his buddy's ass with it. I love that gameplay mechanic. But what it needs is something new, something larger, more expansive...something that might let you go back and explore an area again, like the X series. Here's where my Metroid-addled idea comes into play:
Let's start with an intro stage, like MM7 / MMX. Let that flow right into the discovery of a massive Wily Compound, with eight sections, and a central hub - this central hub is where you will choose your Robot Master stage, and therefore the eighth of the compound you'll tackle. Exploration of this stage will not be like previous Megaman games, at least, not exactly - exploration is the key word. There will be things to explore, items to find, abilities outside of boss weapons to locate and utilize, and suspicious surfaces that you cannot do anything to...at least, not yet. You'll locate the minibosses, defeat them, and move ever closer to the Robot Master in charge. You'll eventually locate him, fight him, defeat him, and take his weapon. Standard operating procedure, right? That should be expanded on as well, but in new and exciting ways for the player.
What if the weapons are crucial to breaking part of certain walls, opening certain doors, just like a Metroid game? What if there are secret areas between stages, a network of additional sections that connect these stages in strange ways, ways that become integral to the game later on? These are idea that need to be explored in order to make this work, but using the Megaman formula, something much larger and more expansive can be created from it - a Megaman adventure, much like the Legends series, only in 2D and set in the original, classic Light timeline.
What if we take a cue from the X series, and have other locales change because of a system failure in another stage - defeating Chill Penguin causes the lava in Flame Mammoth's stage to harden and no longer be a threat to you, correct? Same rules apply. This also leaves a very cool way to bring back Robot Masters from the past - defeating the fire guy makes the fire wall protecting a certain avenue of approach to another area turn off, but when you come back on the return trip, it's back on? "Fire Man and Heat Man return!" or something like that. The possibilities are endless with that, really. You can make all sorts of Robot Masters from the past make triumphant returns, and their weapons / abilities can give you new ways to traverse the environment. Shadow Man wall-running ability? Top Man ability drills down to new areas? Gravity Man allows heavy equipment to float, revealing a new path? Untapped potential everywhere.
Mega Man Universe had given me the spark for this idea. I always wanted to make my own Megaman game, with my own bosses, my own levels, so on, so forth. But with that canceled, I felt like this idea would never come to be. Maybe, just maybe, with all the attention that they're giving the guy for his 25th, the one gift they could give him and his fans is a brand new lease on life. I think this, while incomplete and obviously reeking of some conceptual issues that just can't be resolved by any sane dev team, this is probably the best way to make something old new again. This is the evolution the franchise needs. This is the revolution Capcom needs to fund. This is the only thing I truly want, really.
And The Megas / Entertainment System / Year 20XX need to collaborate on the soundtrack. Yeah.[/center]