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Tubatic avatar 11:45 PM on 07.19.2010  (server time)
Wild Speculation: Running Wild with the Mega Man Universe Announcement

Mega Man Universe has been announced!! While some Mega Man fans are a light with ideas on what it could all mean, there's still a good chunk that aren't quite getting an amazing vibe from this mysterious new title. To those on the fence or otherwise not in tune with what this could all mean, let me walk you through the info as I see it. You could see the Mega Man Universe that I see, maybe you'll be just as excited as I am!

The Interview

The part that many people may have missed is this brief and painfully PR-trained Q&A with the creator of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune. He doesn't reveal much, but a lot of the talk points toward appealing to long time fans of Mega Man. However, there's some very certain talk about not overusing the 8-bit artsyle and play style.

"Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, which were done in the 8-bit style, proved that Mega Man is still widely accepted by its fan base. But, that doesn’t mean that we need to stick only to that 8-bit style because all the fans would get bored of the series. It’s not about whether or not the style is new or old; it is about making new ideas. I am always looking for new ideas for Mega Man."

The interview also makes a healthy number of allusions to the fans and their ideas. While there are a few more hot quotes to be had, the best one to take going into the trailer is this one from the raw press release for the game:

"This game will break the mold and challenge the conventional wisdom of what a Mega Man game can be. When fans finally get to see it, I believe they’ll envision their most far-out Mega Man dreams coming true."

That's a pretty bold claim there! Mega Man fans, as ravenous as any other longtime fanbase, would conceive of their crazy ideas about Mega Man coming true? For a purely straight forward tradition Mega Man game, that's some intense bravado. But, with all this talk of valuing new ideas and "envisioning" dreams, maybe its not such a traditional affair, right?

The Trailer

The trailer for this new game is as retro as they come. Stop motion clay characters, arcade machines, and a kid with hair that time warped ever so naturally from cheesy commercials made in the 80's. But lets be real: no concrete details, and a BUNCH of call backs to Mega Man and Capcom history.

The key about this trailer is how Mega Man uses the different powers and how the transitions are showcased. Notice how near the front end of the trailer, only the buster arm changes into Cut Man's weapon. What's up with that? Doesn't the blue bomber change in full to whatever power he using? What gives Claymation Man? Also, check out when Mega Man/Arthur falls from the top shelf. See how his arms, torso and head change independently of one another? Its almost as if each part is set independant of each other part. Can I have a Ryu head, with Arthur's lance? Something tells me I can!

And THAT's the big excitement for me. The implication here is that in the same way that Mega Man X could add on parts to augment and add powers, you'll probably be able to pull of the same customization/progression in Mega Man Universe. Its not about just gaining a power and using that power. Its about combining parts for maximum effect, I think! To me, it just seems natural. With all the talk of choice, that's one big lump of choices right there! What's my helmet, what's my weapon, what's my armor? Its your Mega Man this time around. We may not be getting a full on Mega Man MMO (thank goodness?), but the loot based sensibility seems to be in place.

Beyond the Trailer

Now it's time for wild speculation! So, lets say I'm right about mix and match Mega Man. That's great and all, but in and of itself, that's not much of a revolution, yeah? Inafune is talking big talk about integrating fan ideas. Where do you go with that? In a world that already has Little Big Planet, you've got to go the next step. Let go ahead and assume level creation, yeah? But really, what else? What's going to make this really about the old school fans and envisioning you most far out Mega Man dreams?

Boss Creation.

For years, fan input for the Mega Man games has come in the form of creating your own bosses to be implemented on that one in a million chance that you get your design picked for the release. What if you didn't even have to be that lucky? What if you could create a boss and have that boss show up in other people's games randomly? What if you could, maybe, rate your favorite bosses as you fight them? What if you could even design your own fight patterns and weapons for boss use and weapon pickup? Seth Killian called this new Mega Man project "rad". Would that not be completely RAD!?

But dang if that doesn't sound complicated. How do you let people design their own bots, bosses and weapons? Templates, color swaps, movement rules and pattern interfaces. If you build your system around it, that's not terribly impossible yeah? If we learned nothing from Destructoid's own Mega Man Boss Maker, interchangeable parts can result in several unique configurations. If you look at the ZX games, the series has already toyed with the idea of setting the pattern of your shots with the fire weapon. And consider the boss fights of every Mega Man game you've played. It all comes does to just a handful of movement routines. Some of them invariably repeat. The spice, of course, is the weapon effect of each bot. Give us a good handful of effects, strengths and weaknesses, and we'll be in business! This isn't impossible. Its incredibly freaking possible.

As we're supposed to be getting more details during Comic-Con, we shouldn't have to wait too long to find out where Capcom's going with this new game. Everything I'm guessing could easily be debunked in a couple hours even. But you've got to ask yourself: what if I'm right? Wouldn't that be SWEET?!?!

You wanted me to dream, Inafune-san. I AM DREAMING!

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