The death of Mega Man was probably the best thing that could have happened to Mega Man

Today, Keiji Inafune’s Comcept and InitCreates announced a new 3DS game called Azure Striker Gunvolt, which is not the sequel to Voltage Fighter Gowcaiser, no matter how badly you would like for it to be. No, it’s actually pretty much just Mega Man ZX 3, except that unlike Mighty No. 9 (the other Comcept/IntiCreates combo project) it’s much less an obvious knockoff and looks more like a spiritual sequel. As opposed to a borderline-illegal sequel.

Interestingly, people are super bonkers about the game. Like, there’s legitimate excitement about it. I say “interestingly” because when Capcom announced the second ZX game, Mega Man ZX Advent, the world couldn’t yawn fast enough. After all, how many Mega Man games was Capcom cramming down our throats at the time? I remember going hands-on with Advent for the first time at an event where I also interviewed the producer of one of the Mega Man Star Force games (I forget which one), which followed immediately in the wake of Mega Man Battle Network, and I believe slotted in right between Mega Man X7 and X8 and Command Mission and one of the compilations, too. Even as someone who was determined to make writing about Mega Man games – especially those with nonlinear progression and mechanics! – a part of my paid day job, I really had to make an effort to give a crap about Advent. It was really a good game, but, you know… sometimes, enough’s enough.

Well, now we’ve gone something like four years since the last Mega Man game came out – unless you want to count an official sanctioned fan game and that terrible Japan-only mobile crossover garbage, which I would rather not – and a new chapter in the ZX series sounds pretty danged good. I know business is all about killing your golden goose as quickly and thoughtlessly as possible, but the buzz around Azure Striker Gunvolt really gives the impression that if Capcom had maybe been a little more sensible about the frequency with which they churned out Mega Man over the years, it might have been something the world still cared about before they took it away with such charming hamfistedness.

Me, I’m just looking forward to seeing Inafune file off the serial numbers for Mega Man Legends and give us an obvious analog to that series, too. You know it’s gonna happen sooner or later. Hopefully later. Gotta give those other Mega Man-alikes some breathing room, after all.

4 thoughts on “The death of Mega Man was probably the best thing that could have happened to Mega Man

  1. Not that I don’t like Mega Man, I do, but I think its great that this is not Magazine Man game. It seems like not having to adhere to Mega Man conventions could allow them to do new stuff with the game. And people wouldn’t have to complain that this and such mechanic is not like Mega Man etc. I really can’t wait for this game. I had assumed Inafunes team was tied up with mighty no 9. So this is a very pleasant surprise.

  2. I’ve always thought that about Konami and Castlevania. Even during the heyday of the Iga DS games I kept feeling they were getting diminishing returns. Taking a longer break between games could have help them expand the ideas in each game, or at the very least limit the amount of asset recycling they were doing towards the end.

    It’s like they were worried that if they didn’t put a new game out every year people will forget about them. Either that or they assume that each game should make a profit, so they should put a new one out as often as possible.

  3. While I wasn’t particularly won over by new Mega Man installments that much when they had a habit of putting out a brand new one every year (Remember when that used to happen?), when I saw the video for Azure Striker Gunvolt my first reaction was “FRIGGIN’ SOLD!”

    It’s definitely got a Zero/ZX aesthetic going with the visuals, but this game looks like it’s gonna be a fun time.

    @discord_inc: Speaking of IGA, now that the Lords of Shadow thing is over I’m hoping Konami will let the guy start making new Castlevanias again. I don’t need one every year, but I sure as hell don’t want Mirror of Fate to be the only (original) installment on the 3DS.

  4. I am hyped about this game – while I played and enjoyed both MMZX games, it already looks like this game has more freedom to experiment with the gameplay and have a more unique plot than “kill these Robot Masters”. I have a feeling it will turn out a lot better than any ZX 3 would have been and have an opportunity to attract new fans.

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