Seems those rumors about Mega Man 9 being in the works could have some sort of substance behind them, as Capcom has registered a multiplatform game by that name with Australia’s equivalent of the ESRB. Or so Mr. Internet tells me.
We have a rocky relationship, Mr. Internet and I. He lies to me a lot, and he’s very emotionally, shall we say, unstable. Prone to blowing up in my face at unexpected moments. But sometimes he’s on the level, and this seems to be one of those cases. The question is, do I want him to be right?
Capcom seems to have about a 50% track record when it comes to reviving old franchises. This is, admittedly, miles beyond nearly any other old-tyme developer who’s still around and kicking, but it still makes for even odds that any supposed ninth chapter of this hoary old series will be a flop. Most people seem to suggest an inexpensive downloadable content-style Mega Man Powered Up offshoot as the ideal model for this endeavor, but I’m not sure I agree. Powered Up was lovely on PSP, but have you ever played it through a PSP-2000’s video out? What is brilliant as a portable game feels awfully clumsy as a console title.
And then there are the new sequels to Commando and 1943, Capcom’s grand experiment with kick-starting old franchises via DLC. They’re competent, but something about them feels a little off. There’s nothing about Wolf of the Battlefield in particular that says, “Hey, this is Commando 3 and not just some random generic top-down shooter!” Of course, Mega Man has enough entrenched, time-encrusted traditions that it’ll be instantly recognizable. Will it be any good, though? Let’s be honest; the original series was well along the downslope of diminishing returns when they stopped churning them out, and if MM9 is as tepid as the past few entries you’ll have to wonder why they even bothered. And maybe that’s the real problem: The longer a series lays buried — ten years, in this case — the better its return needs to be in order to justify exhuming its corpse. I’m not sure Capcom has it in ’em.
I’m sure we’ll learn the (terrible?) truth at E3, or maybe at TGS. If Mega Man turns out to be angry and dreadlocked, I feel fully entitled to clucking in disappointment and maybe even launching an angry tirade at Mr. Internet. Not that it would be his fault, but our abusive relationship goes both ways.