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.