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a Quick Look into the Now, the Upcoming, and the Why the Hell Did That Happen
by Shin Lunaar
ALRIGHT. I'm gonna make this intro brief, because I've got a LOT on my mind, but only on one subject in particular. It's been buggin' me so much that I can't sleep.
On to the subject at hand. I have been thinking and pondering these questions and statements and theories for a VERY long time now, and they're all separate yet linked. I'll have to begin by giving a simple question and then explain my thoughts from there...because man, I just need to write this. Here it is:
"Was there any particular reason why Keiji Inafune decided to quietly break his promise to continue his masterpiece works on the PSP, namingly Rockman Irregular Hunter X and Rockman Rockman?"
Let me get some things straight here. The story goes as follows: Capcom decides to remaster the absolute 1993 SNES classic, Rockman X - known as Megaman X here in the US, for the Playstation Portable, aka PSP. GREAT IDEA, as it turns out. After the release of the US only compiliation of the original eight Megaman titles, Megaman Anniversary Collection for the 2001-2006 gen systems in 2004, Capcom felt they needed to give more attention to the "Blue Bomber"'s roots. Megaman X Collection? It was almost obvious it was the next step to take. But you know Capcom. Always pleasing the fans. :D YARRRRGH. So Capcom took it up another notch, and did something they hadn't done since 1994 for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis - remake an entire Rockman game from scratch. It's ironic that they would do this a total of three times so far - each time releasing the title on a rival system. Back to the story. Rockman Irregular Hunter X, otherwise known as Megaman Maverick Hunter X in the states, was created in very late 2005. Featuring entirely new 3D graphics with 2D gameplay, top-notch voice actors, new plot devices, reworked stages, more plot twists, fan-service up the Sub-Tank, and fully animated cut-scenes - RMIHX, was as good as, if not LEAGUES better than the original. A true masterpiece, and one of the very few gems in the piss-poor PSP library to this date. No, I'm not exaggerating. Happy happy, joy joy - a definite win for Capcom.
Now we get to some.....issues. I'm going to delve back into some backstory here. Don't worry, it all links back to the topic at hand. Trust me. About two weeks before the American Maverick Hunter X release, the next US only compilation was finally released on January 10th, 2006 - titled, Megaman X Collection. Yeah, no Anniversary shit. XD It's a just a collection. And that's what it turned out to be, unfortunately. Just. A collection. Looking back two years at the wonderful Megaman Anniversary Collection, you'd be very frustrated and confused when comparing it to MMXC. MMAC featured perfect emulations of the original eight Megaman games - in fact, if you got the PS2 version, it came with fully remixed soundtracks as well. Those eight games, which were RElocalized by the way (no more Normal and Difficult modes in Megaman 2 - it's straight up "play me, bitch!" now! :D), with ten+ unlockables, including two new arcade games never before seen in America, really really badass techno remixes done by various artists, art galleries, sketchbooks, and a special video depending on which console version you bought. Now let's look at MMXC. Well, we've got the original six X games...to be expected, as X7 and X8 are PS2 games and were still considered "recent" at the time. Um...a random racing car game based on the characters from the original saga.....uhh...a gallery of images and music tracks...and that's it. Well, okay. That's a little on the minimum side of expected content, so we can't complain.....or can we? Yes. Yes we can. I haven't mentioned the actual CONS to this game yet. First off, the games themselves...less than perfect emulation. I'd probably have to say that Megaman X3 and X4 remained the most unchanged. X1 and X2 were rescripted, whither I like X strangely spouting "Damn!" at random or not - I can't decide. X1 and X2 also received an audio facelift. A horrendous one. Sound effects were unrecognizable, music was exactly the same, but completely streamed; played. Which means, instead of the music and sounds being produced from the game itself, the audio was "played" when it was supposed to. WHICH MEANS, the music no longer loops on its own...it now fades after a while, and simply starts back up seconds later. Oh, and the little cute "Hadoken!" X gives when he puts his tiny palms together and shoots a nice Street Fighter fireball out - GONE. Now he just kind of silently goes "...eh" and lets it go. Now, I know this is a minor gripe, but it all actually pissed me off to a level I didn't even understand at the time. The gameplay remained intact, except for the fact that there was no longer any "problem" of slowdown when too much action was on the screen. Call that a problem if you like, I thought it was a lifesaver. Now that this "problem" was "solved", the gameplay is faster as ever. I thought it was intense when I was six years old, now I'm playing it again as a sixteen year old, ten years later and I'm still finding myself screaming "ohhhhhhhh, SHHHHHPOOP THIS IS FAST"...for ALL THE WRONG REASONS! They're almost too fast. Moving on to X5 and X6. First off, no rumble. What the fuck. No rumble? Fine. Whatever. No rumble. Gameplay remains the same, audio's alright, the voices are gone as usual. X5 is okay. Let's take a look at X6. Ugh, still no rumble. Gameplay remains the same, audio's alright, the voices are gone as usu - WAIT A FUCKIN' MINNIT. The...the VOICES are gone? Okay, granted, X and Zero still give out their respective grunts and whatnot in gameplay - BUT NOOOOOOONE ELSE IS SPEAKING OR MAKING NOISES. There were no spoken lines in X5 really, just text, so nothing much wrong here. It's quite odd when you realize that there were fully voiced characters and noises all over the effin' place in X4. But seriously, X6? If I recall, X6 was released in America with absolutely no change to the audio whatsoever. Meaning, everyone SPOKE in Japanese. The game was filled with spoken lines, and all of it was in Japanese, with the text and all in English...very badly translated English...it was weird. Capcom was real lazy with X5 and X6, there's no doubt in anyone's mind about that. But X6 was all in Japanese. NOW, we have X6 in this so called "collection", minus the voices. Why? WHY would they REMOVE all of the voices? Not only does it eliminate every description and meaning of "original game", but it just makes NO SENSE. Apparently hearing another language even though it's being translated for you right on the goddamn screen is worse than silent reading. *sighs* Okay, so this collection was pretty bad. No one really liked it, and it sure as HELL didn't live up to MMAC's greatness.
*sighs heavier* But wait. We have to go deeper in WHY this game sucked. When this game was announced, we were promised loads of new things. In fact, it all sounded better than MMAC. We were promised a completely new remixed soundtrack, an art gallery, a bonus game never before seen in America, retranslated scripts, perfect emulation (as to be expected), and - here's the kicker - completely new voice actors voicing all of the characters in X4, X5 and X6. Which would've meant rerecorded voices for X4, a COMPLETELY NEW VOICE OVER CAST FOR X5 (as it none to begin with) and a brand new voice over cast for X6 in English. Wow. This was looking great. The end product ended up getting..... three out of those six major points. And that's not to say those three major points were done well at all. Was there a reason why it was all YANKED out when the release date neared? As we all know, MMXC was being released within the same month and a half period as Rockman Irregular Hunter X. Keiji Inafune, the MAN behind the original and X games, decided against all of this new content being delivered to the classic games of the old. Fans screamed and howled, but he had a justifiable point - he didn't want to spoil all of the new fun exciting features for his new series - Rockman Irregular Hunter X! You're probably thinking "hey wait, Lunaar! You said 'series'! We all know that there was only ONE RMIHX, right? Stop pullin' our legs!" and I'll respond politely with "Yeah, I know I said 'series'! Now go pull out your own goddamn legs! :D" Right. Series. Inafune had a plan to completely overhaul the first six classics onto the PSP - just like he did for RMIHX. This drove fans CRAZY. RMIHX turned out to be an absolute hit with the fans with everything it had offered, and the supposed games in progress were just going to be that amazing if not more. We all knew it. In fact, about two months later, another remake was released called Rockman Rockman for the PSP, aka Megaman Powered Up in the states. This time, it was a complete rehaul of the very very VERY first Rockman game on the NES, done in the same fashion as RMIHX (with super deformed heads and a new cutesy style, which somehow worked very well)! The game did equally well among fans, if not even MORE so with it's immense inclusion of challenges, bonus characters, unlockables, and the unbeatable god's gift to mankind stage creating Construction Mode! Capcom was doing well. No confirmations on any continuation of the original Rockman series being remade like Rockman Rockman, but it seemed likely at the time - considering the fact that RMIHX was confirmed to do so. The point is, we've come to the reason why MMXC sucked so badly - because Inafune wanted to save the real juicy stuff for his upcoming series on the PSP.
Of course, we are now back to square one. It is August, 2008 - and there is no "Rockman Maverick Hunter X2", nor is there any "Rockman Rockman 2". Apparently, sales didn't do as well as Capcom had expected, thus letting Inafune believe it wasn't worth the efforts to create more games in that fashion. I, among numerous others, couldn't feel more betrayed. If sales were really that bad, it was because pretty much every FAN of the series bought them, and almost NOBODY who never was interested in Rockman bought them. Add the fact that they're being run on a.....well, a PSP. I just can't bring myself to the fact that SALES FIGURES led Inafune to believe that he needed to pull the plug. There was just too much potential. How could he not see it? It was right there!
This subject brings me to the next at hand, the future. As we all know, Rockman 9 will be coming out for the current-gen downloadable servers soon. I gotta say it. Who saw THAT coming? There's been FIVE DIFFERENT series and spin-offs of Rockman they’ve started since the last original Rockman game was released...I'm excluding the X series, simply because of the fact that X series was being released at the same time as the Original series. Eh, back to the story at hand. Not only are we getting a sequel to the first series, it's going to be entirely 8-BIT! Yeah, JUST playing on the NES! So, this game is already looking badass. They're clips of it circling the net, it looks great. Scheduled for a release in September, Rockman 9 looks to be the revival the namesake NEEDS. After all of these average joe spin-offs and sequels to spin-offs being spouted out of Capcom left and right, we need to return to our roots. Because, not only does this game look damn good, it shows potential to revive both the Original and the X series in ways we've always dreamed of. Looking at it, you notice - both the Original and X series seemed to have just STOPPED at the number 8 or something! Now that RM9 is coming...should we be looking forward to a Rockman X9 coming soon!? :O With 16-bit graphics just like the SNES days?? Ahahaha, if only. I'm not setting myself up for heartbreak just yet. But wait, what if they CONTINUE after Rockman 9? Rockman 10 maybe??
This subject brings me to the STORY. Zelda is confusing because there is SO MUCH OF IT, and none of it ever happens directly next to each other, plot wise. Multiple timelines suck. Mario is confusing because MARIO GAMES HAVE NO TIMELINES, STFU ALREADY! Rockman is confusing because the games have GREAT storylines, but only for when there is any at all! There is such a HUUUUGE portion of plots missing from these games, it hurts. I honestly don't know if we'll EVER find out what happens between the X series and the Zero series, much less the Original series and the X series. In fact, any series does not match each other in terms of relating directly to another. None. Holes are left unfilled, and question marks fill my brain. Let's take the most obvious and most sought after example: the Original and X series. What the hell happens between these two? When we join X, we learn that the world is much darker, robots can think and feel on their own, thus letting them decide weither or not they enjoy being a villian, and most importantly - where is everybody? We have a great new cast of characters here, but it seems that EVERYBODY from the Original series is long gone. It has been over a hundred years, but can things change that much? Dr. Light remains in visual messages left for X scattered about the land in strange looking upgrade castles, and Dr. Wily...well, fuck - Dr. Wily haunts our good red friend Zero all the damn time. Nothing productive really. I don't know, but I have this horrible feeling that there was a huge...eyedeekay, war or something that took place. And no, X is NOT Rockman, they are two very different, very blue embodiments. Which means...uh-oh. Rockman must be...dead? And what of Blues? Roll? Rush? Flip-Top, Beat and Rightot? Forte and Gospel?? Are they all really gone? Well, it seems so. But something really, really bugs me. As we all know, X is the first of his kind. He is the first "Reploid", a robot who can think and act independently, all on his own. X was discovered, hidden and sealed in a capsule by the scientist Dr. Cain. A message from the late Dr. Light was left with X, revealing that Dr. Light couldn't let X roam because of either A) He was too old to complete X and feared he may break the first law of robotics - "never harm a human being" [the SNES Rockman X reason] or B) He fears that the world is not ready for such a huge leap of evolution, such as X [the PSP Rockman Irregular Hunter X reason]. It could be both. Either way, Dr. Cain frees X and ends up using reverse technology and learns how to make his own Reploids from X's data. Eventually, Reploid's have become their own race, and all live together as if they were humans. Coexisting with humans is quite difficult, on a different note. Anyway, the point being - X is the first of his kind. The first reploid. Now that we've gotten THAT straight.........where does that put our or good red friend Zero? I don't think it'll be considered a spoiler by now, but Zero was built by Dr. Wily. We all know it. But...HOW? He was even shown in the process of building him in one of the arcade games' endings, telling Forte that he's created a new robot that far exceeds Forte's powerful skills. In fact, he tells Forte that this new robot, along with his other secret plan, he will certainly rule the world! We all know about Zero and his Wily Virus problems. But again, this brings me to the fact that I'm scared to put two and two together. Want to hear my guess? Knowing Dr. Wily for the creep he is, he stole data on Dr. Light's project for creating X - the first truly revolutionary new robot. Combining these plans with the energy he had accidentally discovered when creating Forte, he eventually completes his own monstrosity, Zero. As we all know, before Zero's fated battle with Commander Sigma, Zero was running amok, murdering and slaying robots and humans alike. It wasn't until Commander Sigma defeated Zero, and unknowingly caught the Wily Virus. Zero became a good-willed and powerful Irregular Hunter (seriously, he's a fucking tank in every game) while Sigma eventually succumbed to the virus, went Irregular, slowly became the virus itself, and then proceeded to lose his mind completely. Well, knowing what Zero was before he was defeated, it is more than likely that Zero was set loose upon the world, and killed everyone that Dr. Light held dear, even all of Dr. Wily's crew...hell, even Dr. Wily himself. All we know is that whatever happened, Dr. Light was alive when he created X and that he was alone. No helper robots like Rock or Roll assisting him. While Dr. Light finally passes away and the world goes by, X slumbers and Zero roams free as a madman. There is so much that could be told, we don't even know. That's why Rockman 9 shows huge potential. While, unfortunately, we've already been informed that it will not involve trying to cross the bridges between the Original and the X series like we want so badly, the success that follows Rockman 9 will hopefully ensure the future for more classic root sequels or remakes. You can't say no when the sales figures do well, along with everything else.
I have so much to say, and so much to learn at the same time. Let me leave you with one more thought that has had me bugging me for a very long time, but was pushed back for more important plot points. I'll sum it up for you with the commentary my mind had left.
Rockman X6 Ending: *Zero willfully decides to take a one-hundred and two year nap to fully eradicate the Wily Virus within him*
Me: ...No more Zero? :( That kind of sucks. After trying so hard to revive the bastard twice over, I wonder where the series will go from here.
Rockman Zero Opening: *reveals Zero about hundred years in the future, fully-reborn!*
Me: Awesome! This Zero is much more badass, and he's stronger too! That nap sure paid off!
Rockman X7 Announced: *reveals Zero, just how he looked as before he took that um, 102 year long nap?*
Me: .....................wait what? *scratches* WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT PLOT POINT??
~Shin Lunaar, signing off. Email me at AzureBlueKnight@aim.com for more discussion!
Rockman Zero 3 Ending: *reveals the Zero you've been playing all along in the RMZ games is actually a clone and the real Zero is running amok and blowing up stuff, just like......all those...years ago...*
Me: Oh, what the fuck.