For Our Consideration

The Measure Of A Mega Man

Video game characters deserve more respect than they’re getting from Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 campaign.

By John Teti • September 12, 2013

Keiji Inafune, the most prominent guiding force behind the Mega Man series, has a new and already successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s a familiar setup: A venerable game designer offers to make something a lot like the popular stuff he used to make, as long as the players agree to fund it. In this case, the project is Mighty No. 9, a game that resembles Mega Man in practically every possible respect. The hero, Beck, looks and acts like Mega Man, and the game is structured like Mega Man.

As a fan of Inafune’s past work, I’m excited to play Mighty No. 9. If it lives up to its promise, it could be a fantastic modernization of the classic Mega Man formula. Yet the campaign also saddens me. I’m not saddened by the prospect that Mega Man is dead—Capcom, which holds the rights to the character, has ignored him for years now. Rather, I bristle at the notion, insinuated by Inafune and his team, that Mighty No. 9 keeps Mega Man alive. No, it doesn’t, and if we want to believe that game characters are anything more than colorful renderings of computer code, we have to admit that Mighty No. 9 is a separate beast.

If you haven’t played the games, it’s probably hard to understand why anyone would get attached to Mega Man. He has about as much depth as a breakfast-cereal mascot. (I’m talking here—and throughout this piece—about the character of the main Mega Man series, on which Mighty No. 9 is clearly based. The spinoff series, anime, manga, and such are other considerations altogether.) He jumps, and he shoots, and not much more. He’s silent in his early games, and he has little of substance to say when he gets a line or two. Mega Man is such a blank template of a video game character that when he dons a new weapon—which he steals from defeated bosses—his entire robot body changes color. The paint-by-numbers hero.

Mighty No. 9 concept shot

A conceptual rendering of a level in Mighty No. 9, which is still in the early stages of its design.

And yet to me, this cipher is a symbol of reluctant but resolute heroism. When the entire site went crazy for Mega Man 2 earlier this year, I wrote about how, even as you step into his shoes, Mega Man keeps the player at a distance. The ending of Mega Man 2 hints at a part of Mega Man’s life that we don’t get to see, and that whisper of a private life gives the mechanical boy some humanity. The contrast between the fun of playing as Mega Man and the sense that the character himself is only saving the world out of duty—there are no other viable saviors—has also made the character more endearing to me as I age. He’s an individual with his own thoughts and desires, not merely a vector through which I can get my bad-guy-blasting rocks off.

This is just my take, of course, but that’s the point. Video game characters become what you pour into them. This is true of all fictional characters, but the phenomenon is more stark for a simplistic game character than for, say, the hero of a TV show. While our own reactions and interpretations inevitably become part of a character in our own head, a TV character is also hugely influenced by the actor’s performance (which is the product of her own interpretations). With characters like Mega Man, there’s much less “pre-fab” performance, for lack of a better term. You are the performer. Although Mega Man comes to you pretty empty, you build up a personal lore. And millions of other people do the same thing. What emerges on the large scale is a cultural touchstone more potent than the sum of its parts.

What bothers me about the Mighty No. 9 campaign is that it takes the opposite tack: It treats Mega Man as nothing more than those component parts. The pitch video (embedded at the top of this page) is chock-a-block with winking references designed to evoke Mega Man without saying it. The opening pan up the side of a skyscraper, with Inafune clad in blue at the top, is a nod to the opening shot of Mega Man 2 (embedded directly above). Around the 2:30 mark in the video, a woman and her red dog walk by Inafune—they’re made up to look like Mega Man’s “sister,” Roll, and his dog, Rush. Then Inafune spots a construction worker wearing what looks like a Met, the ubiquitous Mega Man enemy who peeks out from under a hard hat to hit you with pellets of hatred. Even the section of the Kickstarter Page that introduces the development team is made up to resemble the Brady Bunch-style grid that served as the stage-select screen in so many 8-bit Mega Man adventures of yore.

One or two references would have been endearing, but the callbacks are more of a relentless drumbeat. The message that Inafune et al. want to send is clear: We’re making a new Mega Man game; we’re just not allowed to say so. That is a step too far. It upsets me because that approach treats Mega Man not as a character with a soul of his own but rather as a collection of game-design considerations that can be transferred to a new shell. Likewise, it assumes that because we’ve poured our affection into the Mega Man vessel, that vessel can be dumped out into Mighty No. 9’s Beck. Inafune and his team want to play on our nostalgia while ignoring the specificity of our attachment to the original character.

Mighty No. 9 - Beck character design

The hero of Mighty No. 9 is Beck, who works with a female partner, Call. The names are unsubtle echoes of Rock—Mega Man’s original Japanese name—and Roll, Mega Man’s female quasi-sibling.

Now, for some players, I’m sure that Mega Man is little more than a design archetype, and that’s natural—no affection is universal. But for me, the kid robot in blue is something more, and I would have liked to believe that’s true for Inafune, too. I get none of that from this Kickstarter campaign. Instead, I see a carbon-copy mentality being touted at every opportunity.

I don’t mean to ride Inafune too hard. After a falling-out with Capcom, he’s cut off from the character that he did so much to develop—one he’d like to develop some more. It’s a lousy situation, and on the whole, Mighty No. 9 looks like an inspired solution to Inafune’s dilemma. (I chipped in my 60 bucks to get the semi-deluxe package.) My complaint is a narrow but important one: All I ask is that Inafune let this new project be its own thing. When the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation launched their show, they made it clear that they would be elaborating on the same, familiar Star Trek universe, but they didn’t make Jean-Luc Picard out to be a bald version of James T. Kirk. We have more respect for our human characters than that.

Mega Man isn’t human—that’s kind of his deal—but he’s worthy of a similar respect. He started out as a collection of pixels and programming on a screen, and with our experiences, he became something more. Pay tribute to that. Let Mega Man be Mega Man, and let Beck be Beck. That’s the best way for Inafune to honor both his most famous creation and his newest.

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  • Cloks

    I should sue, these characters are both very close to my own original JegaMan.

    • SamPlays

      If you color him brown and make him a multi-jillionaire, you can call him JiggaMan.

      • snazzlenuts

        *stands up from chair, applauds monitor*

        • HobbesMkii

          Don’t, you’ll only encourage him.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        Great Cloks!

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Now i’m imagining MegaMan thinking it would be a great idea to wear blackface. Way to go.

        • SamPlays

          *screeches to a halt*

          Racist!

    • jaen

      my neigbour recently purchased a stunning metallic Audi S3 just by some parttime working online with a macbook… from this source

      w­w­w.Y­A­D­7.c­o­m

      • Cloks

        Shut it jaen.

  • oldtaku

    I get your point, but I think this is Capcom’s fault more than Inafune’s.

    If he could be making this in the Megaman universe I am sure he would. He obviously wants to be making the next Megaman game, but Capcom won’t let him. So this happens. ST:TNG had the full blessing of Roddenberry (and more importantly Berman), so they don’t need to call back to ST:TOS with clevar references.

    I feel you, but commercially he can’t divorce Mighty No 9 from Megaman.

    • Marozeph

      I agree that it’s kinda Capcoms fault for apparently treating Mega Man and Inafune rather badly. But this campaign feels like Inafune telling Capcom “You won’t let me make a Mega Man game? Fine – I’ll make my own Mega Man! With blackjack and hookers!”

      I can’t really blame the guy for doing this (the Kickstarter probably wouldn’t have reached these numbers without the prominent connection to Mega Man), but Teti has a point about it being somewhat disrespectful.

      • Jeff Tweedy

         Disrespectful? Are you fucking serious?

    • PugsMalone

      Fuck you, Rick Berman.

      • bearmon2010

        Why swearing ? You are immature.

    • CNightwing

      On the contrary, early TNG was packed with TOS references. Deforest Kelley appeared in the pilot episode. One of the early episodes, The Naked Now, was a follow-up to The Naked Time. The show theme was the ending theme from Star Trek V. Most of the others I can think of seem less flagrant callbacks (they make sense in-universe) but still. You can yell Nerd now.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Yell “nerd” now?  Wouldn’t that be like sprinkling sugar on my Cinnabon?  A redundancy to the point of ineffectualness given the native environment in which the sentiment is proffered? 

        • CNightwing

          Video Gamers are one rank above Trekkies (ahem, Trekkers please) in the geek hierarchy. I know my place.

          *considers writing an elaborate CK2 mod based around said hierarchy so that he can finally vassalize LARPers*

        • SamPlays

          Just give me my damn Cinnabon, smart-ass.

        • PPPfive

          Cinnabon??? NNNEEEERRRRDDDD

      • Zack Handlen

        And the show became so much better once it ditched its attempts to ape TOS; “The Naked Now” is a horrible, horrible episode, and one of the big problems of the (pretty horrible all over) first season is that it keeps refusing to define itself as anything but a copy. Later seasons would use characters from the original series (“Sarek” is a great episode, and I’m very fond of “Relics”), as would DS9, but in new, and often surprisingly emotional, ways. The key was acknowledging the past without trying to repeat it, which, I think, is part of what John’s getting at here.

        Also, the show theme came from Jerry Goldsmith’s terrific Star Trek: The Motion Picture score. Star Trek V came out two years after TNG debuted. 

        • CNightwing

          Agreed on your analysis of those episodes. In general TNG and DS9 built on themes or touched on old plots without making them rehashes.

          You’re also correct on the theme, I am foiled by leaving TMP out of my all-star-trek-movies playlist so I always hear the ending of V and get momentarily confused. Also TNG debuted in the UK after ST V, so the lineage is all wrong in my head :p

          PS: Looking forward to the new DS9 review later ;)

        • HobbesMkii

          Star Trek V: the chubbiest of all Star Trek movies.

        • SamPlays

          @HobbesMkii:disqus Too many Cinnabons.

          *Munch munch munch* Set phasers to *munch munch munch* stun *munch* and redirect *munch much* goddamn this is so good *munch munch munch* deflector shields up *munch munch munch* Uhura, prepare my Mountain Dew *breaths heavily* Scotty, beam up two more classic rolls and two pecanbons, immediately *breaths heavily* *hiccough* *wipes sweat from forehead*

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1249177186 Jonathon Risser

        Ninja’d re the Star Trek TMP theme. Great freaking score btw

      • oldtaku

        I know TNG reffed TOS a lot, but I meant they didn’t have to do fake refs, like the ‘USS Enterpod’ or come up with not-quite-Vulcans.

    • OldeFortran77

      What’s the URL for that “bald James T. Kirk” kickstarter that was mentioned in the article???

  • caspiancomic

    I’ve been thinking this exact sort of thing in relation to a different pair of similar but competing series, but I came to a different conclusion. I finally started playing Fire Emblem: Awakening and while I’m enjoying it a great deal, I also have a couple of nagging complaints about it. I find myself constantly (and mostly unfairly) comparing it to Shining Force II, a twenty year old game I played in my youth, and whenever I make such a comparison I find that I prefer Shining Force’s way of doing things. The characters in Fire Emblem are mostly personality-free, plot-unimportant archetypes (the price they pay for the game’s permadeath mechanics), but then again so are the majority of Shining Force characters (without the permadeath excuse), so why do I prefer the blanks from Shining Force to the blanks from Fire Emblem?

    The conclusion I came to ended up having nothing to do with some perceived downward trend in gaming generally, and more about the forgiving aura of nostalgia that hangs over the older title. I was particularly young and impressionable when I first played Shining Force II, and my critical faculties were badly underdeveloped, so instead of a bunch of bland stock characters I saw vessels into which I could pour personalities of my choosing. These days I’ve found myself much less forgiving of underwritten characters, and I’m generally no longer willing to pick up the slack left behind by undermotivated writers. The problem I have, I think, isn’t in the games, but in me.

    We, as a gaming audience, have a certain relationship and history with the Blue Bomber, and he’s enough of a cipher to accommodate most of the personalities we’ve projected on to him over the years. So when we’re given this new guy, and implicitly instructed by his creator to treat him just like we treated his predecessor, naturally some of us are going to be a little skeptical about that. Which I understand. In a sense it’s unfair for a creator to give us a new blank template and winkingly encourage us to transfer our affections from one to the other. But on the other hand, we’ve basically just traded one blank slate for another- it seems a little unfair to come down on the new guy just because he hasn’t shared that history with us.

    I guess the point I’m resolutely failing to make is that as we get older we’re less willing to make that effort to “participate” in the creation of a character that is presented to us as a tabula rasa. Everyone here has a relationship with the version of Mega Man they sculpted during their first few encounters with the character. Beck hasn’t had the opportunity to forge that relationship with us, and might end up suffering for it. Some of us will just transfer our interpretation of Rock onto Beck, like a guy dating a new girlfriend with an identical haircut immediately after being dumped by his ex. Some of us will view the character suspiciously, unable or unwilling to undergo the act of projecting a new personality onto him. Personally, I’m interested in seeing if the character takes off with the under-12 set, particularly those kids who are young enough to still put effort into “collaborating” with a creator on a story or a character, and seeing if Beck is as meaningful and influential to the next generation of game lovers as Rock was to ours.

    Christ I need an editor.

    • Cloks

      Shining Force full of bland stock characters? How dare you make this reasonable point!

      I feel it’s less due to laziness than the fact that programmers back then wanted to fit more wherever possible in most titles – more music, more levels, more characters – but often at the expense of story. When that’s done today, it’s seen as chronic laziness because there’s the capability to do that. When I play a video-game today, I’m not playing as “Cloks the Robot Master” or “Cloks the Italian Plumber”, I want to play it as “Captain Shepard” or “Solid Snake” and be treated to a narrative experience that doesn’t have me project my own thoughts onto a blank slate of characters.

    • litebeer

      it seems a little unfair to come down on the new guy just because he hasn’t shared that history with us.

      Bullcrap…how about thinking of something NEW!

    • boardgameguy

      A possible explanation for what you describe is the decreasing ability of adults to be as imaginative as we were in childhood. But we become more articulate and fault the creator for creating underdeveloped characters instead.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

       This reads largely as a reaction to the pitch -which is either fair, because it stands as all we know about this spiritual reboot, or completely unfair, because we have no actual idea of the game outside of Inafune’s money-securing promotional Easter eggs.
       Video game creator rights are still in a pretty nascent state.  Indie developers, as with other mediums circumvent a lot of this, but for the big companies, especially in the mid-80′s, the vibe is much more of a Siegel and Shuster of Superman or Chester J. Lampwick of Itchy and Scratchy kind of situation.
       Who knows what either these real-life tragic creators, or this fictional, hilarious rocket-car owning creator would do in the age of Kickstarter and a knowledgeable fanbase?
       I like Megaman as a natural consequence of having been a kid with a Nintendo, but I’m neither so in love with the franchise that I draw fatalistic cartoons about spiritual succession  nor so indifferent that I don’t have a bit of a thrill seeing this upstart campaign.
       I guess I honestly think the resolution to this question will be in the game.  If it is a wonderful denouement of a thwarted creator realizing a neglected vision, awesome.
       If it’s a winking, smug copypasta, then your instincts will be completely validated.    

    • i and 1

      I agree that this is too much concern over marketing, perhaps.  It might turn out to be justified concern after all, but isn’t there a chance that something clever could be done in the game?  Maybe a skillful and never-ending sub-plot where players are wondering if this new character is maybe Megaman’s brother or son, or Mega-Man in disguise/undercover and on a new adventure, played right up to the line, but nothing Capcom could ever go to court about?  

    • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

      “This reads largely as a reaction to the pitch -which is either fair, because it stands as all we know about this spiritual reboot, or completely unfair, because we have no actual idea of the game outside of Inafune’s money-securing promotional Easter eggs.”

      Sure, it’s definitely a reaction to the pitch, explicitly so. I always scratch my head at the notion that any reaction to pre-release marketing is only “validated” if the complaints are borne out in the final game. I don’t know why this should be the case—why “marketing” is so often considered something we are not allowed to react to. A pitch is speech; it’s still saying and doing something. The final game is not the only way with which game creators communicate with us.

      Pretty early on in the piece, I mention that I’m considering the Kickstarter campaign somewhat apart from the game. I’m not saying, “It sure looks like Inafune is going to fuck up this Mighty No. 9 thing when it comes out in a couple years.” (My guess, as you can gather in the piece, is that he won’t fuck it up—I’m looking forward to it!) Rather, I’m reacting to something that Inafune is saying and doing _right now_ that I believe is misguided and disrespectful to his own creation.

      I don’t see the need to wait for the final game to validate or invalidate my reaction, any more than I felt the need to wait for the release of Dead Island: Riptide to say that the grotesque bikini statue was fucking awful. Nobody said to me, “Well, let’s see how the final game turns out—if it treats women like shit, then your concerns will have been validated.” They would have been laughed out of the comment threads. Now, my complaint about Mighty No. 9 is much less intense and, by my own admission, narrow. But the principle is the same—marketing is still speech. I think Inafune is advancing a reductive view of game characters in his Mighty No. 9 pitch, and I think given his unique position of authority on the matter, it’s unfortunate and worthy of comment.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        I would also think that your note that you contributed to the Kickstarter proves that you’re not being totally negative about it.

        • HobbesMkii

          Hobbes’ Kooky Konspiracy Korner: What if Teti’s actually funding it because he believes it will be terrible, so that when it face plants upon release, he can point back to this article as evidence of his perceptive precognitive powers, allowing him to become a Minority Report-esque crime predictor, where he can use his new power to arrest people he dislikes or disagrees with for invented pre-crimes until we’re all living under the jackbooted heels of the Gameological Society and we need a real Mega Man to save us, perhaps fashioned by Dr. Drew “Light” Toal, thus fulfilling Teti’s long held dream for a real-life Mega Man game.

          We don’t know Teti’s ability to play the long con, is what I’m saying.

    • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

      P.S. That comic you linked…holy moly. But I’m in no position to judge.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I am.  It elicits the same embarrassment as seeing adults getting married at Disney World.  It’s okay to have those feelings, but maybe not so great to act on them.

        • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

          Okay, I’m glad you said it!

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt a little icky reading that comic.

          My wife and I had our honeymoon at Disneyland.  They gave us pins saying “Just Married” that we wore for about two hours before being totally embarrassed and taking them off.  It didn’t help that A) every single park employee was apparently required to say “Congratulations!” if they saw the pin, and B) they didn’t give us any other benefit such as line-hopping.

          But yeah, even we wouldn’t get MARRIED there.  We had ours on a rented yacht instead.

    • Yaafm

       Comic was awesome.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

    John, I hope that if you ever write an essay about “spinoffs,” you reference this article.  I’m with you about the essence of franchises being thematic, not gameplay-driven, but the vast majority of gamers consider franchise entires that have genre changes something less than “real.”  That’s 1 thing when it’s just Ogre Battle to Tactics Ogre.  It’s another when it’s the Mario role-playing games becoming the Mario RPG-platformer or -graphic adventure games.  Also: this essay would make for a good Inventory.

    However, don’t you think that what you’re buying is not a game with Rock and Roll, but a game from Keiji Inafune?  And don’t you think that’s how he sees it?  From his point-of-view, his team took a project Capcom didn’t approve of in a market they were unsure of and made his vision manifest.  People weren’t buying a Capcom game or a Rock/Mega Man game (like people don’t buy an E.A. game or anything from any other large, faceless publisher), they were buying HIS game.  So, though you may have anthropomorphized the franchise, that’s not his problem.  The signals are not whoring out Mega Man, but signaling, “Hey, behind the scenes, it’s me.  Remember me?  Old me?  That Dead Rising stuff is done.”  His identity is the one that matters, and that’s transferrable to any project he makes.

    (I don’t have much affection and no nostalgia for the series and I actively don’t care for him and his industry commentary, but I respect his position in this case.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-John-Agnello/1362601810 Anthony John Agnello

      I’m not sure, Ghaleon. As with anything else, once the creator puts the work out in the world it’s no longer their baby. Now it belongs to the audience, for better or worse. Mega Man, both the character and the identity players project on him by playing the game, is divorced entirely from Inafune and any intent he had making the game. I don’t think Mega Man 3 is any more a Keiji Inafune game than I think New Super Mario Bros. U is a Shigeru Miyamoto game (or a good game even.)

      The problem in this case is that Capcom didn’t stick to those rules. I don’t know why the publisher, so devoted at a corporate level these days to building an international audience, decided to act like a dumped high school kid after Inafune resigned in 2010, but they did. Capcom went around chiseling Mega Man’s name off its locker, scribbling out the doodles of him in its notebook, and as a result they tied the series and character even closer to Inafune the man.

      Now, I would say games that feature their creator’s names prominently up front are a different story. The beginning of The Wonderful 101, for example, has Hideki Kamiya’s name exploding out of a building. That’s a definitive statement tying creator identity to the game. Even then, while that informs the game that follows for sure, the game is still its own beast.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

        Firstly, I just want to say that I tend to disagree with the “no longer their baby” theory. Sure, I certainly love audiences to apply their own ideas and passions to a creation, but to deign any connection between the work and creator seems… I don’t know, shallow. It belongs to the audience in the sense that they get to experience it, but, but the content came from a person with a vision and a purpose. Whether the audience connects to that vision is always up for a (admittedly fun) debate, but it’s there, and should at the very least be acknowledged.

        Secondly, there’s actually a big issue with companies egregiously cutting ties with employees who leave. At least in the backend, since there’s no legal requirement to accreditation for video games like there is in film, people can be removed from game credits easily, no ifs, ands, or buts. There’s even a thing that if designers leave a team right before a game finished development, they’re not credited purely out of spite. I can easily see that attitude pushed up towards the high management end.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          I’m not sure where I fall when it comes to proper restitution and contracts, but it’s true that the way studios work is an awful like the controversies with the American mainstream comic industry, like, say, Superman.  Good connection.

          Edit: And I see @mad made it, too.

      • mad

        Oh wow.  You’re taking the death of the author to some unjustified extreme here.  The purpose of that school of thought (inasmuch as it is even applicable to video games, but let’s grant that) is to free criticism from the constraints of authorial intent and, even, identity.  It is not to deny that the author is in fact the creator of a work.  You can divorce the author from your interpretation and experience of the game (whatever that means) or, I guess, even the character (although such specificity is tenuous in video games), but not from the very simple, straightforward and matter-of-fact calculus of: I am interested in Mega Man, now who is responsible for it and what else has he or she produced?  The attitude you are espousing here only benefits those who can profit from that authorial anonymity and, worse, enables their exploitation and abuse by such parties.

        That you would make an exception for this strange rule for “games that feature their creator’s names prominently up front” is all you need to realize how arbitrary this is.  Historically, prominently featuring the author’s name (credits don’t count?) has not been a big priority for those in power, and the ability to do so almost never (except maybe serendipitously) falls under the author’s prerogative.  Hence, it is fatuous to ascribe some kind of intended anonymity to Inafune to the fact that back in the 80s Capcom decided that it was in their best interest to not tie a game to its creator (well…yeah, right?).

        Thankfully, times change, industries and their audiences mature, and now we are in a position where the answer to the authorship question is a simple search away.  We, as an audience, can interpret and experience video games however we want but we no longer have any excuse to not identify and acknowledge the creative well whence a game has sprung.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

        Those are very good thoughts, as always.  I’m in agreement with some of @Beelzebot:disqus wrote, which is that to the extent that I accept the audience owning the art, I accept it as an ongoing dialogue between artist and audience.  The artist creates, the public critiques, and whether or not truth is ultimately reached, both parties are affected.

        I find that’s what I was getting at with the 2nd paragraph.  Capcom’s mass production of the property and subsequent Goskomizdat-like revisionist history has turned off his usual microphone.  While the artist doesn’t have the right to an audience, he can certainly earn one.  This is Inafune’s way: by pushing the audience to reconsider “his” Mega Man idea in 2013.

        Now, maybe he won’t challenge his audience, which really hurts John.  Maybe he will.  Intellectual property rights are about protecting business, not concepts, and so I think Inafune can still reference Mega Man as much as 3 American indie guys in their garage.

        While I agree with the thrust of your last 2 paragraphs, I think it’s worth noting that people like Inafune, who cultivated their mythos, are the reason that Kamiya can get his name up front rather than use a 3-letter alias like all of Japan (I think?) used to do for their credits.  It’s harsh, at least, to cut him off from another tradition he created.

  • feisto

    It’s funny that you bring up Star Trek at the end, because I have a similar complaint about the last two movies: They had all the makings of movies that could have stood alone on their own legs, but for some reason JJ Abrams decided he just HAD to tie them with the original series, and in ways I found entirely pointless and distracting.

    Having said that, I think the two cases are different, in that Mighty No. 9 sounds like it is, essentially, Megaman with some new play mechanics. That is, I don’t see it as Inafune saying, “I wanted to make something new that will remind people of Megaman,” so much as he’s actually trying to make another Megaman game–he just can’t call it Megaman or make it look like Megaman for legal reasons.

    So although I agree with your general point, I think the more interesting aspect of Mighty No. 9 is the possibilities it offers frustrated game creators who’ve worked long and hard developing beloved properties only to see them abandoned by their companies for whatever reasons. I’d be curious to see how Capcom deals with their Megaman property once Mighty No. 9 comes out, especially if it becomes a hit.

  • JamesJournal

    Aren’t Spiritual Sequels pretty big with games already.

    Goldeneye becomes Perfect Dark

    Ultimate Destruction becomes Prototype

    Xenosaga, becomes Xenogears and Xenoblade chronicles 

    Then you’ve got stuff like Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls

    Etc Etc

    Megaman and Mighty No. 9 is about as direct as I’ve seen it go though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Klemm/1566737162 Joseph Klemm

       Um, Xenogears came out before Xenosaga.

      • JamesJournal

        Corrected. I was sleepy OK, and Xenogears was the only one I ever played.

        Also, playing a little loose with that you’ve got Last Story and Lost Odyssey, which are clearly Final Fantasy games by another name.

      • Geo X

        Um, maybe you should look up the word “becomes?”  Don’t know what else to tell you.

        • JamesJournal

          I don’t need to look up pedantic.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      System Shock 2 / BioShock?

  • Thor

    Wah. 

  • Bass_Ackwards

    What’s the full story here, the article suggests he is cut off from Capcom, and/or that Capcom no longer has interest in Mega Man?

    I had been down on this campaign because it seemed kind of lazy, raising crowd funding by putting a team together to create a knock-off.  If Inafune simply went to another video game company and did this I don’t think anyone would have much interest/patience for it (i.e. if he just went to EA and produce Mighty Number 9 it’d quickly be derided as a lazy rehash), but because this is crowd funded it seems to be getting a pass.

    But it appears there’s more to the story that I’m not aware of, if, as the article suggests, Inafune had tried to get another Megaman game off the ground but Capcom has roadblocked him then the kickstarter makes a bit more sense, but I can’t seem to find much backstory on him leaving Capcom or trying to get another Megaman game going.

    • stepped_pyramids

      Capcom canceled two planned Mega Man games in 2011 and hasn’t announced anything else since. The last two Mega Man games at this point were Mega Man 9 (2008) and Mega Man 10 (2010), both of which had Inafune involved and were developed by Inti Creates, the same studio that’s doing Mighty No. 9.

      Inafune got promoted and then left Capcom in fairly short succession in 2010, and they haven’t done any new Mega Man games since.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      Infaune was working on some prominent MegaMan games (Legends 3 and MegaMan Universe) which were both unceremoniously cancelled, leading to him leaving the company. Capcom hasn’t used MegaMan – their ostensible mascot – in a game for years now (and the last few the did were retro cash ins or repurposed fan games).

      Imagine if Iwata suddenly told Miyamoto “Sorry, no more Mario games. Close up shop. Make another Wii Sports or something, those bring in beaucoup bucks.” Wouldn’t the be weird? Wouldn’t that be frustrating for both the creator and players interested in those games?

      • SamPlays

        I thought Capcom’s mascot was Blanka.

        • TheKingandIRobot

           Nope, it’s Captain Commando.

  • El_Runko

    “Video game characters deserve more respect”

    Someone actually said this?

    • SamPlays

      Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Maybe start with video games in general?

  • stepped_pyramids

    Mega Man, Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero, Mega Man ZX, Mega Man Battle Network… this series is almost defined by every five or ten years coming out with a new character who’s a cute/badass robot that fights other robots and absorbs powers and uses them to fight even more robots in a paper-rock-scissors way.

    In a sense, Mighty No. 9 being a rehashing of the same formula is as reverent a tribute to the original character as you could ask for.

  • Unexpected Dave

    I think this complaint is a little premature, John. After all, Inafune did a fine job of differentiating the characters and worlds of Mega Man and Mega Man X. 

    Despite his evocation of the nostalgia of the classic series, I don’t get the sense that Inafune is saying, “I wish I could make Mega Man 11. But since I can’t, I’ll just make the game I would have made and change the graphics enough to avoid a lawsuit.” 

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

      It’s hard to tell from interviews if he’s eager to please and that’s why he’s pushing the connection so hard, or if it will be a carbon copy.

  • mad

    Maybe it’s the comic book fan in me, but I find this to be a rather misguided (and dispiriting) complaint. One finds this kind of character worship to be ubiquitous in superhero comics, almost always at the expense of a mistreated creator’s act of empowerment against a system designed to exploit and discard them. The elevation of character above all (including the act of creation at the hands of a human being) not only ignores the very important fact that what the reader is responding to is in effect the creator him or herself, but tacitly approves of further exploitation and the perpetuation of a broken, unfair system. In short, it is pernicious and the first lesson learned from the creator’s rights fight of the 80s is that creator comes before character.

    While there are important industry differences between comics and video games (eg, the collaborative aspect, which brings us closer to film auteur theory perhaps), the power dynamics are very much analogous. Furthermore, it seems to me that whatever identification and attachment one may have toward a video game character (especially one of the 8-bit era, certainly a cypher like Mega Man), it is owed almost exclusively to the game play architecture and the talents of the game designer that provided the game experience. That is to say, whatever fills one with nostalgia in video games, whatever it is one responds to, is much more explicitly tied to the creator and not a character than it would be in another visual medium, even comic books. This is Inafune’s opportunity to show that principle in action, all while giving a well-deserved “screw you” to Capcom. What’s not to like?

    It’s disappointing that Teti scolds Inafune for supposedly disrespecting his own creation. I think proper respect is recognizing that 1) without Inafune there would be no character to “respect” in the first place and 2) whenever one praises Mega Man, one is in fact praising Inafune, not a character. Inafune has definitely earned this; let him have it.

    • SamPlays

      George Lucas. ‘Nuff said.

    • NakedSnake

      Good point. My mind wanders to Watchmen, which was originally supposed to be set in the DC Universe with DC characters. Ultimately, Alan Moore created complete knock-off characters of the DC ones. Once he got started, though, he took things in his own direction.

      • ChicaneryTheYounger

        Well, originally it was to be based on characters from Charlton Comics, but Moore was unsure DC still had the rights to those. He wrote copies of them, and when he found out he could use the Charlton characters he decided to stick with the fakes because he could push them further and use them as a broader metaphor.

    • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

      Great counterpoint. I have to quibble with this:

      “It’s disappointing that Teti scolds Inafune for supposedly disrespecting his own creation. I think proper respect is recognizing that 1) without Inafune there would be no character to ‘respect’ in the first place”

      Perhaps Sam already said it with the George Lucas remark, but I think it is a bridge too far to suggest that the creator is immune from criticism of what he does with his creation. That sort of short-circuits the cultural conversation. You don’t have to be whole-hog “death of the author” to believe that we all are allowed our say in the discussion of artworks. I believe that the creator himself occupies a special place in the conversation. I believe that Inafune has been treated like shit by Capcom, and that he is entirely in the right re: that conflict. I believe he has every ethical ground on which to make use of Mega Man. None of that precludes me from simultaneously respecting Inafune while criticizing some of his speech.

      Thank you for your excellent response and your food for thought. I think that the line between creator and audience is not as direct and clear-cut as you make it out to be, but I dig your passion for the artist, and I sympathize with it, too.

  • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

    Two things come to mind:

    One is that there is a seeming contradiction in this essay’s premise. The first part acknowledges that MegaMan, due to the necessarily abstracted visual and narrative content of the early games, operates as a bit of a blank slate, a collection of mechanics and pixels into/onto which John projected his own interpretation of the character and world*. Yet the second part seems to be concerned that this project is reproducing only a pale shadow of MegaMan by making Beck…a shallow collection of mechanics and pixels. Despite that abstracted, cipher-like nature admittedly being a significant component of MegaMan and his allure as a character.

    The other thing: I think it’s also a bit disingenuous to assert that the various branch series (X, Legends, etc.) are not relevant to analyzing Beck’s relation to MegaMan as a character. Inafune has already developed characters who were not MegaMan, who were not named MegaMan (or Rockman), but who bore an eerie similarity to him visually, and whose games closely resembled MegaMan’s mechanically, typically with some interesting gameplay tweaks. The name MegaMan was then grafted onto the game title as a way to capitalize on brand recognition – not as an assertion that this character contains MegaMan’s true spiritual essence, and that any game without ‘MegaMan’ in the title obviously lacks that. If this is a legitimate complaint about Inafune’s development of Beck, then it is an equally legitimate complaint about his development of X, and, possibly, of Zero, Volnutt, and whoever the protagonists were in the ZX games. In which case, it seems weird to harp on it now, and to limit the complaint to solely this project.

    I’m curious what treatment by Inafune wouldn’t have elicited this complaint/essay? Choosing to flesh out Beck’s character in a way that was coincidentally identical to the admittedly personal and subjective way you chose to flesh out the character? Getting the licensing to call this character “MegaMan Q”? I feel like Inafune is being painted into a rhetorical corner here where he can’t help but be ‘disrespectful’ by the terms that are being laid out.

    I think @GhaleonQ:disqus ’s point is really important, too. We’re looking at another work by the same creator, just not the same company, and (ostensibly) not the same brand, and its meaningful to keep that in mind.

    (*Aside: This is one of the strengths of that generation of games – their visual and narrative abstraction. It’s how we could end up with so many movies, cartoons, and images of Mario – even ‘canonical’ images from Nintendo – that were so wildly and inventively varied in their style.)

    • Treymoney

      Mario still has a little of that varied style with the Mario & Luigi games and Paper Mario.  I guess Mario Galaxy’s heavy use of rim lighting may also apply, but the “official” Mario is now from the drab and lazy New Super Mario series. I had hoped that a high-def playground and competition from Rayman Legends would have forced Nintendo’s hand a little to try something with more flair, but no dice.

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        There was a time when Mario, like Link, was represented by a different in-game graphic in every installment of his series (barring Mario 2 JP, I guess). There was a bit more variety, and a bit less concern with canon or being ‘on model’ which helped keep things a little more slippery, and a little more open to interpretation. Mario at this point is basically just Mickey Mouse, which is a bit of a shame. Still, there are some wonderfully designed games he’s in (like the Galaxy games) and some visually inventive ones (like the Mario & Luigi or Paper Mario ones). The New Super Mario series overall are pretty visually and ludically disappointing and generic (though I’ve heard some good things about NSMBU).

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          I usually think of the video game industry in animation industry terms.  It’s funny.  Not that this contradicts @JohnTeti:disqus in any way (that Inafune is trapped by his most famous creation, causing him to harm it), but it’s interesting that smaller companies and developers tend to experiment with their favorite creations, while larger organizations depend on “on-model” design (aesthetically, ludically, whatever) not because it’s necessarily efficient, but because it’s easy.

          Strider 3 will be an interesting test of the premise.  Capcom apparently NEEDS Strider to be a specific something.  Koichi Yotsui did Moon Diver.  Both have/will have flaws, but I wonder how they’ll compare.

    • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

      Great reply. Let me respond to a couple of points.

      Re: “the second part [of the essay] seems to be concerned that this project is reproducing only a pale shadow of MegaMan by making Beck…a shallow collection of mechanics and pixels.”

      No, quite the opposite. My issue is that this project is trying too hard to port existing affections for Mega Man over to the new character, and by doing so, it devalues the way that we form attachments to characters. Beck is indeed an empty shell right now, and I’m fine with that. My complaint is when Inafune pretends otherwise. Does it suck that he can’t make any more Mega Man games like he wants do? It sucks a lot. That doesn’t change the reality that Beck is something new, and has yet to come into its own as a character. I think it’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

      Re: “I’m curious what treatment by Inafune wouldn’t have elicited this complaint/essay? Choosing to flesh out Beck’s character in a way that was coincidentally identical to the admittedly personal and subjective way you chose to flesh out the character?”

      Your first question is a great question; your second one strikes me as a bit of a low blow, far afield from my arguments. I think I answered your first question to some degree in the piece. I would argue that a treatment of the Beck character that made nods to the Mega Man nostalgia—which is obviously appropriate—would honor both the old creation and the new. But by positioning Beck as a Mega Man clone at pretty much every opportunity, the Kickstarter campaign essentially treats Mega Man as an interchangeable part. My argument is simply that cultural artifacts are not so readily transferable as all that, and that when we treat them as such, we diminish their power and dignity.

      “If this is a legitimate complaint about Inafune’s development of Beck, then it is an equally legitimate complaint about his development of X.”

      Your points about Mega Man X etc. are well taken. I did think a lot about the spinoff series as I was writing this piece. Again, I have to note that I’m not taking issue with the existence of Beck or with the fact that he is an elaboration of Mega Man. You say, “If this is a legitimate complaint about Inafune’s development of Beck”—except it’s not, and I think that’s clear. It’s a complaint about Inafune’s positioning of Beck in this Kickstarter campaign. That may be a fine distinction, but it is the distinction on which the essay is based, and it’s a distinction that I make explicitly. Maybe I would have had complaints about the marketing of Mega Man X, too. I don’t know. I’m reacting to what I’m seeing now, and I readily admit that my argument is a narrow one.

      That said, your points about the spinoffs are well-considered and relevant to the larger discussion I’m trying to prod along here, which is, what is the nature of these characters, these cultural artifacts? How much can a character be cloned, and how much of it is a sum of our own projections and interpretations? And how do we respect the dignity of the collective experience that’s invested in an artifact like Mega Man? In that respect, your analysis of the broader Mega Man “universe,” so to speak, gives me plenty of insight that I will take to heart.

      • Unexpected Dave

        Inevitably, all cultural artifacts will pass into the public domain, where we can no longer protect them from being “dishonoured.” That’s the tragedy of the creative commons.

        (But I agree that it stings more when a creator devalues his own character. It’s insulting for a creator to expect his audience to completely and instantly transfer their affection from one character to another. It’s like a parent buying their child a new kitten to “replace” a cat that has just died, and then not understanding why the child is still crying.)

        The best we can do is try to preserve the things we loved, and share the feelings and experiences they gave us.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          You misspelled “power” as “tragedy” there, dude!

          We’re living in a time when the best MegaMan stuff to come out in the last two or so years has been fan-generated. I’d rather let something flourish and mutate into a weird fungal culture bloom than have it die and vanish because people fought so hard to ‘preserve’ it out of some misplaced sense of propriety or nostalgia.

          I don’t think preserving the things we loved is the best we can do – far from it. I think teasing them apart, finding out what made us love them, and using those elements to to help ensure that when we make new stuff it’s stuff that we love, is much more respectful to their legacy than sticking them in a metaphorical museum display case where the vulgar masses can’t get their hands on them.

  • JokersNuts

    Yeah, I am a big time fan of classic Mega Man but I find myself not excited at all by this Might No. 9 thing.  I understand it’s made by the original Mega Man creator but its not Mega Man so I’m just not that interested.  It would be like if Eastman and Laird, the creators of TMNT, got together and wrote a new comic book called “Badass Fun-loving Lizard People” about four pasta loving humanoid Iguanas living in a basement with their mentor, a mutated Hamster.  It’s just not the same.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      The difference here is that the Ninja Turtles kind of ceased being awesome once we all grew up. The MegaMan games are still extremely fun and well-designed, and having their original designer revisiting this genre is pretty exciting to me.

      • JokersNuts

        Hey, I’m glad you are excited, no doubt the game is going to be great.

        About TMNT, some of the strongest work involving these characters is currently being published by IDW comics, I highly recommend checking it out.

  • M North

    I think the one reason the game doesn’t appeal to me is that if I were to get a distinct sensation to play Megaman, I would have my run of the litter as there’s quite figuratively thousands of them out there. Alright, it’s a fan’s game then I suppose.

  • SamPlays

    *Teti enters futuristic lab/factory*
    *Sees rows upon rows of dormant Mega Man clones*

    nnnnNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooo!

  • Asinus

    Megaman is just itching for a grittier reboot. I was listening to the Miniboss’s cover of Megaman 2 tunes and thinking about how it could be turned into a more “mature” game or movie. I always considered Megaman and the other bots to have organic components (or, at least, organic-like), so the thought of the hero ripping his fallen foes apart and grafting their weapons to his body was a little gruesome. In the end, he has met Dr. Wiley’s goal of becoming an ultimate weapon and killing machine. 

    • SamPlays

      Frank Miller gets $1 every time someone mentions “gritty reboot”. And in comparison to the original series, wasn’t Mega Man X kind of a gritty reboot to begin with? 

      Damn, I owe Frank Miller $2. 

      • Kyle O’Reilly

         It was more of the stylized anime reboot.  I think Asinus is imagining more of a Gears of War grey style reboot.

        • SamPlays

          I’m waiting for society to reach the limits of “grittiness”. In the meantime, I’ll go along with it.

          *Rolls out chemical weapons*
          *Warms up 16mm projector for snuff film*

        • Asinus

          Yeah, I want the same quirky, weird little enemies but rendered semi-realistically. I think it would be bizarre, but I like cartoony stuff that is popped into the third dimension; it ends up being very surreal. 

      • Asinus

        Yeah, I use the phrase in jest, but it’s just meaningful enough to be useful shorthand. I sort of hate it, but it’s quick. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-John-Agnello/1362601810 Anthony John Agnello

      They were going to do just that. And it looked awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwful.

      http://www.polygon.com/2013/4/9/4179628/mega-man-fps-maverick-hunter

      • caspiancomic

         Holy cow that looks dire.

      • Asinus

        No, that’s not what I want! Turn it off!  

    • Jeff Tweedy

       No

    • caspiancomic

       Like @SamPlays:disqus said, although the series never got to (Gears/God) of War levels of grit, the X series was essentially a darner n’ grittier Mega Man series, and the Zero series was even darker n’ grittier than X. It even had blood! I’m not sure if ZX continued the trend, though.

  • Kyle O’Reilly

    I understand your deep emotional connection to this Teti and I respect your right to have it but I fall into the “youre looking a gift horse in the mouth, bro” camp.

    I see it as a “Red House Painters” to “Sun Kil Moon” move, wherein pretty much everything stays the same except the name and some other minor trappings. 

    • SamPlays

      You know, sometimes you need to check on the dental health of your gift horse. You don’t want to deal with the consequences of infected tooth roots or deciduous teeth that haven’t shed. It’s all about maintenance, yo.

      http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ceh/docs/horsereport/pubs-HR29-4-bkm-sec.pdf

      • Kyle O’Reilly

         I considered editing the gift-horse back in just to really mess with you.

    • aklab

      For years I had all my Sun Kil Moon albums in the Red House Painters folder, but now I have both the SKM and RHP albums in a Mark Kozelek folder. True story! 

      Welp, that’s my contribution. You’re very welcome. 

    • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

      “I think you should reserve some of your judgment until Mighty No. 9 actually comes out.”

      I hear you, and I respectfully disagree. Again, the piece is a reaction to the Mighty No. 9 pitch. There is no basis on which to withhold judgment—the pitch is happening right now. Inafune said something, and I’m saying something in response. The piece is not a judgment on what Mighty No. 9 will be when it comes out, nor do I want people to take it as such, a fact that I take pains throughout the article to point out.

      • Kyle O’Reilly

         I know and you did take pains to make a point of that, I think I just went to page 1 of “Internet Knee-jerk reaction arguments” for the old classic “You can’t judge x because you haven’t played x.”

        I understand the amount you’ve emotionally invested in the Mega Man character so even if this game plays identical to Mega Man, not having the same character will still make it a markedly different experience.

        • SamPlays

          *cough* Metal Gear Solid 2 *cough cough*

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-John-Agnello/1362601810 Anthony John Agnello

    I’ll tell you what wicked fan-fiction is brewing right now, Kyle. It’s the one where Mark Kozelek and Protoman hit the road in a beat up pick up to tour the high plains, playing guitar and righting wrongs.

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       I always pegged Woodman for the Indie Rock Megaman character.

  • OldeFortran77

    I would have gone with “GigaGuy”.

    • SamPlays

      Sounds too much like a stutter. Sorry, I meant st-st-stutter.

  • boardgameguy

    weird. i’m glad this didn’t happen.

  • Treymoney

     Sort of off-topic, but has anyone heard the Protomen’s The
    Father of Death
    ?  It’s a rock opera not-at-all-loosely based on Mega Man and it’s pretty great!

    • caspiancomic

       Oh I’m all about The Protomen. Still waiting on Act III.

  • PaganPoet

    Anyone agree that Mega Man’s charm is largely thanks to his design and his sprite? Something about those bulging, crossed eyes and his little dark blue tighties endeared the character to me immediately.

    • SamPlays

      I never thought about robots wearing underwear… I hope this doesn’t awaken anything in me.

      • PaganPoet

        Just as long as you don’t get the urge to bite any shiny, metal asses.

        • Chum Joely

          Damn it, Pagan, you’re just bent on awakening illicit human-on-robot feelings in all of us, aren’t you?

      • PaganPoet

        @ChumJoely:disqus If I’m not making you uncomfortable, then I’m not doing my job.

  • hahnchen

    Mega Man, the character and its plots are shit – it’s an excuse to platform around shooting at cartoon robots.  This is why Mega Man works with the original, with X and with Zero and with Beck.  Most players don’t care at all.

    The author’s strange emotional attachment and investment into such a weak character comes across as mental illness.

    • aklab

      Yeah, and people with mental illness are the worst

      • hahnchen

        When I hear stories about believers venerating an appearance of the Virgin Mary in an underpass water stain, I kind of think of them as mentally ill – it might not be the right term though.

  • Jeff Tweedy

    This article and opinion is absolute horseshit.

    Keiji creates beloved character and series. He puts blood, sweat, and tears into a new game, and his company pulls the plug at the last minute. He regroups, and asks very nicely for another chance, and that same company tells him to take a hike. The MegaMan series (and character) is ethically and “rightfully” his, but it is legally CapCom’s property.

    So, Teti, what if your overlords decided to hand over Gameological to another person and cut you out of it completely? Would you come up with The Project Runway Society, or would you start another gaming site?

    • SamPlays

      I’d place my bet on The Project Runway Society. There’s been enough innuendo over the last year to suggest that is where Teti’s head is at these days. 

    • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

      I agree wholeheartedly that Inafune has every right, ethically if not legally, to use Mega Man as he sees fit. I am disagreeing with the manner in which he is employing Mega Man, and I am making a specific point about the nature of game characters. I am not questioning Inafune’s very use of Mega Man nor his decision to make Mighty No. 9. Here is what I said in regard to the Capcom legal situation:

      “It’s a lousy situation, and on the whole, Mighty No. 9 looks like an inspired solution to Inafune’s dilemma. (I chipped in my 60 bucks to get the semi-deluxe package.) My complaint is a narrow but important one: All I ask is that Inafune let this new project be its own thing.”

      To answer your question, if I started another games site after somehow being squeezed out of Gameological, I would make the new site its own thing—I would mourn the loss of my creation, take what I had learned from this experience, and apply it to my next project.

      Your scenario is less hypothetical than you seem to believe. Gameological came about after I was squeezed out of a site in which I had a prominent role—a forgotten site called Crispy Gamer. And after I was gone, Crispy was essentially left to die, just like Mega Man has been. I was explicitly forbidden from using some of the intellectual property I had developed for that site, even though they weren’t doing anything with it.  It fucking sucked. I know, to some degree, how Inafune feels. And my initial instinct was to recreate Crispy Gamer as best I could. It would be a great “fuck you” to the suits.

      But then I came to realize that Crispy had its moment, one that I couldn’t recreate, and that it would be disrespectful to what we did at Crispy to act like I could just whip it up all over again. I realized that’s not how creative works really happen—some of the people who liked Crispy might like my new site, obviously, but it wasn’t going to be the same. So over time, I instead decided to let go, carry forward some of the values I’d acquired at Crispy, and let them evolve into a new site. I’m thankful that I took that tack. Not only do I think Gameological is better for it, but I’m at peace with the loss of Crispy, now, too.

      So in your scenario, if I made a new site now, I’d certainly let people know that I was the founder and former editor of Gameological. And I would probably do a lot of the same stuff as before, just as it seems Mighty No. 9 will. However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to say, “Hey, we’ve got a column called Keyboard Smarties, hint hint!” “Check out our video feature, The Digestibles!” And so on. To me, that would be demeaning to the specific community and spirit of Gameological, all of which is so special to me. In short, the new site would be conceived an offspring, not a clone. And my advice to Inafune, for his own health and for the success of Mighty No. 9, is to focus on the same approach for his new game.

      • djsubversive

        Crispy Gamer never had Pete Strackmeier’s Living-room Video-game University, though. 

        Speaking of which, when are we going to get more of Pete Strackmeier’s Living-room Video-game University? There were people in the steam chat last night who hadn’t seen it before (well, one person. and somebody who thought it was funnier now than it was the first time they saw it). He’s got his own category, for Pete’s sake! (and the Piss-3 video looks so lonely by itself)

        • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

          We’ve had a Pete Strackmeier shoot in the can for a while now—it’s just a matter of me carving out the time to edit the thing!

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        It took this comment for me to recontextualize you’re saying with your original essay.
           I had to filter it through my own feelings about the work that I create and how I’d react to it being under the legal ownership of another entity.  I think about the massive body of work I’ve built up at my job and how none of that belongs to me.
           Fortunately, while I’m proud of my work portfolio, nothing I’ve made is a deep, emotional artistic creation. It doesn’t wound me to not have control over it.
           Granted, none of it has proven to be particularly lucrative, either.  It may be something else if after I leave my company, I’m seeing my character designs as plushies or Underoos making bank.
           But all that said, even if I were in a situation like Inafune, I’m more compelled to try and keep moving forwards with ideas.  While it is grossly premature to feel burdened with such an unlikely anxiety, I worry about ever getting pigeonholed by the success of one idea that it would keep me from successfully exploring others.
           Assuming I understand you correctly, it’s easy to see that point obscured, because you’re addressing a group of people that are rightfully very happy to see another Mega Man game.
           And I guess if Inafune really feels he has something unresolved to explore with his creation, then by all means, do so by whatever legal grey area possible.
           But if one is really celebration a creator and not his creation, it would be compelling to see what else he has on his mind.  

        • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

          Thank you so much for that comment. I think my mistake in constructing this piece was underestimating the degree to which people would interpret this as me taking sides in the Capcom-vs.-Inafune spat, which quite rightly has folks inflamed. I’m happy to take sides in that fight, but my sympathies lie squarely with Inafune. And more to the point, that conflict is already settled, alas, so it didn’t have a huge bearing on my thoughts as I put this piece together—aside from being part of the assumed reality. I think it’s possible to be on Inafune’s side in the Capcom tiff and still have mixed feelings about what he does next.

        • SamPlays

          To Inafune’s credit, his c.v. is fairly extensive based on his Wikipedia page. In addition to Mega Man, he has titles for Resident Evil, Onimusha, Dead Rising, Phoenix Wright and Street Fighter under his belt. Of course, a fair chunk of his experience is with the Mega Man franchise but there are clearly many examples of other prior creative outlets for Inafune.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          Well, Inafune has moved forward in some respects, but his other projects haven’t garnered much press or support. Then he announces this project and the internet (and his bank account) blows up. If the “commercial cash-in” project he has to do to bankroll his other, more creatively ambitious, projects is an awesome HD MegaMan retread/reimagining, I’m not going to complain. At least he’s not making free-to-play mobile games or something.

      • SamPlays

        If Inafune revised his Mega Man creation, would it actually impact your enjoyment of the series up to that point? It might change your attitude towards Inafune (let’s call it “creative differences”) but it really has no bearing on what you’ve enjoyed in the past. 

        For example, I really dislike the fact that Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old. It’s a reprehensible act that I can’t endorse in any way, ever. I can choose to boycott his films (Full Disclosure: I have seen most of Polanski’s films, including those from his post-rape period) but it doesn’t take away the fact that I still enjoy his films from the 60s/70s a lot.

        From an artist’s perspective, I think Inafune has every right to reuse, remodel, revise and self-appropriate his work to suit his creative sensibilities. And from a commercial perspective, it makes sense that Inafune would capitalize on the popularity of his creation. Rebooting a popular franchise can be a great way to renew interest and attract newcomers – it can also help identify and refine essential features that made something so popular in the first place. Based on the various descriptions of Mighty No. 9, it’s a revision of Mega Man. And to be fair, reboots are par for the course as far as video games are concerned (most sequels are not really continuations but a refinement of the previous game).

  • The_Helmaroc_King

    Meet the new robot masters, functionally identical but legally distinct from the old robot masters.

    Not to be down on the project, mind you, I’ll consider buying it when it comes out, but it seems like for every comment I see decrying the lack of new IPs, there are two about an old one that deserves (or “needs”) revival. That could just be a bias on my part, though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thierry.alexandre.988 Thierry Alexandre

    This article is retarded and self contradictory. Inafune is Megaman’s heart. Megaman didn’t die. Capcom did. 

  • Disqus_eh_um_saco

    Uh, for me Mega Man really is just a series of design considerations. The character does not exist outside the game, everything that makes Mega Man interesting is part of the original game.

    Now you take other titles that throw Mega Man in some situation that isn’t Mega Man at all, like playing soccer. How many of these titles are actually interesting? Very few. How many come across as milking Mega Man?

    • PPPfive

      The Mega Man milking sim for one

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      Yeah. I have a deep, deep love of the MegaMan games. I spent my entire adolescence eyeball-deep in creating and cultivating an internet fansite and attendant community around those games, I still count the games among some of my favorites, play them regularly, and I find some of their design decisions to be pretty genius and really formally striking and thematically interesting. But I have no love for the story or character of the MegaMan games, which, like the Mario games, are pretty much generic window dressing for some amazing aesthetics and mechanics. There are games I play for for the characters and story (text and graphical adventure games, for instance). MegaMan is definitely not one of them. And that doesn’t keep it from being one of my all-time favorites.

      That said, MegaMan soccer is kind of awesome, as is MegaMan Battle & Chase…

  • Garlador

    Mega Man was basically a riff on the character Astroboy. This is a riff on Mega Man. It’s not really any more complicated than that. They all follow the exact same template.

    • caspiancomic

       Mighty No. 9 is a riff on Mega Man, itself a video game riff on Astro Boy, which was itself a science fiction riff on Pinocchio. How deep does the rabbit hole go!?

      • Garlador

        Mighty No. 9 is a riff on Mega Man, Mega Man was a riff on Astro Boy, Astro Boy was a riff on Disney’s Pinocchio, Disney’s Pinocchio was a riff on Carlo Collodi’s novel, which was a serialized in an Roman newspaper,Il Giornale per i Bambini, the first Italian newspaper for children, which had previous run political cartoons satirizing the politics of the day….

  • El_Runko

    “Video game characters deserve more respect”

    Someone actually said this?

    (This is a repost as the original comment I made MYSTERIOUSLY disappeared like it never happened. Funny how that happens.)

  • alguien_comenta

    I’m sorry but no, it’s clear Inafune wants to make Megaman and given that he can’t legally do it this is as close as he can get. And as a plus from the game mechanics they have hinted at it looks like a big improvement and not just a “carbon copy”

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.dileo.94 Andrew DiLeo

    Stop whining. Infaking made Megaman what it is and Cashcom killed it. This is the new Megaman game so get on board or stop crying. I’ve been playing Megaman over 25 years and if I can accept this as the new game so can you.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Dude, you spelled Ca$hcom wrong! If you can’t even childishly spell company names correctly how the fuck do you expect people to take you seriously on the internet?? Step it up, son.

  • A Bomb!

    Wait, so the complaint is that Inafune should drop some of the Mega Man imagery from his kickstarter campaign, despite the fact that he obviously wants to make a new Mega Man spinoff in all but name?

  • Akbar Bitcoins

    What a completely ridiculous article.  “I projected a lot of things onto this fairly blank character, so making a character that is the same but different makes me sad.”

    And then actually discussing the virtually non-existent backstory as if it has any meaning, and wasn’t hastily slapped into the game by a small team that just needed a game over screen.  Seriously?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=53002337 Brian Fassl

    In all honesty, Inafune himself said that Megaman style games are his artistic style.  It’s like telling Piccaso to not have some sort of “weird” effect in his paintings.  It’s who he is, its part of what he does.

    You want to know what’s disrespectful to Megaman as a whole? the fact that despite the demand from the fans worldwide, that Capcom can’t get themselves together and make a legitimate new megaman game.  On top of that, as the CREATOR of the character and the series, Inafune hears this call from the fans all the time.

    Oh that’s right….Inafune-san IS the creator of Megaman (the only reason why he can’t call Mighty No. 9 megaman is because Capcom currently still owns the rights to it).  I honestly think that the fact that it’s HIM who is making this “successor” to megaman, says enough on its own.

    Honestly if given the choice between a new megaman game by capcom, or Mighty No. 9 by Inafune….I’m going to pick Inafune.  With him we know its going to be good.

  • Baramos x

    WHOOP WHOOP! LOOK OUT EVERYBODY! IT’S THE FUN POLICE!

  • DreamPen

    I can’t really agree. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Inafune’s nostalgic call back to the Mega Man he shaped and raised but that he no longer has access to. Even if he was heavy handed in doing so, I can’t fault him for it.

    The situation is simple: Capcom has refused to make any more Mega Man games despite their success and popularity. It has done so at the point of disrespecting and spiting fans. What’s Inafune to do in such a situation?
    Inafune CAN transfer our affection from Mega Man to Mighty No. 9 because he has no choice from a legal perspective and we have no choice from a practical, real perspective. In this endeavor, it’s necessary; what counts is that it brings Rock and his universe back to life, even if we have to call them different names. It would only be crass if Capcom was actually still continuing the line and upholding its legacy at the same time that Inafune decided to strike out on his own. But that’s not happening.

    Truth be told, I’m actually glad for the nostalgia because the point is to bring the game back first and foremost. I’m glad for the memories being brought back to life, even if it’s just skyscrapers and people dressed in blue and red now; tacking on new names (and donating to the Kickstarter) is a small price to pay for it.

    On the “first and foremost” thing: Inafune can only do that by bringing back as much as he can from the Mega Man series, even if it seems like Beck is just different from Rock by only two letters. We shouldn’t ask for change or new developments just yet- Inafune and his team still have to capture enough of the old games for Mighty No. 9 to be the Mega Man legacy that Capcom isn’t doing. He has to do that first.

    In the end, though, they will make some innovations, the stuff both the technology then and corporate restraints didn’t allow. It would also help keep legal concerns at bay where new gameplay mechanics puts distance between Mega Man and Mighty No. 9. Thus, as far as letting Beck be more than Rock with a new helmet and suit is concerned, I think you shouldn’t worry.