Capcom is, once again, delivering a convenient bundle for fans of the Mega Man series, one that will bring the latter half of the series to modern consoles for the first time. With Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, Mega Man 7 makes its debut on a non-Nintendo system for the first time, and fans favorites like Mega Man 8 and Mega Man 9 will soon be playable in the most up-to-date quality they have ever been seen.
The bundle weighs in at a total of four games, Mega Man 7, 8, 9, and 10, and for those who don’t know, the time span covering these games’ releases far exceeds that of the first six games in the series. Mega Man first launched in 1987 in Japan, and the series’ original run on the NES covered until Mega Man 6 released in 1993. Following its original run on the NES, Mega Man began to spread himself thin across multiple platforms, including the Super Nintendo, PlayStation, SEGA Saturn, and even well into the years of the Xbox 360.
Capcom Producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya explains in an interview with TechnoBuffalo the because of this widespread time frame and platform availability, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 actually took three times the amount of work than the original. He and his team had to contend with various technologies, screen resolutions, and nearly 20 years of technological advances that happened over the two decades between Mega Man 7 and Mega Man 10.
“Simply put, since there are three different original platforms to work with, the amount of work in turn increases three-fold,” explains Tsuchiya. “Even screen displays that look virtually identical on the outside could have completely different script and code on the inside, so it took us triple the time to not only make things compatible, but to also test things to make sure they’re working properly.”
While Capcom didn’t have the emulation from DigitalEclipse to use this time around, the development team did learn a lot from making the first Mega Man Legacy Collection and utilized many of the criticisms and ideas it received to make an experience that it believes fans want to see.
“The challenges from the first collection were received well, so we definitely used them as a basis when designing them in this installment. We also took a look at the UI again to see if we could tweak it in some ways to make it more intuitive and user friendly. We wanted to make it so that players who enjoyed the first collection would pick this up and tell that some changes have been made for the better.”
Capcom is also well aware of a few discrepancies with several titles over the course of their existence, mostly regarding Mega Man 8. It is a well-known fact, among Mega Man fans at least, that Mega Man 8 released on the SEGA Saturn came with a few bonuses not found in the PlayStation version that most of us played in our younger years. Some were hoping that this would finally be the opportunity to make those options available on a wider scale, but Tsuchiya says that this is not the purpose of the bundle.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is about nothing more than dropping you into classic Mega Man action.
“Regardless of console, I think we can all agree that each mainline Mega Man title that we’ve seen across the years has always felt complete. I understand the sentiment that it would’ve been a nice bonus to enjoy content that wasn’t part of the original release, but the main idea behind Legacy Collection was for players to go back and enjoy the original release of each title. In order to heighten this nostalgic journey, we added an archive of illustrations that players can enjoy as well.”
As to how it approached selecting which platforms to use as a foundation, Tsuchiya went about it very methodically.
“Mega Man 7 was based on the Super Nintendo release and Mega Man 8 is based off the PlayStation version. Mega Man 9 and 10 were multi-platform around its initial launch so there wasn’t much of a decision on which platform to select.”
Of all four games, Mega Man 8 also remains the most unique in how it approaches the classic formula. Many see it as a sort of “black sheep” of the series, especially with its odd placement in the fifth console generation. Not only is it well beyond the scope of the original NES games, it came out at a time when Mega Man X had clearly taken control of the side-scrolling series’ future and Mega Man Legends had begun shifting the series into 3D.
Plus, it has those sweet, unforgettable anime cutscenes with legendarily bad voice acting.
However, Tsuchiya does not see Mega Man 8 as strange and feels it fits perfectly within the this bundle. In fact, he takes a very similar approach to looking at the game as I do, which is seeing Mega Man as a window into how the video game industry changed throughout the 90s.
“It’s an interesting question and I’m curious to hear why Mega Man 8 would be considered the black sheep of the franchise. I think it has its own unique charms that weren’t present in other installments before it like the animated cutscenes, as well as special rules present in some stages.”
I’ll add that the music is much more in line with the jazzy soundtracks Capcom turned to in the later half of the decade than in the chip-tunes it used in the 8-bit days. He followed up with a statement that says each game should represent the age in which it was made, not stick to the same formula over and over again.
“This is just my own personal take on things, but I feel the game design of Mega Man in the Nintendo era had an incredibly tight, complete, and comprehensible system. However, as we progressed to newer and powerful hardware, it’s not a developer’s responsibility to simply trace over what was already successful. I think it’s the developer’s job to look at what worked in the past and to also figure out what could potentially make the “best Mega Man” based on the trends and landscape of that time. I think if you look back at the 10 mainline Mega Man titles, you can really see a story of how the game industry as a whole changed over time.”
It is this line of thinking which helped produce Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 with Capcom recognizing earlier than most publishers that retro-gaming would make a huge comeback thanks to digital distribution.
As for future plans, Capcom would very much like to use the technology it developed for this bundle as a foundation future bundles.
“Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is not emulation, it uses a specialized system. I think it’s a great foundation to work off of, so I would love to see it utilized more if possible,” says Tsuchiya. As a Mega Man fan myself, I can only hope that he is referring to a Mega Man X bundle.
If this one is a success, who knows? It might just happen.
Sadly, Nintendo Switch owners will not be able to play Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 with Tsuchiya claiming “there are no plans for a Nintendo Switch version at this time.” Instead, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 will be released multiple gaming platforms.
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