2012 Update: I was pretty emotional when I drew this and wrote the artist comments. My outlook is more hopeful nowadays, but I can't say I'm expecting too much to happen, anytime soon. I still really strongly dislike Ryota Niitsuma, though.
R.I.P. Mega Man
1987 - 2010
Had to whip this up when I heard the recent bad news. If my reaction seems melodramatic to anyone, it might just be that you haven't been following the Mega Man franchise as closely as I have, so allow me to explain.
First, it started with Keiji Inafune, the father of the Mega Man franchise, quitting Capcom (I know he didn't create Mega Man's initial design, but he took over the first game almost right away and had been in charge of the entire series since then, so don't tell me Inafune isn't the father of the franchise). I remember feeling really sad about it, but Capcom was trying to assure everyone that nothing would change, and that Mega Man would still be alive and well, even without him.
What followed, however, was the exact opposite of that reassurance. Now, I don't know if all of this ended up happening because Inafune left, or if Inafune left because he knew these things were going to happen and he got frustrated trying to deal with Capcom, but whatever the case, things started going downhill for the Blue Bomber.
Mega Man had been a veteran of the Marvel vs. Capcom series, and considered by many to be the face of Capcom (much like Spider-Man to Marvel or Mario to Nintendo). Although Capcom may not have had an official mascot, Mega Man was the closest thing to one for many, many years. It seemed logical that he would be in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, right? Well, Tron Bonne and Zero got in, and if I remember right, they got in before Inafune left the company, but whatever the case, Mega Man himself never got in. Not him, or any of his facsimiles/expies from spin-off/sequel series like Mega Man X from the series of the same name or Rock Volnutt from Mega Man Legends. Ryota Niitsuma's "reasons" for not including him in MvC3 were that Mega Man didn't lend himself to fighting games, and didn't have enough moveset potential, or some bull like that. Nevermind the fact that he was already in the previous two games, but that there's nearly 100 different weapons he could utilize from past games in his series.
Things looked dark for the little robot boy, but there were still other things to look forward to in 2011, at least... or so we thought.
Mega Man Universe got a lot of criticism for its art style, but it had a lot of potential, and overall, outside of a very vocal minority, it seemed like a well-received idea (that being a totally customizable Mega Man platformer). Before Keiji Inafune left Capcom, he seemed to be pretty excited for this title. Unfortunately, sometime after he left the company, this game had been canceled. To me, this was an especially big blow, as I was REALLY looking forward to this game.
Of course, one of the BIGGEST projects of 2011 was Mega Man Legends 3. For over a decade, many were waiting for the long awaited final chapter in the Legends series. I've never been that big of a Legends fan myself, but I respected it for trying new things, and it was also Inafune's favorite series. A popular subjective opinion is that this series was Inafune's Magnum Opus. Cries of victory were shouted out by many that this game was finally being made, and Inafune seemed to have worked hard to get this off the ground, and Capcom had even done something new with this title in terms of fan input. Unfortunately... this game was canceled yesterday. Perhaps THE biggest Mega Man project in a long time, and it, too, has been canceled. I feel it's the final nail on Mega Man's coffin.
So, there ya have it. I loved Mega Man 10, which came out in 2010, but it seems like that might be the last Mega Man game that Capcom will make. There is nothing to look forward to in 2011 in terms of games, and the most depressing thing is how close we're getting to Mega Man's 25th Anniversary.
Mega Man will still live on in things outside of Capcom's games, though. We should try to support those other things as much as possible, like the Mega Man Gigamix manga, Udon's Mega Man Tribute art book, and Archie's Mega Man comic book series. These may be the only Mega Man things we'll be seeing for a while, or at all, since Capcom doesn't seem to think Mega Man is a very profitable franchise for video games, anymore.
And, now that you know my feelings about all this, and how I feel as though Capcom is trying to kill Mega Man, we come to this picture which symbolizes what I believe to be the harsh reality. I hope Capcom proves me wrong, but after a nonstop stream of poor treatment and neglect from Capcom, I honestly can't see the franchise picking up any steam again, anytime soon.
I do want to offer apologies, though, to Fire Man, Duo, and Auto fans, but I was drawing the group on paper and was running out of space. Also, it's only after I finished everything that I realized that I forgot about Eddie. D'oh! >.<