February 3, 2023

#1 – Reintroduce Pixel Art Images

mega man 10
Image: Capcom

We personally absolutely love how Mega Man 11 looked: it’s clean, it’s colorful and it’s bold. But we’d be lying if we said we didn’t miss the “classic” aesthetic of older Mega Man games that Mega Man 9 and 10 belonged to. It’s just instantly charming, right?

Games like Castlevania III, Super Mario World, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past are holding up just fine to this day; arguably even better than their 3D counterparts, and the Mega Man franchise is no different, so we’d love to see a return to an 8- or 16-bit art style. But how receptive will the public be to a new Mega Man embracing pixel art in 2022? Especially after Capcom took the series in a significantly different direction with the eleventh iteration.

Our solution? Implement an ‘HD-2D’ style aesthetic. Keep the core identity of the original NES titles, but expand it with real-time lighting, depth, and enhanced textures. We think that definitely looks it killer.

#2 – Bring Chiptune back

This kind of goes hand in hand with our first point and we’re not really sure you can have one without the other. Nevertheless, while we were fans of some of the tunes in Mega Man 11, they simply paled in comparison to the iconic scores in the earlier NES titles; heck, even Mega Man 9 and 10 had music that completely surpassed what was found in the latest title.

There’s nothing wrong with moving away from chiptune music and trying something more ambitious, but with Mega Man there’s something truly magical about a simple, plain 8-bit theme that instantly sticks in your mind.

Mega Man 2’s ‘Dr Wily’s Castle’ theme, Mega Man 3’s ‘Magnet Man’ theme, Mega Man 9’s ‘Galaxy Man’ theme (above)… They are borderline perfection. Bring back chiptune, we’d say.

#3 – Change the gear system

Mega Man - Acceleration System
Image: Capcom

Mega Man 11’s gear system was undoubtedly the biggest change from previous titles. It offered the ability to slow down time or power up your weapon on the fly. While it was a nice little gimmick that worked well within the game’s confines, it’s been incorporated throughout the game whole of the experience arguably made some areas a little too easy, giving players a crutch to fall back on when things got a little hairy.

Our solution? Pull back the implementation slightly. There are a few ways Capcom could do this: our preference would be to keep them available all the time, but maybe limit their use to two or three times per stage, forcing players to be a bit more selective in deciding to use them.

Other options include having them appear as pick-ups in the stages, or introducing them as an option if players die a certain number of times, as in modern Mario titles.

There’s also the option of doing away with the gear system altogether, of course, but we’re not sure we’re a fan of that idea. While there’s no doubt that the levels in Mega Man 11 are essentially built around their uses, dumping them entirely here would be the wrong approach. We Like it the gear system it just needs some refinement.

#4 – Improve the story

mega man 11
Image: Capcom

Mega Man 11 certainly tried to introduce some semblance of plot and plot technically has succeeded. That said, we still wouldn’t go so far as to call it “good” and it certainly wasn’t a patch on everything you’d see in the spin-off series. Mega Man X.

Now, we’re not saying the main Mega Man franchise should introduce threats of world domination or multiple protagonists with questionable morals, but when you’re this far into a franchise, you need to give fans more of a reason to stick around.

We’d be thrilled if Mega Man 12 simply introduced more environmental factors pointing to a wider storyline, or even implemented some cutscenes to introduce the Robot Masters. Only something to give this universe a little more life, Capcom.

#5 – Speaking of Mega Man X…

Mega Man X6
Image: Capcom

Right now, Capcom doesn’t seem particularly interested in reviving the Mega Man X brand, so why not implement some of its core gameplay features into the main series? We’re thinking primarily of the wall-jumping feature, which would add an extra sense of verticality to stages.

Other features include the dashboard (although this is basically already available in slide form) and – let’s say it – a sword. Yeah, we don’t expect Zero to see action in Mega Man 12 or anything like that, but it would be cool if Mega Man got a timed ability to basically become super-powered and wield some sort of lightsaber for a few moments!

#6 – Bring back Rush’s adapter capacity

Mega Man Rush
Image: Nintendo Life

Rush, Mega Man’s trusty robot dog, is an absolute delight and has appeared in virtually every game since his introduction in Mega Man 3. His core abilities, Coil and Jet, are great little additions that mix up the gameplay, but we wouldn’t love it when the next installment brings back Mega Man 6’s ‘Adaptor’ ability.

This effectively merged Rush with Mega Man, giving Mega Man a great red aesthetic and turning him into either Power Mega Man or Jet Mega Man. Power Mega Man was able to charge up thrust attacks and destroy enemy shields, while Jet Mega Man basically allowed him to fly. What else do you want? [Power Jet Mega Man? – Ed]

We’d just love to see these abilities come back in Mega Man 12.

Do you like the sound of any of those ideas? Do you have any better ones yourself? Let us know in the poll below and feel free to celebrate 35 years of Mega Man in the comments. You can also celebrate that we went through the whole article without calling him the “Blue Bomb” once.*editor bursts into room, grabs keyboard and smashes it into a thousand pieces*

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