Electric Retrospective- Mega Man returns for 30th anniversary

Sean Mullins
Technology Columnist

Mega Man unleashes a Charge Shot, a powerful attack introduced in “Mega Man 4,” in a new construction site level. Photo from Capcom

Mega Man, the super fighting robot and undisputed champion of classic platforming games, is set to make his grand return for his 30th anniversary in “Mega Man 11,” coming late 2018.

The Mega Man series has been critically acclaimed since its start on the NES in 1987. The games focus on Rock, or Mega Man, a robot with a strong sense of justice who fights Dr. Wily and his league of Robot Masters. The series is most known for its excellent gameplay, memorable soundtracks, and beloved spinoff games like Mega Man X, which takes place 100 years after Rock’s adventures.

The series has been on hiatus since “Mega Man 10” in 2010, and fans have anxiously awaited Mega Man’s return. Since then, the most fans have received was the Mega Man Legacy Collection series, which brought beloved Mega Man games -and also Mega Man 8- to modern consoles. However, during a 30th anniversary celebration livestream on Dec. 4, publisher Capcom announced “Mega Man 11,” the next entry in the series.

In a return to form, Mega Man will face eight Robot Masters whose stages can be played in any order. Mega Man’s series-defining ability, the Variable Weapons System, allows him to copy defeated Robot Masters’ abilities, and each weapon is strong against another Robot Master. While weapons previously changed Mega Man’s armor color, Mega Man’s arms and headgear now change designs as well.

One new Robot Master was revealed, whose name during development was Brick Man and will be changed closer to release. After defeating Brick Man, Mega Man can drop brick blocks on enemies in midair. For Storm Eagle-eyed fans, concept artwork of Brick Man’s special weapon was hidden as a teaser in the artwork gallery of “Mega Man Legacy Collection 2.”

The developers confirmed that Robot Master weapons will have multiple uses aside from damaging enemies, like a dash attack that propels Mega Man through the air in tough platforming sections. Mega Man’s weapons have often had extra utility in the past, leading to interesting stage interactions. The earliest examples are the Thunder Beam and Super Arm from the original “Mega Man,” which broke large blocks in stages.

While previous Mega Man games stick to the 8-bit style from the first six games, “Mega Man 11” features hand-drawn graphics, and the reveal trailer indicates particle effects and lighting. Mega Man and other returning characters have been redesigned, and while their new designs are faithful to the originals, they appear sleeker and modern.

The game’s Japanese title includes the subtitle, “The Gears of Fate,” which implies the game will focus on a new mechanic shown in the trailer. While no further details have been given on how it works, Mega Man uses a special charged shot to destroy enemies that seems to be activated by a gear icon.

“Mega Man 11” isn’t the only Mega Man game releasing in 2018. “Mega Man Legacy Collection” and “Mega Man Legacy Collection 2,” which previously released on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, will release on Switch. All eight Mega Man X games will also release on Switch, PS4, XBox One and PC, though it’s unclear if they’ll be released separately or in another collection, like “Mega Man X Collection” from 2006.

With a whopping 18 past games becoming available on modern consoles and a new game in the span of a year, Mega Man’s 30th anniversary is set to be fantastic. While new information about “Mega Man 11” is under wraps for the next few months, it’s clear the game is going in an interesting new direction for the series. Needless to say, Mega Man is back and better than ever.

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