Bye-Bye, Beloved Blue Bomber

無きマズルは指す by 茶とむ

Bye-Buh-Bye.

Do not, for all of you who wait. If you’re one of those people who are still waiting for the next Rockman game,[1] then you, my dear friend, are waiting for something that will never come. 

Now, I don’t really think I need to brief you about the history of Rockman. It’s really simple; fledgeling shmup game turned instant hit, started spawning sequels on the subsequent console eras, then went into video game limbo[2]. But for those who avidly follow and breathe the Rockman universe like it was the atmosphere, there’s an even deeper reason for its sudden, grinding halt.

This guy shouldn’t even exist. And yes, he’s gay in more ways than one, maid armor notwithstanding.

Ever since Rockman X6Capcom‘s relationship with the franchise’s artist and producer, Keiji Inafune, has been shaky. Inafune had intended Rockman X5 to be the last game for the Rockman X series so that its partner series, Rockman Zero, can be started. Capcom, however, released X6. Inafune did not have any involvement with X6, and speculations arose that Capcom still thought that they could milk the X series even further, as seen with the games after X6 such as Rockman X: Command Mission.

The Zero series had its own share of problems as well. The series’ story was so heavily rewritten that you wouldn’t think it was the intended partner series for Rockman X. See, at the end of Rockman X5, Zero was supposed to die at the hands of Sigma, while X proceeds to finish the bad guy off. This event should have marked the end of the X series and the start of the Zero series, where it is shown that Zero was actually alive after an indefinite amount of time has passed. In the original story intended by Inafune, Rockman X was actually intended to be the bad guy; the last remaining Irregular from Zero’s generation[3]. However, due to X6 and Capcom’s refusal to transform the iconic Blue Bomber into a villain, Inafune was forced to rewrite the script for the Zero series in order to coincide with where the story left off from the last X games.

DASH 3 is a lie. Rockman Volnutt is doomed to be stuck in Elysium forever, with no hope of being saved.

Then, there was Rockman DASH. As we all know, the DASH series was created from Sony‘s request for Capcom to create a 3D Rockman game for the Playstation, which was then ported to other consoles. The success of the series spawned numerous other DASH games, a spinoff game that popularized the beloved Marvel vs. Capcom character Tron Bonne, and a sequel. This begs the question as to why Capcom suddenly went against Inafune’s wishes and decided to pull the plug on the third DASH game that was supposed to be released for the Nintendo DS.

At this point, most of you already know the story. The entire franchise was reduced to including its characters as guests on other games; the original Rockman was not included on Marvel vs. Capcom 3‘s playable roster. Zero and Tron Bonne were included in the game, but people wanted either Rockman or X as well. Much to the fans’ chagrin, Capcom did not oblige. The Zero series ended very shortly because Capcom still got Rockman X killed, with Zero nowhere to be found, their fates only to be overlapped by the next series of games, Rockman ZX. After Capcom pulled the plug on Rockman DASH 3, Inafune has had it. He retired from Capcom after twenty-three years, saying that he is “starting his life over”.

Beck Concept Art from Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter Page

Meet Beck, partner to Call[4] and the main protagonist of Inafune’s new creation, Mighty No. 9.

Inafune then created his own company, Comcept, and started on making his own game, Mighty No. 9Mighty No. 9 is currently being labeled as the spiritual successor of the Rockman franchise due to their strikingly similar gameplay. And unlike Capcom, Inafune made it clear that he wants heavy input from people who want to play it. Mighty No. 9 was funded by using Kickstarter, and Comcept has just achieved the four million dollar target, yet unlocking another gameplay feature for the game, aside from being slated for release on multiple console platforms.

Finally, amidst all this, the question still remains: Will the true Blue Bomber be back? To be honest, it’s very unlikely. Inafune’s retirement and the rabid hype for Mighty No. 9 ultimately sealed the nails on the franchise’s coffin. Capcom and the franchise’s diehard fans[5] may try to bang hard on the lid in order to revive the series, but with Inafune’s loss it’s just too uncertain on how the general video game demographic, informed as they are, will take it.

In the end, all we can do is wish the Blue Bomber’s descendant good luck, for he is watched and anticipated by many, including his brothers.

Further Reading

Link list for Comcept and Mighty No. 9:

Mighty No. 9‘s Kickstarter Page:

Comcept‘s Website

Comcept‘s web page for Mighty No. 9

Mighty No. 9 Gameplay Trailer, from the Kickstarter Page

Website for Intercept, another company of Inafune:

Intercept Website

Keiji Inafune’s Blog:

Keiji Inafune だぜ!!

Footnotes

  1. I don’t call it Mega Man like most people. I played my first game in Japanese, so I want to call the franchise in a name that is more familiar to me. []
  2. You’ve seen this happen before, with Half-Life and Duke Nukem. []
  3. Most players argue that X wasn’t really a Irregular, and his supposed actions stem from his decision to achieve lasting peace, even if it means the obliteration of robotkind. Strange enough, the one to blame for this is his creator, Dr. Light, who tested his AI for thirty years in order for him to be able to decide what’s right or wrong. []
  4. From the phrase “Beck and Call”, similar to Rockman’s “Rock and Roll”. []
  5. Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, anyone? If not, try Rockman x Street Fighter. []

2 Responses to “Bye-Bye, Beloved Blue Bomber”


  • Very interesting! While it’s a very sad history, I really think all this confusion and rewriting of the X & Zero series are very intriguing! I just wonder how the Zero series could have turned out if those games came out the way Inafune intended…

    • My guess is that Inafune is trying to revive the old plot trope of forcing a good character to do evil things, regardless if there was a proper reason or not. In Rockman 4, Dr. Cossack was forced to do Dr. Wily’s bidding after the latter kidnapped his daughter Kalinka. In Rockman X’s case, his ability to deduce right and wrong got the better of him, thinking that since robotkind is the source of all the futile wars, he resolved to eradicate his own race for the sake of the planet’s preservation. In the original story, he becomes the Zero series’ primary villain, but since X6 happened, Inafune was forced to rewrite it, giving birth to a character intended for X’s original role, Copy X.

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