Like many people, I was surprised and excited about the reveal of Comcept’s Mighty No. 9 and its Kickstarter campaign. The idea of a “spiritual successor” to the Mega Man series is definitely appealing, but perhaps the most interesting part is the extent to which it has been embraced by fans.
And by “fans,” I mean “Mega Man fans.”
I admit, I’m not a huge Mega Man fan. I do love the little blue guy, but he never had quite the impact on me that he has on a lot of people. So, I can’t claim to speak for the larger fan base, but I wonder if some of the same feelings apply.
What has been most interesting for me has been how quickly the fan base has embraced Mighty No. 9. There’s no two ways about it. Mighty No. 9 is essentially a new Mega Man game in all but name. Yet, no one is calling it a pale imitation or blatant rip-off. It’s not just an unofficial clone, or a shell to cover up what we want to imagine is really there. Rather, it’s being seen as a true successor. Something new to carry on an old tradition.
And I feel the same way. I’m excited because it feels like a fresh start. Mega Man has been around for a long time, with an impressive number of sequels, spin-offs, and other miscellanea under his belt. It’s a great legacy, but also maybe a little saturated. No doubt that under better circumstances, Keiji Inafune would have preferred to keep building upon the legacy of his creation, but with Mighty No. 9, he is able to work with a clean slate. He has essentially pressed the reset button and started again.
That’s what appeals to me, and maybe also to the fans. Within two days of the Kickstarter going live, there were already dozens of fan artworks of the new protagonist, Beck. And sure, he bares more than a passing resemblance to his progenitor, but I was easily able to accept him as his own character, with his own style and personality. Hopefully, the same will be true of the game. It’s being built on a tried and true formula, but it has the opportunity to go in exciting new directions and establish its own identity.
And maybe because of that, even if Capcom were to announce a brand new Mega Man game tomorrow, I think I would still be less excited for it than I am for Mighty No. 9.
It’s too early to tell what kind of legacy Beck might have. His first game is at least two years away from release. But it’s clear that fans are eager to get to know him better. You can’t ask for a better first impression than that.
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