Posts Tagged ‘Mega Man 9’

One element of appeal I completely missed in my Mega Man 9 post was the cost factor.  As I said before, I applaud the aesthetic direction Capcom’s taking this one.  But I hadn’t really considered what that lo-fi design choice could mean for the bottom line, until I read Chris Kohler’s great piece on Koji Igarashi and the latest installment in the Castlevania franchise.

There’s already quite a bit of negative press surrounding Castlevania Judgement, and with very good reason.  How the hell does a head-to-head fighter fit in the Castlevania universe?  Symphony of the Night and Rondo of Blood were terrific recent entries in the series, so it’s not like Konami forgot how to make a good vampire-slaying game starring the Belmont clan.

The fighting game approach it just feels like Konami’s blatantly going back to the well to take advantage of die-hard Castlevania fans, and sullying their sturdiest franchise in the process.  And it gets so much sadder when you realize Igarashi couldn’t get the budget for a true followup, so the Konami braintrust’s next move is “toe-to-toe brawler.”

And that’s why Capcom’s decision to go 8-bit is so brilliant.  Mega Man 9 will feel like a true followup in the series, probably even more so than Mega Man 7 and 8.  It can be cranked out by a tiny staff (compared to most current-gen development teams), and delivered via Wiiware for what EA probably spent on snacks on bottled water for the Madden ’09 build cycle.  And, they can bench test a bunch of new, fresh-out-of-school designers before dropping them into more heavy-duty design teams for the next Resident Evil or Lost Planet games.

I hope Konami thinks about taking Castlevania back to its roots in similar fashion.  Of course, a new  Zombies ate my Neighbors wouldn’t hurt while they’re at it.

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E3 is once again upon us (albeit in its retooled, min-E3 format).  I won’t cover every single announcement here – there are plenty of up-to-the-minute industry news sites on the blogroll at right, so set your RSS reader and fire away.  But a week like this always has a few thought-provoking surprises, and presents a good opportunity to take the industry’s pulse.  It’s like halftime, leading up to the holiday season endgame.

There’s a lot to be excited about in Capcom’s lineup this year, with Street Fighter IV promising a return to form in offense-geared, fast paced brawling along with a hot new 3D presentation.  It’s a big, big development for Street Fighter fans, but I’m actually more excited about the return of the true blue bomber in Mega Man 9 on the Virtual Console and PSN.

For this installment, Capcom went back to the series’ roots and opted for the graphics and sounds of a classic NES game.  In an industry that’s constantly pushing the hardware for higher frame rates and jaw-dropping visuals, it’s a breath of fresh air to see someone opt for the look and feel that just plain fits the character best.  Mega Man 7 (on the SNES) and 8 (on the original PlayStation) were both good games in their own right, but just didn’t have that classic Mega Man charm, as anyone that played through Mega Man 2 would attest.

The decision from a big studio to go lo-fi for the latest entry in their flagship franshise is a subtle, but important development.  It’s an artistic choice, to create a similar experience and evoke the same feelings as we had playing through the glory days of the series.

This is the second awesome videogame quilt picture I've run.  Please send more.

This is the second awesome videogame quilt picture I've run. Please send more.

I’d love to see future installments of classic franchises explore what made them great in the first place.  And while we’re at, why not breathe new life into the classics we’ve already played through a million times by adding more content?  Wouldn’t it be cool to pick up a Double Dragon game where part 3 left off?  Or play through the NES port of Maniac Mansion, with running commentary from the (reunited) original development team?

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