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The Magic of Early 90s 3D

Over twenty years ago, video games began taking their first painful steps into 3D spaces. This was a time when Atari's memory was fading fast and the Nintendo Entertainment System was becoming the kingpin of the gaming landscape. Console gaming would spend the next several years perfecting the art of 2D gaming goodness. Words such as “Project Reality” (the Nintendo 64) would be tossed around in magazines every so often, but the simple truth was that home-based polygon video games were years away, and most of the early stuff would be crude at best thanks to limited technology. If you wanted to see the latest and greatest mind blowing 3D gaming technology, you went to arcades. Familiar names like Atari Namco and Sega were in a silent arms race to develop the best, most powerful, most badass, and most boringly titled (“System 21” and “Model 2”... really guys?) custom video game hardware known to man. 3D games were a novelty in arcades for quite some time prior. While quarter munching 2D brawlers like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and X-Men or competitive V.S. fighters like Street Fighter II and Fatal Fury were the cheap, reliable workhorses of the floor, every serious arcade operator had at least one super expensive monster 3D machine sitting in a dark corner drawing glares from mystified onlookers more accustomed to the crusty and familiar blocky image of a late gen NES title. Most of the early 3D game designs were crude and blocky, but nobody cared in the late 80s. Moving around in a 3D space with solid 3D objects floating all around you like a Weird Al music video was enough to impress back then. The hardware often ran hot and unreliably, and the cabinets were often mammoth, but they guzzled quarters like nobody's business. These were the trailblazers that tore down the walls and eventually brought 3D home. In this far removed time, outside of more mainstream brand names like Star Fox, nobody remembers these crude, flat-shaded pioneers. Let's take a look at some of the early 3D games that time forgot about... Read More


UDON Talks Mega Man Art Books and English Manga

The holidays are coming, and UDON Entertainment is preparing for it with the release of two, count 'em, two Mega Man art books: Mega Man: Official Complete Works and Mega Man X: Official Complete Works, due for release at the end of November and the beginning of December, respectively. The Mega Man Network has an interview with UDON's Matt Moylan, who explains what the books are all about and what one should (and should not) expect to see within their pages. He also touches on some of their future plans, including the release of manga based on the original Mega Man, as well as the latest games from the original (read: non-Network) universe, Mega Man ZX. Both Mega Man Megamix and Mega Man ZX manga are expected to arrive in bookstores and comic shops early next year. There is also some discussion of future art books and a possible "Mega Man Tribute," similar to those of Street Fighter and DarkStalkers, which would be filled with the titular fanart tributes from the fans. Find out all about it right here. Read More


MegaMan Battle Network/Star Force Crossover Announced; Star Force 3 Demo Available, Axed for Europe?

2009's Electronic Entertainment Expo came and went a few weeks ago with no word at all from Capcom regarding what their next plans for the Mega Man franchise are. However, in Japan, that was not the case when the World Hobby Fair rolled into town. Though details were scarce, Dark Messiah Blog and COCOROG report that the company did reveal that they were going to release "Rockman EXE: Operate Shooting Star" (in Japan, "Rockman.EXE" is what their version of MegaMan Battle Network is called, and "Ryusei no Rockman," or "Shooting Star Rockman," is what MegaMan Star Force is known as there), a crossover between their two main MegaMan RPG franchises that is expected to hit the Nintendo DS in Japan sometime later this year. Details are to be formally announced in the September issue of CoroCoro. Read More


A "Corrupted" Mega Man X Fangame Brings Back Feelings of Pure Joy

Following the success of Mega Man 9, a common desire expressed by Mega Man fans is for a continuation of the Mega Man X series with Mega Man X9. However, a lot of fans are widely divided on how this should be done: Some feel that it should follow Mega Man 9's lead, and return to its roots in the 16-bit era. Others, however, feel that this was acceptable for the original series, as it had 6 games in that style, versus one 16-bit game and one 32-bit game, but not so for X, who has had things pretty evenly split between three 16-bit styled games, three 32-bit games, and three PS2-era games. As a result, this leads to to two other camps: Those who feel that emulating the style of Mega Man X4-6 is the way to go, and those who believe something akin to Mega Man X8 or the PlayStation Portable's Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, released in a style akin to Bionic Commando Rearmed is the best way. Oh, and X7? Most of us don't like to talk about X7, in case you were wondering. In any case, one individual (or possibly individuals) working under the name "JKBProductions" has been at work on their own fanmade Mega Man X game titled Mega Man X: Corrupted. While it employs the graphic styling of the Super NES games, it actually borrows quite a bit from the later installments as well. Click the link to see some videos. Read More


Bleszinski: Switching Developers Call of Duty-style is 'Soulless'

The ever outspoken Gears of War Design Director Cliff Bleszinski, pictured right, eating a puppy, stated in a recent interview with Develop Magazine that he finds the practice of handing over IP to different developers to be "soulless," with such an approach seeing quality "lost in translation.""We've got a lot of ideas about where the franchise will go. But sometimes I feel a franchise loses something when it's shifted off to another shop. You get the primary studio that really understands about the franchise, and sometimes the other studio that takes it over can do well, but there's something lost in translation, like the game's soul has gone." -- Cliff BleszinskiThis was his reply when asked about letting another developer have a crack at his beloved Gears of War. But one has to wonder how he may feel when and if the franchise reaches its sixth, seventh, or whichever title. And does he mean it across the board? Or just when developers hot-potato the IP back and forth as with Call of Duty? Different teams have created the likes of New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy, and those were excellent games. Retro Studios impressed many by taking up the Metroid franchise (though we won't kid ourselves by saying we wouldn't like another new 2D Metroid right about... ever). Some fans raged when Inti Creates began producing Mega Man games in the Zero and ZX series, though a number of the staff were former Capcom employees who had worked on earlier titles, though their recent effort on Mega Man 9 has pleased many. And then there's Sonic Team. The team itself now is a very different group of people from those who created the first game, and many would say it shows. On the other hand, many also say that the games produced by Dimps are far superior to SEGA's own in-house efforts. There are many scenarios to consider; I wonder if Bleszinski feels the same way uniformly against them all. Read More


Inafune Discusses Mega Man 9, Franchise, and Future

MTV Multiplayer's Stephen Totilo recently got a chance to catch up with Mega Man 9 creator Keiji Inafune and Producer Hironobu Takeshita to discuss Mega Man 9, among other things Mega Man. One of the questions asked is if Mega Man 9 simply looks 8-bit, or actually is 8-bit, able to fit on an NES cartridge, etc. Takeshita tells him that "From top to bottom this is an old-school, NES-style 8-bit-graphic game. It's the same kind of game you probably remember playing. It could fit on an old Nintendo but this is for the next generation. It's a downloadable game." Asked about developing a game in such an old fashion, and whether or not they had to re-learn the style and how the skills were rediscovered, Inafune said there were still people at Capcom who remembered how to make such a game, and that those at Inti Creates, who are developing the game, is made up of some people who had worked on the original titles. Read More


Capcom's #9: Mega Man, or 'Hard' Man?

If there is one thing that Mega Man games are renowned for, it's their challenge. Of course, growing up, I didn't get this much. Other than the odd spot here or there, Mega Man games were a weekend rental for me. It wasn't until Mega Man X came out and the time I noticed the old games were getting harder to find that I started scrambling to grab them for keeps. On the other hand, there is Mega Man Zero, Inti Creates' pioneer Mega Man project before ZX, and before 9. That was a game made to break people. Of course, there are ways to lighten up the challenge: These involve lots of grinding, application of power-ups, then having the game knee you in the groin and make fun of your mother. And on a side note, while I have a rough time with the first MMZ title, I can breeze through MM2 with no troubles; I've a friend who's the exact opposite. Guess it takes all types. Anyway, it comes as little surprise that with Mega Man 9, in spite of its cartoonish facade, Capcom is once again aiming to break you: Mega Man 9 is very hard. We didn't want to do Mega Man, but easy. We want players to get better, we want them to remember. I've always tried to challenge players, and I think there are gamers who miss being challenged by games. So says Producer Hironobu Takeshita. And so the time draws ever nearer, before I find out if my oldschool skills are a match for the sadists at Inti Creates. For masochistic gamers, though, it may interest you to know that Takeshita has expressed interest in bringing more of his brand of pain to the Wii. Read More


Nintendo Power Reveals Mega Man 9 for WiiWare

Update: When the scans were posted at the Capcom*Unity, Corporate Officer and Vice-president of Strategic Planning & Business Development Christian Svensson stated "I will also say, NP only has part of the story. More to be learned later." Original Story: Dreams do come true. The new issue of Nintendo Power is hitting mailboxes, and inside is the scoop on what we've been waiting for: Solid, concrete proof of Mega Man 9. While there is no confirmation yet of its existence as a game for Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Network, at least we do now know that it will be a downloadable game in a place where it most makes sense: WiiWare. Further, the rumors of an 8-bit artstyle were not only true, but quite literal: So far, this looks just like one of the NES games, rather than the later fare of Mega Man 7 and Mega Man 8, each of which has its fans and detractors. So what's the story? Apparently the rumor of a more "standard" story holds true as well, as robots are on the rampage, and Dr. Wily is back; only this time, he says that the robot attacks are the fault of Mega Man's creator, Dr. Light. And so it falls to Mega Man to prove his creator's innocence. Find out what Mega Man's up against after the cut. Read More


No More Zack & Wiki?

I never did get to play Zack & Wiki, though I heard it was pretty good; it reminds me a little of MegaMan Legends, minus the MegaMan, so that's always a positive thing (just try and tell me that monkey and Data weren't cut from the same cloth, just try it). Unfortunately, it's just been a good time for games... perhaps too good, thus hindering the relatively ambitious Wii game's chances at retail. And now, for that, the duo may yet suffer. On Capcom's forum, when faced with a question about further games starring the duo, Christian Svensson, the Vice-President of Strategic Planning & Business Development for Capcom, said "Let me preface this answer with a statement to set expectations that we've not announced another Z&W and I'm not so sure there will be one on any reasonable timeline." Ouch. I sure hope it didn't end on a cliffhanger... *cough*Mega Man X8*cough*Mega Man ZX Advent*cough* ...I should get that checked out. Read More


Rumor: More Mega Man 9 Rumblings

Eh, what the hell. In for a penny, in for a pound, as I believe the old expression goes. As long as we're reporting rumors for Mega Man 9, may as well revisit the source of yesterday's. According to Protodude's source, "The Shadow," he can't reveal any more gameplay specifics, but offered a hint as to one of the game's plot elements: "Robots have expiring dates." As Protodude says, that's sort of deep for a "traditional" plot, not to mention confusing, as that seemed to be a large point of significance to the plot of the Mega Man ZX series, wherein the Reploids were given artificial lifespans. Makes one wonder, as these statements from The Shadow seem more than a little suspect. He adds "More to come. We just started testing the later half of the game, no signs of an X storyline yet. Keep in mind, a lot of what we test lacked some of the ingame text." On a related note, Protodude said he contacted the OFLC, who have never in their history listed a "rumored" game. Read More


Mega Man Zero Official Complete Works Preview: In Stores May 28th

If you're a steady fan of Mega Man, you might just know about this. Going back to the Game Boy Advance, there was a four-game series of Mega Man titles known as Mega Man Zero. This series, a far-flung continuation of the events which occurred in the Mega Man X series and which lead to those happening in the ZX series, was notorious for its merciless difficulty; "Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden in 2D Mega Man form," some have called it. The series also brought with it a new style of art and design which some might say betrayed its ball-busting difficulty, though upon closer inspection, it did well to reflect this darker visage of the world of Mega Man in a post-apocalyptic time when 75 percent of the world's population had been decimated. Since then, the style has been carried over to the more recent Mega Man ZX series. Unlike America, however, Japan has always had a ton of supplementary material for Mega Man, or rather, Rockman games. Soundtracks with additional story that fills in gaps, guidebooks that do the same, and artbooks. And that last one is what the Mega Man Zero Official Complete Works falls under, as upon the completion of the series, the Rockman version was released in Japan. And after a year and a half in the making, America is about to get a taste as well. Hit the jump for further details and preview pages. Read More


MegaMan Star Force 3 Confirmed

While not exactly the ideal Mega Man experience for a number of fans, the previously-rumored third game in the Ryuusei no Rockman series, aka "Shooting Star Rockman" or MegaMan Star Force to us, has effectively seen confirmation, at least in Japan. The Mega Man Network has reported that Capcom of Japan has opened a teaser site for the new title, with the message "The future of this planet is now up to them," followed by Japanese text that reads "2008. Noise will conceal the world," which of course seems to imply that the game will be released in Japan during this year. The page also features a downloadable wallpaper featuring the protagonists of the series, including the return of Solo/Rogue and a new, unnamed ally as well. For fans of the more traditional side-scrolling fare of the Mega Man ZX series, it seems that there is little on the horizon right now, save for the upcoming Rockman ZX Soundsketch: ZX Gigamix album, of which you can learn more here, here, and here. Read More