While I was washing my dishes today after being sick on/off for three weeks now, I pondered on CAPCOM and their latest moves regarding Mega Man and Ducktales. It’s something to think about for sure, but then I realized that it’s something that has been clear all the time and doesn’t ask for any pondering or discussion.
Modern CAPCOM shouldn’t touch Mega Man as they are.
While everybody seems to be drooling over the Mega Man statue, I’ve been questioning CAPCOM’s intent of getting the PC Mega Man X ports on Good Old Games. While the site is good and all that, I have to question why the hell would they like to have Mega Man X PC version available anywhere? It’s a horrible port. Modern hard core PC gamers would laugh at it, much like they did back in the day. You get a better version of the same game through emulation nowadays, and the game itself is available on multiple other platforms as well, not to mention Maverick Hunter X exists. Mega Man X8 on the other hand has a decent PC port, and some mods to boot for what I remember, but the game itself is boring, and with it the subpar results of X6 and X7 pretty much confirmed that X-series wouldn’t see any more games. That, and the fact that other Mega Man games were selling better and X8 was a failure in CAPCOM’s eyes. Most fans look at it through rose tinted glasses. However, seeing that the progress is slow we can say that the chances of getting those games on GOG is closer to nil. Knowing how CoJ has been thinking lately, we won’t get them.
Well, PC games aside, CAPCOM’s intent on Mega Man at the moment is further merchandising the brand to cash on the nostalgia. While that’s what CAPCOM has been seemingly been doing for a while, now it’s actually what they’re doing… ever since Mega Man 9 was released. No, Mega Man 9 and 10 were not good Mega Man games, they were subpar Mega Man Zero games in Mega Man cloth. 9 and 10 pretty much doomed the Classic series as far as we can see. I’ll use one of Josh Hadley’s favourite terms here and call them cash-ins. While not completely applicable, Mega Man 9&10 completely fulfil the requirements of cash-ins, such as relying on an existing product, not doing anything special or even trying to be their own product.
The same can be said for the Ducktales Remake. Oh look, Aalt hates Ducktales! Shush you peasant, listen before you open your jabberjaw. The reason why this Remake, alongside the Dungeons and Dragons; Chronicles of Mystara, is cashing on nostalgia with minimum of effort. I admit that I am a huge WayForward fan, so saying this isn’t easy, but this looks halfassed. Why 2D sprites for characters and everything in 3D? WayForward, you’re better than this, you’re one of the last proper 2D game developers on the world, why not go all out and make this look like the cartoon? The sprites already do, so why not make he whole game look like the cartoon? Bloodrayne Betrayal looks extremely good with its full 2D approach.
Every sprite seems to have a good amount of animation frames, thou the trailer shows that Scrooge has the same walk cycle as in the NES version, thou the test version at PAX seemed to have later version, where Scrooge has increased animation. In that version you also hear that the music is pretty spot on and the pogo sound is still there, but some things are just really strange, like a fade into black when walking into a new area rather than the screen sliding. This is a technical issue I’m sure. Still, it’s weird to see Scrooge all smiling and happy when his nephews have dropped through a trapdoor. WayForward has good designers and 2D developers working for them, and if Ducktales would get same full 2D treatment, the game would not only look better, but feel better.
Then again, if you’ve ever liked Ducktales cartoon or comics, you’ve already played both of the NES games, and you even might own them like I do. The question is if these additions really are worth the price? Hype says yes.
As a trivia, the NES game red Scrooge palette isn’t inaccurate. At the time CAPCOM followed Carl Bark’s design on the McDuck, so red isn’t inaccurate as such, but it’s not show accurate. Then again, I live in a region where Duck comics are more common than bread and everybody used to inhale them more than oxygen, so variations on Ducks isn’t anything you’d call uncommon.
When we get to know how much the remake costs, we’ll then have a proper price on what nostalgia costs. I will most likely purchase it as well, as it is from WayForward. I’m not infallible either, but I’m sure I will struggle with the decision on the future.
Nevertheless, these are few reasons why I do not want modern CAPCOM to make a new Mega Man game of any kind. They simply can’t do it. It’s like having your leg on a samoflange. The fact that they have an ongoing discussion about Mega man is as good as doing absolutely nothing. It’s a common thing to say that discussion is ongoing when everything is on hold. I will believe that there has been discussions when I see proper hard evidence on it, namely development of a new game that’s not halted or cancelled a year after letting it die in silence.
Outsourcing Ducktales to WayForward was a good idea. WayForward has a good record on doing justice to old games. If CAPCOM wants a new Mega man, they should outsource it as well to WayForward. Seeing that Zero and ZX series was developed by Inti-Creates rather than CAPCOM, it explains why the games have their own feel and swing. Then again, Inti-Creates fell victim to the myth of Mega Man being difficult, and is one of the main reasons why Mega Man 9&10 are dim jewels without proper cutting. Mega Man doesn’t suit CAPCOM’s modern image, thou neither does Ducktales, but that’s WayForward, right?
Imagine if they had decided to do Ducktales 3. Just add 1 and 2 as options, you could even use same sprites. Nevertheless, it would be a completely new game, which would be a proper reason to actually purchase this game. Not only because of nostalgia (that will always be a part of the charm for both good and bad) but because it would mostly, if not completely, be a new product to enjoy. The applies to Mega Man; modern CAPCOM would try to cash in what Mega Man was and mythically is instead concentrating on what Mega Man really is and should be.
It’s like Mega Man would be the best grilled cheese sandwich ever, and CAPCOM thinks Mega Man should be a fajita with horse shit in it.