It's been a rough few years for Mega Man fans considering all of the disappointments with canceled games and general poor treatment of the franchise. The best news for the character in years has to be his inclusion in Nintendo's upcoming pair of Super Smash Bros. sequels for the Wii U and 3DS. So far we've only seen Mega Man appear in a trailer and screenshots, but that hasn't stopped David Oxford over at The Mega Man Network from analyzing what we know and looking into Mega Man's past to see how Masahiro Sakurai and his team are doing their best to be true to the character.
All said, I’m really enjoying this new design. I’ve seen some say that it throws out the years of evolution his design has had since the NES days, but I disagree. Rather, much like the modern Mega Man and Hitoshi Ariga’s take on the character, I see this as a third, separate evolution from the same basic source. Capcom’s official art elongated the limbs and made the design make a little more visible sense in how the parts all fit together, while Ariga’s kept the more ballooned limbs and added lots of details such as vents, panel lines, bolts, and rivets.
Both have served the character well in the past, but moving forward, one might argue a change might be needed, if only for the prolonged survival of the series/franchise/character outside of our relatively little (and possibly dwindling) niche. Mario, Link, Samus, Sonic, Snake, and even (rather abruptly, intentional though that was) Pit have all evolved and changed over time. Mega Man, in his Capcom form? Not so much.
David digs deep into Mega Man history with his analysis, bringing up points from familiar games like Mega Man 2 and more obscure titles such as Super Adventure Rockman. It definitely looks like Nintendo and Capcom are creating the ultimate well-rounded incarnation of the character for Smash, distilling everything that makes him so much fun into a single form. The way things are going, I can already tell you that Mega Man will be the first character I'll pick when I play the new Smash Bros. (assuming he's available from the start). He has so much going for him in terms of design and nostalgia that he's such an easy choice here. I have confidence that Mega Man will help make the next Smash game truly one for the ages (particularly for folks my age who grew up playing the Nintendo Entertainment System adventures). Fond memories are a powerful draw.