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Mega Man 10 co-op modeCapcom took Mega Man back to his 8-bit roots for Mega Man 9, structuring the game based on the features and abilities seen in Mega Man 2.  By the time Mega Man 10 was in development, the team at Inti Creates had a little more freedom to experiment and iterate upon some interesting concepts.  While the finished game has some new material including adding Bass as a playable character, a series of recently recovered early versions of the game for Microsoft Xbox 360 shows that there was a lot more planned for the game that was cut from the final release.  Most interestingly, a co-op mode allowed two players to team up and tackle the game together!  Rockman Corner has the full breakdown on the abandoned mode and several other cut features.

Each prototype build includes demonstration videos featuring the "Assist Co-Op Mode" and a set of "How to Play" instruction screens. From the footage and instructions, it appears that players had the option to assume the role of either Mega Man or Proto Man to tackle stages together and face obstacles not seen in the final game.

For example, in Commando Man and Pump Man's stage, as well as the first screen following the Weapons Archive fight in Wily stage 1, players encounter a blockade that impedes their progress. To dismantle it, both players must "Sync Up" to unleash a powerful Buster Shot. Players enter a "sync" state when they are in close proximity to each other, marked by a sparkling effect. 

It's interesting to think that for all of the Mega Man sequels that aren't unusual novelty titles like racing or sports games, only two games included any sort of co-op mode, and those were the two arcade games, Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man: The Power Fighters.  Being able to tackle an entire traditional Mega Man game with a friend is one of those things I never knew I wanted, but now really need.  I wonder why it along with the other abilities and modes seen in these prototypes were removed.  They seem to work just fine.  While the Mega Man franchise is now under the administration of a different studio within Capcom, maybe someday the new team will revisit some of these ideas.  There's interesting potential here and I'd like to see it explored.  Want to try the prototypes for yourself?  Hidden Palace has them available for download.

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