- Oct 25, 2017
The announcement of MM11 brought joy to a lot of hardcore and casual Mega Man fans... but I was not one. I tried to communicate why I thought MM11 was a minimum effort attempt to appease fans, but I got shouted down pretty hard. It's been a little while now, so I want to revisit this topic and hopefully explain a bit more clearly why Mega Man fans should be cautious and even worried about the future of Mega Man.
A big thing that needs to be pointed out... a single number entry in the core Mega Man franchise is probably the easiest way they could have chosen to bring the series back. This isn't to poo-poo the efforts as being simple or no effort... but of all of the various Mega Man franchises (or even creating a new one) they are amongst the fasted to complete.
The first time completion of most Mega Man titles on NES seems to average about 3 hours... but something funny happens as you go higher on the list. Mega Man 9 and 10 are listed as an average completion of 2 hours. The way I interpret this is not that 9 and 10 are easier than the NES originals, but rather it was mostly old time fans of the series who were playing this and thus people who know the ins and outs of these games.
The X and Zero series seem to add about an hour or so to that length as there are more collectibles. Legends and Battle Network add significant time because of their nature as far less simple 2D platforms.
What can you get away with charging for a 2-hour experience in 2018? What kind of sales can you expect to maintain especially in the era of Steam Refunds?
Trying to find sales numbers for 9/10 are nigh-impossible and all we know is that 9 was "very good" and that 10 was the last Mega Man made for 8 years.
Legacy Collection numbers are a little easier to find bits and pieces of with sources like SteamSpy reporting 130k users on steam... but by the same token, collection 2 only garnered sub-30k by comparison. Even by the best numbers, it's a much easier sell bundling multiple 2 hour games together than a brand new single one.
To wrap this all up... Mega Man, I feel, is probably in a more dangerous position right now than it was before announcing MM11. Unless there is a huge twist to what constitutes Mega Man 11, we're looking at a couple hour long game that's going to have to sell quite a bit, and for probably more than just $20. There are going to be a LOT of people asking value per dollar questions and it's NOT going to pan out well for the blue bomber... and what then? I don't see Capcom giving Mega Man another shot at a more substantial genre if this doesn't pan out. It won't be outdated gaming conventions or a poor price/hour play ratio, it'll be blamed on the fans.
Would an X or Zero title have been a better choice? Honestly the value prospect isn't much better... Now would have been a great time to branch out and try something new. They already gave nostalgic fans their love letters with 9 and 10. This could have been a chance to strike out in a new direction and get a new crowd while still playing to the older fan base. Ah well, as I promised the day MML3 was cancelled, I'll be there day one for any new Mega Man game to show my support... I just can't shake the feeling things aren't going to go well long term with this strategy.