It’s been a long road, and we’re almost at the end of it. Mega Man 11 will launch on October 2, nearly eight years since Mega Man 10. In-between that time was a fan-made spinoff published by Capcom, and of course the wonderful Mega Man Legacy Collection set. But why did it take so long for a new, Capcom-developed Mega Man game? Was Mega Man truly struggling to move copies, justifying several cancelled projects, or was something else happening? We might have an answer now.
Speaking to VentureBeat, Mega Man 11 producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya and director Koji Oda contemplated the answer to this years-long question. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of the break had to do with the departure of Mega Man figurehead Keiji Inafune. When a leader leaves a company, it can often cause a ripple effect across the people they leave behind. This was certainly true for everyone under Inafune, which compromised the short-term future of the Blue Bomber.
As the story goes, there was a huge hesitation for anyone to step up to become the new “Mega Man guy.” While Inafune didn’t make games by himself, he still was known as the “creator” of the character, and that sort of recognition holds a lot of weight. It seems like, based on the response from Tsuchiya and Oda, nobody at Capcom really took the initiative to take the reigns and get a new game going, until Oda himself did so.
It also helps that, as the two revealed, Digital Eclipse’s efforts with the first Mega Man Legacy Collection paid off, to the tune of a million worldwide sales, proving that there was still a hunger for the series, even with yet another re-release of the classic NES games.