Capcom’s User-Generated Mega Man Game
Mega Man is one of gaming’s most recognizable mascots, yet the Blue Bomber seems often underutilized when compared to other Capcom franchises like Street Fighter and Monster Hunter. As we detailed in our feature focusing on Capcom’s continued success in recent years, the company has made a number of surprising decisions when it came to its slate of games, which included a canceled western reboot for Mega Man. Along with that, there was another planned Mega Man game that sought to shake up the traditional formula and take advantage of the budding surge of titles that took advantage of user-generated content. Spearheaded by the then head of global business Keiji Inafune, Mega Man Universe would allow players to explore an infinite number of “Megafied” worlds created by players and developers alike.
Essentially, Mega Man Universe was a Mega Man game by way of Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet, which at the time was one of the early pioneers of utilizing user-generated content. On a structural level, Universe seemed in line with the classic Mega Man games from the NES era. To go with the focus on exploring user-created levels and worlds, players could also customize their own version of the blue bomber–even allowing you to play as the crude incarnation from the Mega Man 2 North American box art. Furthermore, other characters from Capcom’s library, including Street Fighter’s Ryu and Ghost and Goblins’ Arthur, were also playable–letting you control drastically different characters within the framework of a Mega Man game. In addition to pulling upon Mega Man’s entire library games, it would also bring other Capcom properties into the mix.
It was a peculiar type of crossover to be sure, but there was something really engaging about what sort of content could be made from the game. However, what made the prospect of Mega Man Universe difficult to grasp at the time, however, was that its reveal left a very poor impression on its intended audience. At the time of the announcement, Universe was only four months into production, which producer Akiko Ito clarified in a 2010 interview with Joystiq. In the following year, not long after Keiji Inafune’s departure from Capcom, Mega Man Universe would be unceremoniously canceled. Eventually, fans of the Blue Bomber would get a more traditional game in the form of Mega Man 11 in 2018, which was generally well-received. Still, the concept of a continually expanding Mega Man game has great potential, especially considering how creative the fanbase is. With Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker series proving that the concept can work, it makes you wonder if Mega Man Universe would have fared better under different circumstances.