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Lord_Brand

How would you like Mega Man X9 to be done?

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Mega Man X DiVE has recently brought the Mega Man X series back after a fifteen-year hiatus that started with the release of the critically acclaimed but poorly-selling Mega Man Maverick Hunter X for PlayStation Portable. The Mega Man franchise is no stranger to release hiatuses; the Classic Series has gone through two now, the first one starting with Mega Man & Bass and ending with Mega Man 9, and the second starting with Mega Man 10 and ending with Mega Man 11. The Classic series took two wildly different approaches to its big comebacks:

  • Mega Man 9 adopted a "neo-retro" approach that brought the series back to 8-bit style graphics with simplified gameplay that worked like a "best of" the first six games in the series, with the glaring exceptions of Mega Man's slide and charge shot. Mega Man 10 followed 9's lead, keeping the 8-bit theme intact and making minimal changes to the gameplay while adding story scenes for Proto Man and Bass as well as bonus DLC levels for Enker, Punk, and Ballade.
  • Mega Man 11 meanwhile chose to modernize the series with 3D graphics, the return of the slide and charge shot, the introduction of the Double Gear system, a synth-heavy soundtrack, and a simplified plot that had no sign of Proto Man or Bass anywhere yet contributed a great deal to the series' greater storyline with the reveal of what exactly drove Wily to his path of villainy in the first place: a falling out between him and Light over the merits of Wily's Double Gear system, which was shot down in favor of Light's advanced AI research, planting the seeds of envy and resentment in Wily's heart that lead to the first game happening followed by the rest of the series.

Both titles had some good ideas and some not-so-good ideas, and we can take those ideas into account when discussing what the next big installment in the Mega Man X series should be like, when it finally happens. We can also look at how X1-8 all fared, examining their good ideas and not-so-good ideas, looking for good ones we can bring back for X9.

But above all that, we need to establish at minimum what X9 needs to have to feel like a Mega Man X game. So, I'll start with the basics, then go over the past titles to identify each one's best concepts and see if they can be worked into a new installment. I'd also like to discuss possible new ideas that haven't been implemented in past X games, and what kind of story could make for a compelling ninth entry.

The Basics

At the bare minimum, Mega Man X9 needs to have the following things:

  • Mega Man X as a playable character
  • Zero
  • 8 Maverick bosses that each yield a Special Weapon for X (and an equivalent for any other playable characters)
  • A rematch against the 8 Mavericks near the end of the game
  • Health and weapon energy pickups
  • At least one full set of Armor parts that enhance X's abilities in some way, ideally gained through capsules (but just how many of those things did Light build?)
  • 2-4 Sub Tanks that can store excess Life Energy and be used to heal in a pinch
  • Charging shots
  • Dashing
  • Wall kicking

You might expect Sigma to be on this list as well, and it's perfectly possible he'll appear in some form, but some fans have been wanting a new villain to take over, plus Sigma wasn't actually the final boss of X8, so Sigma isn't strictly necessary for a Mega Man X to work. On the other hand, he is an iconic part of the series, and it's been in hiatus for so long that many fans might want to see Sigma again anyway. I certainly would be curious to see what X9's designs for Sigma could be like. But either way, he's not truly essential to making a MMX game feel like a MMX game, considering the minimal role he plays in some of them.

Next, we'll look at Mega Man 9 and 11's good and bad ideas:

Spoiler

Mega Man 9

  • Good
    • Splash Woman, introducing female Robot Masters to the series at last!
    • Excellent weapon selection, perhaps the best in the series. Particular highlights include Laser Trident and Jewel Satellite.
    • A proper shop system again.
    • A really neat touch with the cutscene that plays after the eighth Robot Master, where you see the silhouettes of the seven other Robot Masters but not the one you just defeated because you're viewing their memory.
    • The ending showcasing Wily's past 9 defeats (including & Bass). I would have hoped for something just a little more in-depth, where Mega Man goes over the bad things Wily did in those games, but getting a callback at all was neat.
    • An ending sequence where the Robot Masters are all repaired, giving them a happy ending for once.
  • Bad
    • The removal of Mega Man's charge shot and slide.
    • The fact Proto Man's shield only works while jumping. Why? Why not when he's standing still? Or heck, even while just running and not shooting?
    • While the 8-bit style was cute, I think ultimately I would have preferred a more modern look like what 11 went for.

Mega Man 11

  • Good
    • The new graphical style looks pretty good.
    • The voice acting doesn't suck!
    • I like the voice clips at the beginning and end of each Robot Master battle.
    • The charge shot and slide are back!
    • You can now use the right analogue stick to quick select Special Weapons.
    • The Double Gear system is really cool. The Speed Gear in particular is really useful, and the Power Gear basically lets you charge special weapons MMX-style. I hope to see these return in MM12, when that happens.
  • Bad
    • No Proto Man or Bass. They wanted to simplify the story, sure, but would it have killed them to add these two as DLC at least?
    • No female Robot Masters. C'mon, 9 gave us Splash Woman, start working more ladies into the series!

Next, we'll look at each X game's good ideas and bad ideas, following the chronological order of their releases:

Spoiler

Mega Man X

  • Good
    • Almost everything in this game was executed well. The brightest points are the addition of wall-kicking, dashing, Armor Parts, and chargeable Special Weapons. They set out to make a cooler, faster Mega Man, and by golly, they succeeded.
    • The fact certain stages change after you defeat other Mavericks is cool. Really makes the stages feel interconnected. A pity later games either downplayed this idea or removed it outright (though X6 has its own interesting little take on the idea...).
    • The ability to grind for energy before the Sigma boss gauntlet is nice. It takes forever and is a bit of a pain, but better than not having any spare energy going in.
  • Bad
    • For a first game, MMX1 doesn't have a lot of glaring flaws. The biggest I can name is that the Leg Parts make it so you almost have to do Chill Penguin first; starting with any other stage makes the experience a lot slower and thus less fun, and delays getting the rest of the armor parts.
    • The means by which you get the Hadoken is also rather obtuse, requiring you to reach the end of Armored Armadillo's stage multiple times.

Mega Man X2

  • Good
    • The addition of the air dash via the Leg Parts in Overdrive Ostrich's stage. Adding this allows for trickier, more challenging platforming, not to mention more flexible mobility overall.
    • The Shoryuken is one of the series' best rewards, if you can find it. You don't get much use out of it, as you find it near the end of the third X-Hunter Stage, but boy does it make those last boss battles more of a breeze.
    • The X-Hunters are an interesting concept for bonus bosses, providing you with an additional challenge and rewarding exploration. The fact they come back as the Fortress bosses, with upgraded forms for two of them no less, is also neat. Their much greater visibility compared to Sigma in X1 makes them feel very integrated into the game's premise and plot.
  • Bad
    • Most of the armor upgrades are hidden behind way too many layers. The Arm Parts are the most egregious, as you will most likely need the Leg Parts to get them unless you feel like bothering with the Strike Chain, Speed Burner, or physics exploits. The Leg Parts require the Spin Wheel, the weapon you get for beating Wheel Gator, in whose stage the Arm Parts are hidden. The Body Part also requires the Spin Wheel, and if you don't know where to look, you might need the Head Part just to find it. All this will push you to try and get the Spin Wheel as soon as possible, making Gator basically the Chill Penguin of X2.
    • The Shoryuken is still hard to find, not to mention hard to get to, and as pointed out above you don't get a lot of mileage out of it, but at least you don't have to play through the stage multiple times to get it.
    • The lack of any real reward for gathering all of Zero's parts. Skipping a boss fight is only a reward if you're speedrunning, and even then only if your challenge doesn't require fighting all bosses. I personally would have made Zero an unlockable character as a reward for gathering all three of his parts, even if the earliest he could be unlocked is after the fifth stage.
    • Speaking of the skipped boss fight, not getting to fight Fake Zero is also a missed opportunity. He would have fought exactly like Zero himself, so you'd basically still get to experience the Zero boss fight even after rebuilding Zero. Even better if you got to play Zero himself.

Mega Man X3

  • Good
    • Playable Zero was a brilliant idea, giving players incentive to check the game out just for the chance to play him.
    • The Upgrade Chips were an interesting idea, giving the player incentive to seek out Light Capsules in all eight stages.
    • The idea that you can affect the endgame bosses as well as the ending itself plays nicely into the theme of free-willed robots this series has been pushing since game 1. X2 gave us a taste of that with the X-Hunter sidequest, and X3 for better or worse develops that idea further here.
  • Bad
    • The way they implemented playable Zero was horrible, making it so you could only call him once per stage, he can't fight any bosses except one, and if he dies once after clearing the Intro Stage, you lose him for the rest of the game. What a way to undermine what should have been the game's coolest feature.
    • Bit and Byte are no X-Hunters. Rather than being cool bonus bosses who let you know which stage they're in, they show up at random and are mandatory if they do.
    • Vile's return is also underwhelming, though at least his secret stage offers a different experience, with a timed escape sequence and all.
    • The layering is even worse here than X2. To start with, the Head and Body Parts both require the Arm Parts, the Body Parts also require Gravity Beetle's Weapon, the Head Parts also require Volt Catfish's weapon, and the Arm Parts, found in Neon Tiger's stage, require Tunnel Rhino's weapon as well as the Leg Parts found in Blizzard Buffalo's stage.
    • On top of that, you have the Ride Armor models which require finding the basic Chimera model in Blast Hornet's Stage first before you can use any of them. To get the Hawk, you have to get Volt Catfish's weapon and the Arm Parts. Kangaroo requires getting the Frog Model first, and isn't even good for much of anything. At least the Frog Model only requires the Leg Parts. Seriously, trying to collect everything in this game is a damn puzzle in and of itself.
    • The Upgrade Chips not only require you to have the corresponding armor part first, they also only let you get one, total. You don't even get to switch them later if you want. To make matters worse, there's a special Hyper Chip that gives you the effects of all four which you can only get if you choose to skip all four and happen to slide down an unremarkable wall in a pit in Doppler Stage 1. Nothing in the game tells you where the Hyper Chip is located or how to get it. Why didn't they just make the Hyper Chip a reward for getting the other four chips!?
    • The Z-Saber, the strongest and coolest weapon in the game, requires that you lose Zero by having him fight the one boss he actually gets to fight, which he can only fight if you destroyed Vile in the secret stage using the weapon he's weak to, and as a reward for jumping through all those hoops, you're treated to the game's bad ending where Doppler sacrifices himself to stop Sigma from trying to possess X. Gee, thanks, developers. You might as well have told us not to play the damn game in the first place, because you ruined every cool idea this game offers.

Mega Man X4

  • Good
    • Fully playable Zero for the first time. There are some catches, but it's something.
    • X and Zero each get their own intro stage theme, which is reflected in their stage clear and ending themes. A really cool touch.
    • Iris is cute, and the X series' first female character to boot. She could have become the X series' Roll if not for, well, you know...
    • Not counting the Ultimate Armor, the Fourth Armor is easily the best X has gotten in the series. Unlimited weapon energy for uncharged weapons, two different options for Arm upgrades, Leg parts that grant both hovering and air dashing, Nova Strike...it almost makes up for X3's stupidity.
    • This is the first game where the Maverick bosses have pre-battle dialogue. A good opportunity to explore their personalities further, though sadly hampered by how brief the conversations are.
    • Magma Dragoon being a bigger part of the plot than the other seven bosses is interesting, though not entirely unprecedented. Storm Eagle's Death Rogumer shows up at the end of the very first game's intro stage, and Magna Centipede is in charge of the stage where the final battles of X2 also take place. But Dragoon is the first Boss Maverick to appear outside his own stage and the Fortress rematch. He's also the first and so far only to get any kind of post-battle dialogue. A pity his character doesn't have more depth.
    • You can fight Magma Dragoon in Ride Armor, the first time anyway.
    • The animated cutscenes were pretty cool, poor voice acting aside, though X and Zero are actually a little off-model compared to the excellent official art, with much thicker eye lines.
  • Bad
    • The attempt to pass Repliforce off as sympathetic falls flat due to the war being started by them in the first place out of pride, not to mention the fact at least one of them is a flat-out Maverick, another only wants to prove his combat abilities and thus isn't much better, and two others caused heavy casualties, validating the Maverick label. Even worse, their leader, General, doesn't think "Gee, maybe the sinister Reploid who's been visiting me has anything to do with the Sky Lagoon incident that my army is being blamed for?" and just decides to declare an all-out coup that leads to widespread damage and most of his soldiers being killed, not to mention poor Iris. Fricking idiots.
    • Zero's equivalent to X's Weapon cycle...isn't really a cycle at all. Of his techniques, about three or four are actual new attacks that are extra-effective against any bosses, while the rest are just upgrades that don't really affect any of the bosses. It's better than how X3 treated Zero, but still seriously janky.
    • Zero doesn't get any counterpart to X's Light Capsules, making him feel even more barebones by comparison.
    • "WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOR!"
    • Iris was such a wasted character. You give us the X series' first actual female character and make her super-cute not to mention Zero's love interest, only to kill her off in the same game!? Worse yet, her survival depends on the survival of her prideful jerk of a brother because they somehow share a CPU due to originally being one Reploid. How does that even work!? Why did they bother "splitting" the original Reploid when they could have just built two Reploids?
    • X4 takes a step back in terms of choice-driven plot progression. X2 and X3 both had some element of the endgame be affected by the player's choices, reinforcing the idea that X is a free-willed robot. Here, the only real choice you're making that affects the game's story at all is who you're playing at the start of the game. With Iris and Double being mutually exclusive bosses, this would have been a good place to bring back X3's "alternate Fortress boss" convention and to implement it better. The opportunity to destroy that one-dimensional psycho Double and save Iris alone would make that worth it.
    • The reveal of Zero's past is intriguing, but I feel it would have made more sense and had more impact in X5. Though then we wouldn't have an animated cutscene to go with it...
    • You don't get nearly as good an opportunity to farm energy before the Sigma fight here as you did in past X games. All you get is a large health item before the first phase and a medium health item before the third. Better get good at dodging.
    • The ending is just so damn depressing no matter who you play. If the bulk of the game wasn't so fun, I'd question if it was worth playing through.
    • The fact that X and Zero's stories appear to be mutually exclusive makes it hard to place what actual events from this game are canon. Iris is mentioned in X5, but only if you're playing Zero at the right times. Double doesn't come up at all.

Mega Man X5

  • Good
    • You can now crouch.
    • You can now switch between X and Zero between stages.
    • Two full sets of armor are a cool idea in concept.
    • The Fourth Armor returns, though you lose it if you don't start the game as X. But the idea of starting the game with the armor from the previous game is incredibly cool, and kinda makes me wish X2, X3, and X4 had done that as well. As a bonus, this means you can begin playing around with charged Special Weapons from the get-go.
    • The Ultimate Armor returns as a secret upgrade, and now you can get it without using a code, though you'll get a lot more mileage out of it if you use the code.
    • The Falcon Armor's free movement ability is a godsend in the Shuttle Part stages. It doesn't let you charge special weapons, regrettably, but if you started with X you'll have the Fourth Armor for that.
    • Zero can collect Armor Parts for X, which is nice if you plan on using both Hunters. There's even unique dialogue where Zero converses with Light's hologram, suggesting the Capsules are more than just recordings. Very interesting...
    • Zero now gets a full set of proper offense techniques, and thus gets a full cycle to mirror X's own. He also gets a technical Capsule upgrade, though it's hidden away in the semifinal stage of the game. Thankfully you can access it from the get-go via code.
    • Dynamo is a refreshingly chipper opponent with a neat theme, though he's far less impactful as a boss than the X-Hunters, and mandatory to boot.
  • Bad
    • Alia interrupting you with unskippable dialogue. Easily the game's most infamous flaw.
    • Zero's buster returns, but it's absolutely pathetic now. You're better off starting the game as X and keeping the Fourth Armor
    • The 16-hour time limit is a serious downer, discouraging the exploration and experimentation that form this series' core DNA.
    • You don't get to use Armor Parts until you assemble the full set. Which means, by the time you get to use one of them, the stage selection will already be half beaten, seriously curbing how much mileage you get out of them. Thankfully, you can get the Falcon Armor without backtracking, so at least you'll have that for the second half.
    • The Gaea Armor, on the other hand, is easily the least useful Armor X has gotten in the series, good only for picking up some upgrades that you can't get otherwise. You don't get to use Special Weapons with it at all and it slows you down. Its immunity to spikes would be a lot more useful if you could get the damn thing early, but no, you need the Falcon Armor as well as certain Special Weapons to get all the parts.
    • The Part system that only kicks in starting at 10 hours, meaning you either skip out on some parts completely or have to kill yourself off and get game overs enough times, leaving you with barely enough time to stop the crash. Then there's the fact certain parts are exclusive to X or Zero, leading to the next bad point...
    • Building up both X and Zero in one file isn't really worth it because you can only play one of them at a time, meaning any upgrades that go to the other Hunter are wasted in the final battle.
    • You can lose Zero for the rest of the game. And unlike X3, where this only happens if Zero dies while you're playing him, here it can happen due to dumb luck. Thankfully you can reload the file to get a better result.
    • The Shadow Devil is quite possibly the worst boss I have had to fight in this entire series. Takes for freaking ever, with attack patterns that are hard to dodge and a very brief window of vulnerability.
    • This game has possibly the most depressing endings in the entire fricking series. And unlike X4, it isn't nearly fun enough to really be worth it. It's almost as bad as X3, in fact in some ways it's worse. This series does not have good luck with its odd-numbered titles...

Mega Man X6

  • Good
    • X using the Z-Saber is a cool follow-up to X5's canon ending.
    • Like X5 before it, X starts X6 off with an armor from the previous game, this time the Falcon Armor (because he sure as hell wasn't gonna choose the durdly Gaea Armor). Though the Free Move ability is gone, the Falcon Armor now has the ability to charge special weapons like the Fourth Armor did.
    • The Ultimate Armor returns again, and is back to being code-only. I highly recommend using it, the Nova Strike will make up for so much of this game's janky design.
    • Once again, the Light hologram engages in actual dialogue, this time with X as well as Zero.
    • Alia's dialogues are now skippable.
    • There are again two new armor sets.
    • The Blade Armor is awesome. It offers a strong alternate charged shot, and has one of the best midair dashes in the series. Even better, it can charge Special Weapons.
    • The Shadow Armor is significantly better than its predecessor, the Gaea Armor, thanks to its superior speed and faster saber slashing. But it's still worse than the Blade Armor for reasons similar to Gaea being inferior to Falcon, most significantly the inability to use Special Weapons.
    • Alia receives some character development here. She has history with the main villan, Gate, and was directly involved in the retirement of two of the bosses. Depending on how you unlock Gate's Lab, you might see even more of this backstory. Pretty impressive for an unplanned game with a rushed development cycle.
    • For that matter, some of the bosses aren't assholes for once, in fact three of them are flat-out nice, orders to destroy you notwithstanding. They did a better job making Blizzard Wolfang, Rainy Turtloid, and Shield Sheldon sympathetic than they did Repliforce in X4.
    • Zero Nightmare is a marginally better version of Fake Zero from X2, in so far that he's actually fightable and even gets some dialogue.
    • Zero is unlockable, at the cost of cheapening X5's drama. Better yet, you can quite possibly unlock him in the first stage you play, letting you get a lot of mileage out of him.
    • The part system is improved, somewhat. The way you get parts is much clearer this time. And you can get all of them.
  • Bad
    • The game is a janky mess. It's functional, but its stage design is all over the place, the translation is terrible, the voice acting is limited to Japanese, and you can access the final stages before beating all eight Investigators.
    • The armor sets again require finding all four pieces before you can use them. And once again, completing one set requires completing the other first.
    • Sentsuizan is a downward attack triggered by holding up and pressing attack in the air. This becomes a problem when you're navigating ropes over a wide bottomless pit full of Nightmares and Injured Reploids. Seriously, why did they not map this to down + attack in the air!? Or better yet, come up with a move that Zero can use on the ground, like Earth Gaizer?
    • Injured Reploids can be infected by Nightmares, resulting in them dying and you not getting any Parts they were holding. But if you think this is bad, just wait 'til we get to X7...
    • The Nightmare Phenomenon was an interesting idea with poor execution. Most of the phenomena are just plain annoying, others are downright infuriating.
    • The Gate's Lab bosses are all a pain to fight. Mother Nightmare takes up an ungodly amount of space and has brief periods of vulnerability, High Max is a frustrating puzzle boss (especially for Zero), and Gate himself is infuriating due to the fact he only takes damage from his own projectiles which you have to destroy by hitting enough times.
    • Sigma is shoehorned in here with no real significance to the plot.
    • Isoc's character is wasted. Like Serges, he's implied to be a vessel for Wily, but after this game, he's never heard from again. Personally, I would have turned him into the recurring villain for the series going forward.

Mega Man X7

  • Good
    • Automatic aiming in 3D is a godsend. Even if it doesn't always aim at what you want it to.
    • The death system is pretty generous. You can lose all lives and still be able to continue right where you left off. You'll actually want to get a game over now and then to save your progress.
    • You gain X's armor parts one by one again. A pity you have to unlock X before you can get them, though.
    • Zero gets to use more weapon types than just the Z-Saber, for what that's worth.
    • You can now take two Hunters into a stage at a time, and switch between them on the fly.
  • Bad
    • X IS UNLOCKABLE. AND HE HAS A TERRIBLE REASON FOR BEING UNLOCKABLE.
    • Axl's voice is annoying here. He looks like a teenager, why does he sound like a 12-year-old!?
    • Axl's hover is counter-intuitive. It doesn't work like X's did in X4; rather than pressing jump a second time in air, you have to hold the button after jumping to use it. X's Glide Armor leg parts work the same way.
    • For that matter, most of the bosses have annoying voices, especially Tornado Tonion and Ride Boarski.
    • BURN! BURN TO THE GROUND!
    • The graphics are just plain ugly. The character models have zero expression, and the pixel graphics are nauseating to look at. The boss portraits are just jpegs of their 3D models. I've seen amateur games with better 2D art than this.
    • The game moves slow. Even dashing doesn't have that zing that it should.
    • Zero's attacks are terrible. Why is his midair attack a durdly horizontal spin? Even he sounds like he doesn't want to be in this game.
    • The injured Reploids now die if an enemy so much as glares at them. I thought these guys were built out of metal, not styrofoam.
    • The fact only one Hunter can be fully upgraded in one playthrough means you have to play through this damn game three times if you want to upgrade all your Hunters. Good luck with that.
    • If one Hunter dies, you lose a life, even if you have a perfectly healthy backup Hunter waiting to tag in.

Mega Man X8

  • Good
    • The movement is quick and brisk again. The controls are intuitive, and now everyone can air dash from the get-go.
    • X is playable from the get-go again.
    • X gets two sets of Armor Parts which he can use immediately after acquiring them, and can even mix-and-match parts. Each set offers a full set bonus, of course.
    • Zero has multiple weapon types again, and this time they're significantly better. He even gets unique weapon/technique combinations!
    • Axl is much more tolerable here.
    • Hunter switching returns, and now if one Hunter dies, the other tags in.
    • There's finally a proper currency-based shop, after Xtreme 2 explored such an idea prior.
    • Alia, Layer, and Palette are unlockable as playable characters.
  • Bad
    • Crouching is gone.
    • No auto-aim, not that this game really needs it since it plays like a 2D MMX.
    • X's armors are ugly. Even the Ultimate Armor.
    • Life Ups and Sub-Tanks now have to be developed at the Lab before you can use them, whereas before they would have been found in the stage proper.
    • You will need to grind Metals for literally hours in order to buy everything.
    • Alia, Layer, and Palette have to be unlocked in the Lab by beating the game (unless you use codes), only one unlocks at a time, each costs a boatload of Metals, and ultimately they're just clones of X, Zero, and Axl, only slightly worse since they don't get to use any Armors and they don't get any dialogue with bosses.

Looking over these points, here's what I'd like to bring back or rework for X9:

Spoiler
  • Graphically, I think it'd be a good idea to use modern 3D graphics, but if development time allows, they could include a "sprite mode" that hearkens back to the SNES days, unless the game has 3D sections. Though a hand-drawn 2D art style would also be quite novel, striking a balance between classic 2D and modern-day HD.
    • In the scenario the game uses 2D hand-drawn graphics, animated cutscenes could make a return. In addition to story cutscenes, I'd even suggest bringing back boss intro scenes like what X3 for PC and PS1 had.
  • Dual armor sets that let you use each part as you acquire it. They shouldn't require jumping through a bunch of hoops to find. They should look cool, not fugly.
    • I would allow X to switch armors on the fly, rather than force him to commit to one at a time.
  • Additional weapon types for Zero, such as the D Glaive and T Breaker.
    • The Zero Buster can return as one of Zero's weapons, perhaps his default alternate to the Z-Saber. Maybe as a nod to X3, it features the classic double charge shot-saber slash.
  • Other playable characters besides X. Zero is obvious, and I think most would expect Axl to return. A new hero or two wouldn't hurt, either, especially if at least one of them is female.
  • Axl's A-Trans system could be revamped so now he gets to take the form of Mavericks as well.
  • Zero and Axl could get their own equivalents to X's armor upgrades. Zero's Black Armor of course returns, though he might be able to get other colors as well, calling forward to his Forms from Zero 2.
  • Injured Reploids that provide Parts or Life/Weapon upgrades as a reward, but they can't be harmed in any way. Shoot, you can even have some of them give you Sub-Tanks.
    • I'd like if each Injured Reploid now has a unique design, and maybe a little bit of dialogue. Their designs can reflect the kind of reward you get; Life upgrades and Sub-Tanks could be offered by doctor or nurse-type Reploids, weapon energy upgrades and attack parts could be offered by soldier or warrior-type Reploids, parts geared towards defense could be offered by Reploids with a military or construction theme, and mobility parts could be offered by Reploids built for sports or exploration.
    • It'd be nice if none of the Reploids were "blanks", so to speak. At the very least, they can give you some money or an item that can also be found in the shop.
  • A revamped shop system that doesn't require so much grinding. Something closer to the Classic series' system would be preferable. There could be some bonus Parts available through the shop.
  • Right analogue stick quick select for Special Weapons, Firearms, etc.

And here are some new ideas I'd like to try for X9:

Spoiler
  • The player can choose to play with limited or unlimited lives, and choose to use passwords or to save to a file. In fact, I'd suggest including a Classic Mode that plays more like the SNES games, with passwords, limited lives, Zero using a Z-Buster as his basic weapon with the double charge shot-saber slash, etc.
  • "Simulants", Reploids created in the likeness of other Reploids. They do not have the memories of the originals, and in some cases may have slightly different personalities, but their general design and abilities are the same. The main roles of Simulants in X9 are to provide a means of playing as past characters and to enable multiple players to play the same character.
    • In addition to X-series characters like Sigma, Vile, and Iris, Classic-era characters like Mega Man, Proto Man, and Roll also get Simulants. Despite being based on robots from 20XX, the Classic Series Simulants are just as much Reploids as the rest.
  • An honest-to-goodness co-op mode. The series is long overdue for some multiplayer fun!
  • In addition to Story Mode, there could be a Versus mode for 1-4 or even 8 players, essentially the MMX equivalent of Super Smash Bros.
  • Rather than learning techniques from bosses like he's done in the past, Zero now gains the defeated boss' melee weapon or elemental chip. His various techniques, like Rising, Stab,  Thrust, and Circle, now are purchased through the store or found in stages.
    • The Elemental Chips work much like they do in the Zero series, only here they don't form the entirety of the weakness cycle. Some bosses are weak to a particular melee weapon, while others are weak to a particular element. For example, the boss with tough armor will take more damage from the T Breaker, while the ice boss will take more damage from any weapon imbued with the fire element.
  • Axl's counterpart to X's Armor Parts are DNA cores, separated into two ranks: A-Rank Cores that are won from Maverick Bosses, and B-Rank cores found hidden in each stage. A-Rank Cores allow Axl to emulate the Maverick Boss for a short period of time, while B-Rank Cores instead emulate common enemies with utility functions such as high jumping, flight, or spike-proof armor. Axl can equip one of each at a time.
  • Axl's Firearms now appear on the Maverick Boss' person, generally as a sidearm or secondary weapon. Axl can use Firearms in tandem with A-Rank forms.
  • Axl's Giga Attack depends on which A-Rank Core he has equipped. He transforms into the boss and unleashes their own Giga Attack.
  • The endgame bosses includes a Maverick Simulant of your player character. Whoever you're playing, you'll have to fight a copy of them.

X9's story could revolve around the Simulants. While a good number of playable Simulants would be basically just bonus characters, some could play a role in the story proper, like Iris-S, Vile-S, and Sigma-S. The main villain could be a prototype Simulant of Sigma who lacks the original's viral abilities but nevertheless went Maverick and is quite powerful and dangerous. His form and abilities would be different from the playable Sigma-S, who would likely be based on Sigma as he appeared in X1.

The boss Mavericks could be Simulants of the originals, despite being new to this game. The rematches against them definitely are Simulants, providing an explanation as to why you're fighting the Mavericks again. Heck, we've seen copies of characters as early as X2, in the form of Fake Zero, so Simulants may well have been a part of the series for a long time. Maybe even from the get-go, if we interpret the rematches in most of the games as being against Simulants as well.

What are your thoughts?

Edited by Lord_Brand

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On 8/14/2021 at 6:35 AM, Lord_Brand said:
  • Mega Man X as a playable character
  • Zero

What, no Axl?

On 8/14/2021 at 6:35 AM, Lord_Brand said:

Iris was such a wasted character.

I'm going to disagree. I'm not huge into the narrative conceits of Mega Man X, but the best part about the stories is definitely their hyper-melodrama which often borders on self-parody. The death of Iris is so suited to a Soap Opera you could wash away all the sand in Afghanistan with it, and I think that's kinda great. It also let me really punch @SoulWeaver in the stomach which satisfied a deeply sadistic part of me.

On 8/14/2021 at 6:35 AM, Lord_Brand said:

The Gaea Armor, on the other hand, is easily the least useful Armor X has gotten in the series, good only for picking up some upgrades that you can't get otherwise.

Pretty sure you can't even use it without going into every Maverick stage first, which is pretty lame.

On 8/14/2021 at 6:35 AM, Lord_Brand said:

Injured Reploids can be infected by Nightmares, resulting in them dying and you not getting any Parts they were holding. But if you think this is bad, just wait 'til we get to X7...

Surprised you didn't mention the pseudo-softlock that can cause.

On 8/14/2021 at 6:35 AM, Lord_Brand said:

X's armors are ugly. Even the Ultimate Armor.

To be honest, I agree with this point. It's not even that they're unappealing so much as the fact that they're all color-changes of the Neutral Armor. The Gaea Armor may not be good, but it has a very distinct design with its own strong silhouette, same with the Falcon Armor, Shadow Armor, etc. Though one problem I have with all these distinct armor sets is that you can't see the color of X's special weapon very well when he's using them.

On 8/14/2021 at 6:35 AM, Lord_Brand said:

There's finally a proper currency-based shop, after Xtreme 2 explored such an idea prior.

Honestly not a huge advocate of the in-game shop for Mega Man X. It's primary purpose in the classic series is to buy E-Tanks and the occasional upgrade, but the X series typically has you find these things in the stages and that's my preferred system. If you want to have a way to refill subtanks at the lab, that's fine. I'd like to find the life upgrades and subtanks in the stages themselves, though.

On 8/14/2021 at 6:35 AM, Lord_Brand said:

In addition to X-series characters like Sigma, Vile, and Iris, Classic-era characters like Mega Man, Proto Man, and Roll also get Simulants. Despite being based on robots from 20XX, the Classic Series Simulants are just as much Reploids as the rest.

Now, maybe it's just that I'm not into X-Dive, but these seems a bit like an attempt to sort of mash the Mega Man series all into one thing, which I don't really get the appeal of. Besides, why would I play as a copy of Mega Man when I can play as the character who is literally his direct upgrade?

I prefer Zero learning his techniques from bosses, and I even like the janky implementation in X4 where they substitute for abilities X would have gained through armor capsules. I think it gives him a more unique flow, though I do like the idea of some bosses having different weapons for their weakness.

I'm also not a huge fan of Axl transforming into the Mavericks themselves- that works in Command Mission where they act as summons, but in a platforming context things are much different. Either the design of the bosses has to be highly limited, or the forms will be mostly clunky and situational. XZ Advent demonstrated this pretty well.

On 8/14/2021 at 6:35 AM, Lord_Brand said:

X9's story could revolve around the Simulants.

Seems to mostly retread the same ground as New Generation Reploids, which is something I'd rather see expanded on if they're going to go with something like that at all.

***

You know what I'd like for X9?

I'd like it to be good.

Aside from that though, I wouldn't mind seeing Dynamo back.

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2 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Aside from that though, I wouldn't mind seeing Dynamo back.

A man of culture.

Honestly, I think a X9 game would be in a tight spot. It's been too long since the series has been touched, and while I imagine they could simply invent another story arc like how Command Mission and X8 tried to be their own thing, the latter with the next generation reploids arc and the like, at some point having Sigma return over and over again is going to get droll.

Another issue is that an entire decade has passed since the last Mega Man X game. They'll have to invent new elements to the gameplay that aren't already answered or even improved upon by the many games that came in the past years. We have plenty of decent indie games with a similar touch, the Metroidvania genre made the stage selection, special weapons from defeating bosses and the capsule system + parts system outdated. Those were good, innovative elements, but the formula has grown obsolete and it will need to improve should it try to stand the test of time.

Part of me would just enjoy having a side-story or even ZX3/a reboot of ZX as a new game instead of a straight out X9, like something that took place between X4 and X5, or a Megaman Xtreme 3 of sorts (could even recycle XDive's story, but add stages from the games, recycle bosses and add some new ones like in the other Xtreme games). It wouldn't have to answer to nearly half of the expectations for a ressurrection of the franchise, at least.

Whatever is the case, and the big budget for the Taisen game for 2022 hints it'll be a more ambitious title, I hope they at least include a few qualities of life, such as

  • Anyone can collect armor parts for X
    • Armor parts can be equipped individually. You don't need the entire set to use the armor.
  • Heart tanks are a thing again and increase the HP bar of every playable character
  • Total lives reset to 2 if they're less than that after the player quits a stage
  • Difficulty modes can be changed on the fly from the stage select screen
  • All navigators are there providing input. You don't need to pick one for stage hints, another for boss hints and another for hidden item hints. To be honest, I'd rather scrap the navigator system outright or switch back to just having Alia.
    • Navigators should also give some input when you have a special weapon that is good against a boss in a stage. Before picking a stage, they could talk about it in the base, giving an overview of who and what they're dealing it, and if the player has a special weapon that's strong they could comment on you having it.
  • Picking weapon recover items will recover the equipped special weapon if it's not full, but otherwise it will recover the lowest special weapon the player has
  • Recover all special weapons to full on character respawn after dying
  • Switch between weapons like in Megaman 11, with the analog stick or by pausing

I have some gameplay preferences too although they're probably trash

  • Special weapons give slightly more damage than a charged buster and they're made to counter the boss' moveset rather than just conveniently lockstunning them
    • Special weapons are more important for stages and help you get through parts that are otherwise more difficult with the OG characters' basic set
  • Finishing a stage affects another stage similarly how X1 handled stage gimmicks (as in, the lava freezing over if you beat Chill Penguin before going to Flame Mammoth), usually making them easier.
  • Intermission stages such as the ones in Megaman 7, 8 and X4 after defeating 4 bosses.
  • Dynamo could appear during stages to fight the player and leave, similarly to Vile in X8
  • A store system where you buy upgrades and items for the playable characters like in X8
  • Axl actually stores a copy of an enemy he defeats and you can switch to them at any time, like how A-Trans works in ZXA.
    • Axl gets new ranged weapons that are purchaseable in a store (similar to X8's store system), sort of like Vile in Maverick Hunter X
  • Either integrate the boss rematches into the "fortress" stages, like X1 does, or let them have small sections with gameplay associated with the boss in question, like in Megaman 9
  • Change between the three at any time, but they share a health bar.
Edited by Rapier

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1 hour ago, Rapier said:

Another issue is that an entire decade has passed since the last Mega Man X game. They'll have to invent new elements to the gameplay that aren't already answered or even improved upon by the many games that came in the past years. We have plenty of decent indie games with a similar touch, the Metroidvania genre made the stage selection, special weapons from defeating bosses and the capsule system + parts system outdated. Those were good, innovative elements, but the formula has grown obsolete and it will need to improve should it try to stand the test of time.

Metroidvania was already a thing when the original MMX came out, and that didn't stop MMX from taking off and releasing eight mainline entries, two gaiden games, and an RPG spinoff, not to mention the ports, compilation rereleases, and at least one remake. Some players prefer the more straightforward approach; I know I certainly enjoy MMX as much as if not moreso than Super Metroid, let alone Zero or ZX. And Mega Man 11 didn't have any problem returning to classic gameplay, either. Honestly, this sounds like the old "2D is outdated, 3D is the future" argument that plagued the 90s.

That said, I'm not against the MMX series modernizing its presentation to make the classic gameplay feel fresh, like what Mega Man 11 did.

1 hour ago, Rapier said:
  • Difficulty modes can be changed on the fly from the stage select screen
  • All navigators are there providing input. You don't need to pick one for stage hints, another for boss hints and another for hidden item hints. To be honest, I'd rather scrap the navigator system outright or switch back to just having Alia.
    • Navigators should also give some input when you have a special weapon that is good against a boss in a stage. Before picking a stage, they could talk about it in the base, giving an overview of who and what they're dealing it, and if the player has a special weapon that's strong they could comment on you having it.
  • Switch between weapons like in Megaman 11, with the analog stick or by pausing
  • Special weapons give slightly more damage than a charged buster and they're made to counter the boss' moveset rather than just conveniently lockstunning them
    • Special weapons are more important for stages and help you get through parts that are otherwise more difficult with the OG characters' basic set
  • Finishing a stage affects another stage similarly how X1 handled stage gimmicks (as in, the lava freezing over if you beat Chill Penguin before going to Flame Mammoth), usually making them easier.
  • Intermission stages such as the ones in Megaman 7, 8 and X4 after defeating 4 bosses.
  • Dynamo could appear during stages to fight the player and leave, similarly to Vile in X8

I like these ideas, though the one with the Navigators hinting at the Special Weapon you need kinda takes the fun out of guessing and figuring out the cycle through experimentation (another reason I hate the Zero and ZX series focusing on the element trio). I can't believe I forgot to list the analogue stick quick select for Mega Man 11! Gonna amend that pronto. Doesn't the MMX series already have the Energy Balancer effect though?

Edited by Lord_Brand

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If it were up to me? The game isn't X9 at all. It's called Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter, and it's a prequel set before X1, covering the very beginning of the war and Sigma is your navigator. The plot ends with...well I guess it ends with what happens in that short film they did for the PSP remake. Sigma goes Maverick, and X and Zero have to put him down. X is the only playable character and the game is in 3D with 360 degree movement but fixed camera angles tracking you across each room. Kind of like PS2 era devil may cry or God of War games. Actually Metroid Other M is a good basis for the gameplay, as it is the only character action game I can think of with charge shots, wall jumps, and maybe some other ideas to spice of the gameplay, like dodging an enemy's attack at the last second to instantly charge your next shot, or context sensitive, cinematic finishing moves after knocking down an enemy. X canonically throws hadokens and shoryukens, so that's not out of the ordinary. And since Zero isn't playable, we need to fill the void for melee combat somehow. Maybe tie the cool melee stuff to a special weapon you start the game with.

Assuming X9 is a side scrolling platformer like the originals, a new gameplay hook should be at the top of the list of necessary additions. It's not enough to give us the old wall jumping and dash mechanics. I can get that from every previous entry. To say nothing of all the excellent ROM hacks and indie Mega Man clones. There needs to be something new like the double gear system that changes everything from platforming to combat. I don't know what that could be - honestly I'd be thrilled if X simply unearthed the long lost Double Gear technology at the end of the game's opening level. 

Anyway, there are things that bug me about many Mega Man games that would be on my list for any future game, not just X9.

  • No permanent missables. What point is there to replaying levels if you can't go back for the best rewards or secrets? That goes doubly so if you're putting in a system where the game ranks you on your performance - which I think is a great idea for a Mega Man game in spite of the existence of the Zero series. Heck maybe they can lean in to the idea of revisiting stages by hiding additional pickups and entire optional bosses behind things you can only destroy or traverse with a special weapon from that same level.
  • Shared special weapon energy. It always bugs me that special weapons have their own ammo, yet the pickups are universal. It's all just "energy" right? And how many Mega Man games have you played where you stopped yourself from using a certain weapon due to fear of not having enough shots for the boss that's weak to it? And how many of those times did you end that boss fight with more than enough energy to spare?
  • Encourage special weapon usage. Probably the number one issue I associate with every Mega Man game ever. If you break it down, you can find maybe half a dozen reasons why casual players don't use special weapons in these games. Most of them are mundanely psychological, but I think the big one is simply because the arm cannon is so seemingly versatile the player never stops to think that anything else would help them play better. And if the special weapons are crap to begin with, the player may be right. So I propose this solution. When an enemy dies to a charge shot, they drop energy. When they die to a special weapon, they drop health. Bam. It's that easy. That doesn't leave a reason to use special weapons against bosses (unless you possess the boss' weakness, or the boss summons enemies for you to fight), but if the player is conditioned to rely on special weapons already, they'll start to see their value for the portions of the game that are most difficult.
  • No taking damage from touching enemies. If the enemy is on fire, covered in spikes, or have any other justification sure. But I'd swear half of Mega Man's boss fights are only threatening because of their ability to jump toward you with no animation or audio cue to look out for. It's a lame way to take a hit or get killed. 
  • Add a setting that tells you if you have the boss weakness at the level select. Mighty No.9 did this and it's a no brainer. Save us a google search. The only problem with that games approach is I believe you couldn't turn it off, ruining the discovery for players that prefer to guess. So in our game we'd make it an optional setting that the game tells you about after beating the first Robot Master and returning to the level select.
  • Ditch E Tanks. I feel like the only Mega Man games to do E tanks "well" (ie. inoffensively) were the Legends games, since those are dungeon crawlers, and you can refill the tanks whenever you're not in the middle of one. No grinding of health pickups necessary, and it made sense among all the other ways you prepare for that game's "levels". In the side scroller games, they're an arbitrary cheat code that the player can burn at any point, but likely will save for the end unless they know a good place to farm energy. And really starting with the X games I'd swear the designers planned around you saving those up for the final boss gauntlet, because they were almost always ridiculous to challenge on a single health pool. Assuming the player does save E tanks for the finale, then what you have is a game mechanic that functionally doesn't exist until the end. And may never exist if the player never picks up the damned E tanks in the first place.
  • Let us charge our buster and special weapon independently of each other. 

As for the plot, no idea. I haven't played X8 yet, and even if I had, that's not even the last entry in the series. Command Mission is. I'd like something that bridges the confusing gap between the X and Zero series, but that well was poisoned long ago by X6. As much as I'd love to kill off Zero again, I know it would never carry the same weight. A game about the Cyber Elf Wars sounds pretty good, but would also close the book on the X series. And that's an intense ask for a franchise that's been dormant for so long. The only reason we have to care is the recent re-release of the Zero games, so the idea really only panders to a small minority of Mega Man fans that care.

Edited by Glennstavos

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You might like some of my ideas for a Mega Man X remake series, starting with Mega Man X: A New Age.

Spoiler

That series expands each game to a three-act structure with eight Maverick bosses per act, adding in new story content and characters, developing the existing characters a lot more, and foreshadowing future events (for example, the Enigma can be seen in the very first game as a fixture of Abel City). A New Age itself starts off with X as a Maverick Hunter under Sigma's command, dealing with isolated Maverick attacks in Act I. Then the Shadow Hunter Syndicate makes its presence known, forcing X to hunt down eight of its members in Act II. Finally, Sigma and many of the higher-ranked Hunters go Maverick, leading to Act III, the adaptation of the original game's events with a few liberties. Doppler, Alia, and Gate all debut here as researchers in the Doppler Research Facility, which includes an underground Deep Facility that serves as an intermission stage for Act II (X and Zero are called in to catch, not kill, a hostile experimental Reploid created by Gate, intended to have shapeshifting abilities).

The remake series shifts focus to 3D, expanding X's arsenal of moves and giving players a chance to explore Abel City (in A New Age) and other lands (in the sequels). In addition to X and Zero, other recurring heroes are Lift (a big orange Reploid built for heavy lifting who first works at a construction site, then later joins the Hunters), Drift (the self-proclaimed "Green Biker Dude"), the Four Sisters Sal, Undine, Sylphy, and Yokai (predecessors to the Four Guardians of the Zero series), and Zero's "sister", Zeta (who starts out as an antagonist due to the X-Hunters manipulating her, but grows into an ally and friend once she actually gets to know X).

But, that's all for another topic. As for your bullet points:

Spoiler
  • Most of the X games don't have permanent missables, the biggest exception I can think of being most of the upgrade Chips in X3 along with the Z-Saber. But I agree, permanent missables suck and should be avoided (looking at you, Zero series).
  • Shared weapon energy is an interesting idea, though the caveat is you might be even less encouraged to use certain Special Weapons if their WE cost is too high.
  • Some of the early X games actually did give certain Special Weapons a tendency to yield a particular type of pickup more often - the Crystal Hunter in X2 and the Acid Burst in X3 both tend to yield Weapon Energy, while the Frost Shield tends to yield Life. Additionally, the Silk Shot can be charged to farm massive amounts of life or weapon energy in specific spots in X2.
  • Contact damage is indeed frustrating, though advances in technology make it so now it can be justified by showing the enemy attacking upon contact, like in the modern DKC games.
  • A boss weakness guide could be nice for players who don't want to guess (even if it's usually pretty easy to reason out). It would make sense for Navigators to be able to figure out a Maverick's weaknesses, or to figure out weapons that should prove effective at negating their attacks.
    • On that note, it'd be nice to see "secondary" weaknesses return, like how Boomerang Cutter can cripple Launch Octopus and Flame Mammoth in X1. They might even consider bringing back the more open-ended kind of cycle that the early Mega Man games had, especially MM2, where the bosses' reactions to different weapons were often based on logic (the Air Shooter can blow away Wood Man's leaves, the Crash Bomber supercharges Heat Man, etc.). Even Mega Man 7 had this, in the form of Burst Man and Slash Man being weak to the fire and ice weapons.
    • On that note, it'd also be cool to see bosses react to some weapons favorably, like how Thunder Bolt supercharges Spring Man and Turbo Man, or how Freeze Man and Shade Man absorb their own weapons (in Freeze Man's case, causing him to freeze the game for a brief bit, and in Shade Man's case, causing him to gain a charged Noise Crush).
  • As someone who played through the Legacy Collections and swears by E-Tanks and Sub-Tanks, I disagree with this sentiment. They're a nice way to make use of spare Life Energy. Though I agree that many of the series bosses do feel ridiculous to tackle without Tanks (looking at you, MM7 Wily Capsule).
  • Independent charging does sound intriguing. Maybe in my 3D remake series, X can equip the Buster and Special Weapon to different arms? Though I'm also considering the possibility of him dual-wielding Special Weapons, one on each arm, which I guess means you could charge those independently as well?

I feel X9 needs to serve as a reintroduction of sorts to the X series, which won't work well if we jump right into the Elf Wars. Honestly, I dread adapting that story arc, given what we know of it. It sounds like a complete antithesis to everything I love about this series and want to see in it. That's another reason why the Simulants could be a good idea, as the game itself admits they're copies of past characters who nevertheless can serve in a capacity the originals can't.

The series has rarely attempted any kind of co-op or multiplayer, so that could be the hook X9 needs. As a bonus, it can serve as a series celebration (kinda like X DiVE, but without the gacha elements) by featuring so many past characters in some kind of playable capacity. As another bonus, this gives them easy alt choices for Smash if they should ever get in as playable characters.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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21 hours ago, Lord_Brand said:

Metroidvania was already a thing when the original MMX came out, and that didn't stop MMX from taking off and releasing eight mainline entries, two gaiden games, and an RPG spinoff, not to mention the ports, compilation rereleases, and at least one remake. Some players prefer the more straightforward approach; I know I certainly enjoy MMX as much as if not moreso than Super Metroid, let alone Zero or ZX. And Mega Man 11 didn't have any problem returning to classic gameplay, either. Honestly, this sounds like the old "2D is outdated, 3D is the future" argument that plagued the 90s.

That said, I'm not against the MMX series modernizing its presentation to make the classic gameplay feel fresh, like what Mega Man 11 did.

I think metroidvanias didn't have even half of their current popularity and presence in the game industry back when Mega Man X was relevant. X4 and Symphony of the Night were released for the same console in short timespans from one another, but SOTN was a standalone game of the formula. It was still good enough to inspire new metroidvanias, but you can count on your fingers those who weren't just new Metroid GBA titles. Later on, Metroid went on to focus on a first person shooter game approach and Castlevania had 3 Metroidvanias for the GBA as Megaman Zero's contemporaries, at the time the X series stopped. Then there were the 3 Metroidvanias for the Nintendo DS as ZX & ZXA contemporaries. Not nearly enough games of the metroidvania "genre" to compete that did the same thing.

Since 2007, there was a huge boost of metroidvania games, or just quick paced platformer games that play similarly or have similar elements. MMX will need to capitalize on the strengths of its formula to not become "generic" or "aged" compared to everything we've already seen (that was inspired by Mega Man, ironically). The issue is that it was a series left to sleep for too long while other people built over its legacy, so it has a lot to catch up to.

Of course, that doesn't mean MMX's formula is bad and needs to be reworked, because Mega Man's formula still works to this day. What I'm saying is that all the innovations from the past don't count nearly as much for a new X series game. They'll need to keep improving the formula and finding elements that fit with the new ages for a franchise that has been sleeping for over a decade. What X4 tried to be compared to the SNES games, what X8 tried to be compared to the PS1 games and what Mega Man 11 tried to be compared to the other tiles.

 

21 hours ago, Lord_Brand said:

I like these ideas, though the one with the Navigators hinting at the Special Weapon you need kinda takes the fun out of guessing and figuring out the cycle through experimentation (another reason I hate the Zero and ZX series focusing on the element trio). I can't believe I forgot to list the analogue stick quick select for Mega Man 11! Gonna amend that pronto. Doesn't the MMX series already have the Energy Balancer effect though?

I agree it does, although it could just be a vague hint instead of a blatant answer to what beats what. Imagine there's a boss whose room darkens and they attack while you can't see and one of the navigators comment on how it'd be useful if you had something to light up the room.

I honestly prefer weapons to be "effective" on a boss based on what they do rather than giving specific weapons a damage boost and stunning the boss for 3 seconds. Like how using Homing Torpedo was good because it tracked and followed an invisible boss. I also hope boss weapons are more important for passing through stage sections, which is something I only remember the Wily Stages doing (and poorly, imo).

 

______________

 

I agree that multiplayer would be a genius move. I'd love to play a MP MMX game and the closest to it is 20XX and 30XX, although the experience is different since exploring the stages was such a big feature in MMX that procedurally generated stages just lack (and of course, the story, the setting, the characters, the OST etc.).

 

__________

 

Also, I was thinking here, the X series still has a lot to tell despite the forced continuation it had after X5. I think X6 picks off nicely on a post-apocalyptical world of sorts where humans and reploids are trying to rebuild but some people don't let go of their own prejudices (plus the virus making Gate mad) for them to settle disputes. If anything, X7 was the one who started screwing with the plans because suddenly we had the end of the world but now we have futuristic cities back, what a miracle!

I think the X series is ultimately about reploids and humans trying to coexist but there are always issues brought either by the former or the latter and the Maverick Hunters, as a policing institution, is hardly the one to gap that bridge (and sometimes they expand the gap, as issues with police brutality from the MHs arose). Sigma's legacy bites more in their asses than Sigma's returns, because he was the first one to object to following human orders and soon others followed by will. I'd like the X series to end with him realizing that, stepping down from the Maverick Hunters (or changing the MHs to something larger, as bad as the implications are) and serving as a figurehead for peace and union between the races.

Edited by Rapier

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In my remake series, I'd considered the possibility of the Hunters as an organization ceasing to exist sometime after X5, visibly dwindling in numbers and influence in the post-Eurasia world where traditional laws don't really hold sway any longer. X sees that the world needs a new cause to believe in, and thus leaves the Hunters to try and start his own organization. That's one of many possibilities for an alternate X7 story that gives X a much better reason for retiring than "Meh, violence". Here, he's trying to give the world hope, something to believe in again.

If X9 were to continue the New Generation Reploid plot somehow, in what direction should it go? The ending of X8 hinted that Lumine might affect Axl in some way, with the shot of a piece of Lumine's tendrils in Axl's gem. Most assume Lumine will possess Axl at some point, perhaps turning him into an antagonist in X9. Or Axl grapples with a second personality in his body. Or the hint goes absolutely nowhere, like Isoc in X6 did.

X9 has the dual tasks of bringing the X series back while trying to help new players get into the series. I think a theme of "series history" will help bridge the two; the game's own premise is straightforward enough that new players can get into it, yet there are a lot of callbacks to previous games for the continuity buffs. Additional story content might be able to help, as well. Like, in addition to the core plot, there could be additional stories focusing on wrapping up existing plot threads, like Gate's fate after X6, or the mystery behind Isoc. They might even be able to bring back past Maverick Bosses. I kinda like the idea of X, Zero, and Axl each getting their own story to play through, with room for intersection between their stories. That could be another good use for the Simulants, giving each of the three lead Hunters more characters to interact with as well as provide unique support characters for each Hunter. Like, what if Zero ends up on the trail of Gate or Isoc, while bringing along Simulants of Colonel, Iris, and even the X-Hunters as comrades? Axl meanwhile has to contend with Lumine's apparent return with help from a Simulant of Red.

Another idea: What if the writers decide to be a little self-referential about the fact it's been a good number of years since X8? Maybe things calmed down for a while after the whole Jakob Elevator incident, causing our heroes to go their separate ways for a time. X started a foundation for researching solutions to the world's growing energy crisis, Zero's been hibernating while researchers figure out how his body works so they can purge it of the virus, and Axl's been working covert to make sure no new Maverick uprisings upset his buddies' more peaceful lives. Then one day, the Simulants are introduced, and before long one of them, a Simulant of Sigma naturally, goes Maverick, causing a new Maverick uprising that prompts the three Hunters to reunite. Axl comments that it feels like it's been forever since they worked on a mission together. X admits that he agrees, mostly because he's missed his friends. To Zero, it seems like hardly any time has passed at all, since his system was offline during his hibernation.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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On 8/17/2021 at 3:52 AM, Lord_Brand said:
  • Most of the X games don't have permanent missables, the biggest exception I can think of being most of the upgrade Chips in X3 along with the Z-Saber. But I agree, permanent missables suck and should be avoided (looking at you, Zero series).

The Zero series may be more guilty of it on a game by game basis, but the X series also has five games guilty of this. Like your X3 example, the Zero parts in X2 are permanently missable, because the bosses that possess them eventually leave if you don't hunt them down soon after they appear. The Shoryuken should also be missable for the same reason. X3 also locked you out of the full Third Armor set if you obtain any of its individual parts - aren't several of the later X games guilty of this same thing with their armor sets? X5's bad endings depend on how well the player is doing (as well as some RNG? God that game is frustrating to think about). And in general any investment you made into Zero is long gone if he turns maverick. There's also the soldiers you rescue in X6. If they're killed by an enemy, they're dead for the whole playthrough. This is repeated in X7, and while I remember them being easier to rescue in that game, google is telling me they can die to your own attacks in that one? That's disgusting. I haven't played X8, but Google says it has nothing permanently missable, making it an outlier alongside the first one and X4.

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  • Shared weapon energy is an interesting idea, though the caveat is you might be even less encouraged to use certain Special Weapons if their WE cost is too high.

Special weapons would need to be balanced against each other to some degree, that's true. But I see no reason to give up before trying.

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  • Contact damage is indeed frustrating, though advances in technology make it so now it can be justified by showing the enemy attacking upon contact, like in the modern DKC games.

That's one solution. And not a labor intensive one if we're designing a 2D sprite based game (you'd just need to draw one sprite). But I guess the question I have to ask is why contact damage needs to be standard in the first place. To prevent the player from just dashing through every room? Just design more alert and aggressive enemies, then mix them in with enemies that do hurt to touch - among other hazards like bottomless pits and spikes. The way I see it, Contact damage has always been a crutch to facilitate challenge in level design that is inherently non threatening.

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  • As someone who played through the Legacy Collections and swears by E-Tanks and Sub-Tanks, I disagree with this sentiment. They're a nice way to make use of spare Life Energy. Though I agree that many of the series bosses do feel ridiculous to tackle without Tanks (looking at you, MM7 Wily Capsule).

Even if you redesign Sub Tanks to not be so obnoxious, what can they add to the experience? As I said, they're a cheat code that lets you tank your way through a boss you don't want to deal with. Compare this to something like Fire Emblem's Turnwheel. Yeah, that's a cheat code, but the player can only make use of it by correcting their mistakes and thereby getting better at the game. An sub tank version of the turnwheel is just the game bringing your units to life at the end of a map - sub tanks are Casual Mode turned into a limited resource. And it's only an unlimited resource if the player is being proactive about grinding life energy drops. And god nothing is more antithetical to a fun mega man game than prompting the player to stop and grind. In that respect, I think I like E tanks more than sub tanks, because they're consumable and can be collected from fixed locations - or purchased from shops. No grinding necessary.

If I were designing a mega man X game, and the director told me the sub tanks have to stay, here's how I'd do it. There's only one sub tank. It's in the player's inventory from the very start of the game. Its capacity can be expanded by a few upgrades hidden in the game. And it refills to full after every death, just like your health refills to full. That way we can begin designing the game's challenge around the player using it whenever they're in trouble. Suddenly it's not subverting any of the game's challenge. But since the player can just use it while the game is paused, there's no choice being made in using them unless the player is on a self imposed challenge run. It adds all the game depth as using a potion outside of battle in an RPG, heck less than that since at least potions are consumable.

Screw it, just rip off the Estus Flask from Dark Souls. Instead of one Sub tank, you do get multiples of them - each one healing maybe 33 or 50% of your maximum health, and they all recharge after a death or upon reaching one of the checkpoints of a level. However, the big change here is that X needs to drink them, rather than use them from the safety of the pause menu. So the Player now has to find a break in the action where they can safely heal - prompting them to learn boss patterns. Cut down the amount of I frames you earn from taking a hit, and we have ourselves a challenging game.

Edited by Glennstavos

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1 hour ago, Glennstavos said:

Special weapons would need to be balanced against each other to some degree, that's true. But I see no reason to give up before trying.

Weapon energy gauges, or a shared gauge, that naturally refills over time? As long as the refill rate isn't tectonically slow, it'd work. Since you no longer need to worry about ever running out entirely, you don't need to be overly cautious with your usage.

According to MM Wiki, Proto Man originally had a solar reactor. If Machine People 1.0 could run on solar, and if a solar reactor can readily generate energy in most circumstances, Machine People 2.0 (or 10.0, or whatever version they are) ought to be able to do it and better.

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On 8/18/2021 at 10:28 AM, Glennstavos said:

The Zero series may be more guilty of it on a game by game basis, but the X series also has five games guilty of this. Like your X3 example, the Zero parts in X2 are permanently missable, because the bosses that possess them eventually leave if you don't hunt them down soon after they appear. The Shoryuken should also be missable for the same reason. X3 also locked you out of the full Third Armor set if you obtain any of its individual parts - aren't several of the later X games guilty of this same thing with their armor sets? X5's bad endings depend on how well the player is doing (as well as some RNG? God that game is frustrating to think about). And in general any investment you made into Zero is long gone if he turns maverick. There's also the soldiers you rescue in X6. If they're killed by an enemy, they're dead for the whole playthrough. This is repeated in X7, and while I remember them being easier to rescue in that game, google is telling me they can die to your own attacks in that one? That's disgusting. I haven't played X8, but Google says it has nothing permanently missable, making it an outlier alongside the first one and X4.

 

Spoiler

The Zero parts being missable would be more frustrating if you actually got anything for collecting them - like unlockable Zero. Your "reward" for bothering to gather all three is to skip the Zero boss fight near the end of the game even though the Fake Zero that appears would have worked well as a substitute boss. The Shoryuken being missable is unfortunate, yes. Notably, Mega Man 11 allows you to replay Fortress stages, a first for the series. If they were to slip secrets like the Shoryuken into Fortress stages in X9 or other future games, it would be nice of them to allow players to replay the stage so they can find the secret.

I assume you're referring to the upgrade chips in X3? You get to use the individual armor parts just fine, it's the chips that are mutually exclusive deals. Which is really stupid; part of the series' appeal is getting to find and collect cool upgrades, so why they decided to punish the player for doing that here is a mystery. I'm convinced whoever thought that was a good idea worked on the Zero series and decided that the player should be punished for using Cyber Elves.

I don't know what you mean about the later X games locking you out of armor sets, you can always collect them. The only exception I can think of is the secret capsule in X5, which gives you either the Ultimate Armor for X or the Black Armor for Zero (or both if you're savvy enough to game over and get to the capsule with the other Hunter) and becomes unavailable once you clear the X vs. Zero fight. Losing Zero after spending the whole game building him up sucks, yeah, though that's mitigated by the fact you can save scum to get the result you want. X5 could have really used something like the Tag mechanic introduced in X7 to justify upgrading both X and Zero. As is, you're better off committing to one of them.

Good point about the Injured Reploids in X6 and X7. Having played through X7, I can tell you that the injured Reploids don't die from your attacks, but anything that can damage you will kill them. As I wrote in the OP, I would bring Injured Reploids back but make them immune to enemies. It's less "realistic", but more fun.

 

On 8/18/2021 at 10:28 AM, Glennstavos said:

That's one solution. And not a labor intensive one if we're designing a 2D sprite based game (you'd just need to draw one sprite). But I guess the question I have to ask is why contact damage needs to be standard in the first place. To prevent the player from just dashing through every room? Just design more alert and aggressive enemies, then mix them in with enemies that do hurt to touch - among other hazards like bottomless pits and spikes. The way I see it, Contact damage has always been a crutch to facilitate challenge in level design that is inherently non threatening.

That does seem to be the primary reason, yes. A lot of contact damage from Mega Man bosses can be justified by the fact anywhere from 100-2000 pounds of metal is slamming into you at sufficiently high speed to cause damage via dashing or jumping. But I agree that just walking up to and touching an idle enemy with no visible means of inflicting contact damage (like spikes or an electric barrier) shouldn't result in the player character getting hurt (see the Spyro and Ratchet & Clank series, where an enemy only hurts you if they attack you). Back in the day, memory space was at a premium, so including animations to justify contact damage simply wasn't feasible. Thus, you had to use your imagination when, say, getting hit by an angry-looking Goomba. Nowadays, we have more than enough hardware resources to include attack animations to justify contact damage.

In the case of bosses, I'd say they could have grapple moves that trigger if you get too close to them while they're idle; Frost Walrus for example could pick up and punch or throw you if you walk into him when he's not sliding, and Magma Dragoon might perform a Street Fighter-style throw. In most cases, the boss your fighting has the weight advantage, so it makes sense they're better at grappling you than vice-versa.

On 8/18/2021 at 10:28 AM, Glennstavos said:

Even if you redesign Sub Tanks to not be so obnoxious, what can they add to the experience? As I said, they're a cheat code that lets you tank your way through a boss you don't want to deal with. Compare this to something like Fire Emblem's Turnwheel. Yeah, that's a cheat code, but the player can only make use of it by correcting their mistakes and thereby getting better at the game. An sub tank version of the turnwheel is just the game bringing your units to life at the end of a map - sub tanks are Casual Mode turned into a limited resource. And it's only an unlimited resource if the player is being proactive about grinding life energy drops. And god nothing is more antithetical to a fun mega man game than prompting the player to stop and grind. In that respect, I think I like E tanks more than sub tanks, because they're consumable and can be collected from fixed locations - or purchased from shops. No grinding necessary.

If I were designing a mega man X game, and the director told me the sub tanks have to stay, here's how I'd do it. There's only one sub tank. It's in the player's inventory from the very start of the game. Its capacity can be expanded by a few upgrades hidden in the game. And it refills to full after every death, just like your health refills to full. That way we can begin designing the game's challenge around the player using it whenever they're in trouble. Suddenly it's not subverting any of the game's challenge. But since the player can just use it while the game is paused, there's no choice being made in using them unless the player is on a self imposed challenge run. It adds all the game depth as using a potion outside of battle in an RPG, heck less than that since at least potions are consumable.

Screw it, just rip off the Estus Flask from Dark Souls. Instead of one Sub tank, you do get multiples of them - each one healing maybe 33 or 50% of your maximum health, and they all recharge after a death or upon reaching one of the checkpoints of a level. However, the big change here is that X needs to drink them, rather than use them from the safety of the pause menu. So the Player now has to find a break in the action where they can safely heal - prompting them to learn boss patterns. Cut down the amount of I frames you earn from taking a hit, and we have ourselves a challenging game.

 

Spoiler

I like how X8 gives you the ability to refill your tanks between stages, in exchange for currency. Otherwise, I'd like the Sub-Tanks to stay as is, because the player never has to use them, and thus can ignore them if they so choose. They just need to design the bosses such that you aren't expected to brute force your way through the fight using Sub-Tanks to keep yourself alive long enough to defeat your opponent; they should be there for newer players who might still be getting used to the game's controls.

We have to keep in mind that the SNES and PS1 games were made for a time when games were usually much shorter and rentals were still popular, thus there was pressure on the developers to make their games as hard as possible to encourage players to keep renting the game, until they were ready to shell out $40-$60 to buy the game outright, and even then the difficulty meant the player got more bang for their buck, at least in theory. Nowadays, the game industry is quite different; people no longer bother renting games when they can just download them off virtual stores, time is much more limited for older players now than it was when they were kids, and games themselves can last a lot longer due to hardware allowing them to pack a lot more content in there, thus games have to focus more on convenience now.

This can be observed even in the cases of Mega Man 9 and 11, the two games we're probably comparing X9 to most. MM9, despite its retro-style trappings, features file saving rather than passcodes. MM11 goes even further, saving your progress in the Fortress itself and allowing you to replay stages if you wish. And of course both games feature a shop that lets you buy items for convenience (which you can completely ignore if you're looking for a stiffer challenge). Most of the bosses in both games also seem to be of the "tough but fair" variety, not something you can just coast through but not overwhelmingly difficult either (though Wily Machine 9's first phase can be annoying due to forcing a puzzle on you).

Speaking of puzzles, that's one thing I'd prefer to avoid with future Mega Man titles: puzzle bosses that render everything you've collected pointless. Gate in X6 was especially bad about this, due to the fact you can only harm him with his own projectiles. I'd have made that fight more of a Ganondorf-kind of affair where you use the Z-Saber to bounce his projectiles back at him to stun him, then follow up with an attack of your own. High Max is less egregious, but still very much so due to what a slog his fight is, especially for Zero. You hit him with a weapon that stuns him, then follow up with the complimentary kind of weapon to damage him, then he gets invincibility until his next attack, lather, rinse, repeat. At least X can use the Nova Strike to take a huge chunk off his health. And of course there's the aforementioned Wily Machine 9 example with the bouncing eggs. So, safe to say X9 should avoid pulling any BS like that. If X9 has a cool new gimmick to push like MM11 did with the Double Gear system, that's fine, but there shouldn't be any ridiculous hoops to jump through.

Speaking of cool gimmicks, anyone got any ideas for one that could help set X9 apart from the crowd? Me, I've got the multiplayer element which is to this day almost untouched by the Mega Man series, X DiVE being the only example I can think of that lets players take on a stage together. But that's more of a structural hook than a story-and-gameplay hook like the Double Gear System is. If we want to continue the New Generation Reploid arc, then Axl's A-Trans ability absolutely should be expanded on, but not to the extent that X and Zero are rendered obsolete. Whatever the new hook is, should be something all three of them can use.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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