Why Zero Is Cooler Than Mega Man X And How Mega Man 2 Was Made

By Matt Hawkins . August 31, 2013 . 5:09pm

mmgxWhile the Mega Man series is popular today, the first Mega Man was not  successful. Keiji Inafune was transferred from Mega Man to work on a baseball murder mystery game for Famicom.

 

Inafune persisted on creating a sequel because he believed there was potential for Mega Man 2. He struck  a deal with the sales team to allow him to create Mega Man 2 on top of finishing the baseball murder mystery game. The team sacrificed their time because they wanted to create something they love.

 

The original Mega Man was done with a staff of six, if you include the sound engineer. When Mega Man 2 was being planned, I was allowed to design one of the bosses. Teams were so small in those days, people had multiple roles. I took on the role as a planner and eventually a producer, but I have always been an artist too.

 

Inafune was surprised why Mega Man looked different with the infamous box art made for America. The US office at Capcom said to Inafune, the Japanese art style "does not pop in the West, nobody gets it. This is what we get," when explaining Bad Box Art Mega Man. At the time, Inafune didn’t know the differences so he didn’t question it, but at the time he thought Westerners really don’t get art.

 

Mega Man X was the first game Inafune was in charge of everything. He wanted the main character to be Zero to surprise people. The sales staff told him this doesn’t look like Mega Man, so he designed Mega Man and made him a main character, but I took out all of the cool parts and left those for Zero.


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  • JustThisOne

    Ahh, I had to reread a couple a sentences from pronoun confusion, but otherwise – interesting! I’m pretty sure Zero was supposed to be the cooler one anyway, so you have some role model or goal as Megaman in X.

    Also: a baseball murder mystery game? What was this?! *__* That sounds intriguing.

    Are you a new writer, Matt, or am I just very bad at paying attention? :< If so, welcome! And if not, I'm sorry. Please ignore me. xD

    • Altritter

      IIRC he also did a bunch of articles during PAX East and E3, so I guess he mainly writes during conventions.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Zero died and came back to life so many times like Goku. Cooler then X but first to die

  • https://twitter.com/BinksFrost Binks5

    I always thought that X was the coolest in the series

    • Zero_Destiny

      I was actually just about to comment on that. lol

      I always loved the X series the most, and X and Zero are both great, but I found myself more interested in X still.

    • Derek E Nay

      X was more of a mature megaman. He is cool on his own way, just like Zero. Even though Inafune loved Zero more, he did a great job on giving Mega Man more of a mature look and detail.

    • Curan_Altea

      Always loved Zero. Especially Megaman Zero, Zero.

      • http://amc9988.deviantart.com/ amc99

        yeah… megaman zero, zero us awesome.. and that ending XD

        • Touma

          one of the most epic endings in the history of anything.

    • http://gamgambit.tumblr.com/ Thespian Treasure Hunter ♢

      X was the coolest for me from X to X3, his armors were pretty darn awesome with double and directional air dash in X3 and double charged shot in X2.

      From X4 and on X got less powerful armors (Ultimate aside) and Zero got more interesting propeties without the need of armors, plus he got more focus on the plot so eventually Zero became more cooler to me while still appreciating X’s role.

      As much as I thought the Megaman Zero games were pretty darn awesome I was sad X got a much lesser role in the future.

    • Anime10121

      X is my second favorite Megaman, Trigger reigns supreme in my mind :P

    • LaserVision

      I love regular MM, BN, and X all the same but Volnutt is my favorite. Perfect mix of boy and robot.

  • Zero_Destiny

    Reminds me of when Syd Mead did the designs for Turn A Gundam, it’s a similar story. The initial design were too different from what people were used to so it became Sumo, and then the next design was Turn A.

  • GH56734

    “at the time he thought Westerners really don’t get art.”
    That was very funny. So true many localization houses didn’t get art at all. He was not the only one anyways: in Segagaga for Dreamcast (whose fan-translation was revived a few days ago!) Alis from Phantasy Star II complains about her ugly depiction in the US cover.

    • epy

      Capcom USA was especially bad at this. They thought this was good. Added japanese box art for comparison.

      • Zero_Destiny

        I will forever love the terribad Americanized art of Breath of Fire II. xD Oh God, Bow. xD Look at him! It looks like he’s ready to eat you! xD

        • Namuro

          It looks like EVERYONE is ready to eat you! :D

      • AndyLC

        But they were right. Morrowind, Skyrim, 10+ million copies sold, that really is the artwork Americans want all along, terrifying

  • Shane Guidaboni

    I never thought Zero was cooler than Megaman.

  • Gigaknight

    To me, X, wasn’t cooler than Zero–neither was Zero cooler than X.

    They were always both awesome.

  • サレム

    And then zero got his own series which consisted on the best four megamans made after X3

    • Arcana Wiz

      ^,^
      MZ one of my most played games on GBA…… these were good times.

  • PreyMantis
    • http://gamgambit.tumblr.com/ Thespian Treasure Hunter ♢

      Vent fan yes but I was more of an Ashe fan for ZXA.
      *Sigh*
      Wish there was a sequel for that game but all hope is lost for that one :C

    • neocatzon

      Well, I’m Ashe and Aile fan simply because they’re badass human (and I prefer their subtle differences)

    • Ni ~UNREAL BLACK THINGS~

      I prefer Aile and Gray in the case of ZX series.

    • Kamille

      I never liked that design but it sure looks way better than that silly looking chipmunk Mighty Number 9.

  • imtheboss

    Its true though Zero is always superior. He didnt need all then cheap enehancements to be OP. I think that was Megaman x3 or x4 i cant remember.

    • NightzeroAX

      You must mean the Hadouken in X1 and the Shoryuken in X2.

      • imtheboss

        They are similar but in X3 Megaman could be cheap as hell. He was basically invincible with all enhancements. I remember fighting Sigma was hell with Zero easy as shit with Megaman.

  • DrakeClawfang

    Legends 3 and the Franchise Zombie of the Battle Network series made me suspect Capcom didn’t give Mega Man the respect he deserves. This article confirms they never have.

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    I will always prefer X over Z

    • Anime10121

      I agree however, the Zero series literally ape’s the shit outta classic and the X series :P

  • gogogoldberg

    For anyone who was curious, here is the “murder baseball mystery game” that Infaune worked on during his regular hours at Capcom:

    http://youtu.be/yl4s8B-OwAo?t=49m30s

    It’s a neat concept, but Inafune’s heart was obviously elsewhere. Oddly enough, both games were released around the same time in Japan. I don’t know how this other game performed in terms of sales, but I imagine it did not reach the numbers that Mega Man 2 did.

    • NimbusStev

      I was just about to say, this sounds like a really interesting premise! I wonder if anyone has ever translated it…

  • Robert Hendrie

    Pfft .exe is the best

    • British_Otaku

      I’m a big fan of .exe and Legends myself, but you aren’t going to get much support like that. >_>

      Fortunately, Battle Network ended too.
      I’m looking forward to good sequels for the other series and perhaps more closure for Legends (please?).

      • http://s1.zetaboards.com/Espada_of_Alexandria/index/ konpon568

        The X series had like 3, maybe 4 endings. And fans still want Capcom to milk it like a zombie cow.

        • British_Otaku

          I’m a passive X fan who played some of the original and maybe X7 or X8 on the PS2, I wasn’t that aware of them actually having a narrative (outside of those badly dubbed clips on Youtube and the disaster of a Megaman timeline which makes Zelda’s timeline look good) and aiming to have closure multiple times… :O

          Given that video games is a young industry with most titles fighting out of the gate to do well and get a sequel and with the successes getting tons of sequels, spinoffs and few stories have came to a close (or it’s just easier to notice things as they get drawn out, get television show and all).

          Hypothetically, I wouldn’t mind a sequel or spinoff just so I get more robot mast- Mavericks to beat up. If it goes against a strong narrative, I guess I’ll play fan games and the original titles then.

  • Anime10121

    Small correction, Inafune didnt design X either, he had one of the staff do it.
    And I quote

    Back when the SNES was coming out, I was asked to give Mega Man a redesign, so I created this character. But I realized that this design wouldn’t be accepted as Mega Man, so I had another designer create the new Mega Man, and I worked on Zero to release him as the ‘other main character’ that would steal all the good scenes!”

    http://www.gamespot.com//news/tgs-07-mega-man-celebrates-20th-anniversary-6179759?

  • Mr_SP

    Zero: You have not reached your full potential yet. You may even become as powerful as I am.

    Egoraptor: I get to be Zero!?!

    Good call, marketing team. By accident, you have convinced Inafune to blow our ***ing minds.

  • leingod

    I’ve always wanted a game that bridges regular Mega Man with Mega Man X series. After all, there are many things that connect both, like X’s and Zero’s makers. I even read somewhere Zero was the one who lead to Mega Man’s death :O

    They lost a great opportunity for that with Mega Man 9 though. It could’ve been the game that bridges both series since X = 10 in roman numerals.

    • metaxzero

      Inafune specifically confirmed that Zero had no part in Mega Man’s death or ANY Classic Mega Man character.

      As for why there isn’t a bridge game, Capcom doesn’t want to close off the Classic series from future sequel installments. A game that officially bridges Classic with the X series would effectively cut off more Classic games that are sequels.

      • leingod

        It can’t remember where I read that, must’ve been some 10 years ago or so. It’s naturally non-canon, but it was a pretty cool read… Megaman breaking the laws of robotics and stuff.

        Anyway, I get your point with the sequels, but it’s not like they’re putting the franchise to very good use lately…

    • Lynx

      Megaman 2: The Power Fighters.

      There’s you info on Zero’s maker.
      Zero is to who as to X is to Megaman?
      Hint: It’s not Protoman.

      • leingod

        I know who built Zero :P … I just didn’t wanna spoil it for whoever doesn’t know yet.

    • Ultimaniacx4

      Mega Man 9 leading to Mega Man X is so genius I can’t even believe it.

      • leingod

        a wasted chance, right? :/

  • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro

    X did become much cooler than Zero WITH THE HELP OF MARK GATHA!!

  • Setsu Oh

    i liked neither. only zero gba was cool and fantastic. unfortunately i hate the non metroid aspect of rockman that zero got too: non crouching. so i cant play it.

  • XiaomuArisu

    Zero is so Awesome he got his own Games!

  • Ultimaniacx4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McjxOBZrmoo

    Relevant. Starts off slow but get’s really elaborate and downright epic halfway through.

  • Kid Kuma

    rename this topic Why no. 9 is cooler than both

  • Repede91

    I think both X and Zero are awesome; but I guess Zero is awesomer cuz` he comes back from the dead like 5 times.

    • Touma

      yeah, take that jesus! sorry. had to XD.

  • AuraGuyChris

    Oh, they were racist towards us way back.
    Unless we didn’t really appreciate Japanese artwork…
    DAMN YOU, PEOPLE. BAD BOX ART MEGA MAN IS A CHARACTER BECAUSE OF US. IT REFLECTS THE TYPICAL AMERICAN COUCH POTATO.
    (I kid, I kid.)

  • Zonder88

    So America got bad boxart megaman because…we wouldnt Megaman’s design? What a load of crap. This is almost as bad as all the unecessary censorship that happens in gaming as they get localized.

    Inafune is right. Westerners dont get art.

    • Zero_Destiny

      I believe it was more meant to be an statement on different sentimentalities and styles.

      Although I don’t get why they thought Bad Box Art Megs would appeal to anyone. lol

  • Spatulising

    My very first husbando was Zero
    This article cements the fact that 8 year old me had great taste

  • Crimson_Cloud

    Mega Man X for me beats the original, hands down, even if I’m a fan of the old one. I loved the re-design to appear more mature and Zero was a perfect partner as well. The mature feeling that present pushed the atmosphere for me even further. I loved every single X game, yes every single one, and the not-so-well received Command Mission. Damn I want another X game!!!

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