Classic storyline where robotics technology flourished
- Mega Man X many years post "classic" (21XX, 22XX), featuring the protagonist Mega Man X, the first of a new generation of robots that can think, feel, and make their own decisions created and sealed away by Dr. Light but later discovered by Dr. Cain.
Alternate storyline where network technology prospered
Additionally, there is the alternate universe setting Mega Man Legends, where the above are a beloved fictional franchise. These games feature the human protagonist MegaMan Volnutt, who was named after the "fictional" Mega Man by his parents, who were big fans.
- The indie rock band The Protomen have released 2 concept albums based on the Mega Man series. The theme of the albums are not a literal retelling but a re-imagining of the core concepts with a darker tone ( Dr Wily is a merciless tyrant who murdered the love of Dr Light's life, Proto Man was once the saviour of mankind but was betrayed by humanity and killed in battle, etc). The band is not affiliated with Capcom nor any of it is parent company.
Mega Man (known as Rockman in Japan) was released on the NES on December 17, 1987. Mega Man, like most of the more popular NES games in the 80s, was a platformer. The pitch with Mega Man was that each world had a different theme and was ruled by a different robot master. At the end of the world, the player would face off against the ruling robot master and in turn, inherit its powers. In order to get through some of the worlds, the player would require a power from one of the different robot masters. For example, in order to defeat Fire Man, the player required the Ice Slasher from Ice Man. Capcom assigned Keiji Inafune to design the characters and designs for the game, even though this was Inafune's first year at Capcom. Over time, Mega Man would be seen as one of the greatest video games of all-time. However, at the time, the game sold poorly and audiences were left unimpressed. Despite this, Capcom began production on Mega Man 2. The sequel was seen as a side project where developers would use their free time in between developing other Capcom games to work on Mega Man 2. The team reused some of the unused assets from the original and on December 24, 1988, Mega Man 2 was released in Japan, just over a year after the original. The game was later released in North America in July of 1989 and was universally acclaimed. The game sold more than 1.5 million copies and is still to this date, the best selling Mega Man game of all-time. Mega Man had hit the big time.
Naturally, as the popularity grew, the influx of games increased. Mega Man 3 was released for the NES on September 28, 1990 in Japan and then released one month later in North America. Like Mega Man 2, the third installment was met with universal acclaim and sold over 1 million copies. Due to the popularity of the game and the franchise, the game was included in Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 arcade machines shortly after its release. Also in 1990, a Mega Man game for the DOS was released in the United States-only. Though the game was simply called Mega Man, it was not the same as the 1987 NES game. This DOS version was developed by Hi-Tech Expressions, a children's game company. The game was received poorly by audiences and critics due to its differences from the original series. This began a span where Capcom would capitalize on Mega Man's popularity by marketing it to the mass public.
In December 1991, the first handheld Mega Man game was released on the Game Boy. Entitled Mega Man in Dr. Wily's Revenge, the game strangely used the same box art as the DOS Mega Man game, which itself was simply a cropped version of the Mega Man 3 box art. In January 1992, Mega Man 4 was released on the NES. The game was originally planned to be developed on Nintendo's soon to be revealed Super Nintendo but Capcom decided against waiting and put off Mega Man's premiere on the SNES until a later date. Around the same time as the release of Mega Man 4, Mega Man II was released on the Game Boy. Though it shared its name with the NES game, Mega Man II on the Game Boy was different from the NES classic and was, in turn, much more like a sequel to Mega Man in Dr. Wily's Revenge.
In December 1992, Mega Man 5 was released on the NES. At the same time, Mega Man III was released on the Game Boy. The Game Boy titles had since established themselves as a whole other series with Roman numerals differentiating the series from the main games on the console. Confusing matters even more is that in the same year, the second Mega Man for the DOS was released as Mega Man 3. The game shared no similarities to the NES Mega Man 3 or the Game Boy version and was a completely different game. For whatever reason, Capcom decided to skip Mega Man 2 on the DOS and had essentially three different Mega Man series running simultaneously.
In January 1993, a spin-off Mega Man game was released in Japan-only entitled Wily & Right no RockBoard: That's Paradise for the Famicon. As you can tell from the poorly translated name, this game never made it to North America, though a Game Boy version was in the work and subsequently cancelled. In December 1993, Mega Man IV was released on the Game Boy and in March 1994, Mega Man 6 was released on the NES. However, in North America, Mega Man 6 was published by Nintendo because Capcom had originally planned not to release Mega Man 6 outside of Japan due to the dwindling life-span of the NES. In January 1994, Mega Man X was released, as the first installment in the new X franchise that would soon begin to take the spotlight from the classic Mega Man series.
In March 1994, Mega Man Soccer was released on the SNES. This was the first non-traditional Mega Man game released in the U.S, the only other at the time being Wily & Right no RockBoard: That's Paradise. Later that year, Mega Man V was released on the Game Boy, which would end up being the last installment in the Game Boy Mega Man series as Mega Man X continued to take over. In an attempt to broaden Capcom's audience, a series of remakes was released on the Sega Genesis entitled Mega Man: The Wily Wars. This only saw a traditional release in Japan and Europe, while the U.S. only saw a release through Sega's monthly subscription Sega Channel program. This would be the only Mega Man to ever be released on the Genesis.
Mega Man 7 was released in September 1995 on the SNES, continuing Capcom's yearly installments in the Mega Man franchise. Also that year, Mega Man saw its first arcade release since Mega Man 3's port, in the form of Mega Man: The Power Battle, though it was only released in Japan. 1995 also saw the release of the only Mega Man game on the Sega Game Gear, simply entitled Mega Man, the game has become increasingly rare and has become one of the most prized cartridges for the Game Gear.
The next year, Capcom released another arcade game in Japan as the sequel to The Power Battle, entitled Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters. 1996 also saw Mega Man celebrating its 10th anniversary by officially leaving Nintendo consoles, releasing Mega Man 8 on Sony's PlayStation and Sega's Saturn. It was also the first Mega Man game to be released on two consoles at launch. However, in a way, the 10th anniversary of Mega Man marked the death of the franchise, as the next year was the first year since the series started that no new traditional Mega Man was released on consoles. Capcom had finally abandoned the traditional Mega Man series instead finding success in the Mega Man X series and beginning the new Mega Man Legends series. Instead Capcom released Mega Man Battle & Chase in Japan and Europe as the first 3D installment in the series and the first racing game in the series as well, though the game would never see a U.S. release. In fact, the U.S. would not see a traditional release in the Mega Man for the next 5 years, though Mega Man X and Legends games were being released steadily in other territories. Over the next five years, Capcom would port every traditional Mega Man release to the PlayStation in Japan, as well as released on the Neo Geo Pocket Color, the PC and mobile phones.
The next Mega Man game released in the U.S. was Mega Man & Bass on the Game Boy Advance, though this was essentially a remake of the Japan-only SNES release Rockman & Forte. A few bad mobile phone ports later, the next console Mega Man game was released on June 22, 2004 on the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2, but even this was not an original game. Instead, it was Mega Man Anniversary Collection, which featured Mega Man 1-8, as well as the two arcade Mega Man games previously only released in Japan. The compilation was later ported in the Xbox as well.
2 years later, the next Mega Man was released on the PlayStation Portable entitled Mega Man Powered Up. However, once again, this was not an original Mega Man game. Instead, it was a remake of the original Mega Man with a new cartoony art style. However, in 2008, the first original Mega Man game in 12 years was released in Mega Man 9. Mega Man 9 was released on the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, though as a downloadable game on all platforms. The game saw the franchise return to 8-bit form and was the traditional Mega Man game that most fans of the series had been waiting for for a very long time. On March 1, 2010, Mega Man 10 was released on Wiiware and eventually PSN and XBLA as an entirely new game with classic 8-bit visuals. By this time, however, the classic Mega Man franchise had all but died and the series had branched off into six different sub-series that had taken the spotlight away from the original Mega Man series.
Mega Man Legends featuring the protagonist MegaMan Volnutt.