'Mega Man 11' Director: "Fans Wanted a New Game…We Haven't Answered Them In a Very Long Time"

It's been almost a decade since we've seen a new mainline Mega Man game. Capcom has held the blue bomber hostage, bringing him out as a joke character in Street Fighter, a guest in Super Smash Bros. and re-releasing his classic adventures in Legacy collections. On Oct. 2, his imprisonment is finally coming to an end with the release of Mega Man 11, an adventure that pays homage to 30 years of side-scrolling action.

At E3 2018, Newsweek spoke through a translator with Mega Man 11 producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya and director Koji Oda about adapting the classic character, difficulty and if we'll ever see a new Battle Network or Legends game.

Why, after all these years, do you think it's the right time to release Mega Man 11?

Tsuchiya: This year marks the 30-year anniversary for Mega Man and we wanted to honor the legacy as much as possible. It's a very important year for us. Aside from Mega Man 11, we are releasing Mega Man Legacy Collection and the cartoon. The other reason is that director Oda came up to me and said that he feels that Capcom has an obligation to come to the plate and create a new Mega Man game. If nobody was going to do it, it was going to be him.

mega man 11 level
Construction equipment is no match for Mega Man! Capcom

Did Mighty No. 9 have any influence over why we're seeing Mega Man 11 now?

Oda: The decision making had nothing to do with Mighty No. 9. Mega Man will always be a Capcom brand and it was my understanding that the fans wanted a new game in the franchise. We haven't answered them in a very long time, so it felt like the perfect opportunity to finally fulfill that outcry.

As time moves forward, games tend to get more complicated in their graphics, gameplay and mechanics. Why do you think that, 30 years later, the core mechanics of Mega Man still hold up?

Oda: From the original Mega Man, the foundation and core gameplay was already pretty solid, refined. I didn't feel a need to drastically deviate from that. The fun is already there, so do we need to change that much? When creating a new Mega Man, there's certainly a desire to deviate from things, bring in your own take and try to change things up. We've had to take a step back and make sure we didn't break away from what makes that franchise great.

How do you stop yourself from innovating too much and muddying up the core gameplay?

Oda: When we were thinking of applying something new to Mega Man, the whole team was unified in the idea that the game needed to be easy to pick up and simple to understand. Nothing should detract from the core, simplistic gameplay and everything we added needed to supplement what was already there and emphasize it.

Tsuchiya: In order for the system to succeed, it needed to fulfill two requirements. With the system, veterans should be able to broaden their horizons and bring something new to the table for them to experience. That same system should be able to support new players if they were running into any sort of challenges. There were hundreds of different ideas from the team to figure out what worked best, but we stuck with the Double Gear system.

mega man 11 box art
Mega Man 11 has enough Robot Masters to make any fan of the franchise happy. Capcom

What other ideas were scrapped before settling on the Double Gear recharge system?

Oda: When we were creating the system for the first time, we wanted something you couldn't keep using and over. Like, using it three times in one stage before it ran out, using it on a bunch of different enemies on a screen to destroy them. It just didn't offer the level of flexibility that we wanted to give the player, it severely limited the number of places they could use it. We wanted something that would support players and offer them a new arsenal that they could figure out how to best utilize. Limiting the number of uses wasn't satisfying that need.

Mega Man 11 is a difficult game, I died dozens of times trying it out on the show floor. Why do you think difficulty is important in a video game?

Tsuchiya: When creating Mega Man 11, we were very cautious about the game's difficulty. In order to maintain a satisfying level of fun, you need to make sure the player is enjoying the difficulty. For a franchise like Mega Man, you have so many different types of players. There are fans who have been following the franchise for a very long time, played every single game and understand the mechanics like the back of their hand. Those kind of people you have to offer a high level of difficulty, because they understand things so well. Then you have people who have never heard of the franchise and are coming in for the first time. Those people you can't offer that same level of challenge or they'll just drop their controller and walk away. Then there are people in the middle who understand the basic mechanics but it's hard for them to overcome some of the challenges. The four different difficulty modes aren't like 'easy, normal, hard' but rather which playing field are you coming from.

Oda: We have the newcomer mode, we don't want new players to walk into a hole and get frustrated. We want them to understand why the game is fun and then they can jump into something a bit more challenging.

What's your favorite robot minion from Mega Man 11?

Tsuchiya: Metall. No matter what Mega Man game it is, he's always there.

mega man 11 hammer guy
Koji Oda's favorite enemy, the guy with a hammer. Capcom

Oda: Originally, I couldn't think of one because they are all just so awesome. But if I had to pick one, I'd have to say the statue with a skull face that uses a giant hammer. I love that he's immobile and lazy, but when Mega Man comes to him his eyes light up with 'oh yeah, I'm ready for some action'.

Do you think after Mega Man 11's release, we could see other games with the blue bomber, like Battle Network and Legends?

Tsuchiya: All of us want to see the continued success of Mega Man. We have so many ideas of what we want to do next, it's impossible to say at the moment. It's something we want to consider moving forward, keeping Mega Man safe and healthy.

Mega Man 11 will be available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PlayStation 4.