Interview: The man carrying the Mega Man legacy

By Steve Watts, Jul 20, 2012 1:00pm PDT

It may not seem like it now, but once upon a time Mega Man was a pretty big deal in gaming. He was a major part of Capcom's corporate identity, a beloved action platformer, and his fame resulted in several spin-offs. Recently, though, the character has fallen into disuse. Capcom's only two known projects, Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe, were canceled last year. He still makes an embarrassing cameo from time to time, but Capcom seems uninterested in using the character right now.

But Mega Man actually is enjoying new stories in an entirely different medium. Archie Comics began the Mega Man comic series in 2011, making author Ian Flynn single-handedly responsible -- at least for the time being -- for writing new material with the mascot.

By all accounts, Flynn is doing a fine job capturing the cheerful, light-hearted nature of the classic series. "It can be a tricky balancing act," Flynn told Shacknews. "The Classic Series is known for being one of the brighter, happier, simpler versions. At the same time, the threats in the stories need to feel real or otherwise what's the point? I've tried to approach it in the mindset of the Saturday morning cartoons I grew up with. Keep it fun, keep it simple, and make it real to the characters while keeping myself objective about it."

The story so far has followed a loose framework from some of the early games. He says he started by making notes on the stories of all ten games, and mapping out plot points to sprinkle between the gaps. "The plan is to touch on everything reasonably possible and make it all fit into one giant over-arching plot," he says. "Some purists are skeptical, but I assure you all, there is a plan."

And to that end, he says Capcom has given a lot of latitude for the project. "Capcom has shown us a tremendous amount of trust with this project," he says. "They pretty much opened the doors to the Classic Series and said 'Have at it.' In return, I've tried to respect that trust by not trying to reinvent the wheel and keep it as close to the game canon as possible."

As for being responsible for the game's legacy, Flynn says it reminds him of another retro-title that has seen hard times. "This scenario harkens back to the late 90s during that rocky period between Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic Adventure," he says. He's written Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic book as well, so he's certainly familiar with series that have fallen out of favor. "I sincerely doubt Mega Man is going to go through that long of a drought, but we're still happy to carry the banner of the Blue Bomber."

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