The internet is alive with talk of the upcoming title that brings Battle Network out of retirement while matching it up with a sassy new partner. Reactions seem to vary from joyous excitement to disappointed disgust. I’m not sure where I stand as of yet. I remember thinking forever ago how amazing a time-travel crossover between the original and the X series would be, and about a decade later, Mega Man’s other timeline gets the treatment.
Actually, it isn’t confirmed at all that a time-travel crossover is what the plot will be about. Other Japanese fans have speculated that it might be an EXE game done in Shooting Star style, as in front-facing battles with 3-D graphics and other attributes. Personally, I’m wagering on the time-travel thing. Every Star Force game has already featured some manner of time-crossed cameo with a Battle Network game in slot 2, so the progression to full-on story element is just a quick hop away from what we already have.
I must hand it to the contractors, it does seem quite a bit calculated that they’re using EXE as the headliner and Shooting Star as the subtitle mention. Capcom makes it overly apparent that they’re trying to recapture the fame that EXE held in its heyday that the Star Force spin off has yet to fully achieve. Then again, fans of one or both series probably won’t care anyway, the opportunity to see the centuries-apart characters interact is fetching enough.
When EXE first came out, it was probably my new favorite series for quite a while. A imaginative re-invention of the original Mega Man series, reflecting our growing internet-dependent society, from the creators of Mega Man Legends? Count me in!
But a few installments later, the story seemed to spiral outlandishly out of control in favor of having multiple cart versions and replay value through forced repetitions, and the series lost a great deal of its appeal for me. When EXE 6 put a clear ending to EXE, I had a certain renewed respect for Capcom to bestow the series with a kind of dignity in closure, something games in the main Mega Man timeline never seem to achieve. But now EXE is back (and in some ways, it didn’t really leave, since side-story games continued to be made for Japanese cell phones). Whether its return was pure fan service or pure economics, has yet to be seen. Unlimited potential and unlimited disappointment could exist in this premise. I’m going to hope for the best.