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Of Rockman, Inafune Kenji and the release date of Mighty No. 9

Today I will cover another all-time gaming favourite, the Rockman series. Now Rockman is still the title in Japanese, but they could not use that name in the west, since this was already taken. So they had to use Mega Man instead. Capcom somehow always runs into naming problems.

Rockman started on the Famicon in 1987. And the man at the helm was actually Kitamura Akira. There was no such thing as glamorous as game creator back then. He was credited as Planner. Inafune Kenji, credited with being the Rockman creator, was actually just a graphic designer, and he had joined Capcom only that year. His notable character was Adon, from Street Fighter. The static pixel for Rock was actually created by A.K. Inafune only worked on translating those to in-game pixels. The colour blue was chosen for Rock because Famicon only had 56 colours, and most were blue tinted. They were also heavily influenced by Mario. 
While sales for Rockman was decent, they were not outstanding, but they were confident and managed to persuade Capcom to release a sequel. 

Rockman 2 was released the following year, and was a huge hit in both Japan and North America. 2 was regarded as the best sequel, and this started the Rockman boom.

Kitamura resigned after 2, as he felt stifled by Capcom, and 3 was a rushed project, with Inafune having to step up as the creator instead. Inafune expressed regrets about 3, saying the game was not ready but "the company said we need to release it". He was not as enthusiastic about 3 as much as 1 or 2.

The Super Famicon was then launched and Capcom wanted to make a new Rockman on it. Rockman X was actually where Inafune took full control of the franchise, as Zero was completely his own. He got another guy to design the main character, Rock, with Zero as the second playable after you clear the game once. Capcom refused to let him use Zero, they wanted the same Rock as before.This has been the format from then on. In between X 1-5 he also created Rockman Dash, which was 3D, but it didn't sell as well. 

Inafune took on several major roles apart from Rockman as well. He did Onimusha, Dead Rising 1&2, and rose through the ranks to finally become the global head of production in April 2010. However he resigned 6 months later in October to "start his life over". This led to his Kickstarter project, Mighty No.9, finally to be released on June 2016. The image on top is the alternate character Ray. I will do an article once a review is available.

Written by Don

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