MegaMan X6 draws alot of heat, and I think I have an idea as to what lead to it being perhaps the worst-playing MegaMan game of all time. I’ve posted this theory around before, but I figured I’d share it here, since I just recently posted it at Dreamwave’s forums as well. Most find it to be a sound theory(more like pair of closely-related theories, actually).
It’s a little old and dusty, but I think it still holds up. Remember, this is only speculation on my part as to the odd direction Capcom went in with the X5-X6-Z1 games:
“Why X6 was probably not meant to happen as it did”
Ok, first, looking at MegaMan Zero, I’d guess it was probably in development for some time before it came out, given the new systems, designs… the whole “from the ground up” approach, save for a few odds and ends. Odds are, it was meant to use the events of X5 to help establish it.
For example, at the end of X5, Zero is missing/dead, his body torn all to hell, and X has his saber. Come MegaMan Zero, he’s found somewhere else, torn all to hell in much the same way, but mysteriously changed, perhaps by whoever moved him to start with. And he has no saber, either, which is soon returned to him by X, of course.
Now comes X6. The game that was never meant to be, but was because Capcom wanted to somehow quickly plug MMZero a little more blatantly before it came out. So now, Zero’s back after not being able to be found, and he’s been mysteriously repaired. He has even been given a new saber. Come the end of the game, he seals himself in a capsule, apparently with his saber, if the art is to be believed, and it says that he’ll be asleep for some 102 years… just in time for 22XX, the timeframe of MegaMan Zero.
So when he awakens… well, first, he’s not in a capsule, and second, he’s missing his saber, and third, he’s severely damaged. Somehow, X6 just seems forced in, in that regard. X5-Zero flows alot more smoothly, albeit with a more natural mystery, than it does with X6, which just seems more “Huh?” inducing than mysterious. All of which seems to point to
Capcom wanting to cram something down our throats to make us want to see what happens next, rushed out less than a year after its preceding game.
Of course… maybe X6 WAS supposed to be made. For its faults, it has alot going for it. More drawn cut scenes, more detail in the boss characters, voice acting, more story revealed in the game itself, rather
than in guidebooks and manga, and three different J-Pop tunes on top of all of that. So maybe X6 wasn’t such a half-assed effort after all… they put more into this game than they did X5… perhaps a little TOO much…
After developing my theory above, and thinking over things as noted in the above paragraph, it occured to me… the BIGGEST problem with X6 is… Zero. His story is half-assed, while the rest is actually rather coherent and well-written as X games go. In fact, if you look at the game in two parts, one with simply X, and then add Zero(not counting Zero Nightmare) to the mix… Zero’s part is absolutely superfluous… unneccessary. It’s essentially gravy for the Zero fans, it seems, and to help plug away at MegaMan Zero. And on top of that, it seems that most gameplay and quality issues could be attributed to Zero. Which
leads to this theory…
X6 was supposed to happen, BUT… not with Zero in it. I figure that a next-to-last minute bulletin came from Capcom management(who else?) to the development team. Basically, they were told to add Zero, and that
they either had to finish sooner, or simply weren’t being given more time to add it. So they hastily added Zero in as best they could, virtually as a patch for the X6 game(similar to how Knuckles is playable in Sonic 2).
To do so, they had to add new Zero sprites, including him using his new Z-Saber… probably taking away from time that would otherwise be used to improve sprites and animation for other characters, such as one Blaze
Heatnix. And in adding Zero, his scenes, his voiceovers, they probably had to forego things like playtesting(management: We’ve been making the same game for 15 years, it doesn’t need playtesting!) to make it to the market in time, before MegaMan Zero hit.
The result? Slow recovery time for Zero, poor control setups(reference the Up & Attack move while fighting on a wire), lackluster sprites and animation for other characters, all in an effort to hype their next game.
The theories probably need a little tweaking here and there, but I’m pretty sure that at least part of it went down like this. I’m also quite certain that the MMZero development team at Intecreates didn’t know
much if anything about X6 when making MMZ; they probably were working from X5, nothing more.