A lot of people see the upcoming Mega Man X DiVE as a test to gauge the popularity of the Mega Man X series. Currently, in closed beta, Capcom Taiwan obtained a surprisingly high number of participants, so much so that they had to delay the start of closed beta in order to upgrade their servers.

 

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Posted by ROCKMAN X DiVE on Monday, August 26, 2019

 

While the initial quota is unknown, we do know that they’ve extended the limit of testers by 5000. With this in mind, Capcom should be surprised by how well the Mega Man franchise stays together after all these years. As of this writing, the latest title of the series, Mega Man X8, was put on store shelves on December 7, 2004. That is nearly 15 years ago. Since then, the series has gone through a spur of cancelled games and sporadic guest appearances in other franchises. Yet, the Mega Man X Legacy Collection sold about 970,000 worldwide. With both of these things in mind, it’s very clear the fans want to see the series return to its full glory. While this may come as a surprise to some, in ways it should be expected. We’ve eagerly waited for Kingdom Hearts 3 after all. The question is, why do we hold onto these franchises and keep them close to our hearts? How do these games touch us on an emotional level?

Characters are Important

Stories are an important element in video games. It’s what causes these simple binary codes of ones and zeroes to come to life. Characters are the driving force within these stories to make things go into motion. Through this, so many lessons can be learned, and each can be unique from player to player. That is what make video games so powerful. The connection between the gamer and the game is on a personal level.

And we will explore that here, having a look at the most important character in the Mega Man X series: The Hero himself.

The Hero’s Motivation

Official Art by Capcom

 

Mega Man X (X for short) is a robot created by Dr Light and is the first of the next generation of robots called Reploids. These Reploids by definition are robots with the ability to think freely and therefore possess free will. Despite this, X is far more advanced than the mass-produced Reploids. He has the unique ability to fear, worry, and hesitate under pressure. While these traits are not qualities found in a traditional fantasy hero, these qualities are what allows X to process courage and determination. In fact, these human-like feelings grant him unlimited potential, as shown in the OVA, Day of Sigma.

X’s career is that of a Maverick Hunter, tasked to take down criminal or “Maverick” reploids that break the law. However, It’s also quite well known that X is a pacifist, and prefers peace for all humans and reploids. However, he has the tendency to openly express remorse for anyone or even anything he destroys. This is in stark contrast to literally every Maverick Hunter, leading to X becoming an outcast within his own field. Despite this, he did manage to make one life-long friend, whom is someone we’ll talk about another time.

Even though these qualities are present, X always stands up and fights Mavericks. In order to protect the innocent, he understands that doing nothing is just as bad as doing the evil deed itself. Through his deeds, he ends up being one of the most prevalent and powerful reploids. However, he has had to go through this across multiple games within a continuous storyline. Each time he is put through the same turmoil. The death of his fellow reploids, dealt by his own hand forces him to believe it was an act of peace, yet having the lingering thought in his mind wondering why the world could not be at peace.

It’s about the Journey

It would be easy to say there were just eight games that we play as X and beat up a bunch of bad guys and save the day. Yet, it is much more accurate to say humanity and life in general become endangered by catastrophic events. X is forced to kill others to save innocent lives, despite his best wishes. This is the line of thinking that allows players to bridge the emotional gap between them and X. Players wish to see his story from beginning to end. While we already know the destination (which, again, we’ll talk about another time), players are left unsatisfactorily hanging with the cliffhanger ending of Mega Man X8, and it shows there is still a lot of story left to tell in X’s journey.

Even though there are plenty of solid Mega Man X clones on the market, none will be as impactful as the Mega Man X series. X is a very unique hero, being forced to fight others, and we get to see his perspective and ideologies slowly become warped. In the beginning, he’s nothing more than a naive hero. Towards the end, he’s a hardened, yet tired battle warrior. The mental and emotional state of our main hero continuously draws players in. Some of these players want him to have his happy ending, while others eagerly wait for him to crack. Regardless of the reasons, X and the player forged an everlasting bond. Whatever crisis comes his way, the player will follow.

So, how do you feel about Mega Man X? Do you enjoy him as a character, or are there other things that draw you to the series? Let us know in the comment section below.

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