Games Abyss: Let's get right into 25th Anniversary's 'legendary' storyline. Why the Bonnes; is the family's appearance a not-so-subtle jab towards Capcom for Legends 3's unexpected cancellation? Also, will there be Servebots?
Jason: I personally think that the Bonnes are among the most fun and interesting characters in all of gaming. Seeing MML3 get cancelled was definitely disappointing, but it's not a jab so much as it's a chance for these great characters to take the spotlight, once again. Their story will be pretty interesting, and will have serious implications on the Mega Man continuity! And yeah, there will definitely be Servbots!
Tim: I think MML3's cancellation really hit some fans hard, especially after Universe getting canned, but we're not trying to "get back" at Capcom. If this lights a fire under them to put something new out, then that's great!
Games Abyss: What was the team's reaction to Mega Man Legends 3's cancellation, or Mega Man Universe's for that matter?
Orie: I was looking forward to both games, so their cancellations were definitely sad. However, as someone who's now part of the industry, its something that happens and I don't feel any ill will towards the people involved with those games. There are tons of cool things happening with the Blue Bomber these days, like the FANTASTIC Mega Man comic series by Archie Comics, and his gaming career is FAR from over.
Julian: To be honest, I was incredibly saddened, especially about Legends 3. I have actually had the pleasure of pitching development concepts to Mr. Inafune in the past and at the time he was so very clearly excited about the project we ended up spending more time talking about our love of the characters and the world than the actual business we were doing! With such heart and passion behind the game, I knew that it was going to be awesome. As Orie said, though, the Blue Bomber lives on in the awesome comic series right now, and through fan creations like MMU and MMX: Corruption!
Tim: This may get me some death threats, but I actually haven't played the Legends series, so I can't really comment as a fan. As a developer though, any time a project is cancelled, it's a bad time all around. You're paying a bunch of people who suddenly have nothing to do. You've got this group who've come together under one banner, learned how to work with each other, and now they're dispersed onto different projects, or worse laid off. It's arguably more discouraging as a developer. That said, I really do admire Capcom for taking a risk and crowd sourcing aspects of Legends 3.
Games Abyss: As obvious fans of Mega Man, what are some of your favorite games in the franchise?
Jason: Mega Man 9 is my favourite title of the 8-Bit style Mega Man games. It's about as perfect as you can get!! The Legends games are favorites of mine, especially The Misadventures of Tron Bonne.
Orie: I'll go ahead and be the guy who says Mega Man 2! I'm also a big fan of 3, 9, X4, and Legends! The Zero series was also rad as all hell!
Julian: I’ve always been in love with MM5. The Robot Masters were unique, the collection mechanic of the game was deeper, and the presentation, musically and visually were stunning. After that, my favourites include 4, Battle Network, X3, X4 and Legends.
Jeff: Mega Man 4 has always been a favorite of mine and of course who doesn't love Mega Man X. Believe it or not; my favorite is also Mega Man 9. It’s just a perfect game.
Games Abyss: With the mention of fan works such as Mega Man Unlimited and Mega Man X: Corrupted, there is no shortage of fan-generated content. What sets 25th Anniversary apart from similar projects?
Julian: We’re not really trying to compete nor to discredit anyone else’s game. This is a labour of love by a group of developers who aren’t just fans but also people who make games for a living. We’re developing this game as if it were a professional product and as such we’re going to do whatever we can to make sure it’s fun and quality enough to be worthy of a place among the rest of the series.
Games Abyss: Share with us your thoughts on Mega Man Unlimited, or any other fan project that may have caught your attention. What do you make of the Mega Man community doing a better job than Capcom currently is?
Jason: Mega Man Unlimited looks amazing! I have a ton of respect for MegaPhil X and all the guys on that project. The work they've done on the trailer is stunning. We may have a team of game developers, but not one of us is a video editing expert If anything in the trailer looks "off", it's just the video, the game itself runs and feels great!
Orie: I love seeing people get involved in Game Design and analyzing their favorite series. Those guys are kicking some serious ass! Again, this has never been about trying to outdo the original developers. Fan games come from a good place, they're love letters to an experience, and creating something fun for other people is what gaming is all about!
Jeff: I’ve been a fan of MegaPhilX on YouTube for some time now. I don’t think it’s a matter of doing a better job than Capcom (they did bring us 9 and 10) but rather I feel it’s a formula that just begs creative input from the fans. I mean ultimately [Mega Man] is a game with infinite possibilities. I’ve always joked; Pick a word out of the dictionary and stick ‘Man’ at the end of it and base an entire levels theme around it. Do that 8 times with a lenient Rock, Paper, Scissors formula and call it a day. In all seriousness though, it’s what Mega Man fans have been doing for the past 25 years in their notebooks while sitting in class, on the bus or waiting for their turn on the NES.
Tim: I've played a bit of Rokko Chan recently, and really loved the mechanics in Rolling Man's stage, where you stand on this platform, and the level rotates around you turning the hall you just walked down into a tower. That's something really cool that you probably wouldn't see in a classic title, but it's a liberty you can take given the general lack of restrictions on PC.
Games Abyss: How has the fan support been so far?
Orie: Very positive! The amount of responses we're getting is almost overwhelming, but we're looking everywhere for people's comments to see how we can improve.
Jeff: Great! We’ve actually received a lot of very interesting constructive feedback. The great thing about releasing teasers during the development process is that we can listen and adjust. If there is a general consensus on what we should or should not do/include we will consider it. Nothing is set in stone and this is just as much their fan game as it is ours.
Tim: Yeah, almost everyone has something positive to say. There are a few comments I've read from people who aren't exactly supportive, but that's fine, what we're doing may not be for everyone.
Games Abyss: When is 25th Anniversary expected to release?
Julian: We’re not committing ourselves to a final release date yet (we don’t want to let you guys down if we slip), but we are going to be releasing a small demo on the anniversary itself.
Games Abyss: What would you say to Mega Man fans that may have lost faith in the franchise?
Jason: Mega Man fans shouldn't lose heart, because there are so many out there willing to go the extra mile and create these fan games, just for them!
Orie: Don't give up hope, and don't let anger be your motivator. Even now there's hope for man. As long as there are people who love MegaMan, MegaMan games will be made.
Jeff: When all seems lost just pop one of the classics in your NES or SNES and any worries will quickly go away.
Julian: Keep on fighting. This team is here, together and in the industry, because in some way we were all influenced and shaped by Mega Man. We’re confident that fans will continue to keep the spirit of the franchise alive and well, and I look forward to enjoying those creations.
Game Abyss: Finally, any closing remarks to the Mega Man community?
Jason: Stay tuned! And we would like to thank anyone and everyone who takes the time to create something, whether it's music, artwork or fan games, you inspire us!
Orie: Happy 25th Anniversary! Continue to grow, share, sing, discuss and create! Look at what has been accomplished in the last 25 years, and dream of where it can go. This is far from over, and you guys are the reason why. Fight, MegaMan, for everlasting peace!
Julian: We’re so incredibly thankful for all of the support that we’ve received, and definitely inspired by the many, many creations of other fans. I hope that our efforts become an inspiration to others and that I’ll have tons and tons of fan content to keep enjoying. Happy anniversary, little blue dude.
Tim: The 18th is my birthday, so be nice with the comments about the demo, eh?
For those interested in Mega Man 25th Anniversary, be sure to subscribe to Team Reaverbot's YouTube Channel for all media updates. Samples of the soundtrack may be found there as well. Team Reaverbot is also on the Twitter @TeamReaverbot.
On behalf of Games Abyss, and Mega Man fans from around the world, I would like to extend my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to Julian Spillane for making this interview a possibility and to all of Team Reaverbot for their tireless efforts in making this most epic of fan games a reality. You are an inspiration to us all.
Also, do check out the gallery of screenshots below; my cropped images do not do Team Reaverbot's work a lick of justice.
A demo of 25th Anniversary is set to release on the Blue Bomber's birthday, December 17, so be sure to check back with Games Abyss for an in-depth hands-on preview.
Lastly, I would like to thank you, the fans. You, the most vocal of videogame communities. The spirit of your blue hero is as undying as your devotion; just look around you.Each and every one of you, you are what is truly worth celebrating.