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One of the most highly-anticipated games due out this year for home consoles and PC is Capcom's Mega Man 11. The series has been dormant for quite some time, despite fans of the blue bomber constantly pestering Capcom for a new game and begging for anything Mega Man-related to be released for home consoles or PC. After letting the brand sit for quite some time, the super fighting robot is making a return to form with Mega Man 11, and the developers explained what was so tricky about making the new game compared to Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10. Producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya explained
When we were tackling Mega Man 11 and we were thinking about what kind of presentation do we want to make, I felt like having another retro game just didn't feel right. It would severely limit the amount of stuff that we could do. Since there's been such a long lapse between the last game and this one, I felt like the best thing to do is to make the game appropriate to modern hardware, use as much of its potential as possible, and make a game that people would be able to look at and recognize that it's the next entry. It's a step forward in the Mega Man franchise.
What Tsuchiya mentions about Mega Man 11 being a stark departure from Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 in his comments to Gamespot is true, given that the other two games are hand-animated with pixel graphics. The hand-animated style is something that Capcom wants to leave behind for the new generation of home consoles. The company is now using 3D models and 3D animation for the Mega Man franchise similar to what Comcept did for Mighty No. 92, which was running on the Unreal Engine.
3D assets for a 2D platformer hasn't always had the best results because the physics are different for 3D runtime environments compared to 2D sprites in 2D runtime environments. The major difference is that the input latency between a player inputting a command for most 2D runtimes is shorter compared to 3D given that there are usually little or no start-up frames and no spooling for 2D. So when you move left or right the reactions of the character are instant, and the acceleration/deceleration is more responsive in 2D along with the physics, which lack the floatiness often found in 3D games where the gravity calculations have variable start/stop times.
According to Tsuchiya, the designers worked around the clock with the animators so that not only do the 3D graphics look good and representative of the old Mega Man games, but also to ensure that the frame-timing for the 3D models didn't slow down or interrupt the flow of the gameplay pace so that they coincided with the responsiveness of the control schemes that players from the 2D games are used to.
Tsuchiya also wanted to make sure that the game offered beginners an easy in-road to controlling Mega Man while veterans were given new mechanics to master as well. We'll see how well all of these new mechanisms come together along with the new 3D graphics when Mega Man 11 launches on home consoles and PC on October 2nd, 2018.