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I don’t want another Netflix adaptation—I want Mega Man Legends 3

Heading back to the ship in Mega Man Legends 2.

Netflix seems to be on a mission of late. The streaming brand has been on a near-rampage, sourcing Japanese content with nostalgic appeal and turning it into live-action content with the “Netflix original” stamp. There’s always trepidation when hearing about an adaptation of an old favorite, but the latest Netflix adaptation I heard about stings more than usual. Not because I’m outraged by casting choices, character omissions, or use of heartless CGI—we haven’t gotten that far yet. It’s because I’ve been waiting for a different addition to the Mega Man franchise for nearly (gulp) 22 years.

When I hear the phrase “new Mega Man,” I presume it’s going to be the announcement of a new video game, and deep down, I always hope that announcement is Mega Man Legends 3. Decades later, I and many other fans are still holding out for a follow-up to the two PlayStation games (they were eventually ported to a few other platforms, including Windows) that challenged, entertained, and mesmerized me starting in 1998.

Since Mega Man Legends 2 came out in 2000, Capcom has offered me small return trips to the Mega Man universe, including 2001’s Mega Man Battle Network series and 2018’s Mega Man 11. But none continued—or, better yet, completed—the detailed, mysterious story of the Legends games, whose lore is loaded with themes of myriad familial bonds, independence, ingenuity, and coming of age.

From busting massive balloons in mini-games to the unforgettable underwater ruins whose puzzles and confusing tunnels remain one of the most challenging virtual experiences of my life, the Legends games were genuinely fun to play. By introducing 3D into the franchise, they were fun to watch, too. So much so that I also watched everyone in my household beat them.

But it’s not just that I want to play more Mega Man Legends (though I do). It’s not just that I want to know what a 2020s-era Legends would even look like (though I don’t doubt it would try some fun new visual tricks in 4K resolution). What I’m more hungry for is a conclusion to the story and closure for Mega Man Volnutt, who was slowly learning of his origins throughout the first two games. I’m still curious about where he came from, what he actually is, and if he’ll ever get the full memories of Mega Man Trigger back. I wonder how the relationships, like Mega Man and Roll’s or even their allies in the Bonne family, might develop under these revelations.

Dealing with Bonne family antics in the original <em>Mega Man Legends</em>.

Dealing with Bonne family antics in the original Mega Man Legends.


And, most importantly—does Mega Man ever make it off Elysium, and what adventures might he encounter before then?

There’s a whole new story left to tell with pieces already in place. Yet what we’re apparently getting instead is a live-action film that’s likely to rehash the much less interesting backstory from the main Mega Man series.

The Mega Man movie, reportedly presented by Netflix

This week, IGN reported that Netflix’s Mega Man movie was confirmed by production company Supermarché (Project Power) and the site’s anonymous sources. There’s no word from Netflix, but the production company’s website says Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are writing and directing the adaptation. Their most familiar works are Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3 and 4.

As reported by The Verge, there’s been talk of a Mega Man move since 2015, and in 2018, Capcom said the movie would be live-action. What we learned about this week was Netflix’s purported connection. Sites, including IGN and Mega Man fansite Rockman Corner, reported that the Supermarché webpage originally said Joost and Schulman are working on “an adaptation of Capcom’s Mega Man for Chernin Entertainment and Netflix,” but as of writing, the page no longer names Netflix. The Verge noted, however, that Netflix has a first-look deal with Chernin, so the idea is very plausible.

A screenshot of the Supermarché website captured by a <em>Mega Man</em> fansite points to the film being created for Netflix.
Enlarge / A screenshot of the Supermarché website captured by a Mega Man fansite points to the film being created for Netflix.

It’s unclear what the movie is about, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the more traditional Mega Man with the round, widow-peaked helmet rather than any connection to the Legends games.

Mega Man circa-1988.

Mega Man circa-1988.

What happened to Mega Man Legends 3?

For a while, there was tangible hope that the Legends games would get a follow-up. In 2010, Capcom announced Mega Man Legends 3 was coming to Nintendo 3DS and even shared very early build footage.

See how happy producer Keiji Inafune looks announcing <em>Mega Man Legends 3</em>.
Enlarge / See how happy producer Keiji Inafune looks announcing Mega Man Legends 3.

Capcom even asked fans to contribute to the game by submitting and voting for ideas in its Devroom forum. But things a took a turn later that year when producer Keiji Inafune, who also produced Mega Man Legends and Mega Man Legends 2, left Capcom to work on Mighty No. 9. He later offered to make the game under contract, but Capcom said there was no need, Kotaku reported at the time. Capcom would later deny Mega Man Legends 3′s cancellation had anything to do with Inafune’s departure.

Mega Man Legends 3 Prototype Version

Still, the project seemed to be moving swimmingly with the 2011 announcement of Mega Man Legends 3 Prototype Version. Available at the 3DS eShop, it was going to be a prologue to the true Mega Man Legends 3, with 10 playable missions.

Early gameplay footage of <em>Prototype Version</em> featured a Servbot cameo.
Enlarge / Early gameplay footage of Prototype Version featured a Servbot cameo.

But despite releasing some gameplay footage, Capcom announced that same year that it was no longer making Mega Man Legends 3 and wouldn’t even release the prototype game. There’s some comfort in Capcom actually admitting that it had canceled the project, but the blog post didn’t provide detailed reasoning as to why:

From the outset the MML3 Project was intended to give gamers across the world insight and input into the development process. Part of this process includes an assessment of whether the title will go into full production and is based on a number of criteria with input from different sectors of the company. Unfortunately, it was not felt that the Mega Man Legends 3 Project met the required criteria, and it is with regret that we must announce that the Mega Man Legends 3 Project has been cancelled… On behalf of the entire Legends team, please accept our sincere apology for failing to meet the expectations of the fans.

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