It usually sucks to hear that a game in development has been cancelled: I’m still reeling over Starcraft Ghost’s cancellation, and that happened over 7 years ago. Mega Man fans know that pain all too well, as Capcom pretty much cancelled all future Mega Man projects after series creator Keiji Inafune quit Capcom a few years ago. While it’s still sad that we’ll never get to play Mega Man Legends 3, Mega Man fans can at least find some solace in knowing that we won’t have to play Maverick Hunter, Capcom’s attempt at rebooting the franchise with a gritty, realistic aesthetic, either.
Let me state the obvious first: the idea of rebooting Mega Man X into a gritty FPS is a terrible, stupid idea.
But it was an idea that had some talent behind it: Maverick Hunter began development in 2010, and the project was headed by Keiji Inafune himself. The game was being developed at Armature Studios, an Austin, Texas based company that was founded by former members of the Metroid Prime development team. Mega Man’s new design was handled by Adi Granov, the artist responsible for designing the look of Tony Stark’s armor in the Iron Man movies.
Like Metroid Prime, Maverick Hunter was supposed to feature all the features that made the original Mega Man X great — the shooting, the ability to steal enemy weapons, the platforming, even the wall-jumping — albeit in a first-person perspective. In addition to series heroes X and Zero, Maverick Hunter would’ve added a third main character, a human described as a “Bruce Willis-like police officer.” The conflict between X’s human-like morals and thoughts and his machine nature was supposed to form the core of the new game’s story line.
Like Mega Man Legends and Mega Man Online, Maverick Hunter was cancelled by Capcom shortly after Inafune quit the company on less than amicable terms. By the time development on Maverick Hunter ceased, the game had only been in development for 6 months but was already in a playable state.
You can read more about Maverick Hunter’s development, as well as see some screenshots and more video of the game, on Polygon’s big exposé on the title.
Now, I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I’m kind of glad that Maverick Hunter got cancelled: the game frankly looked terrible. I trust Inafune and I loved Metroid Prime, but despite the talented people who worked on it, Maverick Hunter looks like it would’ve just been another generic, “gritty” FPS. I love Mega Man and I wish Capcom would give us a new game in the series, but I can’t help but feel that Maverick Hunter would’ve damaged the brand more than it would’ve helped. Of course, DmC looked pretty terrible at first but ended up being a suprisingly good game (at least as far as I’m concerned,) so there’s a chance that Maverick Hunter could have been good… but after watching the footage on Polygon, it’s hard to drum up any sort of optimism for the title. I hate to say it, but unlike Mega Man Legends 3, Maverick Hunter was probably cancelled for a good reason.