Mega Man (universe)
The Mega Man universe (known in Asian territories as Rockman (ロックマン) and occasionally written as Megaman) refers to the Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from the eponymous Mega Man series by Capcom. It is a Japanese video game franchise created by Capcom. Originating on the NES, the Mega Man franchise has spawned a multitude of video games across many platforms, as well as a variety of associated media. The series is the third such third-party franchise to contribute elements to a Smash game, with the titular Mega Man being a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Capcom was originally known for creating arcade games and porting them to home consoles. In the mid-1980s, however, a team of only six employees developed the original Rockman for the Famicom, as part of Capcom's initial "focused" foray into the Japanese home console market. The developers strove for perfection in all aspects of the project despite the severe technical limitations of the Famicom, and incorporated designs inspired by Osamu Tezuka's manga Astro Boy. The eponymous hero of the weapon-based platformer was colored blue simply because blue had the most available shades within the Famicom's limited color palette.
For the game's simultaneous release in Japan and the United States on December 17, 1987, Capcom's then-Senior Vice President Joseph Marcini renamed the localized version of the game and titular character Mega Man, believing it would have a much wider appeal to young American audiences. Mega Man was released to favorable critical reception, but moderately low sales (around 100,000 copies overall), though they were higher than Capcom originally anticipated.
While Mega Man was not a large enough commercial accomplishment for Capcom to necessarily justify a sequel, the company allowed the development team to create a sequel as an aside to other projects. The team focused on improving the original formula with enhanced graphics and audio, more levels, and new supportive items that addressed consumer concerns over the extreme difficulty of the previous title. Mega Man 2, in stark contrast to the original, was a huge success, selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide, and definitively established Mega Man as one of the industry's largest and longest-running franchises and one of Capcom's flagships, with the success of the game also propelling Capcom to its present-day status as a world-renowned game developer.
As of 2013, over fifty Mega Man games have been released, with many populating specific "sub-series" and exploring genres outside side-scrolling platforming. Iterations of the Mega Man character himself and other related characters, meanwhile, have appeared in Capcom-involved games outside the main series such as crossover fighting games like the Marvel vs. Capcom series that pits Capcom characters against Marvel Comics characters, and more recently, Nintendo's own Super Smash Bros. series.
Following the release of Mega Man 10 in 2010, series veteran Keiji Inafune had left Capcom, leaving the developers in limbo regarding what to do next with the franchise over the next few years, as no one at Capcom of Japan had immediately stepped up to take the leadership position. A free-to-play PC-exclusive fangame called Street Fighter X Mega Man was endorsed by Capcom in 2012 to celebrate both franchises' 25th anniversaries. Mega Man Universe was a level creation game similar to Super Mario Maker that was ultimately cancelled. And finally, the much-anticipated Mega Man Legends 3 was in development for the Nintendo 3DS and was in its alpha stage before it was ultimately cancelled. It marked a period of uncertainty for the franchise not unlike the Metroid hiatus in the 2010s, with many considering the series and its character "dead" by neglect.
However, the latter half of the decade started showing promise for a return to form for the property, as interest in the character was renewed following his appearance in Super Smash Bros. 4. Starting in 2015, Capcom started releasing Legacy Collections of the Mega Man franchise, curating the titles and archival content from throughout franchise’s storied history. This trend started with Mega Man Legacy Collection containing the first six games from the NES era in August 2015; then Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 containing the rest of the numbered entries in August 2017; the two Mega Man X Legacy Collections with all the numbered games in the Mega Man X lineup in July 2018; and Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection, collecting the four Mega Man Zero and two Mega Man ZX games, in February 2020. The success of these releases resulted in a brand-new numbered installment in the main series, Mega Man 11, which was released in October 2018 for eighth-generation platforms, including the Nintendo Switch.
The most iconic formula of the Mega Man series, which has remained Rockman in Japan, is a side-scrolling platform game where the player controls the blue robot Mega Man, who has a "buster" cannon grafted onto his arm, as he shoots his way through levels packed with enemy robots. Oftentimes, eight levels are immediately available to complete in any order, and at the end of each level is a boss robot with a similar level of advanced construction and power as Mega Man himself, referred to as a "Robot Master". Defeating a Robot Master gains Mega Man a special weapon corresponding to that Robot Master that he may use for the rest of the game, and this weapon is typically the weakness at least one of the other seven Robot Masters. Since one Robot Master uses a weapon that is the weakness of another Robot Master, a rock-paper-scissors mechanic between all of the Robot Masters is formulated due to this.
Once Mega Man has defeated all eight Robot Masters and gained their weapons, he proceeds to a final set of harder stages typically taking place in the villain's fortress lair, featuring both special, harder bosses and a room where all eight Robot Masters are defeated one in a row, before battling and defeating the villain in his latest war machine or ultimate form.
The most prolific continuities and sub-series in the Mega Man franchise are as follows, each of which has its own incarnation on the Mega Man character design:
The Mega Man universe debuts in Smash 4 as the first Capcom series to make it into the Smash Bros. franchise, receiving a character, stage (alongside a boss), an Assist Trophy, and an assortment of trophies and music tracks.
Main article: Alternate costume (SSB4)/Mii Fighter
Smash Tour items
Main article: Enemies
Main article: List of SSB4 Music (Mega Man series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to SSB4.
Compositions and arrangements directly sourced from Mega Man games with no alterations.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Mega Man series)
for Wii U
Main article: Trophy Box
Main article: Masterpieces
The Mega Man franchise returns with a sizable boost in representation. Along with all previous content returning (sans one Assist Trophy), the franchise has expanded its scope to include content from other subseries such as Mega Man X and Mega Man Star Force. Along with the titular character returning as an unlockable fighter, two new Assist Trophies make their debut. The lone Mega Man stage returns now with more hazards and an even larger selection of music tracks, both sourced and rearranged. Rounding out the representation is a large variety of Spirits spanning every major video game subseries in the franchise, with no other third-party series having as many Spirits in Smash as Mega Man.
Main article: Alternate costume (SSBU)/Mii Fighter
Main article: List of SSBU Music (Mega Man series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to Ultimate.
Arrangements and remixes returning from Smash 4.
Tracks sourced directly from the Mega Man games.
Main article: List of spirits (Mega Man series)
The kanji aruji "主" denotes a Master Spirit.
Games with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
The game introduced Mega Man as well as the Yellow Devil. Elec Man, a Robot Master boss, appears as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. 4. The rails that appear in Wily Castle carrying a moving platform debuted in Guts Man's stage, and later Wily's Castle. The enemy Mettaur appears in Smash Run. Trophies of Dr. Light and Roll are exclusive to the U version. Several music tracks are based on this game, with every Robot Master except for Elec Man receiving a remix of their theme as of Ultimate. The following moves debuted in this game:
Mega Man 2
Main article: Mega Man 2
The design of Dr. Wily's Castle comes from this game. Numerous music tracks are based on this game, including Mega Man 2 Medley (containing remixes of the Mega Man 2 title theme and the iconic Dr. Wily Castle stages 1 and 2 theme), Air Man Stage, Quick Man Stage, Wood Man Stage, Flash Man Stage, Crasg Man Stage, Metal Man Stage, and Mega Man 2 Retro Medley. A trophy of the E-Tank appears in both versions of Super Smash Bros. 4. Mega Man 2 is also a masterpiece.
The following moves debuted in this game:
Mega Man 3
Proto Man debuted in this game. He appears as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. 4, and his armor and helmet are available as DLC for Mii Fighters (the outfit is specific to the Mii Gunners). He also serves as an item in Smash Tour. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, he makes an appearance alongside Bass as part of Mega Man's Final Smash, Mega Legends. Several music tracks are based on this game, including Spark Man Stage, Shadow Man Stage, Top Man Stage, Hard Man Stage, Snake Man Stage, and Mega Man 3 Retro Medley. The following moves debuted in this game:
Mega Man 4
The platforms that move along curved tracks when a fighter lands on them, and the vertical conveyor belt platforms at the 3DS version of Wily Castle, come from Bright Man's stage and the room where the boss Tako Trash is fought. A trophy of Eddie is exclusive to the Wii U version. Two themes from this game are included as part of the Mega Man 4-6 Retro Medley track, and the game receives its own medley in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The following moves debuted in this game:
Mega Man 5
Beat debuted in this game. He serves as one of Mega Man's custom moves for Rush Coil, Beat. Dark Man's Castle theme is included as part of the Mega Man 4-6 Retro Medley track, and receives a remix in Ultimate alongside the themes of Gravity Man and Napalm Man. Mega Man's down tilt being able to damage opponents could be a reference to Charge Man's power Charge Kick, which was the first weapon that allowed Mega Man to weaponize his sliding ability to attack targets on the ground.
Mega Man 6
Flame Man's theme is included as part of the Mega Man 4-6 Retro Medley track. The following abilities come from this game:
Mega Man 7
A trophy of Bass and Treble are exclusive to the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. 4. The following abilities debuted in this game:
In Ultimate, Bass appears as a part of Mega Man's updated Final Smash, Mega Legends. Additionally, the Wily Capsule Assist Trophy uses the design and abilities of the final boss of this game.
Mega Man 8
The following powers debuted in this game:
Sword Man appears as a Spirit in Ultimate.
Mega Man 9
Mega Man's final smash opens with Galaxy Man's Black Hole Bomb, which originated in this game. Ultimate features a remix of "We're the Robots", the second Wily Castle stage theme from this game.
Mega Man 10
Mega Man, Proto Man, Bass and Dr. Wily's spirit art are from this game.
Super Adventure Rockman
An obscure title that never saw release outside of Japan. Mega Man's need to vent his Mega Busters after using an attack that involves both (his up and down smashes) is a reference to the game's climax where Mega Man takes down the Evil Ra Moon with a double charge shot, despite Wily warning that doing so could overheat his systems and destroy him.
Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters
The following moves debuted in this game:
Duo, an alien robot and ally of Mega Man who debuted in this title ahead of his main appearance in Mega Man 8, appears as a Spirit in Ultimate.
Mega Man X
Mega Man X is one of the five Mega Men to fire in Mega Man's Final Smash. His armor and helmet are available as DLC for Mii Fighters, with the outfit being exclusive to the Mii Gunners, while Zero's helmet and armor are available for Mii Swordfighters. A trophy of Zero is exclusive to the Wii U version. Zero also appears as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Mega Man's ability to wall jump also comes from Mega Man X. An arrangement of the opening stage music appears in Ultimate.
Mega Man X2
The design used for the Zero as an assist trophy and a Mii costume, including the Z-Saber, first appeared in this sequel.
Mega Man X5
The music from the boss fight between X and Zero appears as a track in Ultimate.
Mega Man X7
The Rookie Maverick Hunter Axl appears as a Spirit in Ultimate.
Mega Man Legends (Mega Man 64)
Mega Man Volnutt is one of the five Mega Men to fire in Mega Man's Final Smash. Ultimate also features Roll Caskett and Tron Bonne as spirits.
Mega Man Zero
The game's arrangement of Mega Man X's Zero theme appears as a track in Ultimate.
Mega Man ZX
The art of one of the protagonists, Vent, appears as the Model X and Model ZX spirits.
Mega Man Battle Network
MegaMan.EXE is one of the five Mega Men to fire in Mega Man's Final Smash, and his headgear and outfit appear as Mii Costumes. MegaMan.EXE and ProtoMan.EXE appear as spirits.
Mega Man Star Force
Geo Stelar (as Mega Man) is one of the five Mega Men to fire in Mega Man's Final Smash. "Shooting Star", the title screen theme of Mega Man Star Force, appears as a music track in Ultimate.