There’s been a lot of hoopla lately about the Mega Man series.  In particular, the retro-tastic releases of Mega Man 9 and the upcoming Mega Man 10.  When MM10 was first announced, I read a few internet comments along the lines of “Shouldn’t Mega Man X be Mega Man 10?”  Honestly, I don’t really care.  But, it DID get me thinking.  What about the Mega Man X franchise?  It’s been a few years since Mega Man X8 came out for the PS2 and I haven’t heard any rumors about a new one or anything.

Best. Buddy-Cops. Ever.

Naturally, you might think if Capcom DID want to make a new Mega Man X game, they would just go the same route they took with Mega Man 9.  Make it a download only retro homage to the original SNES games.  However, I think the X series would be better suited as a full disk release.  The reason being the original Mega Man series never really needed to re-invent itself in the first place.  Sure, there were a few small tweaks between games (such as the ability to slide, for instance), but most of the core gameplay remained unchanged.  The Mega Man X series, however, added something new to each game.  Heck, from Mega Man X 3 on, you could play as characters OTHER then the main one!

Instead of the sequel taking away all the progress each game in the series has made, I think it would be nice to see it evolve even further.  Take various elements from all the past games, and even add in some new ones.  Here’s some of my ideas for a kick-ass version of Mega Man X 9:

Cel-shaded 2d graphics:  The 3d side-scrolling thing looked OK on the PS2, but I would much prefer high-res 2d sprites.  Games like Odin Sphere, Muramasa, and even Street Fighter II HD Remix really understood how 2d worked, and made it work WELL with hand-drawn sprites.

16 master robots:  Yes, that’s twice as many as every other game.  This game would feature 8 brand new robots, PLUS 8 older mavericks from past games in the Mega Man X series.  It would work a bit like Mega Man X2 did.  When you defeat the first 8 bosses, you move on to the next set.  Each set would be a mixture of new and old mavericks.

The ability to combine weapons:  With 16 bosses, there’s much potential for special weapons here.  I’m thinking you could have two different weapon slots (Slot A for the new bosses and slot B for the old ones).  After you find the buster upgrade, you could combine certain weapons into a third attack.  Each boss would have a weakness for one weapon, but you could do even more damage if you combined it with another.

Different sets of armor for X:  One of the key gameplay elements in the MMX series has been upgrading the armor.  Some games have different sets of armor, but I don’t believe any had the ability to mix and match.  Here, there are eight total upgrades (maybe more), which would be two of each “part.”  These would be a mixture of upgrades from past games (Such as the item seeking helmet, or the Giga Crush from X2).

Multiplayer:  Believe it or not, it can be done.  Anyone that’s played Mega Man: The Power Battle probably knows how well this could work already.  I would take it a step further by adding full stages.  Each level would be a remixed version of the single player level.  There would be less emphasis on platforming and more on teaming up to take down foes.  I’m thinking something similar to Metal Slug or Contra.

Zero and Axl:  Would only be selectable in multiplayer, but would probably be available for single player via DLC.  The reason for this is I would want to give both characters their own upgrades and weapons (along with a story), so you have more incentive to play as them rather then X.  After unlocking their upgraded armor, you would be able to use it in multiplayer (along with X’s).

Full anime cutscenes:  At this point, it isn’t a Mega Man X game without a bitchin’ anime opening and ending.  I think it would be cool if each boss got their own animated intro and/or death scene.  (This would probably be the main reason the game wouldn’t work as a downloadable title.)

All in all, I think I would be happy just to see ANY new Mega Man X title.  I always did like that series a bit more then the main Mega Man games (I try sticking to walls in 8-bit and it just doesn’t work, sadly).  Whatever Capcom does end up doing with the series, I’m sure it’ll be swell.

So, what do you think?   Anything I missed?  What would you like to see in Mega Man X9?