Back in 2008, Capcom released Mega Man 9, a retro throwback to the original Mega Man series that felt and looked like a 8-bit NES game. Last month, Capcom released Mega Man 10, another entry which fixed some of the issues from Mega Man 9 but still lacked in certain areas. With the runaway success of both titles, it's not far fetched to imagine Capcom might be planning Mega Man 11 sometime in the near future. Here are a few things that Capcom should consider when developing their new title:
If Mega Man 9 can be remembered for one thing in particular, it was the unique stage design which introduced new gameplay features such as the swinging platforms in Jewel Man's stage or the teleporters in Galaxy Man's stage. However, the stages were also known for being devilishly hard, to the point where it wasn't uncommon for players to die multiple times throughout the stage before they learned all of the instant-death traps and pitfalls littered throughout the stages. Mega Man 10 rectified this issue by making these areas more recognizable and including an Easy mode which covered many of these pitfalls with platforms, but this came at a cost since Capcom simply returned to the "run and jump to the end of the stage" design prevalent in the original NES Mega Man titles. Finding a middle ground between these two styles would make for stages which feel less like one is simply running from point A to B with some platforming in the middle.
Mega Man 9 featured some of the more unique weapons in the series, such as the Galaxy Bomb which absorbed projectiles and nearby enemies. It created some intriguing puzzles throughout the game, especially in the Wily Stages where players needed to use them sparingly to make it through the stage successfully. This also made for some inventive Time Attack runs, where players would have access to every weapon in the game in an attempt to clear the stage with the fastest time. However, in Mega Man 10, outside of a few specific weapons, such as the Rebound Stiker, many of the weapons were either slightly different versions of each other or near-exact copies of previous Mega Man weapons, or even near-useless weapons such as the Thunder Wool. While there is nothing wrong with having throwbacks to previous Mega Man weapons, when nearly half of the weapons are so similar the homage starts to run extremely thin and makes the game feel cheap.
This was one area where Mega Man 10 shined. In Mega Man 9, almost every stage's music could have been switched with another stage's music and it would not have made much of a difference. In Mega Man 10, each stage's music has its own specific theme that perfectly fits the mood, such as the water sounds in Pump Man's stage or the upbeat theme in Strike Man' stage. This is something that should be carried on in Mega Man 11, as the music for a stage can make all the difference in the feel the player gets from it.
While there are other issues with Mega Man 9 and 10 that Capcom could fix in Mega Man 11, implementing the above changes would make for a title that feels less like a rehash of the previous NES games and more like a nostalgic throwback that improves on the series while still sticking to the key gameplay mechanics that old-school players expect out of the series.