Mega Man has been a long running franchise that includes video games, comics, collectibles, and T.V shows. The following timeline aims to present highlights of it's history. However, given the mass scope of releases, some items have been omitted. Nonetheless, the timeline does strive to illustrate the longevity, impact, and popularity of Mega Man! All release dates are in reference to North America.
Mega Man the video game (initially released in Japan as Rockman) is released in North America. The story of the game is as follows, in the year 20XX, the renowned Doctor Thomas Light, a brilliant roboticist, along with his colleague and partner, Doctor Albert W. Wily create and develop a series of advanced humanoid robots to assist mankind. These include the boy robot Rock. The world had seemingly ignored Dr. Wily's contributions for these helpful robots. This quickly led to a bitter jealously which drove Wily mad. With the exception of Rock, Wily was able to reprogramme the robots, as he was to use them to take over the world. Without warning, the robots go out of control and start attacking the populace, among them six advanced humanoid robots made for industrial purposes: Cut Man, Guts Man, Ice Man, Bomb Man, Fire Man, and Elec Man. Dr. Light realizes the culprit is his old rival Dr. Wily, but is unsure of what to do. His helper robot Rock, having a strong sense of justice, offers to be converted into a fighting robot to stop Dr. Wily's plan, becoming Mega Man! The game becomes a ''sleeper hit'' selling moderately over the course of its release. Although, it was not the super-hit Capcom had hoped for, it did sell enough for them to issue a squeal.
Mega Man 2 is released. The game becomes a huge hit, and goes on to sell nearly 4 million copies. The game also garners great reviews from critics and fans!
Mega Man 3 is released. The game sells well over 1 million copies. Nintendo Power gives the game a 4 out of 5 star rating. The game is the first to introduce the characters of Rush (Mega Man's robotic dog), and Proto Man.
Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge is released on the Nintendo Game Boy. It is the first game in the handheld series of the Mega Man franchise. Four squeals would follow, the last being Mega Man V. Reception to the Game Boy series had been generally positive.
Mega Man 4 is released. The game introduces the feature of the Mega Buster (a powered up charge shot). GamePro gives Mega Man 4 a five star rating. The game sells close to a million copies.
Mega Man 5 is released. The game is met with positive critical reception for its graphics and music. Game Pro gives the game a near 5 star rating. Mega Man 5 sells close to a million copies.
Mega Man X is released. It is the first Mega Man game for a 16-bit console and the first game in the Mega Man X series (a spin-off of the original Mega Man series that takes place 100 years after the original series). The plot of Mega Man X is as follows, a human archaeologist named Dr. Cain discovers the ruins of a robotics research facility that had once been operated by the legendary robot designer Dr. Thomas Light. Among the ruins, Cain finds a large capsule which contains a highly advanced robot with human-level intelligence and emotions, and even free will! Light had wished to instill within his creation reasonable sanity, good nature, and an understanding of the more controversial aspects of human morality. The robot was buried while running a 30-year diagnostic program to ensure these features. Cain spends the next several months studying the robot, who is named Mega Man X, but is often simply called "X". Cain decides to duplicate X's amazing hardware and within several months, completes the first "replicate android" or "Reploid", a robot who can think, feel, learn, and grow exactly like a human. Within the year, the design is standardized and Reploids are mass-produced. However, with the free will given to a Reploid comes the possibility of criminal activity; such rogue Reploids are branded as "Mavericks" by law-abiding citizens. As the public outcry against the Maverick incidents becomes too great to deny, the government steps in, and under the advice of Dr. Cain forms an elite organization called the "Maverick Hunters". The Hunters are to capture or disable any Reploids that pose a threat to humans, provide damage control at Maverick uprisings, help with disaster recovery, and perform other tasks as needed. To lead this group, Cain designs a very advanced Reploid, thought to be immune to whatever defect causes Mavericks. This robot, named Sigma, heads the Hunters for some time before ultimately becoming a Maverick himself, alongside the vast majority of the other Hunters. Sigma seizes control of a small island, driving out all human occupants. Claiming that the humans are inferior and that they are limiting the growth and potential of Reploids, he calls for his followers to begin a massive extinction effort. Mega Man X, guilt-ridden at having helped design such a dangerous race, joins forces with the one of the remaining Hunters, Zero, (X's best friend) in order to stop Sigma at any cost. The game has enjoyed wide-spread acclaim by critics since its release. Mega Man X would sell over 3 million copies.
Mega Man 6 is released. Due to the declining support of the NES and the growing presence of the newer and more powerful Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Capcom decided not to publish Mega Man 6 in North America. The North American version of Mega Man 6 was instead released by Nintendo of America. Despite the fact that it was released on the NES, Mega Man 6 still sells over half a million copies. It also received a near 5 star rating from GamePro. Mega Man 6 continues the adventures of Mega Man against Dr. Wily, and confirms that releases from the ''classic'' series will continue, despite the release of Mega Man X.
The Mega Man cartoon debuts. The show has a unique, yet strange mix of visual styles. Some aspects look very anime-esc, while Mega Man and the Robot Masters have a more western style, complete with large builds and muscles. This portrayal of Mega Man was intended to appeal to Western audiences who were familiar with the current line up of cartoon heroes (like X-Men). This style alienated some fans, while others loved the show - it holds a near 7 out of 10 rating on IMDB. According to Business Wire, at its peak Mega Man was placed as the number one weekly syndicated children's show in the Nielsen ratings! SideQuesting.com stated the show was quite popular in the US, having consistently high ratings.
Mega Man X2 is released, which continues X's mission to stop the mavericks. Comparing the game to the first Mega Man X, GamePro's Chris Nicolella called Mega Man X2 "improved in almost every way". Mega Man X2 receives generally positive reviews from most other critics and sells well over half a million copies.
Mega Man 7 is released. It introduces the character Bass. However, some start to question if the Mega Man series is becoming over saturated with releases. Despite this, over 300,000 loyal fans purchase the game. EGM, Gamer Informer, and GamePro all give Mega Man 7 a good rating.
Mega Man X3 is released. GamePro and AllGame both give the new Mega Man release a 4 out of 5 star rating. Mega Man X3 sells close to 400,000 copies.
Mega Man 8 is released. The game receives a great response from fans and sells around 1 million copies.
Mega Man X4 is released. The game becomes a huge hit and sells around 1.1 million copies.
Mega and Bass is released in Japan for the Super Famicom (it is later ported to the Game Boy Advance in 2002). The game is a follow-up to the events of Mega Man 8. GamePro gives Mega and Bass 4 out of 5 stars. The game sells close to 100,000 copies in Japan alone.
Mega Man Legends is released. The game stars a different incarnation of Mega Man named Mega Man Volnutt, and takes place many years after the classic and X series'. Mega Man Legends differs greatly from the platforming gameplay of past Mega Man games, the main factor being the three-dimensional worlds, and three-dimensional movement therein. It also contains RPG elements. The game receives generally good reviews and sells close to a million copies.
Mega Man Legends 2 is released. It is well received by critics. AllGame gives it a near 5 Star rating. The game goes on to sell around half a million copies.
Mega Man Xtreme is released for the Game Boy Color. The game takes place during the ''X series.'' Mega Man Xtreme becomes a Top 5 hit on the Japanese Video Game Chart (Media Create) upon its release and spends a second week in the Top 10.
Mega Man X5 is released. GamePro gives the game a 5 Star rating. It sells close to a million copies.
Mega Man Battle Network is released for the Game Boy Advance. The game takes place during the 21st century (in an alternate timeline from the Classic series, X series, and Legends). In this world, society and everyday life is driven by the internet. Users are able to interact with and virtually explore nearly any electronic device using highly advanced, online avatars called "NetNavis". The game follows a young boy named Lan Hikari and his NetNavi MegaMan.EXE as they solve a series of crimes instigated by the "WWW (World Three)" organization. Rather than share the platform gameplay of its predecessors, Battle Network is a tactical role-playing game (RPG). Despite the differences, the new Mega Man game is a hit with fans, and sells close to half a million copies.
Mega Man Xtreme 2 is released for the Game Boy Color. It is a spin-off title in the Mega Man X series and is a follow-up to Mega Man Xtreme. The game becomes a Top 10 hit on the Japanese Video Game Chart (Media Create) upon its release. It receives generally positive reviews.
Mega Man X6 is released. IGN and GameZone both give X6 an 8 out of 10 rating. It sells close to half a million copies. Around the same time, MegaMan NT Warrior debuts. This is an anime and manga series based on Capcom's Mega Man Battle Network video game series. MegaMan NT Warrior achieved popularity among Japanese viewing audiences. According to a viewership sample conducted in the Kantō region by Video Research, the anime drew in an average of 4.5% and a maximum of 5.9% of households during the last year of its original run. It holds a 7 out of 10 rating on IMDB.
Mega Man Battle Network 2 is released. It is generally well received by critics. It sells over 300,000 copies.
Mega Man Zero is released for the Game Boy Advance. It is set 100 years after the Mega Man X series. The plot follows the Reploid protagonist Zero, who is awakened from a century of sleep to aid a human scientist named Ciel and her resistance force in a fight against the utopia of Neo Arcadia, which is attempting to unjustly wipe out all androids it views as threats. The game sells over half a million copies and it generally well received by critics.
Two new games in the Battle Network series are released. First Mega Man Network Transmission for the Nintendo Game Cube and then Mega Man Battle Network 3 for the Game Boy Advance. Network Transmission sells around 200,000 copies. However, Battle Network 3 becomes a huge hit and sells over 1.2 million copies.
Mega Man X7 is released. The gameplay differs from the rest of the X games, and a new protagonist Axl is introduced. Furthermore, players cannot play as Mega Man X until he is ''unlocked'' by rescuing 64 innocent Reploids. X can also be used near the end of the game if the 64 reploids are not rescued. These changes were not welcome by fans. X7 has been generally met with negative reception from both fans and critics. The same month Mega Man Zero 2 is released. The game is well received by fans and sells close to half a million copies.
Mega Man Battle Network 4 is released. Battle Network 4 has two different versions, Red Sun (Tournament Red Sun in Japan) and Blue Moon (Tournament Blue Moon in Japan), that differ in story and gameplay details. They are both well received by fans, and in total sell over 1.3 million copies.
Mega Man X Command Mission is released for the Nintendo Game Cube and Play Station 2. It is a RPG styled game. Command Mission receives generally positive to mixed reviews. It sells over 300,000 copies.
Mega Man Zero 3 is released for the Game Boy Advance. It was met with generally positive reviews The game becomes a Top 5 hit on the Japanese Video Game Chart (Media Create) upon its release.
Mega Man X8 is released. The new game play features of X7 are abandoned and X8 returns to the form of the previous entries of the series. The game receives mixed to positive reviews. The game becomes a Top 10 hit on the Japanese Video Game Chart (Media Create) upon its release.
Mega Man: Upon a Star, a Japanese anime original video animation (OVA), is released with an English dub on DVD. Though originally produced in 1994/1995, it had not previously been available in North America. It holds a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and a 7.2 out of 10 rating on IMDB.
The Mega Man Anniversary Collection is released for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Nintendo GameCube. The release features Mega Man 1-8. It also features two Mega Man games which had a limited release outside Japan, Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters. The compilation gets great reviews and sells over 1.1 million copies.
Mega Man Battle Network 5 is released for the Game Boy Advance. It would later be released on the Nintendo DS. Battle Network 5 comes in three different versions: Team ProtoMan, and Team Colonel both for the Game Boy Advance, which have similar gameplay but slightly different supporting characters and stories, and Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS, for the Nintendo DS, which includes the content from both games as well as extra content. The combined sales of the various versions total around half a million copies.
Mega Man Zero 4 is released for the Game Boy Advance. The game becomes a Top 10 hit on the Japanese Video Game Chart (Media Create) upon its release. It received generally positive reviews.
The Mega Man X Collection, featuring all eight games, is released on the GameCube and for PlayStation 2. The game sells close to half a million copies.
Mega Man Battle Network 6 is released on the Game Boy Advance. Battle Network 6 marks the end of the Battle Network series. Both versions of the game placed in the Media Create Top 10 best-selling games list in Japan during their release week. The two versions of the game sold nearly half a million copies combined during its first month in the region and a total of 610,000 copies by the end of Capcom's 2005 fiscal year. The game also achieves solid sales outside Japan.
Mega Man Star Force is released for the Nintendo DS. Taking place many years afterward the Battle Network series, the series is set in the fictional year 220X. Emphasis on internet technology has lessened, and instead, the world has become networked through use of EM waves. Though cyber worlds and NetNavis still exist in Star Force, human dependency on them has greatly decreased, and people no longer have Navi companions. Three large satellites orbiting the Earth—Pegasus, Leo, and Dragon—power the EM Wave World that exists around the Earth's atmosphere, keeping the world networked. While the EM Wave World is normally invisible to the human eye, a special piece of eyewear called the Visualizer (possessed by the series' protagonist) allows a human to see this other world. However, like with the cyber worlds of Battle Network, EM Wave Viruses inhabit the EM Wave World, causing problems in everyday life. The protagonist of Star Force is Geo Stelar, the son of a famous scientist and astronaut. He has an encounter with a rogue FM-ian known as Omega-Xis who takes residency in Geo's Transer. When the two go through an Electromagnetic Wave Change they form an entity that is eventually known as Mega Man. The game sells close to a million copies.
Mega Man Star Force 2 is released for the Nintendo DS. In a similar format to Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS, each game card contains two versions of the game, available as Zerker × Saurian and Zerker × Ninja. The two versions of the game sold around half a million copies.
Mega Man 9 is released. It features classic graphics and gameplay (like that seen in Mega Man 2). Mega Man 9 was the first game in the series not to have a physical release, and was initially released only on the downloadable gaming services WiiWare, PlayStation Network (PSN), and Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA). Capcom's Seth Killian stated months later that the company was "definitely happy" with the sales of the game. Inafune also expressed his satisfaction with the game's success, proclaiming that it far exceeded their expectations. The game also received widespread positive reviews.
Mega Man Star Force 3 is released for the Nintendo DS. The game was released with two versions: Black Ace and Red Joker. Each features a unique cover and unique character transformations, among other features. It is the last of the Star Force series. Together, the two versions of Star Force 3 sell around half a million copies.
Mega Man 10 is released. Like Mega Man 9, it features 8-bit graphics. The game was released as a downloadable title for the console gaming services WiiWare, PlayStation Network(PSN), and Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) during March 2010. The game receives positive reviews from critics and sells well. Christian Svensson, Capcom's Senior Vice President of strategic planning and business development, stated that the company was pleased with the sales of Mega Man 10.
Super Smash Bros (for the 3DS and Nintendo Wii U) is released. The game features Mega Man as a playable character. A special Mega Man trailer for the game is also released and is viewed around 4 million times on YouTube.
The Mega Man Legacy Collection gets a digital release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows (via Steam). A physical version is released several months later. The collection contains the first six Mega Man games with high definition 8-bit graphics and additional content. It goes on to sell over 1 million copies.
The Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 gets released. It contains Mega Man 7-10. Later a Legacy collection featuring all 10 games is released for the Nintendo Switch.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 are released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (via Steam). The games can be bought separately, or part of a dual purchase for both physical release or a digital bundle pack. In the case of the Switch dual release however (similar to the previous Legacy Collection releases) only X Legacy Collection 1 has a physical cartridge, while X Legacy Collection 2 was given a code for a free digital download, similar to Mega Man Legacy Collection 2. Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2 (PS4) debuts at #1 on the Japanese Video Game Chart.
Mega Man 11 is released for for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (via Steam). The game receives positive reviews and acclaim from critics. Mega Man 11 becomes a Top 10 hit upon its release on both the U.S and Japanese Video Game Charts.