Hey, everybody! Adam here, to talk about one of my favorite things: Mega Man. This is a series of games I sank a tremendous amount of time into as a kid. Mega Man 2 was my favorite, but I played and enjoyed so many of them. I also recently read through the newest comic series, which I loved and highly recommend. The way they wove together the plots from the games and added so much more character and heart to the story made me really want to draw the characters. But I wanted to do it my way. And that began a whole redesign project in my mind, the results of which will be shared here.
In redesigning Mega Man, I wanted to find a good balance of the “robot” and “boy” aspects of the character, aiming for something heroic and still a little innocent. My first attempt leaned a little too hard on the “robot” side, and I felt like it got far too busy:
It didn’t feel enough like Mega Man! So I worked at streamlining. There is a beautiful simplicity to the original games, and if I went too far away from that I’d lose the spirit of the franchise that had made it so endearing in the first place.
My next attempt was much stronger, and put me somewhere I liked:
That pretty much nailed what I wanted – sleek and cool, clearly robotic in the joints and lights, but with a face that softened him and added some sweetness. Yes, he fights Evil Robot Masters – but he was built to be a sweet, helpful kid! I almost envision him being a robo-fighter version of Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
I envisioned the visor being a holographic HUD that switches on in battle mode and turns off the rest of the time. The running lights, besides looking cool and creating a sense of heroic anatomy without actually having to draw musculature (strong but youthful!) also would be a great device for showing power levels and can change colors when he switches to other weapons. Plus, I can imagine the radials on the gauntlets glowing brighter and brighter and starting to spark when he charges up a shot.
The final design challenge for Mega Man himself was his mega buster arm cannon.
I wanted his gauntlets to open and transform from hand-mode to blaster-mode, so the trick was designing something that used the same forms as his basic gauntlet but was rearranged into the mega buster:
That was a lot of mess, there. Some of it worked, a lot of it didn’t. Most designs were too busy (again), as over-design is usually the first stage of design for me. Stripping it back, I found I didn’t care for the more bulbous looks. While his blaster in the games is kind of a big pill-shape, it didn’t match the sleeker aesthetic I was leaning toward now. I struck on the idea to make the profile wider, but make it more slender in width – like an oval shape instead of a big circle. That finally led me to something I really liked:
In all, I spent more time searching for a mega buster design than anything else. By comparison, doing his unarmored body was really simple.
For Rock (Mega Man’s real name), I looked at what came before and tried to modernize it a little. And, of course, lose those big, goofy feet. Oy. Comfort suggested adding the seam lines on his skin to remind people he’s a robot, and I liked the idea that his head would be moved between his ‘Rock’ body and ‘Mega Man’ body. One is fully armored and built with combat in mind, the other is just a robo-boy body built to be helpful and fun.
And that’s it! Mega Man was finished and ready to go into battle. With that complete, I had a design language clearly laid out before me that I could use to build the rest of his universe.
…And I’ll show off my designs for the rest of the cast next. Come back Thursday for more Mega Man designs, this time featuring Dr. Light and Rock’s robo-companions!
See you then-
The head swapping part is brilliant, and has me picturing a scene where Rock brings a friend home only to weird them out when they see his headless “off-hours” body tossed in a corner like a discarded sweatshirt.