How do you do, fellow teens? Time for more talk about redesigning characters for a game that hasn’t had a new installment in seven years – Mega Man! We’re almost through the classic MM1 Robot Masters, with only two entries left. Today, we’re turning up the heat with Fire Man!
Fire Man was probably the coolest design in Mega Man 1. I mean… look at him! It’s both a clever pun (his head is based on an old lighter) and a pretty sleek, tough set of armor. Compared to how dumpy most of the MM1 bosses were, Fire Man looked ready to throw down. Also, his power was fire. Fire is badass. Ask any young guy which of the Captain Planet rings he’d want and (after he asked you what the hell Captain Planet was and laughed at how old you are) he’d pick fire.
He’s also the design that really gave juice to my wanting to do this project. I was reading the Mega Man comics (which I highly recommend) and kept wanting to tackle a Mega Man redesign, but I started having really clear ideas of what I could do with Fire Man, too. Realizing I could do more than just the main guy, I started ruminating on other characters and soon enough had to put pen to tablet and get going.
So I didn’t want to take too much away from what made Fire Man cool (hot?) in the first place. What I started to see in him, though, was that his lighter-head design also reminded me of the helmets knights wore; a very medieval armor look. I set out to make Fire Man look like a dark knight. But not, you know, the dark knight. I wanted to keep it simple and sleek, bringing him much closer to Mega Man’s armored aesthetic, but bulk up his shoulders and upper torso. I used repeated spiky forms to make him look dangerous and to repeat the visual idea of flames throughout his body. While I really wanted to keep his red and silver color scheme, I just couldn’t find a way to make it work that felt strong enough. Red and black just felt better, heavier, tougher – cooler, frankly. I’ll use red and silver somewhere else, I guess.
My last idea was to rethink his flame cannons. Instead of looking like the Mega Buster and just being big cylinders, I went with wide, flat projectors that would shoot out sheets of flame. I remembered the old D&D spell “Burning Hands” and its description of a wide, flat pane of fire extending from the fingertips. I’d always thought that sounded like a really cool visual, so I worked something out here. I imagined he would fight using broad sweeping arcs of his arms that would create a wreath of fire all around him in addition to the bursts of fire he shot at you. It could be an awesome look, and would look just as great when Mega Man used it.
The Fire Storm weapon would then just be a direct port of Fire Man’s flamethrowers, and would keep him in the red and black (I’m saving the red and orange for another boss – probably Heat Man in MM2). It’s nice and simple but still looks pretty sweet on him. I can imagine Mega Man jumping and spinning as he shoots wide sheets of fire out, a shield of fire building all around him as he goes. It would be such a great visual!
And that’s Fire Man; probably one of the easiest designs I had, and definitely the easiest of the bosses. The whole design just clicked in my head right away, and there was no struggle at all in putting it on the page. Which just leaves one MM1 boss to go – Elec Man debuts this Thursday. See you then!