The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is coming later this week, the latest ports of six Mega Man Battle Network games originally released on the Game Boy Advance. If you’ve never played the series before, at least you’ll be familiar. This long-running series was spun off into a 56-episode comic called MegaMan NT Warrior, culminating in a feature film and a comic series that ran for nearly four years. It has its own line of toys featuring collectible battle chips, a sequel series called Mega Man Star Force with three entries on the DS, and its own Settlers of Catan retheme. You’ve certainly heard of Battle Network, but you might not know that Capcom didn’t actually make money.
Given the size of the franchise, it’s hard to believe Battle Network wasn’t a success, but the best-selling entry in the series was Battle Network 4, which sold only 1.35 million copies. The sixth and final game in the series sold over 500,000 copies. The best-selling Mega Man Battle Network still isn’t among Capcom’s 50 best-selling games. The new Legacy Collection only needs to sell over 1.35 million copies to become the best-selling game in the series.
That may not be too surprising. Battle Network is, after all, a spin-off series itself and a strategy RPG. It was exclusive to the GBA, and the dual release plan featuring two different versions of each game apparently attempted to duplicate Pokemon’s success. It’s not too strange that such a niche subseries never finds mainstream success, but at least the core Mega Man games have always done well.
Wrong, I fooled you. There is no successful Mega Man game. Capcom’s mascot is actually one of the worst performers. Last year, Megaman 11 surpassed 1.6 million copies, 150,000 more than Megaman Battle Network 4, making it the best-selling Megaman game of all time. Since its release on the NES in 1987, it has sold a total of 1.51 million copies. Capcom had some success with Mega Man in the 80’s and haven’t made a more popular Mega Man game in 35 years. And boy oh boy, it tried.
Mega Man’s story is one of quantity over quality. Despite a long history of poor sales, a staggering number of Mega Man games have gone on to become one of Capcom’s most successful franchises. Although it lags far behind Capcom’s two blockbuster titles, Resident Evil and Monster Hunter, its total sales aren’t far behind Street Fighter, and it beats Devil May Cry and Dead Rising. It’s easy to see why. If you put all Mega Man games together, including ports, collections, and multiplatform releases, there are 158 games, far more than any other franchise owned by Capcom.
It’s shocking that the best-selling Mega Man game is Capcom’s 56th best-selling game. There is a Resident Evil DLC pack that sold better than Mega Man 11. Lost Planet 2 sold better than Mega Man 11. I’m not sure what to do with this information, but I feel like someone should know. It will bring me boundless joy to see the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection go on to become the best-selling Mega Man game of all time. When you buy this week, you’ll not only get a great game collection, but you’ll also enjoy the fact that you’re helping fun things happen.
Next: I’m not excited enough about Mega Man Battle Network.