Mega Man X (character)

Mega Man X, known as Rockman X (Japanese: ロックマンX, Hepburn: Rokkuman Ekkusu) in Japan, with his name usually abbreviated to "X" (Japanese: エックス, Hepburn: Ekkusu), is the main protagonist of Capcom's Mega Man X video game series originating in the 1993 Super Nintendo video game Mega Man X. Mega Man X is an android who, along with his partner Zero, are elite members of the Maverick Hunters, a special police force tasked for defending humans and Reploids (androids who are based on X's design) against criminal Reploids, known as Mavericks. Mega Man X has appeared in multiple printed adaptations of the series as well as an original video animation, Day of Sigma, which explores his early days as a hunter. Mega Man X is also a supporting character in the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX video game series. Outside of the main Mega Man franchise, X has appeared in multiple crossover video games series.

Mega Man X
Mega Man X character
X as seen in Maverick Hunter X
First appearanceMega Man X (1993)
Created byKeiji Inafune
Hayato Kaji
Voiced by
In-universe information
SpeciesAndroid (Mega Man X series)
Cyber Elf (Mega Man Zero series)
Biometal (Mega Man ZX series)
OccupationElite Commander of the Maverick Hunters (Mega Man X series)
Variable Weapons System
Various armor sets
Unlimited Evolutionary Potential
FamilyDr. Light (creator)
Mega Man (brother)
Roll (sister)
Proto Man (brother)
Serial designationDLN-00X

The character was created by Keiji Inafune as a successor to the original Mega Man. He was given a darker characterization and multiple sets of armor that enhanced his skills to contrast him from his predecessor. Besides Inafune, X was overseen by artist Hayato Kaji. The character has been voiced by multiple actors in both Japanese and English versions of the franchise.

Critical reaction to X has been generally positive, with game journalists often finding him a worthy successor to Mega Man based on his unique traits. His partnership with Zero was also praised due to their different and complementary skills, although X was noted as being less popular than Zero, and his English voice actors were often seen as unfit for his characterization.

Creation and developmentEdit

Original conceptEdit

Keiji Inafune (pictured) created X alongside Hayato Kaji

When the Nintendo Entertainment System system began being overshadowed by its successor, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Keiji Inafune embraced the improved graphics engine and developed a darker plot and character design. Inafune felt that the original Mega Man was too good and that his successor should have an "edge".[1] In line with the new "X" series developed, two characters were created: one being the main character, X, and the other his partner, Zero.[2] In the original Mega Man series, Inafune usually designed the protagonist while his protégé Hayato Kaji handled the supporting characters; however, their roles were reversed for Mega Man X.[3] Kaji (credited as Rippa H.K) illustrated the protagonist X but had a difficult time with the initial design. However, he was then presented with much more freedom than he was accustomed to, due to the SNES's larger palette of colors when compared to the NES.[3]

Inafune and Kaji worked simultaneously on various designs for X with different pieces of armor attached. The idea for the armor parts came about because the game was planned during a time when role-playing video games were becoming extremely popular. Inafune felt that Mega Man had always represented a classic action game formula where the hero earns his defeated enemies' abilities; the armor parts were added to supplement this concept.[3] Inafune created the character Zero, whom he originally intended to be the game's main, playable protagonist.[3] "When the X series came out, I really wanted to redesign Mega Man," Inafune explained. "I wanted a totally different Mega Man. I’m a designer, a creator; I wanted something new. I didn’t want to use the same old Mega Man."[4] Fearing a negative reaction from fans, Zero was ultimately reduced to a role secondary to Mega Man X.[4][5] Inafune noted that in early sketches, X and Zero were too similar, so Capcom aimed to make their silhouettes contrast one another due to make the merchandise easier to distinguish.[6] Early illustrations of X made him look like a "cold-blooded killer", which led artists to soften his features in later games.[7]

Since the series' beginning, character designer Haruki Suetsugu was impressed by the handling of the relationship between X and Zero. From his point of view, X was a character who often makes mistakes in combat and constantly tries to improve. As a result, the artist felt he could relate with X, who was written to be a "B class" Hunter in contrast to Zero being the superior "Special A" rank. This allowed him to draw more frequently across the series.[8] Suetsugu replaced Infanune as desgigner starting in the fourth game. Nevertheless, he regretted some of his illustrations as X lacked the appeal that Zero originally had.[9]

Development and designsEdit

While X has been redrawn multiple times, Capcom redesigned him for the spin-off Command Mission, feeling his original form was too simple. This design returned in Infinite.

For the fourth title, Hitoshi Ariga was responsible for designing X's secret "Ultimate Armor" (アルティメットアーマー, Arutimetto Āmā) featured in both the game after inputting a cheat code and as a Japanese Bandai action figure.[10] He spent four days coming up with the initial blueprint, but was told by his supervisor to revise it. After tinkering with the Mega Man X3 armor parts, he noticed that attaching them in specific ways made them look like an airplane. Ariga remembered creating the armor as an extremely difficult yet fun task. He also revealed that Zero was intended to have his own Ultimate Armor, but the development team chose to not finalize it.[10] X's new Falcon Armor (ファルコンアーマー, Farukon Āmā) was designed by Ryuji Higurashi for X5, who wanted it to resemble a bird with a beak-shaped chest piece, wings coming out of the back, and a talon-like arm cannon. Suetsugu designed the Gaea Armor, which was meant to resemble Sanagiman from the Inazuman manga series.[3] Inafune's only contribution to Mega Man X7 was lending advice to the illustrators on creating the new protagonist Axl. Inafune had been careful in making X and Zero unique when he originally designed them, and he wanted to give Axl the same treatment.[3] In Mega Man X6, Suetsugu aimed to make the Blade and Shadow Armors look stylish.[11]

The cover art for the Japanese Saturn version of X4 depicts Zero standing alone in a dark setting.[12] "Usually, not having the main character on the package would be unheard of," Inafune stated. "But we had a lot of hardcore fans on the Saturn, so I figured it would be all right."[3] A "Special Limited Pack" edition of the game included the Ultimate Armor X action figure.[13] Another armor based on the Ultimate's design was made for X to wear in the Mega Man X collection's Challenge Mode.[14] The three main characters were revised for Mega Man X8 as Yoshikawa planned to give them more unique features.[15]

For Mega Man X: Command Mission, Assistant Producer Tatsuya Kitabayashi claimed the staff were fans of the main character and wanted to alter his design. This was mostly because Capcom felt X looked too simple.[11] The Hyper Mode was exclusive to the playable characters X and Zero. However, because this gave them too large of an advantage over other party members, all other characters were given one Hyper Mode while X and Zero were given two each. The staff noted X's overall characterization was conflicted due to his pacifist nature while killing enemies. As a result, they decided to make a strong yet kind character in order to appeal to the fans, turning him "into a full-fledged hero".[16] Nevertheless, the developers were afraid of a negative backlash if the fans found X and Zero to be too different from their original personas.[17] The redesign involved a "beam scarf" that could be produced whenever X performed a dash.[18]

Mega Man Zero's main antagonist was a popular topic of discussion during production, and the developer often sought input from Capcom in this regard. Yoshihisa Tsuda jokingly suggested that they make the original Mega Man X the final boss, an idea that was accepted at first. According to director Ryota Ito, Inti Creates realized that it "wouldn't sit so well with the young boys and girls that really do see [X] as a hero", so they replaced him with Copy X just one month before release.[19]

Takahiro Sakurai is currently one of X's voice actors in Japanese.

X and Zero were intended to appear in the cancelled game Maverick Hunter. Both Mega Man X and Zero would have featured alongside a new human sidekick who is a "Bruce Willis-like police officer." The inclusion of the human sidekick was part of the game's "man versus machine contrast".[20] It was to be the first of a trilogy of games; players would control X in the first two games while they would switch to Zero in the third game, who must destroy X (who had become "incredibly powerful and infinitely intelligent over the course of two games").[20]

Voice actorsEdit

X was first voiced in Japanese by Megumi Ogata, who considered the role to be a "first generation part" of her career alongside other series like Yu-Gi-Oh! due to voicing X and Yugi Mutou in their first appearance and later being replaced.[21] Starting in Mega Man X4, X was given another voice actor, Kentarō Itō. He was replaced by Showtaro Morikubo for the next works.[22] The fourth voice actor currently voicing X since Mega Man X8 is Takahiro Sakurai, who said he enjoyed voicing X across the crossover Project X Zone as he remembered X's thoughts. Sakurai described X as a serious character who "hesitates and agonizes, but always keeps fighting. He recalls experiencing multiple sad feelings when acting as X. He is always fighting, not just against Mavericks but also his inner persona as while does not enjoy the chaos, he finds himself forced to fight to achieve peace. Similar to his experience when playing the Mega Man X games from the Super Nintendo he looked forward to the crossover due to his interactions with other famous characters."[23] X from the Mega Man Zero and ZX series is voiced by Takahiro Mizushima.[24]

In the English dub, X was given multiple voice actors starting with Michael Donovan in a crossover special, partnering up with the original Mega Man in the 1994 Ruby-Spears series. Ruth Shiraishi (who also voiced the original Mega Man in Mega Man 8) in Mega Man X4. Peter von Gomm voiced him in Mega Man X7.[25] Mark Gatha replaced him in the next game, the first title's remake and the original video animation, Day of Sigma.[26] Ted Sroka worked as X for the fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, expressing joy when his role was revealed.[27]


In the Mega Man X seriesEdit

In the original game Mega Man X, X was created by Dr. Thomas Light sometime in "20XX" and is the template on which all non-Light model mechanical beings known as Reploids are based. Light named him X after the variable "x" which, in algebraic terms, represents limitless possibility, like X's advanced systems.[28][29] Light died before X's diagnostics were complete, and X was discovered in his capsule 100 years later by another scientist, Dr. Cain, who attempted to emulate X's technology and produced the first mass-produced Reploids: humanoid androids based on X's designs. Under Sigma's leadership, the Maverick Hunters were formed to combat them.[28] However, Sigma becomes a Maverick and leads a massive revolt. X decides to stop Sigma, and teams up with Zero, one of the last remaining Hunters. The original video animation, The Day of Sigma, retells these events before the game begins.[30]

In the first game of the series, Mega Man X, X is defeated by the Maverick Vile but is rescued by Zero.[31] In the game, X faces multiple Mavericks and reaches Sigma after defeating Vile with Zero's aid.[32] After X defeats Sigma, he continues searching for Mavericks in order to achieve peace.[33] He and Zero also appear as bosses in the game's remake, Maverick Hunter X if the player unlocks Vile.[34] X's constant struggles in regard to defeating new Mavericks cause him to wonder if he is destined to be Zero's enemy fearing the possibility that he himself might be going Maverick in his ending from Mega Man X4 after a battle with the Repliforce military.[35] By Mega Man X5, X can appear as a boss character in the final stages if the player uses Zero after he is infected by Sigma.[36] While X continues facing Reploids that have become Mavericks as a result of a virus in Mega Man X6,[37] he becomes reluctant to continue his missions in Mega Man X7 until he fears Red Alert's forces might result in more casualties.[38][39] In the latest main title, Mega Man X8, X is playable alongside Zero and Axl who are shocked when they discover that all Reploids will become copies of Sigma in the future; as a result, they fear that the war will never end.[40]

X also appears in the spin-offs Mega Man Xtreme to fight Mavericks and partners with a computer genius named Middy,[41] and Mega Man Xtreme 2 to fight against a "Soul Eraser" named Berkana who plans to resurrect a growing army of undead Mavericks from the past.[42] In Mega Man X: Command Mission, X leads a resistance team to defeat the minions of the Rebellion Army. A mobile phone game also has X as a playable character.[43] Although Mega Man X8 was released by the time of the mobile game, Capcom chose X's previous look due to it being more well-known.[44]

X also reprises his role from the first game in three mangas by Iwamoto Yoshihiro,[45][46][47] and the prequel Irregular Maverick Hunter X by Ikehara Shigeto.[48]

Other appearancesEdit

Outside of Mega Man X, X is present in the sequel series Mega Man Zero. Zero suffers from amnesia and believes that his friend X has conquered the world until a scientist named Ciel reveals he is a copy she created.[49] The real X appears in the ending and, having tired of fighting, asks Zero to take his place on the battlefield.[50] In the direct sequel, X's body is destroyed by Elpizo, but his mind remains active until he fades away in Mega Man Zero 3.

X appeared in the Mega Man episode "Mega X" and was voiced by Michael Donovan. He follows Vile and Spark Mandrill to the present to stop them from taking Lightanium back to their own time to help Sigma finance his wars against humans. Like Mega Man, X has the ability to copy weapons from enemies by touching them, such as using Snake Man's weapon to destroy Dr. Wily's plasma cannon.[51]

An X outfit can be unlocked and worn by the character Frank West in Dead Rising,[52] who also uses it as part of his hyper combo in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars. X appears in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as a DLC costume for both Frank and Zero and as a cameo appearance in Zero's ending.[53] X also appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as part of Mega Man's Final Smash. Mii Gunners also have access to X's armor through paid DLC in both versions of 3DS/Wii U and Ultimate. X is also seen with Zero in Project X Zone and its sequel.[54][55] X is a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and Puzzle Fighter[56] with his Command Mission design as an alternate skin.[57][58] He also appears in the card game Teppen.[59]

X also makes guest appearances in the Mega Man comic series by Archie Comics, appearing in stories set shortly before the events of Mega Man X and as part of the "Worlds Unite" crossover event.[60] Writers noted multiple fans sent them messages about the character prior to his introduction, but that they wanted to see X portrayed as a darker character. However, they aimed not to take the Command Mission incarnation which depicted X as more of a leader.[61]


X has stood out within the franchise due to the armors he often wears. These are various armor sets that X can use in Mega Man X5.

The initial reaction to X has been positive. US Gamer found him as a worthy successor to the original Mega Man based on his own skills such as dashes or tanks that increase the character's health bar.[62] GamesRadar liked X's design, enjoying how in games he wears different armors that upgraded his skills while in some early titles he pays tribute to the Street Fighter characters by performing their techniques.[63] Nintendo Life called his design a "more mature and gritty design" as the critic had grown tired of Capcom's original Mega Man who had appeared in multiple games, leading to dated elements.[64] IGN made similar comments in regards to X's skills as "a great touch" due to how powerful the character can become.[65] Push Square agreed with the critics "fresh" concepts that Capcom needed to provide in order to sell more video games.[66]

GameFan praised the new armor design provided for Mega Man X2, finding it more visually appealing than the original.[67] Destructoid enjoyed how throughout the series X retains some old skills from the early games that could only be acquired through upgrades and the variety of armors in Mega Man X3.[68] Electronic Gaming Monthly found X's actions too repetitive in the series by the third title gameplay-wise as the series lacked innovation.[69] Game Informer had mixed thoughts about how X is handled in the series: while Game Informer praised his multiple visual appearances and usage of weapons, it criticized his child-like voice from Mega Man X4 as a poor fit with his character, something that Electronic Game Monthly agreed with.[70][71] His voice actor for Maverick Hunter X was criticized for always sounding angry.[72] On the other hand, GameZone praised Mark Gatha's acting as X due to how he interacts with the bosses.[73]

By Mega Man X4, critics praised the option of having Zero besides X as a protagonist as their different fighting styles gave more variety to the series.[64][74][75] was displeased that in Mega Man X7, X cannot be used and his replacement, Axl, is unlikable.[76] GameSpy agreed and found X's desire to leave the battlefield comical.[77] Destructoid made similar comments stating fans might dislike X being unplayable during the game's early stages; however, Destructoid felt that Mega Man X8 improved in this regard, as X returns as a playable character.[68] In regards to Command Mission, X was praised by GameSpy due to the series giving him a more elaborated storyline and characterized him as a veteran.[78] In general, the cast was praised for their designs.[79] Nintendo World Report was disappointed by X losing his trademark ability in this game of copying weapons, which is given to Axl.[80] RPGFan regarded X as one of the best-written characters in Command Mission, though it considered X's voice unfitting and compared it to a boy scout's voice.[81] Nevertheless, US Gamer found X's actions in the Zero series to be interesting considering Zero was a breakout character due to his large popularity in contrast to X's.[66] GamesRadar considered both X and Zero as "crossover veterans" based on their multiple appearances and looked forward to when they joined forces for the first time in Project X Zone.[82] Kyle Hilliard from Game Informer considered X and Zero as one of his favorite characters in gaming and wanted to play as them in Project X Zone 2.[83]

Clint Mize wrote an article for MTV's gaming section detailing why Maverick Hunter was a terrible idea. He felt that it could have turned off "core fans" of the Mega Man X series and that X required a "solid core title to reintroduce the character" rather than a "dark reimagining".[84] Game Informer claimed X had the best weaponry in his introduction and that if Capcom were to make another Mega Man X, X's weaponry should be based on it. It also considered X's armors from X6, such as the Shadow and Falcon Armors, to be the best ones in the series.[85]

Zero was chosen to represent the "Mega Man" franchise over Mega Man or X himself in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, as director Ryota Niitsuma thought he had more variation in his moves.[86] For Infinite, X was added due to his large popularity within the Western audience and was given his Command Mission design as an alternate skin.[57] X's addition to the Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite cast has proven to be popular according to Polygon. However, the writer noted that despite fans' excitement with X's inclusion, many were displeased with his early defeat in a preview.[87]



  • Capcom (2008). Mega Man Zero Official Complete Works. Udon Entertainment. ISBN 978-1-897376-01-0.
  • Capcom (March 2008). R20 Rockman & Rockman X Official Complete Works (in Japanese). Udon Entertainment. ISBN 978-4-86233-178-6.


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  33. ^ Capcom (January 1994). Mega Man X (Super NES). Capcom. Narrator: The war has ended for now and peace has been restored. But those who sacrificed themselves for the victory will never return. Exhausted, X gazes at the destruction he helped cause and wonders why he chose to fight. Was there another way? Standing on the cliff, the answers seem to escape him. He only knows that he'll fight the Mavericks again before he finds his answer. How long will he keep on fighting? How long will his pain last? Maybe only the X-Buster on his hand knows for sure...
  34. ^ Capcom (January 1995). Mega Man X2 (Super Nintendo Entertainment System). Capcom. Narrator: It has been 6 months since the destruction of (Sigma) and little has changed. The Maverick revolt started by Sigma has ended, but Mega Man X and the new generation of Maverick Hunters have yet to destroy all of Sigma's followers.
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  37. ^ Capcom (December 2001). Mega Man X6 (PlayStation). Capcom. X: I wonder what are those "suspected areas" he mentioned. Can you find out, Alia? / Alia: ...No. Due to a strong jamming. I can't look into it from here. / X: So I've gotta go in there blind! Maybe I'll be able to feel the Nightmare directly. Besides, I'm suspicious of the investigators. / Signas: The Nightmare... The mission is risky, but we must minimize the damage by uncovering and defeating it. As Isoc said, we cannot allow any more Reploids to be lost... X! Return to the Hunter Base now!
  38. ^ Capcom (2003). Mega Man X7 (PlayStation 2). Capcom. Narrator: One of the veteran members, X, began having second thoughts about the group's forceful methods. He removed himself from the front lines, and instead worked to achieve more peaceful solutions. / X: Why must Reploids fight one another? I've had enough violence.
  39. ^ Capcom (2003). Mega Man X7 (PlayStation 2). Capcom. Signas: Not much. Even Zero has his limits. Axl is doing good work, but he's still a child. We can't expect much more with their present abilities. / X: Zero, do you read me? I'm going, too; take me with you.
  40. ^ Capcom (2003). Mega Man X8 (PlayStation 2). Capcom. Zero: Well, don't let it get to you. Just becoming Sigma could hardly be called evolution. Anyway, X... Even if we Reploids are destined to join the scrap heap when that evolutionary step does comes about, we still have to fight... Not only against the Mavericks, but against our own destiny as well...
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  50. ^ Capcom (September 10, 2002). Mega Man Zero (Game Boy Advance). Capcom. X: Since you disappeared I've been fighting this war alone against an uncountable number of Mavericks for nearly a hundred years... Battle after battle... So painful and so sad... But the hardest part was when I discovered that I no longer cared about fighting enemies... I'll leave this world to you... Please allow me... to rest in peace... for a while... ......... I'm sorry, Zero.
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