Keiji introduced the design and character for X on December 17, 1993 in Japan, in his first game, Mega Man X. This game and its iterations received later distribution dates in America, with the first game being released to North America a few days later, on December 28. Since then, X has appeared in every iteration in the Mega Man X series as the title and main character of the story, which takes place on a fictional Earth.
Keiji Inafune has stated that originally, X's partner in the series, Zero, was meant to become the title character of the next series. However, in an interview conducted in 2004, he has stated that the idea was scrapped and he made Zero into a supporting role, as the similarities were few between his original Mega Man design and for fear fans of the series might not relate to the new character. Also, despite the design, he has stated that X and the original Mega Man -- sometimes called 'Classic' to differentiate the two -- are different entities, although any actual connection between the two or ultimate fate of the former is still undisclosed.
Video game history
X is introduced in Mega Man X. The manual fills in his back story: X is the final creation of Dr. Light, a new advanced robot that could think independently and make its own decisions. Light named him X after the variable "X" which, in algebraic terms, represents limitless possibility, as do X's advanced systems.
Light feared the ramifications of giving robots free will, so he chose to seal X inside a capsule for 30 years to test the integrity and reliability of X's systems. Unfortunately, this landed well beyond Dr. Light's predicted life expectancy, and he died before X's diagnostics were complete. X was discovered in his capsule 100 years later by another scientist, Dr. Cain, who attempted to replicate X's technology and, with X's help, produced the first Reploids: replicated androids based upon X's designs. When the Reploids began to rebel against humanity (such rebels are termed Mavericks), the Maverick Hunters were formed to combat them, under the leadership of Sigma, the strongest and most advanced Reploid created at that time. This proved to be disastrous when Sigma himself was eventually infected with the Maverick Virus, and went Maverick himself, taking most of the Maverick Hunters with him as he leads a massive revolt. Note that the following does not follow the storyline chronologically.
Mega Man X
Mega Man X begins with X, expressing his guilt because he had a part in creating the Reploids, joining the remaining Hunters, then led by Zero. With Zero's help, X eventually defeated the Mavericks and their head, Sigma, but at the cost of Zero's life.
Mega Man X2
Mega Man X2 picks up 6 months after Mega Man X left off, as the Hunters have tracked down the remaining Mavericks. The X-Hunters, a group of Mavericks who wish to destroy X, gather the parts of Zero's body, seeking to use them as bait to lure X to his destruction. X destroys the X-Hunters only to learn that Sigma was behind the plot all along. If X recovers Zero's parts, a Zero copy confronts him, but is defeated by the real Zero. If X chooses to ignore the X-Hunters, a brainwashed Zero confronts X, but is defeated and comes to his senses. X confronts and destroys Sigma once again, while Zero destroys Sigma's central computer.
Mega Man Xtreme
Mega Man Xtreme is set between Mega Man X2 and X3. In this game, a hacker named Techno has invaded the Hunters' Mother Computer and is using the data of previous Mavericks against the organization. With the help of Middy, X goes into cyberspace, where he discovers that Sigma had "influenced" Techno. X accidentally destroys Techno, then learns that Middy is Techno's twin brother, and that destroying Techno destroyed Middy as well. X, crushed, challenges Sigma once again and defeats him, extracting a measure of vengeance.
Mega Man X3
Mega Man X3 reveals that there has been a period of peace after a Reploid scientist named Dr. Doppler created a supposed cure for the Maverick Virus. This cure turns out to be an ineffectual placebo, however, and the Maverick Hunters find themselves overwhelmed with a massive Maverick uprising. X and Zero enter the fray and discover that the virus and Sigma are one and the same, explaining why Sigma keeps coming back. X and Zero destroy Sigma's new battle body (built by Doppler, who had been infected with the virus.) It is revealed but unbeknownst to X that his ultimate fate to save the human race would be to destroy Zero. This is a mildly misleading translation from the Japanese version, which merely says that X knows in his heart that he is destined to fight Zero.
Mega Man Xtreme 2
Mega Man Xtreme 2, which takes place sometime after X3 and before X4, takes X and Zero to Laguz Island, with the help of rookie spotter Iris, where they battle the Soul Erasers, Berkana and Gareth. X defeats Berkana and Zero defeats Gareth, and the two team up to defeat Sigma.
Mega Man X4
Mega Man X4 reveals that Zero is the origin of the Maverick Virus, which transferred and bonded with Sigma to become the Sigma Virus. The Repliforce War breaks out, because the Maverick Hunters judged a faction of Reploids as Mavericks without good reason. X, though, was led away from the real targets by a spy of Sigma named Double and it was Zero this time who foiled Sigma's plan by hunting down the Repliforce and destroying its top officers and Sigma himself, killing a good friend named Colonel and Iris in the process. X, realizing that he was tricked and discovering that Sigma had set up the entire plan, became very frustrated and swiftly disposed of Double. This time, though, he was beginning to doubt his ability to remain sane, and he told Zero that if he ever were to go Maverick that Zero would have to take care of him.
Mega Man X5
By Mega Man X5, the Repliforce has been completely wiped out. With peace restored, the Hunters hire several new officers, including Alia. Unfortunately, X gets into a confrontation with the Sigma Virus and accidentally spreads it all over Earth. This turns out to be yet another of Sigma's evil schemes. In addition, Sigma attempts to send the space colony Eurasia into the Earth, thus spreading the virus further, in order to awaken Zero's true self. Under one story possibility, X faces off with Zero after he ignored orders to report back to Base for a full physical check on his virus readings. In the other story possibility, the overwhelming amount of the virus becomes a catalyst that exposes Zero's true self. The former is considered to be the canon storyline.
Sigma reveals to X that Zero's true form is the one that emerges when he is powered up with the Maverick Virus (this mechanic is also reflected during gameplay). As it turns out, Zero was the one who had spread the virus to Sigma during their first confrontation, as shown in a cut scene during Mega Man X4. Sigma also speaks of a mysterious new ally who built a body for him. He also says that this person is interested in Zero "as if he was his own father" and claims that he and X know each other well, because they were enemies in the past. Once beaten, Sigma claims he will take down Zero with him. As X and Zero both lay damaged from Sigma's massive explosion, X stands over Zero's battered body, hoping for signs of life. Sigma's remains then fire a blast straight through X and Zero. Zero revives for just a moment, destroying Sigma's remains and then passes away. X was badly injured, and Dr. Light miraculously repairs him.
Mega Man X6
During the Nightmare Outbreak in Mega Man X6, X is still coping with the loss of his friend, unaware that Zero is still alive. Gate, an infected Reploid researcher and former colleague of Alia's, creates a clone of Zero that smears Zero's name. X promptly defeats this clone whereupon the real Zero reveals himself to an elated X. Together, they swear to eliminate the evil source of the Nightmares, and do so with Alia's help. X defeats Sigma, who is once again revealed to be a part of the catastrophe. X then saves the remains of Gate for Alia to repair since he knew what it was like to lose a colleague and didn't want to see any more innocent Reploids die. Alia thanks him for this, and they swear to try to rebuild the Earth.
Mega Man X7
Shortly before the events of Mega Man X7, the Maverick Hunters were severely crippled as X retired from active duty to pursue more peaceful means to end the constant fighting. In his absence, a new Maverick-hunting faction known as "Red Alert" began hunting Mavericks, often with questionable tactics. Zero was summoned to the scene of a rampage in the city and found a young Reploid named Axl trying to flee Red Alert. He rescued Axl, and what ensued resulted in a harsh custody battle between the Hunters and Red Alert. X eventually returned to the Hunters and fought alongside Axl and Zero, eventually discovering Sigma back at it again, manipulating the whole fiasco from behind the scenes. The trio confronted the maniacal Reploid and defeated him once more.
Mega Man X8
During the Jakob elevator incident in Mega Man X8, X is back once again investigating a crab-like Maverick in a forest. This time, he seems to have much more resolve for fighting, although there are times where he contemplates the need for peaceful resolutions. Along with Zero and Axl, he was able to travel to the Moon and stop Sigma and a new villain known as Lumine. This entailed plans to replace every Reploid with "New Generation Reploids," which have a built in copy chip and are claimed to "go Maverick at will." However, the battle with Lumine left X dejected as his companion Axl was left comatose and the fact that the Reploid race would always be Mavericks. However with Zero's words, X is somewhat comforted and the duo returned to the Maverick Hunter base.
Note: X, and the rest of the characters gain an overhaul in their design, either as upgrades, or simply a change in art style. In the case of X, his arms and legs are slipped down to a more realistic level, and the gem on his helmet is much larger. This may have been done to make him more human in design.
Other Games in the X Series
* Mega Man X Command Mission (PlayStation 2 and GameCube, Released in 2004)
* Mega Man X Collection (GameCube and PlayStation 2, Released on January 10, 2006)
* Mega Man Maverick Hunter X (PSP, Released on January 31, 2006)
Mega Man Zero series
In the Mega Man Zero series, X plays a supporting role, similar to that of Dr. Light in the Mega Man X series. He was originally responsible for ending the Maverick Wars by using the Sigma Anti-Body program known as the Mother Elf to erase the Maverick Virus remnants in all Reploids. Following this, the rise of Cyber-Elves and the ambitions of human scientist Dr. Weil led to another genocidal war that lasted for four years called the "Elf Wars." X and Zero worked together to defeat Weil's ambitions and end the Elf Wars, but Zero eventually sealed himself away and left X alone to deal with the remains. A century passed, and sometime during this period, X used his physical body to seal the Dark Elf. His consciousness then continued to exist separately as a Cyber Elf.
During the course of the Zero series, even though his body is not available to help Zero, he still has incredible power and can aid Zero information-wise. X's powers as a Cyber Elf are revealed a few times in the games, such as in Mega Man Zero 3 when Dr. Weil used the power of Omega and the Dark Elf to take control of all Reploids on Earth: X used his powers to protect the entire Resistance Base from being controlled as well (apparently, X and Zero were not affected by Omega or the Dark Elf, as they are not Reploids, but original androids). It is said, though, that his only reason for existing as an elf outside his body was due to the fact that his original body was intact. Elpizo later destroyed this body and X now claims that he has only a little time left. In the booklet Vile's Incident, Cyber Elf X and Cyber Elf Phantom, are seen alongside the other guardians, watching Ragnarok fall apart. However, according to "Rockman Zero Complete Works," this is purely fan service, as the three Guardians died at the end of the third game when Omega exploded. X's lines during said ending imply that he "expired" after this. However, X's soul was sealed in Biometal X in order to live on, just as Zero did with his.
Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent
In ZX, Vent and Aile use a fragment of Biometal Model X, a substance based on X's consciousness and powers, to become Mega Man Model X. Model X is the first Biometal found by the protagonists and always encourages them to fight for justice and assures them that what they are doing is right. Possibly because of its origins, the other Biometals seem to know and show loyalty to it. Later on, X is used as a template to combine with a second Biometal, which allows the protagonists to use the other Biometals. X is the only biometal shown with this ability. In ZX Advent, Model X returns again, with Vent/Aile teaming up with Grey/Ashe, the new protagonists to destroy Model W and Ouroboros.
Weapons and abilities
Like his predecessor, MegaMan,
MegaManX is an upgraded version of the original MegaMan robot. He possesses significant superhuman strength, endurance, and durability to fight against any threat that comes against mankind. He has the ability to overcome a wide variety of adversaries, and has defeated entire robot armies thanks to these abilities and his considerable on-board weapons arsenal.
MegaMan X's main weapon is the X Buster. Built into his arm, it is capable of powerful energy blasts. This power can be charged for greater power.
On top of his Buster, Mega Man X has the ability to copy the powers of any enemy he defeats. Through this method, Mega Man has literally amassed hundreds of different weapons, although he does not like to use them too much as it quickly uses up his internal energy.
He is able to copy other robot powers by simply touching them and is able to work with the robot with the same powers together
Mega Man X's boots are also equipped with the slide function, making him more nimble, agile and faster.
X is equipped with various abilities and powers to aid in his persecution of Mavericks and their threat to the peace and stability of the Earth. His most distinguished ability is the X-Buster, a powerful arm cannon.
X's primary weapon is the X-Buster, described as the Mega Buster Mark 17 in the first game. The X-Buster focuses energy from X's fusion reactor into a plasma bullet that causes physical damage upon impact. Like the Mega Buster from the original Mega Man series, the X-Buster can be charged up to a subsequent second and third level to shoot bigger and more powerful plasma blasts.
X obtained Zero's weapon after his supposed death in X5. X could only swing the sword in slow, single slashes instead of Zero's fast and refined style. X could also pick up the weapon during a certain event in X3. While X only used it in single strikes after firing the X-Buster, it could deal great damage to enemies and bosses alike. Additionally, if X received the X-Buster upgrade, the Z-Saber would launch an energy wave after the slash.
* Weapon Copy
Like Mega Man before him, X has the ability to adapt the weapons systems of powerful Reploids that he has defeated into weapons he can use. These weapons come in many varieties, often providing additional mobility as well as offense. Through upgrades to his X-Buster given by Dr. Light, X can charge the special weapons he acquires to produce more powerful attacks.
* Wall kick
X has the ability to cling to vertical surfaces such as walls. On a wall, X normally slides downward slowly, but by kicking off the surface of the wall he can gain height and rebound back to the wall to climb it.
* Emergency Acceleration System (Dash)
This ability is similar to Mega Man's slide maneuver in that it increases his speed, but unlike the slide, X is capable of using the ability to leap further than normal in a "dash jump," as well as dash from objects to which he is clinging. X first got the ability from the only mandatory capsule in the X series (X1). In later games, X can dash without additional equipment.
By acquiring certain armor upgrades, X can dash in the air as an evasive maneuver. In addition to dashing forward, some upgrades also allow him to dash straight up or straight down. In Mega Man X3, by collecting an upgrade chip, he can air dash twice. In Mega Man X7 and X8, X can air dash without additional equipment.
In each Mega Man X game, X can find upgrade capsules made by Dr. Light before he died. Each of these capsules contains a helmet part, arm part, body armor, or leg armor. A hologram of Dr. Light greets X and explains the capabilities of the part in question before granting it to him. Until Mega Man X5, each of these four parts was part of a single suit of upgraded armor. In X5, X6 and X8, there are multiple suits of upgraded armor, each with different abilities. For example, the Shadow Armor allows X to stick to walls and not get hurt by spikes, and the Blade Armor allows X to dash greater distances and strengthens the Z-Saber. Unique to X5 and X6, the armors could not be used until a complete set was formed. In X8, it is possible to mix and match armor parts.
* Giga Attack
Every Mega Man X game has a Giga Attack for most of X's armors. Most Giga Attacks freeze the screen as X attacks all enemies that are on-screen. His most known Giga Attack is called the Nova Strike (X4, X5, X6, X8), and is used by the "ultimate armor". The Nova Strike grants invincibility while it is being performed while simultaneously causing high damage to enemies. Since X jumps into the air and temporarily flies, the attack makes it look like X is an eagle. The Nova Strike has infinite usage.
In other media
A number of games in the Mega Man X series have been adapted in manga form, the most widely-recognized of which is the series by Yoshihiro Iwamoto of Devilman fame, which ran through X1 through X4. In manga form, X is considerably more sensitive than his game-counterpart, prone to fits of depression and rage based on his ability (or inability) to save those around him and the troubles it brings. He frequently cries and mourns for those he destroys in battle, and goes so far as to spare several Maverick's lives if they can reform or are in no shape to keep fighting. This incarnation of X also has a love interest in the medic-turned-pirate Mermaid Reploid Martei, despite the open hostility she often expresses towards him whenever he tries to assist her.
Additionally X made a single-episode appearance in the 1994 Mega Man cartoon by Ruby-Spears alongside Vile and Spark Mandrill. His appearance was vastly different from the games, where the trim on his helm is white, his neck is exposed, he is extremely tall, his armor is relatively less detailed, his forehead gem is larger, his eyes are smaller, and his voice is deeper (his voice provided by Ian James Corlett, Mega Man's voice-actor). In this incarnation he is portrayed very differently from his game's counterpart, destroying anything to get rid of Mavericks, no matter what the cost, and is easily quite the opposite of a pacifist. He is also obscenely powerful, easily eclipsing every other character to have ever appeared in the series, including Mega Man himself. The scene in which X is introduced is more or less a showcase of his abilities (he is shown destroying entire sections of the landscape with a single blaster shot, moving so fast he can't be seen, leaping dozens of meters through the air, and shrugging off hits that would have destroyed other robots), though it is shown that Vile and Spark Mandrill are a relative match for him, similar to Mega Man's ability relationship with the Robot Masters.