Zero as he appears in the X series
|Series||Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero|
|First game||Mega Man X (1993)|
|Created by||Keiji Inafune|
|Designed by||Keiji Inafune (X series) Toru Nakayama (Zero series)|
|Voiced by (English)||Wayne Doster (X4)
Jack Merluzzi (X7)
Lucas Gilbertson (Command Mission-Maverick Hunter X)
Jamie West (Mega Man ZX Advent)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Ryotaro Okiayu (Mega Man X series)
Yūto Kazama (Mega Man Zero series)
Zero (ゼロ) is a video game character present throughout the Mega Man franchise. First appearing in the 1993 game Mega Man X for the Super Nintendo, Zero has since been the star of the Mega Man Zero series and has played a supporting role in other game series such as the Mega Man ZX series.
First developed by Keiji Inafune when he was attempting to create a new design for Mega Man for the X series, Zero was instead used as a deuteragonist. In the Zero series, which was developed by Inti-Creates, Zero is the protagonist and had a change in his design, which was meant to create a more "human feel" to him. Zero has since played a minor role in the ZX series as Model Z. His inclusion in the Mega Man X series has generally received positive critical response from video games reviewers.
Zero was created by designer Keiji Inafune when he was told to recreate Mega Man for a new series on the Super Nintendo, Mega Man X. He wanted to design a Mega Man different from the original one. However, Inafune realized afterwards that the character he created was too different from Mega Man's old appearance to be viewed positively by fans. Deciding to let another designer work on the character that eventually became Mega Man X while he developed Zero, Inafune created the character intending him to be "the 'other main character' that would steal all the good scenes". He further described Zero as representing the idea that "nothing is absolute", and circumstances can change anything. When asked if Zero had killed the cast of the original Mega Man titles, suspected due to their absence in the X series, he replied no, adding that given how he had designed the character, "Zero is not such a person--it is not in his profile."
The concept of Zero starring in his own series was proposed by Inafune. Inafune proposed that Zero star in his own series, and planned to go forward with the idea at the end of Mega Man X5. However, he was unable to after Capcom announced another Mega Man title without his involvement. Designed by Toru Nakayama of Inti-Creates, Zero was meant to have a more "human feel" rather than the complete "mechanical feel" of the X series. Nakayama wanted the public to recognize that this series was different from the X series. Since Capcom wanted Zero's general structure to be the same, Inti-Creates concentrated on how different they could make him, rather than how similar. Zero's depiction in the series was intended to be morally ambiguous and depend on the perspective, appearing as a hero from one point of view and a terrorist from another.
Designed to be "harder and wilder" than the original Mega Man, Zero's design ultimately resembled Mega Man X in several ways due to his initial character concept, Inafune's insistence on drawing the character, and input from other project artists. In the X series, Zero has red and white armor with twin "horns" on his helmet. Zero also has his signature long blonde hair. His main weapon is the Z-saber, an energy-based sword that introduced melee combat to the Mega Man games. His secondary weapon is the Z-buster, a cannon mounted at the end of his right arm, similar to Mega Man X's primary weapon. A tertiary weapon that would orbit around Zero was also considered, but left uncompleted. Unlike the original Mega Man, who had a full head of hair under his helmet, Zero has a smooth secondary helmet, intended to imply the characters were older.
In the Zero series, Zero still possesses his blonde hair and general structure, though it has much less of a "cartoon" feel and more of a "realistic" feel. Instead of having red and white armor, Zero had black biceps and he wore a red vest, armparts, and boots. His helmet has horns, though they are more smoothly designed. The Z-saber was also redesigned in Zero 3, and has a more triangular shape compared to the original Z-saber, which is similar to a katana and the Z-buster was replaced with a handgun. Early concept art featured Zero with solid-black, pupil-less eyes, though this changed to a normal set of eyes as development progressed.
Zero made his debut appearance in Mega Man X in 1993. Zero was originally created by Dr. Wily sometime in the Mega Man series. Zero works as a Maverick Hunter, a soldier in charge of defeating Mavericks, robots who turned against humanity. He plays the role as X's comrade and best friend in the X series. The two, later accompanied by Axl fight Sigma, Vile, and other enemies throughout the series. While in the first two titles he only assists X during gameplay, he becomes an optional character in X3. Depending on the story development, Zero can be fought as a boss character in Mega Man X5. In Mega Man X6, Zero is not present through most of the game since he went missing in the end of Mega Man X5 during a fight against Sigma. In the spin-off title Mega Man Xtreme, he is an assistant character but becomes playable in the sequel, Mega Man Xtreme 2. He is also playable during the prologue and the last chapters from the role-playing game Mega Man X: Command Mission.
The Mega Man Zero series features Zero as the title character and protagonist. Set around 100 years after the X series, Zero helps a scientist named Ciel fight the human city of Neo Arcadia, during which he destroys Omega, Dr. Weil, and Copy X, leader of Neo Arcadia, twice. Zero makes an appearance in the ZX series as Model Z, who plays a minor supporting role in the plot in the first ZX game. In ZX Advent, Zero plays an even smaller role, only having a few lines throughout the game. Zero's Mega Man Battle Network counterpart, Zero.EXE makes an appearance in Mega Man Network Transmission as the antagonist of the first half of the game. He later aides Mega Man against the true villain, Lord Wily.
The Mega Man Zero version of Zero's character appears as a sub-boss in Playmore's crossover fighting game SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos and as a hidden character in Onimusha Blade Warriors, while the Mega Man X version is a hidden character in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.
Zero's appearances in the Mega Man X series have generally had positive critical response. GameZone praised the inclusion of Zero in the Mega Man X series, citing his playability as popular amongst series fan as it expanded the gameplay. Game Revolution called him "mysterious, androgynous" and compared him to Proto-Man "with a ponytail". 1UP.com stated that his appearance as a playable character with his own story in Mega Man X4 by itself made it the best game in the X series. GameSpot noted the contrast in his gameplay to that of Mega Man X in Mega Man X4 increased the difficulty of using him in the title. IGN named him one of their ten favorite sword wielding characters in the video games, describing him as an answer to the question of how Mega Man would fight if armed with a sword, and noted his fighting style as popular with gamers. They repeated the sentiments in their list of characters they wished to see appear in a future Marvel vs. Capcom title, describing him as "arguably cooler than Mega Man", regardless of version in comparison. PSM praised the character as well, stating "[he] might wear some funky shoes, but that doesn't stop him from kicking some robot butt". While reviewing Mega Man X: Command Mission, 1UP.com criticized that during parts from the game players are unable to use Zero and at the same that his English voice acting makes him "sound like a surfer".
Zero (alternatively capitalized as "ZERO") is a video game character and one of the main characters in the popular Mega Man X (in Japan, Rockman X) series and Mega Man Zero series of video games. In the X series, he is one of the highest ranking "Maverick Hunters" who is fighting to stop Sigma's forces of infected Reploids, known as mavericks, from exterminating humanity.
Mega Man X4
Zero:'Don't you ever get tired of being Sigma's lap dog?'"