Capcom was hesitant to develop a sequel to Mega Man, as the original had lackluster sales. However, the development team was given the green light only if they continued work on other assigned projects. This led to the development team using most of their free time to develop the game.
The Famicom version of Mega Man 2 originally had only one difficulty: Difficult. The Normal difficulty was added in the American release.
After the success of the original MegaMan game, Capcom had challenged people openly to create new enemy and character designs for what they clearly intended to be a long-going series. People from around the world could sketch designs and send them into Capcom. This effort was so successful that Capcom simply could not fit them all into MegaMan 2 and the influence of these amateur character designs can be seen in many of the dozens of later MegaMan games.
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Mega Man 2 was the first to introduce many standard features in the series: a password system to continue your game, eight robot masters instead of six and energy tanks that would refill your life.
Keiji Inafune described the game's development as a "rogue effort."
The game took 3 to 4 months to complete development.
In becoming more involved with the Mega Man franchise starting with Mega Man 2, Inafune commented: "Working on Mega Man 2 marked my second year at this, and I even got to mentor a 'new kid', which opened up a whole new world of stress for me."
Mega Man 2 is frequently cited as the game that helped to establish Mega Man as a franchise and set several standards future installments would follow, such as 8 robot masters instead of 6, and the use of energy tanks just to name a few. Keiji Inafune often cites the game as the reason Mega Man became a huge success.
The American cover is noted for Mega Man using a handgun instead of his buster weapon. Illustrator Marc Ericksen explained: "I didn't know anything about Mega Man, and after looking at the character in action I said to the art director, 'What is he shooting with?' ... He said, 'Well, he must have a pistol, because I don't see a rifle.' ... I said, 'So, a pistol? Do you want me to do a pistol?' And he said, 'Yeah, let's put a pistol in there.' So I did what I was told and I put the pistol in there. Add to the fact that they only had, like, a day and a half for me to do the painting and what you wound up with was not the greatest result. But certainly a result that was not my fault. I mean, they told me to put the pistol in his hand!"
Keiji Inafune was working on another game when he was invited by the project supervisor of Mega Man 1 to join the Mega Man 2 development team.
Keiji Inafune commented in 2004 about the making of the game: "So we, of our own accord, got together, spent our own time, we worked really, really hard, you know, just 20-hour days to complete this, because we were making something we wanted to make. Probably in all my years of actually being in a video game company, that was the best time of my working at Capcom, because we were actually working toward a goal, we were laying it all on the line, we were doing what we wanted to do. And it really showed in the game, because it’s a game, once again, that we put all our time and effort and love, so to speak, into it, designing it."
The game's support items were added to aid the player because of complaints from players and Capcom's marketing department regarding Mega Man 1's high difficulty.
Capcom received 8,370 boss submissions for the game during the boss art contest held by Capcom themselves.
The American cover of Mega Man 2 was illustrated by Marc Ericksen.
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