Mega Man Battle Network (2001)
Mega Man Battle Network, known as Battle Network Rockman EXE (バトルネットワーク ロックマンエグゼ, Batoru Nettowāku Rokkuman Eguze) in Japan, is a video game developed by Capcom for the Game Boy Advance (GBA) handheld console. It is the first title of the Mega Man Battle Network series of games. It was originally released in Japan as a GBA launch game on March 21, 2001 and was released later that year in North America and Europe. It was also released via the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan on July 9, 2014, in Europe on July 24, 2014, and in North America on July 31, 2014.
Battle Network takes place during the 21st century in a world where society and everyday life is driven by the internet. Users are able to interact with and virtually explore nearly any electronic device using highly advanced, online avatars called "NetNavis". The game follows a young boy named Lan Hikari and his NetNavi MegaMan.EXE as they solve a series of crimes instigated by the "WWW (World Three)" organization. Rather than share the platform gameplay of its predecessors, Battle Network is a tactical role-playing game (RPG) in which the player respectively controls Lan in the game's outside world and MegaMan.EXE in its virtual world. Battles take place in real-time; special abilities called "Battle Chips" can be accessed to fight off the numerous computer viruses present in the game's cyberspace environments.
Battle Network was created amidst the success of Nintendo's portable RPG franchise Pokémon. According to producer Keiji Inafune, the development team wanted Battle Network to identify specifically with younger gamers by creating a setting resembling the real world and a gameplay model that mixes traditional action and RPG elements. Battle Network received positive reviews from critics. Its unconventional combat system was given significant praise and its presentation was well-regarded. However, its storyline was met with mixed opinions. The game was followed by a number of sequels and spin-off titles, as well as other media.