A Complete Run Down of the MegaMan Timelines (Classic and Battle Network)

With the release of MegaMan Battle Network, the series has seen quite the surge in popularity again. So I figured now would be the perfect time to write something I've wanted to cover for a long time -- the MegaMan Timeline.

Now a lot of people might think that MegaMan is just a kids platforming game with little to no story, but I'm here today to prove them all wrong. The "crazy" truth is, MegaMan is actually quite complicated, and there's more than one timeline at play here. That's why some confusion pops up when talking about MegaMan Battle Network, and then comparing it with the rest of the greater MegaMan series. So with today's post, I want to also clear up that confusion, and go down the complete timeline.

Before we get started however, let me explain a little bit about the timeline, and where my information comes from. First of all, the series has a whole has been handled by multiple teams, and because of that some things can get a bit confusing. Parts of the story has actually been retconned, while some pieces of information actually come from the "dev team's point of view" and may or may not line up with what other teams originally intended. This especially becomes true when looking at the Zero and ZX series, as these games were developed by Inti Create. As for the source of my information -- most of it comes directly from the games, as well as the Official Complete Works books that has been released for multiple games in the series. (More specifically the MegaMan Zero books when referring to the Zero and ZX parts of the timeline.) For the sake of this blog post, I will mainly only be covering what is considered canon, and I will discuss gray areas where things may/may not have changed over the years. If anyone is interested to go deeper into the series than I currently have, I strongly recommend checking out the MegaMan Fan site the MegaMan Home Page or the MegaMan Fandom (Wikia). There's a lot to this series as a whole, so I'm really only going to be covering the basics here. Also if you find that anything I've said is in correct or you don't agree with it, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Also here's a general spoiler warning, as I'll be going into what needs to be said, but without giving away too much of the plot or overall story.

So with that being said... Let's get started.

The Beginning and the Split:

The beginning of the MegaMan timeline is also where our split occurs. In some ways this split can be seen as two different worlds, as it has never been made 100% clear if this branch ever really existed in the same timeline. Using the information we have from the games however, you can consider the two timelines two separate universes, that diverged in one major way. These universes share a similar background, but the characters differ slightly... Confused? Well don't worry, it's nothing too crazy (yet).

The Classic Timeline:

Before the start of MegaMan 1 (Classic) we find two scientists named Dr. Light and Dr. Wily. These two scientists are best friends, and work together to bring the sci-fi world of robotics into reality. The two eventually go on to develop a robot known as ProtoMan, but the two scientists fail to see eye to eye. Eventually the two have a falling out, and they both split off to do their own thing.

After the split, Dr. Light goes on to create a "son" named Rock, and a "daughter" named Roll. The two robots are his pride and joy, but are of course they aren't Light's only creations. Wanting to help the world, he created a series of "Robot Masters" to help with different tasks -- such as for construction. These robots were released into the world, and were working out completely fine; however, a jealous Dr. Wily had other plans for them. Hijacking the robots, Dr. Wily turns them into an army under his control, and sets them loose on the world to cause mass destruction. In order to fight back against Dr. Wily and free his fellow robot friends, Rock asks Dr. Light to turn him into a fighting robot, and becomes MegaMan (RockMan in Japan).

Going forward, the classic story is pretty straight forward. MegaMan 1 follows MegaMan as he takes out each of the Robot Masters, eventually fights Dr. Wily, and in the end sends him to jail. The next few games follow the same pattern of Dr. Wily getting out of jail and attempting to take down MegaMan with his new robots, but things eventually do change. ProtoMan reenters the picture pretty early on in the series and acts as both a friend and rival to his brother MegaMan, but it's not really until MegaMan 7 that we see a true rival character. And that character is a robot known as Bass.

Bass first shows up in MegaMan 7, and is Dr. Wily's answer to Dr. Light's MegaMan. Of course Bass doesn't actually like Wily or really follow his orders, but he does want to beat MegaMan himself, so their interests sometimes align. However, it's not Bass himself who will go on to change the series forever, but rather Bass' successor.

In MegaMan 8, an alien machine crashes into the earth, and both Dr. Light and Dr. Wily race to the crash site to see what's going on. Of course Light sent MegaMan in his place, but Wily beats him there and recovers what he's looking for. A strange energy source known as the "Evil Energy." This Evil Energy doesn't really come into play for the rest of MegaMan 8, but it has a major role concerning the rest of the series. 

Around this time, unknown to everyone else, Dr. Light also begins his new project. A new version of MegaMan he calls "MegaMan X." This new robot was created to have unlimited potential (hence the X in it's name), and also have the ability to think for itself and have feelings. While robots like MegaMan seem to have feelings, and can think for themselves -- ultimately, they can never go past their programming. MegaMan has a strong sense of justice, but that's just how he's made. Like the Robot Masters in MegaMan 1, he too could be reprogrammed to change his way of thinking. X on the other hand, is a new type or robot, and as close to human as possible. Only problem is, the world itself might not be ready for such a thing. Fearing what would happen if he was released, Dr. Light seals X away and runs tests on him to evaluate what type of robot he might become. Until the world itself is ready for him, X remains locked away.

On the flip side, Dr. Wily is also working on a robot similar to X, and to act as a follow up to Bass. Using the Evil Energy obtained in MegaMan 8, Wily completes his project, and shows a sneak peak to Bass during the events of the second MegaMan arcade game (which takes place after MegaMan 8). This robot dubbed "Zero" won't be released for some time, but once he is... It might've spelled the end for Dr. Light.

The only clue we have to what happened after the Classic series actually goes back to MegaMan X4 (don't worry we'll get to it). In X4 we see flash backs to Wily releasing Zero, and telling Zero about his rival Dr. Light. What did Zero do/what happened after this point? It's all fan speculation.

MegaMan X - 100 Years Later:


The second main series in the MegaMan timeline is MegaMan X and opens up roughly 100 years after the events of Classic.

At some point in time Dr. Light has passed away, and the robots he brought to the world are long gone. His lab has fallen to ruin, and MegaMan X remains inside. It isn't until a scientist by the name of Dr. Cain comes along, that X is discovered, and studied for how different he is. It's Dr. Cain who then sees the benefit in having robots that could think for themselves, and so he decides to reproduce Dr. Light's work and creates the "Reploid" line of robots. Robots based on MegaMan X, with all of his capabilities.

Needless to say... The world really wasn't ready.

Reploids that can think for themselves, is the same thing as humans thinking for themselves -- except much more dangerous. These things are massive machines, that can be turned into war machines as well. They have guns, swords, rockets, jets... You name it! If such a robot turns on humanity, then they will kill everything in their path. Such Reploids are officially dubbed as "Mavericks," and a group of Reploids are brought together to fight against such threats -- the "Maverick Hunters."

Leading the Maverick Hunters is an advanced Reploid by the name of Sigma. He's the best of the best, and has other elite Reploids under his command. Together with his team, Sigma protects humanity from the rogue Reploids, and peace is somewhat returned... That is, until one particular incident.

At some point in time, Zero gets released from Dr. Wily's lab, and goes completely crazy. Sigma is called in to deal with the threat, but things don't go exactly as planned. Although Sigma is able to stop the rampaging Zero, he shatters the crystal on Zero's helmet, and the "Evil Energy" seemingly transfers from Zero to Sigma himself. This marks the start of Sigma's decent into madness, and the events that will change the world forever.

Eventually X himself joins the Maverick Hunters (as he feels responsible for bringing Reploids into the world), and Zero is recruited as well. X and Zero become friends during this time, but X is nowhere near as strong as Zero. Sigma does betray the Maverick Hunters and sets out to destroy the world, and he also takes many of the Maverick Hunters with him. This leaves X and Zero as two of the remaining hunters that can deal with this new Maverick threat (now lead by Sigma), and that's where MegaMan X1 begins.

Now X1 actually has three versions of it's events. You have the original game summaries that basically just describe Sigma turning Maverick, you have a manga adaptation of MegaMan X, and you have the Anime OVA Day of Sigma. The OVA was actually created for the remake of X1 titled "Maverick Hunter X" and shows the moment Sigma turns on everyone, and bombs the city. It serves as a pretty nice prequel to the first game, but it does have some story changes. In this version Dr. Cain himself is nearing the end of his life, and is killed in the explosions. Considering Dr. Cain appears in future MegaMan X games, you can consider this non-canon for the main timeline, but most likely would've been the new canon for Maverick Hunter X2 on up (if they would've happened).


MegaMan X1 follows X and Zero taking down the Mavericks as well as Sigma. Zero is ultimately killed during the final section of the game, and leaves X alone to take down Sigma. X receives power ups left behind by Dr. Light throughout the game, and this is ultimately what gives him the power to beat Sigma. (While X1 has holographic recordings of Dr. Light attached to each upgrade, it's also implied that this may be an AI or Dr. Light's consciousness uploaded. Thus this hologram is actually aware of what's happening in the world.) And while Zero dying might seem like a spoiler, it's actually a reoccurring theme during the rest of the series.

Moving forward, X2 follows X as he continues his life as a Maverick Hunter without Zero by his side. The game introduces new characters, and one in particular looks very similar to a robot version of Dr. Wily. It's actually this Reploid who restores Zero and brings him back into the main story to help X stop Sigma once again. X3 focuses on a new "Anti Virus" to prevent Reploids from turning into Mavericks, but of course the virus fails and infects more. As expected Sigma is behind it, and X and Zero work together again to take him down. Yes it's a very basic story for the first three games in general, but things continue to develop from here on out.

X4 is where things take a turn, and more story is put into the games as a whole. X4 not only focuses on X and how he wants to find a way to bring peace to the world, but it also dives into Zero's story and who he is. As mentioned before, this is where we get to see glimpses of Zero's past, as well as him with Dr. Wily, and the modern day story causes Zero to question who he is and "what he is fighting for." As for the overall plot, it focuses on an army of Reploids who try to form their own nation, but of course things don't go so smoothly. Again, this is the turning point for both X and Zero, and things don't get better for them from here.

X5 we see the full on impact of the Sigma virus (yes Sigma himself has become a virus). At this point Sigma has infected an entire space station, and has set it on a collision course with the Earth, and it is up to X and Zero to put an end to it. To do so, they need to build the "Enigma Cannon" to destroy it before it's too late, but to do so they need to gather the required parts to repair it. Unfortunately the Reploids holding the parts have been infected by the Sigma virus, and have gone Maverick themselves. At this point it is actually possible for the Enigma Cannon to shoot the space colony down, but most of the time it will fail and you'll have to move onto Plan B within the game. And that Plan B is to crash a space shuttle into the colony and destroy it once and for all -- a mission Zero himself takes on.

Canon wise, the space shuttle is what destroys the colony, but it still crashes into the Earth and causes massive damage. The Sigma virus is spread everywhere, and humans become unable to live on the surface. The world is in complete chaos, and both X and Zero head off for the final battle against Sigma in his newest body.

The last part of X5 once again focuses mainly on Zero and who he is. It's revealed that Sigma has met with Wily in the past somehow (the Reploid from X2?) and he goes into detail about how the Sigma virus wont infect Zero, but instead make him stronger. Again, this virus technically originated from Zero to begin with, so it really isn't too surprising to us players. Despite learning the truth about the virus, Zero still takes down Sigma, but once again at the cost of his own life. X is caught up in the battle as well and left almost completely destroyed, but is saved by Dr. Light. (Again, sometimes he acts like a prerecorded message left behind for X, and other times he does things like this.) This is the original end to the X series...

A few years after Sigma's defeat and Zero's death, X continues to fight against Mavericks, but this time he hold's Zero's sword in his hand.

The Split and Retcon of X and Zero Series:

Originally MegaMan Zero 1 was meant to follow X5. Inafune joined up with Inti Create and had an outline for the story to follow. The game was to begin with X returning Zero's sword to him, but the overall plot had to be adjusted moving on from there. Ultimately the X series was too successful to stop it at X5, so X6 went into development at Capcom along side Zero 1. So changes to the story had to be made.

The Last Half of the X Series:

MegaMan X6 focuses on a strange new event called the Nightmare, and it changed some of the story events around to make the new story work. The time skip at the end of X5 is changed to happening a few weeks later rather than years, and Zero is once again revived so that he continues to be a main character in the series. Due to these decisions, the story of MegaMan Zero 1 also had to be altered, and the ending of X6 had to be done in a way where it wouldn't conflict with MegaMan Zero 1. So the game ends with Zero being sealed away in order to fix an issue with his body (implied to have something to do with the maverick virus), and the story is left at that. However, once again the X series continued to be popular, so this scene was retconned to take place at an "unknown point of time" so that more games could exist. In other words, this scene is the end of the X series timeline wise, but there are more events that take place between X6's normal ending, and Zero's final scene.

Moving on from there, we have X7 where new generation reploids become a thing, and the new main character Axl is introduced, and X8 that seemingly sets up the future where these new generation of reploids will take over. This is also the game where Sigma is killed once and for all, as a new big bad takes over. Unfortunately, this is where the X series technically comes to an end, so the future is still unknown.

Timeline wise we also have MegaMan X Command Mission which focuses on stopping a reploid rebellion, but the game is considered to be it's own timeline/world at the time of this writing. As the game released before X8, but takes place "after," it's impossible to tell at this time if it's truly a part of the canon as the X series has yet to continue.

The Elf Wars:

Sometime after the events of the X series, a new threat emerged. Using a new AI being known as the "Mother Elf," X manages to delete the Sigma Virus and put an end to the whole Maverick issue that plagued the world. However one evil man by the name of Dr. Weil decides to use the Mother Elf for his own plans instead, and captures her and uses her to put reploids under his control. On top of this, Weil takes Zero's body and creates a new reploid, dubbed Omega, and sets his very own Elf Wars into action. Zero is eventually built a new body, and both he and X put an end to the wars, but at the cost of the lives of most of the population. Once the war was over, Zero was once again sealed away, and a safe haven for humans and reploids known as "Neo Arcadia" is created -- with X as it's leader.

The Zero Series:

The Zero series begins some time after the Elf Wars and features Zero as the main character (obviously). It follows Zero as he's recovered by a young scientist named Ceil who leads a resistance group against Neo Arcadia. Neo Arcadia's government has taken over the world, and began killing innocent reploids as they pleased. Zero is told this is because their leader, X, has become corrupt, but things ultimately aren't that simple.

While the Zero series is only four games long, they are much more story focused than the previous X series, and feature hub areas to explore, multiple characters to talk to, and follow a different mission style structure. The series has plenty of characters with a wide range of backgrounds and mini story arcs to discover, and also once again dives into who Zero is. Zero 4 especially relies on the events of MegaMan X5, while Zero 1 serves as an introduction to this new version of the world. Eventually it's revealed that the X running Neo Arcadia is a fake, and that the real X has been turned into a Cyber Elf himself as he attempted to watch over the world alone. With Zero's return however, he takes a step back, and leaves the fate of the world in the hands of his best friend.

By the end of the Zero series, Zero is once again forced to go up against Dr. Weil, and finally puts an end to his plan of using the Dark Elf.... It's just, this time Zero also doesn't survive.

The thing about the Zero series and it's placement in the timeline, is that the dev team over at Inti Creates had a plan from the get go. Previously the MegaMan series jumped into the 3D gaming space with a title called MegaMan Legends. Now this game did have multiple changes for the US release, but it's overall plot did remain the same. That being said, the game was set at the "end" of the MegaMan timeline, and the Zero dev team wanted to use the new Zero series to help lead the timeline to this point. This is one of the main reasons the reploids in Zero were given more human like appearances, and why Legends like designs could be seen throughout the games. With the events of Zero ending the way that they do, it left the series open to a new beginning, and would eventually lead the series to it's Legends conclusion... But things change...

The ZX Series:

The ZX series was the follow up to Zero, and took place hundreds of years after Zero. This time around humans and reploids have both advanced to the point where it's nearly impossible to tell them apart from each other (reploids now have biological parts, while humans are mechanically enhanced), except reploids are given a red triangle symbol on their heads. The story follows a corrupt government once again, with the main character being a human who joins the resistance. This time around the resistance is lead by a reploid who was a supporting character in the Zero series, and the main human character fights using a new device known as a "Bio Metal." Bio Metals are objects that contain the data of reploids from the past, and using them humans are able to transform into a version of said reploid. In ZX1's case, the main character (default character is a boy named Vent) gets Model X and transforms into a version of MegaMan X. He eventually gets Model Z as well (for Zero), as well as some other Bio Metals based off of other characters from the Zero series.

Sadly the ZX series only received two entries, with the second game (ZX Advent) focusing more on the mysterious new Model A that is very similar to the reploid Axl from the X series. Unfortunately, ZXA ends on a cliffhanger where a character reveals his plan to "reset" the world... Could this have been the event that leads to Legends? We may never know...

A World of Endless Water:

MegaMan Legends takes place far into the future, on an Earth that has been almost completely flooded. People live on small islands throughout the world, and many make a living as "Diggers" exploring old ruins from the world's past. The main character of this series is a 14 year old boy who was discovered sleeping in some old ruins, and is adopted by a famous Digger named Barrell Caskett. Barrell names the boy Rock (MegaMan in the US version... Which I'll touch on that soon...), and decides to raise him along side his granddaughter Roll. 

MegaMan Legends 1 focuses on the family crash landing on an island and going up against the pirates who show up looking for the treasure said to be hidden there, while Legends 2 focuses more on Roll and her parents who vanished when she was little. At first glance the games don't seem to have too much of a connection to the rest of the series, but both the ending of Legends 1, and specific events in Legends 2 help shed some light on that.

The truth is... This is so far into the future, that humanity has completely died out, and the "humans" that have replaced them are basically the next step in reploid evolution.

Rock himself is actually a "RockMan Unit" as part of the old system created by the last human being. His job was as an "Irregular Hunter" (the Japanese name for Maverick Hunters), and his job was to keep the order. But one thing lead to another, Rock was seriously injured, and he was sealed away within some ruins -- where Barrell would eventually discover him. 

As for the name changes in the English release... It kinda kills the plot twist. (Although me saying all of this does as well.) Rock was a seemingly "normal" teenager, with it being revealed that he's actually a RockMan Unit. Meanwhile in the US release, this "normal" kid is named MegaMan, and is actually a MegaMan Unit. Doesn't quite have the same impact when the so called normal kid is already named MegaMan...

And this is the current end to the series! No game has taken place after MegaMan Legends 2, with Legends 3 being canceled many years ago. It's a shame we haven't continued past this point, but maybe someday it'll happen... But, that's not the end of MegaMan.

Filling in the Gaps of the Classic Timeline:

Due to there being multiple time skips, there's plenty of room to fill in the gaps. MegaMan 9, 10, and 11 are all "newer" entries in the classic series, and all take place before X. X itself has ended on a cliffhanger with X8, and there's still quite a bit of time between X8 and X6's Zero ending. The Elf Wars themselves have never been shown in a game, only talked about, and the ZX series also ends on a cliffhanger. Not to mention there's a time skip between Zero and ZX that could be visited if they chose to, and there's a massive gap between ZX and Legends in general. So even if we get a sequel to ZX Advent, it doesn't mean that sequel would take us directly to Legends. Basically it's possible for entire new MegaMan Classic timeline series to be created thanks to these gaps, and games like MegaMan Classic, X, ZX, and Legends can always have direct sequels. So, this story is far from over... And this is still only one branch of the timeline.

Going Back to the Split:

So as I explained way back at the beginning, we have a point where the two main timelines diverged. In the Classic Timeline we have Dr. Light and Dr. Wily working together to create robots, but in the Battle Network timeline... Things went quite a bit different.

In Battle Network, this world's version of Dr. Wily is working along side a man named Dr. Hikari (which translates to Light). Wily focuses on robot research just as we see in the Classic series, but Dr. Hikari turns his focus towards creating a virtual cyber world. Needless to say, Dr. Wily becomes jealous of this world's version of Dr. Light, as Dr. Hikari's internet research is given more of a focus, and in return changes the world. Thanks to that research, the entire world becomes connected to the cyber world, and everyone begins carrying around handheld computers with their very own AI companions within them. This is what creates the world of Battle Network.

The Battle Network Series:

While the Battle Network timeline isn't as long or as complicated as the Classic timeline -- it is an RPG series and has much more story due to that. The first game in the series introduces us to our main character Lan (Netto in Japan... Yes, it's exactly what you might be thinking right now), and his AI Net Navi MegaMan.EXE. The two get caught up in cyber terrorist attacks being lead by Dr. Wily, and shows how the two eventually put an end to his plot. Of course, this is only scratching the surface, as Battle Network 2 introduces us to a new big bad, which in return connects to Battle Network 1's story, which is then expanded upon in Battle Network 3. Battle Network 4 begins a new story arc (which still builds off of what 1-3 set), and 5 and 6 serve as a conclusion to the story overall. A lot of things happen along the way however, and many of these events somewhat tie back into what we saw in the Classic series. Robots like Cutman from MegaMan 1 are seen in this series as Net Navis instead, and most are bad guys/play similar roles in this timeline as well. So again, while the series isn't as long as the main Classic timeline -- the games themselves are packed full of story and content.

Due to the nature of Battle Network, I prefer not to spoil the series. Timeline wise, it is pretty straight forward (as I explained above), but there's actually three versions of it.

The story canon to the games is as follows: Battle Network, Network Transmission, Battle Network 2, 3, Chip Challenge, 4, 5, and 6 -- with a non canon spin off "navi simulator" titled 4.5. This is the main timeline of Battle Network, with the other two timelines coming from other media.

On the anime side of things, we have a retelling of the Battle Network story, with tons of added content, and completely changed stories made just for the show. Season 1 is an adaptation of mainly Battle Network 1 and 2 (with great alterations), while Axess, Steam, Beast, and Beast + go their own routes completely. In other words, things seen in the show, don't relate back to the games, outside of borrowing characters.

The manga for Battle Network is more of an adaptation of the games compared to the anime, but even this timeline is different. It does however have a special (newly released) chapter that serves as an epilogue to both the games and manga, so that's a little bit of a gray area... And it's also the current "end" to the first series in this cyber world based timeline.

Star Force:

MegaMan Star Force is the second series in the alternate timeline, and takes place 200 years after Battle Network. It shows a world where the virtual world has turned into wi-fi networks, and humanity has finally broken away from relying on Net Navis... Or at least at first. The first game focuses on Geo, a young boy who lost his dad in a space accident, and an alien who fuses with him to transform him into the new super hero in town -- MegaMan. The two go up against other aliens and the humans they've fused with, and it mostly focuses on Geo trying to find a place in the world, and finally getting him to open up to others. Moving forward however, things do shift back towards the way things were in Battle Network. In SF3 a new version of navis finally return, and everyone in the world has them again, but unfortunately this is currently where things end. Star Force 3 is the last entry in the timeline, and we currently don't know where things will head from here. However, there was one small addition...

Operation Shooting Star was a remake of Battle Network 1, but actually begins with Geo (after the events of Star Force 3) traveling back in time to stop a new threat. This story arc takes place during a time skip that happened during Battle Network 1, and shows Lan and Geo meeting, and working together to stop this evil time traveler. The way it's handled makes it so nothing from Battle Network 1 (or the series in general) is retconned, and it also doesn't really advance the Star Force series. It's simply an extra story added into an enhanced remake of the original game. But it happened, and that's why I'm mentioning it here!

And then you have the anime.

Like Battle Network, Star Force also received an anime adaptation, which was a bit closer to what the games had to offer... But not really. While it didn't break away and do crazy things like the BN anime did, it still did it's own overall story. That being said, this anime series was a sequel to Battle Network's Beast +, so it falls into the very same anime timeline. It's just unlike BN, it only lasted for two series -- Star Force, and Tribe.

The End:

And that's basically it! My complicated long winded explanation of the MegaMan Timeline! If you actually read through all of that, and didn't get confused... Congrats and thank you for taking the time!! Yeah, this ended up being longer than I expected... But I also had fun going back through it. It reminded me how much I love this series as a whole, and how much I can't wait for new entries to be finally released. There's so much left open, so I hope one day we can finally fill in these gaps.

Well until next time guys!

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