Rockman 3 was released on September 28, 1990 in Japan.
The subtitle of the game translates from Japanese as 'Dr. Wily's Last Moment!?'.
Development on Rockman 3 began at Capcom over a year after the release of Rockman 2. Akira Kitamura, the lead supervisor for the first two games quit his job at the company during that gap of time. Artist Keiji Inafune considered Rockman 3 as one of his least favorite entries in the series due to "[...] what went into the game and what was behind the release of the game." He had preset notions about successful development because of the team's good experience with Rockman 2 and found that his new superior "didn't really understand Rockman the way his predecessor did". During the game's production, the developers lost the main planner, so Inafune had to take over that job for its completion. Inafune recalled the final two months of development as particularly turbulent, when he had to take responsibility for assessing and dividing up tasks among the team members who were not meeting deadlines. The team was forced to put Rockman 3 on the market before they thought it was ready. Inafune concluded, "I knew that if we had more time to polish it, we could do a lot of things better, make it a better game, but the company said that we needed to release it. The whole environment behind what went into the production of the game is what I least favored. Numbers one and two – I really wanted to make the games; I was so excited about them. Number three – it just turned very different."
Rockman 3 brought new characters and gameplay mechanics to the franchise. Though Inafune considers the gameplay to have lost some of its simplicity, he felt Mega Man's slide ability was successfully implemented to enhance the player's control while battling enemies.
Rockman's sidekick dog Rush was designed by combining the functionality of three support tools from Rockman 2, which would ease the player's navigation of stages. In addition to the Marine and Coil modes, Rush was originally intended to have a "drill" mode that would allow Mega Man to tunnel underground.
Another new character, Blues (a.k.a. Proto Man), was introduced in a way that the player would be unable to tell if he was an ally or an enemy to Rockman. His design was influenced by anime, and he was given both a scarf and shield to make him appear tougher than Rockman. The design team wanted Blues to sport uncovered hair, but they instead opted for an open-faced helmet illustration for both the television commercials and instruction manual. Blues's name, Blues, was changed by Capcom's North American division to Proto Man despite Inafune's protests. Capcom did this not only to be consistent with Rockman's English name, but because they thought that the name Blues made no sense. Inafune attempted to defend it due to the name's musical connotation to character names in the series.
Though Rush and Blues were created solely by the developer, Capcom sought ideas from fans for the creation of the game's Robot Masters as they had done with Rockman 2. The team received around 50,000 design submissions for Rockman 3, only eight of which were used in the game.
The soundtrack was created by Capcom composer Yasuaki Fujita. His co-worker Harumi Fujita was the initial composer of the game, but she only completed two songs before giving birth and having to drop off the project.
[US] "Mega Man III [Model NES-XU-USA]
[EU] "Mega Man III [Model NES-XU-FRG]
[FR] "Mega Man III [Model NES-XU-FRA]"
[SP] "Mega Man III [Model NES-XU-ESP]"
[SW] "Mega Man III [Model NES-XU-SCN]"