Mighty No. 9 is mighty disappointing.
I could end it right there, but then I wouldn’t be saying anything different from what you have already seen all over the internet, all over YouTube, and all over social media. But that’s not the root of the problem. Mighty No. 9 is an example of one of the dangers of Kickstarter, but also makes people forget about the success stories of Kickstarter as well. Put together this makes a dangerous situation for anyone else wishing to kickstart a game.
Like everyone else, I was initially excited by the original crowdfunding campaign. The idea of a next-generation Mega Man styled game, made by its creator and no longer shackled by higher ups at Capcom, was very exciting. The original videos and artwork looked very nice as well, and the end result was four million dollars of support to see this title brought to life. However, most of the gaming community missed the first warning sign: why is a developer who already has funding asking for more money for the game? Many overlooked this as Comcept had not released a game at this point, but just a little research would show they had already come up with the money to make a proper game studio. The funds to make this game should have already been there.
The second problem arose after the Kickstarter. They hired a Community Manager that was very vocal, highly controversial, and in the end did a lot of harm to the games image. At a time where the focus should have been on Inafune and the development on the game, instead the focus was on a community manager and the waves she was making in the gaming studio.
Another issue arose when Comcept decided to “go back to the well”, and attempt to get even more from Kickstarter in attempts to fund other games (before they even released their first game), and to add more money for voice acting. At this point, people began speaking up, as even after fees 2 million should have been a plenty large budget for Mighty No. 9. Of course, when the game was delayed over and over, fans awaiting the game became worried.
Finally, this summer the game was released. Unfortunately, the game didn’t look anything like the proof of concept. The game was actually a step down in graphic quality. The leve design is uninspired. The English voice acting (remember, this voice acting required a second Kickstarter) was atrocious. Even the gameplay didn’t come to par with any game in the Mega Man series. It became obvious that Capcom acted as a safety net for Inafune, and with that net removed, all we have is the shell of a good idea. The part that hurts the most is that looking back in retrospective, the warning signs were all there.
Not all games released via Kickstarter have been bad. A recent success story is Undertale, which is a fantastic RPG with a unique battle system and great story. But Mighty No. 9 was the game that got the most media attention, and with the damage it has done, future games wishing to be crowdfunded now have an uphill battle.