I haven’t purchased or played Mighty No. 9, so my perspective of the matter is one of being on the outside looking in. At this point, however, I’m not planning on buying it. I know well enough from my vantage point that Mighty No. 9 has proven to be a serious disappointment. It may even turn out to be the biggest disappointment in gaming this year. Yeah, that bad.
At first, it seemed as though Mighty No. 9 was going to usher in a new age in video game funding; an age where the risk in funding blockbusters is removed because games are funded by gamers themselves who are interested in seeing the project come to fruition. Better yet, the project was funded by the legendary Keiji Inafune of Mega Man fame, and the project was to be the spiritual successor to the Mega Man series. With that kind of star power, there was a lot of potential.
However, attitudes toward the project soured as more and more drama unrolled during the development process, which included someone with very little gaming background being appointed to an important position on the staff because she happened to be someone’s girlfriend.
One would imagine that if anyone would know what it takes to make a great Mega Man game, it would be Keiji Inafune. Therefore, one would also imagine that he knew what it would take to make what was intended to be its spiritual successor. However, just about everything that made Mega Man great is missing from Mighty No. 9, right down to Mega Man’s charm.
Mighty No. 9 managed to raise $4 million from its Kickstarter campaign. Where did that money go? It certainly didn’t go into making the game look polished, as the product looks at least a couple generations behind. It didn’t seem to go into the music, either. That’s a shame, because Mega Man had great music. When a game has a good soundtrack, that can be a selling point for me.
So, what happened?
Personally, I suspect that Inafune got greedy. He knew that his own name, considered legendary among gamers, would be all that it would take to sell games. He already had the four million dollars that he raised from his Kickstarter campaign, and the additional money that he’ll rake in from sales will be icing on the cake. If there was a time for him to cash in his legacy with a game that was hyped to the point that it could hardly live up to expectations, even if a monumental effort were put into it, this would be it.
So, what did we learn? Hopefully, what gamers have learned is that if someone is demanding huge amounts of money for a project and has little to no obligation to deliver a product that’s substantial in quality, that might not be a very good investment. Granted, at least in this case, a finished product came out of the deal, unlike with Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes project, which she just about abandoned even though it was well behind schedule, and wasn’t anywhere close to completion (though she kept the money anyway).
If it weren’t for the runaway success that is Undertale, it could be said that Mighty No. 9 killed the era of supporting major game releases through crowdfunding. But there is another thing we can take away from this. And that is that just because we put someone on a pedestal and consider them a hero, doesn’t mean that they won’t disappoint us.