[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]n August 31, 2013 Mighty No. 9 arrived on Kickstarter. With a blue robotic protagonist and side scrolling action both incredibly reminiscent of a series by the name of Mega Man, the campaign caused quite a stir. Keiji Inafune may have been unable to create what he wanted in his last years as a Capcom employee, but Kickstarter had finally given him an opportunity to return to this classic franchise with a just different enough coat of paint to shield from legal ramifications. By the end of its first week on Kickstarter, the project raised far over its $900,000 goal and by the time the campaign closed it had raised approximately $4 million (including Kickstarter and PayPal pledges). Although originally tagged with an April 2015 release window, Mighty No. 9 is now finally coming on September 15, 2015.

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In a move that surprised many, Inafune returned to Kickstarter on July 4 in order to raise funds for his next Mega Man-inspired project. Titled RED ASH – The Indelible Legend, it attempts to draw on gamer affection for the lovely Mega Man Legends series which was canceled before the 3rd version could launch. It’s also a mixed media event, with esteemed animation studio STUDIO4℃ at the helm via their own Kickstarter. Now, people absolutely are gaga about Mega Man Legends, even today, but something interesting happened with the announcement of this campaign. Alongside excitement came reserved comments, and even a bit of anger. The main sticking point seems to hinge on the fact that RED ASH is on Kickstarter while Mighty No. 9 has not even launched yet.

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This is a very valid point, and one which deserves further attention. After all, it’s affecting the campaign. Despite having Keiji Inafune’s name at the helm, RED ASH simply isn’t making money at the same pace that Mighty No. 9 did. Instead of being fully funded in a few days, it’s taking some sweet time to arrive at the goal. It’s true that many Kickstarter backers have become savvier these days, but even so, a similar retro revival in the form of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night made its funds quickly and easily, in a similar fashion to Inafune’s inaugural crowdfunding project. Sure, we could throw Shenmue 3 into the chat as well, but I really do feel that the Bloodstained and Mighty No. 9 Kickstarters form a better comparison from the fact that Mega Man and Castlevania are both similarly adored retro classics and both campaign pitches were heavy on concept art rather than anything tangible.

But let’s return to the topic at hand. Why are people reserved about the RED ASH campaign in relation to Mighty No. 9? On one hand, this is not new behavior for a developer on Kickstarter. Just look at inXile Entertainment. The Bard’s Tale IV was successfully funded very recently despite the fact that Torment: Tides of Numenera is still in development since its successful campaign back in March 2013! With that said, folks do have Wasteland 2’s release to look to as for ensuring that inXile Entertainment are still as skilled a team of game developers as they ever were. That’s one thing that Inafune lacks right now. Consumers have yet to play Mighty No. 9. They do not know if the game is even any good — or at least what they had hoped it to be.

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I’m fortunate enough to have played Mighty No. 9 at E3 2015. I did not back the campaign, so I do not know how close or far this is from early releases backers have received, but the version at the convention seemed feature complete. All that seems to need to be taken care of now are bugs. With that said, I can’t say I was in love with the experience as it does change up the Mega Man formula more than may be expected. Will backers love these modernizations or reject them as they’re not true to the “classic” Mega Man titles? I do not know, but the fact of the matter is, the majority of gamers looking forward to Mighty No. 9 simply have no way of knowing whether they like Comcept’s formative effort or not.

If you have no idea whether or not the previous project produced by a team is good, why should you have any reason to feel comfortable about pledging money to their next one? In my mind, a reason why Kickstarters by known developers do so well is because people have a history with and knowledge of their previous games. If, however, inXile Entertainment completely bungled Wasteland 2 it’s likely folks would be far less willing to back their next title. Yes, despite how wonderfully it would play on people’s nostalgia for classic franchises. Luckily, they didn’t screw things up, but we don’t yet know what the general reaction will be to Mighty No. 9.

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So why did Comcept launch a new campaign prior to Mighty No. 9’s release? To be quite honest, it probably was a necessity from a business standpoint. Many game developers do not wait for their game to be 100% complete and shipped before beginning work on another project. There is a need to always be nursing a couple projects. With just one project on the docket, many staff members would find themselves idle — which is quite the expense. Not only that, but you simply can’t put all your eggs in one basket with one game. What if it completely fails? Then you’re dead in the water. There’s many more reasons for companies to continually work on multiple projects, and when you throw Kickstarter in to the mix, it just means that outsiders (backers) are now getting a taste of this business reality.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we the backers have to like the practice or even support it if we choose not to. It definitely appears that there is less willingness to pledge extravagantly for RED ASH, but there’s little chance it won’t actually succeed by the time it ends on August 3. What are your thoughts on the RED ASH campaign? Do you think it would have done better to launch after Mighty No. 9 was already out? Or do you not mind this practice? Let us know in the comments!

Marcus Estrada
Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come.
Marcus Estrada

@BackerMarcus

Writer for @Cliqist - This is my new ''PROFESSIONAL'' account. Yay, crowdfunded video games!
Glad to see the BL visual novel Sentimental Trickster was funded. How about those #Kickstarter stretch goals? https://t.co/AEU8LaeD6M - 11 months ago
Marcus Estrada
  • The other reason is that while many people want new Mega Man, much less of them want new Mega Man Legends. While it does have a cult following, it never was all that big.

  • Nonscpo

    The difference between the Bloodstsain campaign and this one, is that Igarashi hadn’t done anything yet to cause backers to doubt him. Were as Inafune had already burned some of the backers thru the development of Mighty No 9. I’m not concerned one way or the other, at the end of the day we’ll have more crowdfunding campaigns to look forward to in the future regardless.

  • Nerdmaster

    The truth is simple: Megaman Legends games just weren’t very good, and because its fans are very vocal, we have the feeling that many people liked it (even Keiji Inafune thought so since he started this project), but this just isn’t true. I don’t want the kickstarter to fail, but if it does, I hope that MML fans finally stop asking for MML 3.

    • Jason Mounce

      Just because a game didn’t sell well – doesn’t mean they’re not ‘Good Games’.

      Take note: Earthbound, Lost Odyssey, Eternal Darkness, Megaman Legends itself, Darksiders 1 and 2, Nier. . . . I could go on and on, these are all GREAT games, that just became hidden gems. ‘Fans’ are Vocal not because they’re loud, but because they know the game better than the majority who refused to acknowledge or give the game a chance because the marketing and advertising wasn’t as strong or was at a time that was improper – most cases it’s because a ‘Blockbuster game’ overshadowed it.

      You don’t know the Truth, but still. Megaman Legends is both a good game, and a hidden gem. Just varies on your gameplay preference above all else.

      Your last sentence is especially ignorant. MML fans can keep asking for a sequel all they want, it’s within their right, same is true about Shenmue 3, same can be said about Lost Odyssey 2, same could be said about Nier 2 in my eyes – but we had also especially been given an announcement at e3 that Nier 2 and Shenmue 3 are coming, great news for many fans, MML3 simply isn’t being made because Capcom sees not profit in it, they don’t know how to market it to a broader crowd and the game so far caters to a niche market which seems to be somewhat of a Bubbled community, not because of the quality of the game, but because of how it originated and how it was geared towards from the early years of the first game on PS1. Where even a game I find crappy, like Syphon Filter gets better reception but was blocky and to me, just terrible – but fans also want that game to be reborn and they have that right.

  • Dawnyaaa

    I find all that reasoning quite cheap..for exemple when it comes to creator like AJ Tilley or Sekai Project that are doing multiples project while having releasing nothing (at first..). I don’t see that kind of hostility.
    Backers keep pledging and some are even happy to come back.

    It probably has something to do with the fact that since it is Inafune people are more critical. Also from the comments seems Megaman Legends isn’t that liked..well it is also summer and we got several huge campaign..even BT4 had a bad time get off the ground because of this..Had he launch in September he would have been funded in a few days.

  • ShadowFang

    Well there’s definitely less love for Inafune and Comcept (also slight note here; they actually have shipped a game with their name on it… and it’s bad. Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is the only retail game you can get with Comcept’s logo on the box currently, along with Spark, Team Ninja and Tecmo Koei. So they don’t share all the blame… ), and the MML games are not as well known or well-played as the other Mega Man series’. Being stuck on Playstation (along with the lone, super late, N64 entry in the form of the iffy port of the first game), and being around for so much less time than the original series, it just never reached as many people. Plus, they’ve never been re-released. Though Capcom threw MisAdventures of Tron Bonne up on the PSN recently (which is still awesome and fun!)

    Plus you’re right in that a lot of people are “savvier” now. Or Hostile. Or don’t at all understand how hard it is for independent developers to stay open and the need to overlap projects.

    I feel like all the factors mentioned above play a part. But one of the biggest that wasn’t mentioned in my eyes was the fact that Shenmue III is ongoing. And Bloodstained just happened. So did Yooka Laylee. And they all sucked dry the wallets of gamers that you have to assume are all part of the same demographic. I know I am, though I pulled my cash from Bloodstained as soon as I saw that it made stupid amounts of money – I liked Iga’s Castlevania games, but not that much. And they ran their course in my opinion. Guess a lot of Bloodstained fans are just Playstation gamers and didn’t play the copious amounts of Iga-produced Castlevanias that did the same thing on the GBA and DS for years. But I digress…

    The fact is, people got their wallets out – and hard – for A LOT of stuff all relatively recently. And all of them hit the same nostalgia-fueled audience. Gamers from the mid-to-late 90’s (into 2000; I think Shenmue came out then. Might’ve been 2001). In addition to everything else, I have to imagine that people are just drained right now. The people who would totally have backed this right now. But wallets need time to recover, and when you’re the second guy in a row to show up without anything beyond talk and concept art (after Bloodstained), you have to be losing that race. It’s gotta be real easy to just walk away muttering, “I hope it makes it. I’ll play it when it comes out”

    This would’ve been a bigger deal if some VERY big deals didn’t already just happen. I bet it would be doing much differently if it were more isolated. Even though there are people who hate how the MN9 situation rolled out, are super critical of Inafune right now, and aren’t onboard the mixed media approach. It does seem pretty dumb to me to bring Studio 4C onboard tbh. But I like them and their work; I threw cash at both projects. But it’s based 100% on faith at this point.

  • I am just surprised that rather then going with red ash they just did not do mighty no 9 legends as they are trying to build up the world and lore and the fact since mighty no 9 was a spiritual sequel to megaman games anyway i thought it would have made more sense with a legends style game.

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