In a recent update, the developers of Mighty No. 9 announced that the game was set to be released on the 21st of June 2016. However, this news was met with much anger and distaste from backers and the reason why is a long story. When dealing with an established fan base everyone knows things can get emotional. Mighty No. 9 is supposed to be the spiritual successor to the Mega Man series, so expectations are high, and people are on edge. The game is hitting shelves 13 months after its initial expected release date due to a critical networking bug causing delays. Combine this with the language barrier between English-speaking backers and a Japanese development team and you have your own miniature crisis.
3 years isn’t a particularly long time for a game to be in development (especially an AAA one), but many backers were new to Kickstarter. I had a snoop through the profiles of all the commenters and my results were exactly as I expected. For many of the backers, Mighty No. 9 was either their first project backed or their only project backed on Kickstarter. Some seemed to be backing Kickstarters from established developers such as those behind Yooka-Laylee and Bloodstained, but most of the negativity seems to be coming from Kickstarter newbies. Knowing that, I think I can empathize a bit more with the backers. Comcept has behaved far from perfect with regards to Kickstarter during the games’ development, which is not a great introduction to Kickstarter. Considering that Mighty No. 9 raised nearly $4M blowing its original goal clean out of the water, you’d imagine things would go smoother. These backers were going all in, some backing as high as $10k for a chance to have dinner with Keiji Inafune (travel and accommodation not included) in Tokyo. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that these are die hard fans who are understandably disappointed with how development, or more specifically, community relations, has been handled.
Another source of frustration has been that originally backers needed to pledge $20 for a digital copy of the game. However, what’s happened now is that Amazon Pre-orders for physical copies are just under $30 and come with DLC or additional codes for Vita. Many backers feel like they are getting a pretty raw deal since they aren’t even receiving the game earlier than the general public. In addition to that, even though the game’s release date has been announced portable versions of the game still do not have a release date.
Overall, it’s easy to say mistakes have been made, the developers probably should have hired a professional to deal with Kickstarter questions and problems. Many backers have indicated that they feel lied to and that feeling is compacted by the fact that Comcept launched two more Kickstarters even though they knew Mighty No. 9 was behind schedule. One of them, Red Ash The Indelible Legend, was meant to be a reboot of Mega Man Legends. It missed its funding goal and ended up getting outside funding from Fuze which is a Chinese video game company. Some backers believe that this is the real reason for delays and are not pleased, many want refunds, but are being ignored. A few backers even want to sue the developers, but it is unlikely that anything will come of that since they are protected by Kickstarter’s policy.
It certainly isn’t an easy situation for anyone involved and I’m pretty conflicted. I feel like Comcept did not adapt to Kickstarter well and have thus angered backers. I understand where backers are coming from, but personally feel that the negative reaction outpaces the actual problems.
What do you think? Check out the Kickstarter comments yourself, I really want to know what people think of them so please do comment down below.