Our weekly dose of hot takes, occasionally well formed opinions, and fevered outbursts is back; yup, it’s the Question of the Week! Last week Comcept’s much-anticipated Mega Man inspired platformer Mighty No. 9 was release, and needless to say things didn’t go well. That leads us to our question :
Are gamers and the press being too hard on Mighty No. 9 and Comcept?
I’m kind of behind on this as I’m still slogging through E3 freelancing and job hunting, but the little time I spent playing Mighty No. 9 demos last year was fun. I really didn’t have an issue with the graphics myself. The voice acting and dialogue have been hammy but I never remember the Mega Man (X) series as being truly gripping. I’m hoping to make time for this one, but to note, I didn’t back this one. I really didn’t expect much and was thinking that Capcom would spring their legal attorneys into action once it got too far along, but, well, perhaps they could sense something was wrong.
Despite a possible translation error in regards to Inafune’s “It’s better than nothing,” I think that, in general, the treatment is fair enough. Ignoring how much the big press hyped the game only to turn around and slam it, most of what we’re seeing seems to be expected. The game was delayed far too many times and Inafune was trying to build an IP first. Who was in charge or western localization? Advertising? Hiring voice actors? Nostolgia clearly blinded people who may have forgotten what the series is actually like but banked on the basic image painted by the Kickstarter, but having a new character and new system replacing the old basic gameplay means players would be catching the flaws where they may have normally overlooked things.
A few tweaks here or there might have helped the presentation, which matters a lot when you let the public donate (never say invest!) to a Kickstarter. I do still hope we’ll see Red Ash, and that Inafune takes this blow to straighten out how design and development process, but I’m still cautiously keeping my expectations in check.
I don’t think gamers are being too hard on Comcept, particularly the ones who contributed to the Kickstarter. Developers should be held accountable to their investors. Sometimes that’s a publisher that they interact with directly, sometimes it’s a rabid fanbase of backers who they have to make extra effort to keep in the loop. The point is, you can’t make sweeping changes to a project funded with other people’s money and not expect them to feel like they are entitled to an explanation. Especially when the results come out, less than impressive. As for the press, this is part of the hype double-edge sword. If you rely predominately on goodwill from your reputation to sell a game, you need to back that up with something. The press won’t let you ride their hype train then try to get off before you reach the station.
That’s a difficult question to answer. If you asked me just a few days ago, before the game came out, I’d say no. But now that it is out, things have changed. Other game developers are jumping on Inafune, and seemingly everyone is piling on the game whether they’ve played it or not. Now there are false news reports spreading saying he claimed the game was “better than nothing,” even though it was clearly his translator editorializing.
I think anyone who backed the Kickstarter, or even bought the game afterward, and feel like they didn’t get what they were originally pitched has a right to be as upset as they are. Anyone who’s a fan of Kickstarter in general and loves crowdfunding is perfectly justified in their anger as well, since the whole thing was run so poorly and it sets such a bad example. The fact is, when a high profile campaign such as this is that badly run it hurts all crowdfunding campaigns, the fact that the game itself is pretty bad only makes that worse.
But anyone jumping on the hate bandwagon without having backed the Mighty No. 9 or having even played it just because everyone else is, is in the wrong. As always, there are some people that have taken it too far, and when you have other game developers insulting them too (also using the “better than nothing” line) that’s a real problem. It’s no longer about fair criticism and instead yet another internet hate mob fueled by who can get the best insult.
In my opinion, no they’re not being too hard on them. I’m prepared to let slide the fact Mighty No. 9 was eventually released a year after originally planned (as that’s fairly common with Kickstarter projects), that the graphics and and audio are devoid of charm and that while the gameplay seems to have its moments it doesn’t reflect all the talent and money involved. More damning is the oblivious attitude of the team behind it all as physical rewards failed to materialise, backer questions were frequently ignored and the ongoing issues with getting keys to backers. Yes, admittedly there are a lot of backers to satisfy but given the resources involved they could surely have gotten some dedicated staff involved to assist with this aspect of the project. And of course there’s the small matter of Comcept launching the Kickstarter campaign for Red Ash before Mighty No.9 was finished, not a problem if things are going well but given the numerous ongoing issues it just came across as greedy.
I think it’s totally fine for people who have played Mighty No. 9 to trash the game as much as they feel it deserves. Those who have not played it, however, have little reason to revel in the hatred swirling around it. After all, what are you doing at that point but simply being a bit of a bully? Kickstarters can and certainly have gone wrong in the past and this is just one example of how even the best laid plans can go awry. A good developer or industry name in no way confirms modern day success – and that’s a lesson many are learning right now. I wish Mighty No. 9 could have been awesome, but at least this is not the end of the line. Actual Mega Man games could continue to come out and be awesome. If not, we can always look to the indie community to bring out Mega Man-inspired games which are downright fantastic.
I think that people are not only being too hard on Comcept, but they’re also being childish.
I backed Mighty No. 9 myself and can understand backers being annoyed with how certain aspects of the games development was handled, particularly with regards to backer communication. Even then, Comcept posts more updates than most developers, and haven’t been hiding much. As a backer all you’re really entitled to are regular updates, and the rewards you paid for, something everyone seems to be getting. There’s nothing stating that the game you’re backing has to be great, just that the developers have to make every effort to deliver one.
Developers promising more than they can deliver while delaying their game is nothing new, that’s been going on for as long as I can remember. In addition to that, gamers and the gaming press have a long and illustrious history of dog-piling on anyone they feel has slighted them in some small way, so it’s not surprising to see the current furor. The biggest thing I worry about with this whole debacle, though, is the impact it’ll have on Kickstarter. There’s already several articles floating around with authors rambling on about how they’ll never back anything on Kickstarter again. It’s asinine to me that anyone should expect game development to suddenly become perfect just because of how the money was raised. Mighty No. 9 isn’t the worst example of Kickstarter gone bad, and it certainly won’t be the last, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad.
I think it’s been a while since we’ve seen such a big flop, at least when it comes to a game which has had so much publicity and hype behind it for so damn long. Truth is, I wasn’t all that surprised after seeing the negative reviews. Clearly, the game’s mediocre, and that’s been the case ever since Comcept started “teasing” us with gameplay trailers showing little more than obnoxious-looking controls bundled with PS2-era graphics. It is sad, but then again I also haven’t really played any Mega Man games. Yeah, I know. SHAME!
Back to the question though – I think Mighty No. 9 is getting what it deserves. It might’ve been development hell for the game, but the final product is out and it ain’t that good..
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