What Mighty No. 9 Could Say About the Future of "Kickstarting"
So, you've probably seen the latest trailer for Mighty No. 9 if you're reading this. You know the one we're talking about, the one with the infamous quote:
"Make the bad guys cry like an anime fan on prom night."
Maybe mocking a good chunk of your fan base wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if Mighty No. 9 had a smooth development history. But considering the fact that this is just one of numerous times the developers have hurt their fan base -- such as with the decision to delay this game THREE times before official release -- Mighty No. 9 could be dead on arrival long before the official release.
So What's Been Going On?
If you weren't already familiar with the background of this title, Mighty No. 9 serves as the spiritual successor to Capcom's dormant Mega Man series. Funded entirely by donations through an online Kickstarter campaign, this title was supposed to be the answer to many gamers' burning desire for a new 2D action platformer to enter the market. Yet, now that the game has been delayed more then three times, many of those same gamers have grown tired of waiting for it to actually be released. Even though the game is slated to arrive in the market on June 21st, it wouldn't be that far fetched to speculate some people are just waiting for it to be delayed inevitably once more.
The Problem With "Kickstarting"
Websites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter have become prime locations for people to raise funds for their creative projects. From independent filmmakers to struggling game studios, if you have a great idea that needs to get off the ground, all you need to do is set up a donations page and ask everyone you can to contribute. However, the underlying problem with websites like Kickstarter is that contributing funds to the project doesn't equal a guarantee in delivery of said product.
Funds can be mismanaged, take the outcry against Anita Sarkessian's "Feminist Frequency" Kickstarter campaign after being accused of stealing online gaming videos instead of using its $158,000 donations to buy the actual games (although they remain only accusations.) Or sometimes the project you donated to could take years to even come to fruition. Take Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy creator Maxwell Atoms' Kickstarter project Dead Meat. Since Cartoon Network wasn't interested in the idea behind Atoms' new series idea, he turned to Kickstarter to make the project a reality. Over a year and $56,000 in donations later, the series has still not seen the light of day. It continues to receive project updates on its official Tumblr page, but who knows how long it'll be before the show comes to fruition.
Therein lies the problem with Mighty No. 9's development, they can take as long as they want because they already have your money. Sure, delaying a game several times will turn away those who didn't back the project and might've been interested in buying the game, but they ultimately still have the tens of thousands of dollars already pledged to them to take as long as their heart desires. The development team is already in talks to make a sequel, and they aren't even done making the first one yet!
What Could This Mean for the Future?
If Mighty No. 9 does turn out to be as bad as the trailer might suggest, it could kill off any chances this series may have had to be the next Mega Man. But that's not the biggest problem that could arise if this game fails. If other Kickstarter backed projects follow a similar pattern in Mighty No. 9's development shortcomings, it could destroy any potential the website would offer independent game developers at all. Customers may not be as interested in contributing to these projects if they continue to be disappointed in the results, which is a shame considering the fact that many of these development teams wish to spice up a market largely dominated by the FPS genre. Fellow Kickstarter backed project Yooka-Laylee is slated to be a spiritual successor to the Banjo Kazooie platforming series, but could yield better results for the industry as long as the development goes over better than what Mighty No. 9 chose to do.
What Do You Think?
Either way, all of this is just speculation up until Mighty No. 9 releases in North America on June 21st. So, what do you think will be the results of Mighty No. 9's numerous delays? Do you feel they were ultimately necessary, and will help ensure the game will be a fun one? Or do you think the game is doomed from the get go? Be sure to comment below and let us know if you plan on picking up the successor Mega Man, or plan on waiting to see what the reviews have to say first.
Ashley ShankleJune 12, 2016, 9:33 pmAssociate EditorI want to know where that $4 million went when the game looks this graphically poor and the marketing is so off the mark. The leaked soundtrack isn't anything to get excited about, either.
Whether the game turns out better than it looks or not, it's going to go down in history as a prime example of how to totally alienate your backers on Kickstarter--from the ignoring on backer complaints and queries on the forums from the project start to now, repeated delays, and a total lack of transparency on the part of Comcept.
I seriously considered backing this as a Mega Man fan and I'm glad I did not, I would want to know where my money went because it doesn't look like it went into the game.
This whole game crowdfunding fad is dying a slow death just as it should. How many games have been Kickstarted only to be less than what was promised? You see this with both games that either never come out or come out terribly--or the odd good one that, for some reason, the devs can't fulfill the higher tier stretch goals. Whether ill intentions or simple naivety, it's rare a crowdfunded game lives up to expectations or fulfills all the promises made.