People are excited for Mighty No. 9 and rightly so. In a time where it looked like Capcom were content to keep Megaman in a box and virtually do nothing with him, this Kickstarter project was a way to give fans a Megaman game that technically didn’t star Megaman. It may have a different name and a different look but it’s clearly Megaman. That’s not a bad thing but what is is director Keiji Inafune’s seemingly out of control desires for this ‘franchise.’
In the last two years, Inafune has expressed desires to expand the world of Mighty No. 9 into film, TV, anime, manga and comic book form. Is this wrong of him? No. It shows that he cares about what he’s creating and is passionate about it. What is wrong, though, is how he wants all of this when the game itself has not even been released yet.
Videogames being adapted into other forms of media isn’t a strange new thing, obviously. Mario, Sonic, Pac-Man, Megaman and many other videogame characters have made the jump into television, film and the like. However, the difference here is that those characters were firmly established in peoples’ minds for years. Nintendo didn’t have a Mario cartoon in the pipeline to coincide with Super Mario Bros, probably for a very good reason.
What if Super Mario Bros flopped or didn’t meet sales expectations? Crazy sounding, I know, but that’s always a possibility. If they had spent money on creating a tie-in cartoon and the game didn’t sell well, then that’s money wasted. So why does Inafune feel so confident to have all these other forms of Mighty No. 9 media already in the pipeline?
Well, you could argue that he knows Mighty No. 9 is going to do really well. After all, the game was a Kickstarter – fans donated their money to the project because they wanted it; they want to play it. But that’s the thing – people donated for a videogame. Not a cartoon. Not a movie. A videogame. Just because players want to play said game, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to watch the cartoon or read the comic. Ask any die-hard Pac-Man fan if they’ve invested time in the recent Pac-Man cartoon. Chances are some of them will say no.
There’s also the risk of overexposure. This is a title that has not been released yet, and all this talk of movies and cartoons has already made some people sick of the sight of Mighty No. 9, even those that were interested in the game. You want to know why Nintendo only releases a main Legend of Zelda title once every few years? Because if we got them like every six months, we’d get fed up and bored of it.
And then there’s that spin-off title. Yes, Mighty No. 9, a game that has not been released yet, is already getting a spin-off. And guess what? This one’s a Kickstarter too – and it’s for both the game and another anime.
Remember the cancelled Megaman Legends 3? Well, Red Ash: The Indelible Legend, is essentially that, only replacing its characters with suspiciously similar substitutes. While Megaman Legends 3 was a title that many would no doubt love to see be made, even if it’s technically not the same game, it has been raising money at a very slow pace, nowhere near as quickly as Mighty No. 9. It hasn’t even made half of its expected goal, and I can probably guess why and the reason is something I have repeated throughout this whole article – Mighty No. 9 isn’t out yet.
Inafune is asking people to give their money towards making a spin-off of a game that they haven’t even played. For all they know, the game won’t be that good. They might not enjoy it. Why should they give him their money for something they may not want and most assuredly didn’t even ask for? It’s almost as if Comcept, the developer, doesn’t think Mighty No. 9 is going to make enough money for them to make the game themselves or they’re just being greedy and banking on the same crowd that rushed to support Mighty No. 9 to come back for this. There’s also the fact that Red Ash was initially a PC only-title. It only got more of a surge of money when they revealed a console version stretch goal – which console? They didn’t say. Doesn’t that make you the tiniest bit wary?
Some of you may claim I’m overanalysing or being too critical of a guy who is passionate about his creation and that may be true if it wasn’t for Kaio: King of Pirates. What’s that? It was another project by Inafune; a strategy RPG for the 3DS that was ultimately cancelled earlier this year. The game was pretty much in limbo for a few years, with only one CGI trailer and a couple of gameplay images. And guess what? Inafune had plans to make it a trilogy of games, as well as an anime and manga. Sound familiar? While there’s no evidence, I really do believe that Kaio’s cancellation was a result of everyone involved juggling too many projects at once, resulting in everything just collapsing around them.
This doesn’t mean I think Mighty No. 9 will get canned. The game is more or less finished and cancelling it now will result in such bad publicity and backlash. However, I think that the future after Mighty No. 9 could potentially just become a mess. I seriously believe that Inafune is directing this pet project towards an early grave. I’m not opposed to Mighty No. 9 getting a cartoon or a comic book, but it needs to be handled delicately. You can’t just tell the fans that they’re getting all of this when they don’t even know if they want it yet.
It feels like Inafune is acting like an eight-year old on a sugar rush. He has all these ideas and hopes for Mighty No. 9 but rather than carefully planning it or gauging public interest, he’s just throwing it all out there, assuming that everybody will be just as excited as he is. If these other forms of media end up being really successful, then that’s fair but I have not seen anybody talking about how excited they are for the live-action movie or the anime. I haven’t even seen anybody talking about how excited they are for the game anymore. It paints a very bleak image in my eyes and I can only hope that Inafune comes around and learns to reign himself in before Beck winds up at the unemployment office.