When it comes to the expression “vote with your wallet,” there probably isn’t a better example in video games than crowdfunding. With services like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Fig, gamers can directly back projects pitched by ambitious creators with their own money. However, that is where the line is drawn between preorders and crowdfunding; while you can typically back out of a preorder, backing a project is an investment, and investments always carry a risk. Sure, the success stories like Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Shovel Knight, and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night are always heartwarming tales, but the flops stick with you, especially if you backed said flops.
It actually was better than nothing
Investments are always a risk, and wow, did I ever learn that lesson with Mighty no. 9. At a time when Capcom had all but shelved Mega Man, Comcept’s promises of a spiritual successor back in April 2013 were almost too good to be true. The Mighty no. 9 pitch broke records as the highest-funded video game in Kickstarter history, at least at the time; that just showed how desperate Mega Man fans were for a new game.
Unfortunately, we all know how the rest of the story turned out from there. A notoriously ambitious Comcept kept pushing for more money—both within the Mighty no. 9 campaign (voice work and a cartoon) and for additional Kickstarters like the Mega Man Legends-inspired Red Ash (both a video game and a tie-in anime)—while the first game in the series kept getting delayed further and further. The end result in 2016 was an unpolished critical failure that still has yet to deliver on all of its stretch goals. I wonder how the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita versions are coming along…
Owning that responsibility
Granted, I will commend Keiji Inafune for one thing at the end of that whole ordeal. While some project leads would be quick to pin the blame on anything else (say critics, consumers, or even their own staff), Inafune publicly took credit for the failures of Mighty no. 9:
I’m kind of loath to say this because it’s going to sound like an excuse and I don’t want to make any excuses. I own all the problems that came with this game and if you want to hurl insults at me, it’s totally my fault. I’m the key creator. I will own that responsibility.
Say what you will about the game, but it takes serious guts to speak out and own up to a project’s downfall like that.
While the phrase “It was better than nothing” did not come from Inafune himself, there is an inkling of truth to those words coined from this project. The experience taught me some valuable lessons I wouldn’t have learned otherwise when it came to investments, the key one being: “Never invest more money than you’re comfortable losing!”
So thanks for that, Mighty no. 9. I hope Level-5 will give you another, better shot in the future!
But enough about me, I want to hear your stories! Which video game pitch did you back on Kickstarter or other platforms that you wish you could take back? Sound off in the comments!