Well, it’s finally happened. The release date for Mighty No.9 finally arrived last week, and the game was, unfortunately, not very good. It’s unfortunate, but Mighty No.9 is definitely not the spiritual successor to Mega Man that we were all hoping for. However, be it a truly bad game or just an average one, Mighty No.9 can still be valuable.
After everything we’ve seen in connection to Mighty No. 9 and its troubled development, perhaps it’s simply amazing that it was released at all. That doesn’t excuse the quality (or lack thereof) of the final product, but one has to admit that it wouldn’t have been too surprising to wake up on day and find out that its developer, Comcept, had outright given up on the troubled project. It wouldn’t have been the first Kickstarter game to fold, but it definitely would have been among the highest profile failures. Here we are though, the game was completed and did get released as promised. It’s unfortunate that it’s not the game we were hoping for, but it still has value as an example of the need for caution when backing even high-profile Kickstarter campaigns.
Now to be fair, Mighty No.9 was also being backed/published by Deep Silver, so this isn’t entirely a Kickstarter issue. Deep Silver shares at least some blame here for a lack of quality control (in regard to the Wii U version) and some questionable marketing ideas, but ultimately this was a game that got its start on Kickstarter and was developed by Comcept and headed by Keiji Inafune. All that said, back when it was just getting started it looked like a slam dunk, didn’t it?
Mighty No.9 was to be built upon a sound and easily understood concept, was to be handled by an industry veteran with what, at the time, seemed to be reasonable goals. Now that the game has released though, it’s clear that those goals just weren’t attainable. In 2016, the sheer scope of what was being promised would have set off red flags immediately, but that wasn’t the case three years ago. After all, backers in 2013 didn’t have the benefit of all the project failures we’ve seen between then and now. So, what makes Mighty No. 9 a valuable example if we already have plenty of failed projects to make us be more cautious with our backing choices? The fact that it actually got delivered rather then getting canceled outright
Unlike the many failed Kickstarter games of the past, Mighty No. 9 has wound up being considered a failure even though Comcept actually followed through and delivered the game. Its delivery along with the project’s high-profile have provided us with one more important avenue of thought to consider when decided whether or no to back a project. Backers of the project finally got their game, but it isn’t the game that they thought it would be, so now they and all the rest of us know to consider how a project might change over the course of development. It also tells potential developers that they, no matter how much industry experience they have, need to have their core ideas almost completely defined before bringing the game to Kickstarter and taking on the expectations (and scrutiny) of their backers.Mighty No. 9 may have failed in a lot of ways, but in this way it can still be a benefit to Kickstarter backers and developers.
This may all sound like a condemnation of Kickstarter, but I assure you it isn’t. Mighty No. 9 has shown us that even delivered projects can turn out badly, but I see it as a part of Kickstarter’s growth. It’s an example that will encourage us to be more careful, and one that will encourage developers to be more careful. We’ve already seen many successful projects like FTL, The Banner Saga, and Shovel Knight, and I firmly believe that this lesson will lead to even more successes in the future. Kickstarter has helped provide us with games that AAA won’t touch with a 10 foot pole for some reason, and it’s lessons like these that will help it become a better tool for doing that.
*What’s your take on Mighty No. 9? Do you still see Kickstarter as a viable platform for funding interesting new video game ideas?