Crowdfunding campaign used to fund new game.
At a panel discussion that took place during Seattle’s Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) on September 1, veteran game designer Keiji Inafune announced plans for Mighty No. 9, a game that many are calling the spiritual successor to the popular Megaman series. Mighty No. 9 is being crowdfunded through Kickstarter, a website that has revolutionized the way entertainment is created and consumed. The highly anticipated game is being developed after having met a daunting $2.2 million goal.
Inafune is best known for his work at Capcom, a large Japanese game developer and publisher, where he helped to create Megaman, and oversaw the production of games like Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and Dead Rising. Inafune left Capcom in October 2010 over his growing dissatisfaction with the company. In December of the same year he founded his own development studio, Comcept. Recognizing that Capcom would have nothing to satisfy an already content-starved fanbase after it cancelled the last three Megaman games (Megaman Universe and Megaman Legends 3 in 2011, and the previously unannounced Maverick Hunter in April of this year), Inafune and his team at Comcept began work on Mighty No. 9 this year.
Inafune announced at PAX that the game would be crowdfunded through Kickstarter. Crowdfunding is form of fundraising, made popular by websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, where anyone can contribute to a project. This marks the first time that a Japanese developer has used Kickstarter to fund a game, a practice that has become quite popular among Western developers. Over the last year, many high profile games and developers have sought funding through Kickstarter. In March of last year, Double Fine Productions, the developer behind games like Psychonauts, Brütal Legend, and Iron Brigade, raised over $3.3 million for their game Double Fine Adventure (now renamed Broken Age). Double Fine has since gone back to Kickstarter to successfully fundraise for another game, Massive Chalice, which raised over $1.2 million.
The involvement of crowdfunding in entertainment media has marked a shift in game development. Gamers now have more of a say in the kinds of games being made; they have the chance to put their money where their mouths are. In fact, Kickstarter campaigns are often created in direct response to feedback from fans of a game. Star Citizen is a well-known example of a game that was created in response to fans constantly petitioning creator Chris Roberts for a new Wing Commander game.
Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and daisies in the land of Kickstarter. Much like campaigns in other fields on the site, games are not always guaranteed to come out. Double Fine’s Broken Age has been repeatedly delayed and was recently announced that due to budgeting problems it will be split in two, with the first half to be released in July 2014 and the second half coming sometime in 2015. The Ouya, an open source, Android operating system-based console, was released with many technical problems and a relative dearth of quality games. Games also don’t always get funded. Over the summer, Precursor Games launched a campaign for Shadow of The Eternals, what some are calling a spiritual successor to the Eternal Darkness series, but failed to meet fundraising goals not once but twice. On Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing. If a project raises $100,000 but needs $110,000, it receives no funding.
It is in this environment that Inafune and his team, made up almost exclusively of developers who worked on the Megaman games, launched their Kickstarter campaign. The game made headlines as it raised over $1 million in just over a day and has since raised over $2 million. Mighty No. 9’s Kickstarter campaign ends October 1. The game is scheduled to come out on PC and Mac in 2015 and will later launch on Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U.
Sam Moore is a video game lover and frequent contributor to the Argosy. He often writes reviews of films.