Hopefully by now, you have heard about Mighty No. 9 and its Kickstarter campaign. Just incase you missed it, let me provide you with a quick rundown: Keiji Inafune (creator of Mega Man) wants to make a new side-scrolling action title in the vein of the best 8- and 16-bit era video games. He has gathered a well-experienced development team to work on every aspect of the game and anyone who backs Mighty No. 9 will be able to provide input over the course of the production.
Guys and gals – we need to fund these sorts of projects. Not just because its Keiji Inafune and he is synonymous with Mega Man. Nor because we need to squeeze another pet project out of a prolific developer. This isn’t even about sticking it to big companies like Capcom who ignore their fans and let classic intellectual properties languish on the sidelines (okay, it’s a little bit about that). Mighty No. 9 and its potential (read: inevitable) success are the proof that gamers can vote with their wallets and win.
It’s a phrase that gets thrown around a lot these days, “vote with your wallet.” The idea that if consumers can influence a market through the purchase of certain products and selective support of companies. But within the world of video games, this sort of practice isn’t always applied. A great number of the options available in major game spaces boil down to generic crap versus nothing at all. Sadly, many gamers would rather play an inferior product or drip-fed re-releases instead of boycotting until something truly worthwhile comes along. Companies like Capcom are aware of this situation. Hence why instead of actually releasing a new Mega Man title or simply killing him off, they have kept him in a vegetative state to pull royalties from his previous adventures.
We can change this reality. In the past, many Japanese game developers have lost their creative works to the companies that sign their paychecks. Keiji Inafune may have come up with Mega Man, but he did so while working at Capcom, so the idea belongs to the parent company. This means that when a new game in the series may (or may not) be released, Inafune has little-to-no say on the project unless Capcom wants his advice. However, when a developer funds a project through Kickstarter or some other crowdfunding website, the work is their own. There are no company focus groups, no board of directors which must be answered to, no mandated market analysis. The developer can take risks and make innovative projects for passionate fans who want these games to exist. But for these projects to work, it is up to the gaming public to lend a helping hand.
So please take a look at Mighty No. 9 and if you are so moved, make a contribution to the Kickstarter campaign. On a basic level, you will be aiding in the production of a potentially excellent game, but there is more to it. The success of Mighty No. 9 and its alternative funding could be the start of a revolution for Japanese developers. Video game veterans who have been holding on to great ideas with no means to produce them could turn to their fans for help. Interesting and worthwhile games will be produced, and the idea that consumers can vote with their wallets will become the new reality. If nothing else, you will have a great game in the vein of Mega Man, and that’s a pretty good deal on its own.