Mega Man fandom or a cult of worshippers?

The Mega Man fan community, on its surface, has been slowly transformed to something else. When you go the more known news site on the franchise, you’ll notice that there’ a lack of actual information worth reporting. These sites have, to a large extent, become a sort of unwilling marketers for CAPCOM’s Mega Man products that are not games. Statues with horrible sculpts, modelled helmets for outrageous prices and music CDs the hardcore fans have already owned at least once already.

And then there’s the Gunvolt and Mighty No.9. It looks like in desperation the sites are now throwing out news on games that resemble Mega Man rather than on Mega Man itself. No, the front of the fandom has become more like a fan community of games like Mega Man, except it’s not even that. It’s become a cult of Keiji Inafune and that’s something it should have avoided like a plague.

Mighty No.9 is a Mega Man game but in name only, that much is true. However, with every progressive report from users and videos put out, it’s clear that Mighty No.9 is nothing special. Some have said that it doesn’t play like a Mega Man game, and while that’s not a negative point in itself, it’s a point that hits negatively with the intended core audience. The core gameplay is already set in, and it doesn’t look all too attractive. Music is still bland based on the tracks heard thus far. Mighty No.9 is becoming a very mediocre title.

The same with Gunvolt. Inti-Creates has no strong franchise of their own. They got a lot of lift with the Mega Man Zero series and despite the games’ shortcomings and certain bad design decisions that never were corrected, they made a big name out of themselves. Looking at their game library, we see that their list of games is less than stellar. Inti-Creates has always been a company that puts out budget grade titles. There are few high budget games sprinkled here and there, but the overall sum quality of their products is seriously lacking. Gunvolt follows this suit and after spending some time with the game, it’s like Mega Man but cheaper. The game feels cheap and doesn’t elevate the status the company has one bit. The fans and core followers will argue otherwise, but that’s expected.

As the community has become more like a cult following Inafune, there’s a serious lack of reporting on the negative sides. Mighty No.9 has seen some negative points that have gone largely unreported, mainly the issues concerning with the community manager Dina Abou Karam and whether or not she will have an impact on the end product. I agree that she’s not doing her appointed job well and bringing her own bias into something that doesn’t need them, nor has the backers paid for, she needs to go. However, that’s not going to happen because Comcept doesn’t really care. This has gone far enough with Karam banning GamerGate supporters. Well, noting that she got her position via nepotism it’s not surprise she would feel threatened as GamerGate as a movement is against such corrupt events taking place. This is horrible customer service and breaks pretty much every basic rule in the book. If I had supported Mighty No.9, I would do everything to get my money back, as I would not be getting the product and service I paid for.

In perfect world Inafune would manage the community himself, but we all know that he doesn’t care. Inafune has always been a man of his own wants and interests, disregarding the consumer and other outside views. Despite CAPCOM’s inner workings being horrible with their multi-tier development approach (a game can be half-developed before it’s actually greenlit,) Inafune has always gone with his own things to the extent he has wanted. However, he is willing to put out products simply for the sake of job and because they’d sell, which is a good thing as that meets demands of the consumer. Yet, with the whole Mighty N.9 backing community basically hating the guts of their manager, Inafune doesn’t care. He has his money for a game that would have been produced despite the results of the campaign and that’s what really matters for him.

Then again, that’s exactly what the community’s front seems to promote. The Mega Man Network had an interview with Inafune, and the interview is actually worthless to read. It’s nothing but pandering and addresses no questions of importance. Questions like What is your favourite Mighty Number is kiddy tier interview crap and rest of the questions are no better. These people had the best possible situation addressing questions of the community and bringing Inafune closer to his backers by voicing their concerns, but no. Idol worship prevents this and encourages bias.

Of course, you can’t ask hard questions; you may drive the person away and never get another interview from him again, but what would that tell about the person then?

A product and service will, can’t ever, become as demanded or intended if critical feedback is not given. It doesn’t take any courage from the fan community to start addressing the issues, but they don’t care because of all the bias they have towards Inafune. Traditionally, this sort of idols are seen infallible, unable to make any mistakes and deliverers of all great. It is clear that Inafune built a team of original Mega Man developers. That would be a nice thing, if Mega Man wasn’t such a mediocre game. Mega Man 2 and 3 are completely different beasts, and then we start seeing The Pattern forming, which is only broken when Inafune is no directly involved with the games. Minakuchi Engineering made most of the GameBoy Mega Man games, and once they understood how Mega Man is wanted by the audience as opposed how developers saw it, we got Mega Man (World) IV and V, games that can be argued to be in the top 5 of the Classic series. Hell, I’ll out myself and argue that Mega Man (World) V is the best in the Classic series if nothing else but the sheer amount of work Minakuchi Engineering had to do in order to make the game stand on its own and be measured as equal to its NES brethren. However, as a side game, it’s place will always be in the second class.

Then you have the X series, which was undermined by Inafune’s favouritism towards Zero, which also reflects in the rest of the series, where his own creations (Mega Man wasn’t Inafune’s brainchild, which is a common misconception) have always seen more push.

Perhaps the worship has gone to Inafune’s head. Perhaps he has always been like that, but has managed to handle his public relations extremely well. Then again, perhaps no interviewer has ever challenged him with a tough and critical inquiry. It is a fact that Inafune has been an important part of Mega Man franchise. That can’t be denied, but it also can’t be denied that the series might’ve seen the same popularity with someone else in lead. But these are ifs, and ifs are rather pointless at this point in time. Whatever the case is, I would be glad to see the fandom, especially their fronts, addressing the pressing issues openly. There are criticism that needs to be given.

Let’s finish this with somewhat relevant mix.

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