Mighty no.9

If you’ve read this blog for some time now, you probably are familiar with my history with Mega Man. Inafune leaving CAPCOM hit me hard in a time when even the little things got under my skin. Now, Keiji Inafune has entered the fray with a Mega Man clone Mighty no.9.

This is a dividing project. On one hand we haven’t had a true Mega Man for a while now (and we’re going to have to wait a while more) and Mighty no.9 is by all means Inafune’s own Mega Man reborn. On the other hand this is what Inafune wants to do and the Kickstarter video he has made is filled with elements screaming Mega Man to the fans in most unsubtle ways possible.  Inafune voiced his opinion on the stagnant state of Japanese video games few years back, and now the enters the fray with… a Mega Man clone. This isn’t a spiritual sequel or anything like it. Mighty No.9 is what Bass is to Mega Man within the story.

To tell you the truth, the first thing initially did was that I checked how much would I need to support the project to get a packaging with a disc. Then slowly I started thinking and going through things about the project. The group of people making this game have some good and some bad. Naoya Tomita is in charge of Game Design, but I have to say that Mega Man 1 has some awful level designs. Good thing later games improved on this, and I seriously hope all the experience will come together in this project. Lead Character Designer Kimo Kimo has worked on good designs and he knows his stuff. Manami Matsumae is in charge of the music, but the few samples on the site aren’t all that good. The question here is if Matsumae will be aiming for something different, or towards a Mega Man experience. If it’s the latter, then she must overdo herself and do the best soundtrack in her career. The Art Director Shinsuke Komaki is giving Mighty no.9 the exact same feeling as he did to the Battle Network series but with a twist, and I can’t fault him.  Much like Kimo Kimo, Komaki knows what is expected of him. However, the development is handled by Takuya Aizu, which means that Mighty no.9 will have that distinct sour taste of Inti Creates in there. I don’t care much for Inti Creates and their take on Mega Man games has always been more or less unsatisfying, especially the ZX games. The Director Koji Imaeda has only worked on three Mega Man games, which all sucked. The fact that he grew up playing Mega Man doesn’t mean that he is able to make a good Mega Man or similar game. That’s an asinine thing to say.  The rest of the group is more or less completely unimportant when it comes to the developing the game.

From the visuals to the presentation of the group one thing is clear; Mega Man. Everything about this is telling that this is Mega Man. This isn’t Mighty no.9, this is Mega Man reskinned. From now on, I will call this game as just no.9.

Will I support this game? I want to, but I won’t. This game is getting attention mostly because it’s a Mega Man clone made by the guy who has been responsible most of the Mega Man’s success and nothing else. The same guy who preached how Japanese games can’t match Western standards and are recycling old stuff without coming up with anything new. This game looks and feels like the antithesis of his own words. The advertising, videos, layouts, visuals and everything are of Mega Man and nothing else. This game is not standing and will not stand on its own feet as long as it is shadowed by Mega Man and its legacy.

The only people at this time wanting a Mega Man game are its fans. There has been too much time for Mega Man to be relevant without a high-impact game. no.9 will not be a high impact game. no.9 might generate some buzz in the overall field, of which CAPCOM could utilise to put gears into motion and announce the return of the One and Only Blue Bomber. The more you look at it, the more it looks like Inafune’s giving CAPCOM the finger with this project. It’s a one big Fuck You at them. There’s also the point that Inafune keeps emphasizing on the fact that now he is able to do games he and his crew want to make, which is never a good attitude with a developer. I have to give him credit for saying that it’s important to listen to your fans in the pitch video and that’s great. That’s awesome to hear him say it, but there are three or five instances everywhere on their page where they emphasize the What We Want portion. Another positive credit goes to the fact that they want to make it a modern game using modern aesthetics, not in 8-bit style most Mega Man fans ejaculate all over the place. I’m expecting them to use 3D models as per usual, but I’d love to see extremely detailed and high resolution sprites.

There’s still one bad shadow over the whole project, and it’s the idol worship of Keji Inafune. This project most likely got majority of its current backing simply by the fact that he is involved here and that’s stupid. The developers don’t matter if the product is good, but at this point we’re just seeing the initial planning stage for this project. It’s clear that this project is based on two things; One is that Inafune wants to make a Mega Man game and show The Finger at CAPCOM, and Two; this is one of the easiest way to get Mega Man’s core audience to shift their interest to him and Comcept. I’m positive that Inafune would have enough backing to create no.9 rather than e-begging money at Kickstarter. We haven’t heard much from Inafune’s previous project, Kaio: King of Pirates mostly because Inafune has not been promoting it itself, and it’s not really a high-class product even if its getting a TV adaptation.

I’m disappointed in myself of getting all excited about no.9. It’s the blue and green eyes that did it. The more I ponder this game, the more I want a real Mega Man game.

Interestingly enough, the game would be made even if it hadn’t get funded at all. Their FAQ states that both Comcept and Inti have the resources to make this game. Why would there be a need to fund this game if the companies already have the resources to develop the game? Wasn’t Kickstarter for projects that had no other way of getting funded? 

Pirate Penguing in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms

It has been some time now since Keiji “Inafking” Inafune left CAPCOM and we’re seeing his first game project since, well, Mega Man Legends 3.

Is that a goddamn pirate penguing?

Well shit, this looks pretty swell, except there are things that do not sit well in general picture.
This is a concept video, meaning that the game will have elements of the trailer. It’s completely normal to see this kind of videos, but I had hoped for gameplay video or the like. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms with penguing pirates sounds something like Inafking would do. The trailer overall seeps his touch and spirit from character designs to voice acting. However, do we need yet another Musou -type game? Here lies the problem; Inafking is doing a game he wants to make, and it’s going to be trilogy because the story is too large to fit into one game. Game’s story should never take over the gameplay, and it saddens me that story seems to be the emphasize with King of Pirates, unless Inafking does it like he did in the Mega Man Legends series, where the plot served more on the gameplay part rather than just being a window dresser like in most modern games. It’s also on the 3DS, and while Inafking admitted how the console has problems, he also has best hopes both for the system and the game. Ouch. Perhaps he can put some of his magic at work as he did with Mega Man / X series.
I’ve been through this many times; developers these days are making nothing short of pet projects and then expect them to sell like hotcakes. While I’d love to see Legends 3 more than anyone in this country, I am admitting that it would never sell enough to warrant complete production, especially on the 3DS. Life is a bitter thing. I’d like to see Inafking taking more cautious steps now rather than doing this game at first, and while he admits that people are expecting zombie games from him (who’s expecting zombie games from him?) he assures that they will come only after King of Pirates.

As always, a service provider is not the one to choose what service customers need. A designer is not to choose what kind of design customer needs. A game developer isn’t the one to choose what kind of game customers want to play. They’re the one getting the customers’ money, the customer that should be their god in all regards. I had hoped that Inafking would do something that’s his own, but something that would seem to sell better. Perhaps King of Pirates is a sleeper hit, hitting the points that Inafking has been known to hit previously in his career. However, in these ages the price of “selling decently” is far too high. King of Pirates has a pressure upon it and there are people with power expecting this game to either outsell or become a miserable failure. Depends on what side these people are.
One thing is certain; if Inafking gets a decent devcrew, they’ll be making games outside the market at times, and perhaps there will games in my niche as well. The future seems shady, but there’s always hope.