Inafune opens up on Mighty No. 9 launch issues, multi-platform development and Kickstarter budgets

‘I’m the key creator; I will own that responsibility,’ says former Mega Man designer in response to critical backlash
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Mighty No. 9 designer Keiji Inafune has discussed the crowdfunded project’s troubled route to market in a candid interview.

Described as a spiritual successor to Capcom’s Mega Man franchise, on which Inafune previously served as lead illustrator and character designer, Mighty No. 9 raised almost $4 million on Kickstarter back in 2013.

Since then, the title has been struck by multiple delays, eventually releasing this week, but only on some of the 10 platforms promised. The game itself has since suffered tepid critical reviews.

Speaking on a stream following Mighty No. 9’s launch, translated by former Capcom producer and Digital Development Management founder Ben Judd (via Kotaku), Inafune threw his hands up regarding its problems.

“I want to word this in a way to explain some of the issues that come with trying to make a game of this size on different platforms,” he began. “I’m loath to say this because it’s going to sound like an excuse and I don’t want to make any excuses.

“I own all the problems that came with this game and if you want to hurl insults at me – it’s totally my fault. I’m the key creator; I will own that responsibility.”

One of the biggest current complaints is Mighty No. 9’s absence on many of the platforms for which it was promised, which Inafune described as a major challenge for a independent developer.

“In my many years at Capcom, Capcom was known for their multi-platform strategy,” he recalled. “But never did they ever do ten SKUs all at the same time, ten different versions all for one title.”

Judd agreed: “Traditionally, this is true – we’ve worked with a lot of different porting houses.

“Usually you have the base game and work on the port after the game was done. In this case, it was do the base game and do the port all at the same time.

“It ended up being a huge amount of work, more than they actually estimated. Definitely, when they looked at the project, they were wrong about a lot of things. They underestimated how much time and work was going to be necessary. All of those things create a huge amount of pressure.”

Judd, paraphrasing Inafune’s responses, also commented on the challenge of sticking to a Kickstarter budget, of which he said many players still fail to understand the financial realities.

"They see a number like four million and expect that’s the actual budget,” he observed. “The reality is that it’s 60 per cent of that.”

“In order to increase the content in a wide variety of ways, you really need to be able to estimate the amount of financial burden that’s going to occur. Even for someone like Keiji, who’s worked on so many different games, it’s a really hard thing to estimate.”

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