one of the most famous (or infamous) Kickstarter projects so far, finally releases for almost all consoles this week. For three years now, fans had been promised Despite several delays and insulting marketing (insert “anime fan on prom night” joke here) many backers hoped that their investment would pay off in a meaningful way. After all, this was Keji Inafune right? What could possibly go wrong?
As it turns out? Everything could go wrong. Mighty No.9 was released to a definitive ‘meh’ and managed to be mediocre in all of its objectives. Playing like a Mega Man spiritual successor? Nope, the implementation of a dash system means it plays radically different. Competent production values? Not really, the game often drops frames in random places on the current gen versions. Being an enjoyable experience? Not even that as most people have claimed that its simply mediocre. The key word here, besides mediocre, is disappointing. Mighty No.9 had the chance to show everyone what a new Mega Man-esque game could be like but has instead showed how not to do it and made Kickstarter look like an even riskier investment than before. The fact that this comes from one of the original creators of Mega Man is even more disappointing.
Why does this connect to Mega Man? Mighty No.9 was the next best thing to a new Mega Man game, especially considering Capcom has had him on ice for the last several years. Fans had hoped to see a little hint of the blue bomber in Mighty No.9 but were instead left with a mediocre experience that seemed more like a clone than anything else. While it may not seem like it, Mighty No.9 had huge links to Mega Man and the negative launch and reception could have catastrophic effects.
The relative failure of Mighty No.9 means that Capcom could be put off of making a new Mega Man game altogether. If the creator of the game can’t deliver a worthwhile experience, what chance do Capcom have? Capcom may just consider it a futile effort and decide to scrap any existing plans for a new Mega Man game and move on. After all, if Mighty No.9 was successful, the genre would be hot and Capcom could have capitalised and released a new game to fan applause. What actually happened? Mighty No.9 failed and had all of the media chasing it down and a new Mega Man could spotlight the problems that could come. Capcom could also see the negative reception to Mighty No.9 and assume that the gameplay isn’t what their consumers desire and not at all a result of the poor performance, lack of effort and poor presentation. Mighty No.9 could very well have revived Mega Man, but it might well have doomed it instead.
It’s not all doom and gloom however. The launch of Mighty No.9 and the attention it has received could actually have spurned Capcom on to make a new game. The media was fixated on Mighty No.9 from the start due to it being a Mega Man successor and Capcom going up to bat with a legitimate sequel would set the internet alight. Obviously, this doesn’t guarantee success but it does mean that Capcom would finally be releasing a new game. Capcom could also be convinced that they can perfect the Mega Man formula and finally, give it another try, outshining Mighty No.9 in all regards and reintroducing the character to a new generation. It’s not like they’ve never tried either, with several attempts to reintroduce the character being ditched in favor for other projects. Maybe, just maybe, the failure of Mighty No.9 could inspire Capcom to do right by fans and try again for the first time in years.
After Mighty No.9, does Mega Man even have a place in this generation? Yes, of course it does. Mega Man is a part of gaming history and many are anxiously awaiting his return. The failure of Beck and crew does not reflect on Mega Man at all as the two game series have different gameplay mechanics and production values. Mega Man could probably get away with a retro look but Mighty No.9 definitely couldn’t. The gameplay styles are different too, with Mega Man lacking a dash mechanic and instead relying on skillful platforming and precision. Difficulty also plays a part in it, with the Mega Man games being notorious for their challenge whilst Mighty seems to just be frustrating. Essentially, Mega Man can get away with a lot more because of its popularity whilst Mighty No.9 had to live up to an impossible legacy.
Mighty No. 9 could have stunted the development of a new Mega Man game due to its poor performance and reception but there is still hope that Capcom will listen to fan demand and finally ressurect the Mega Man series in a meaningful way. Will they after Mighty No.9? Only time will tell but I personally hope they take the risk. We need a true Mega Man experience.