When Keiji Inafune announced the spiritual successor to the Mega Man series fans were ecstatic. His Kick-Starter campaign managed to raise 4 million dollars which was certainly above his original 900,000 goal. But, the end result was underwhelming to say the least; Might No.9 was a mediocre at best pile of crap. The game released to lukewarm responses and an internet backlash that will ripple throughout the ages.
However, while all of these events were going on at Comcept, Inafune announced a new game. Enter Red Ash, the spiritual successor to the fan beloved Mega Man Legends series. A Kick Starter was created for Red Ash as well as one for its anime counterpart during July 2015. This came at a bad time seeing as Mighty No.9 had recently been delayed (again) and information was scarce. But, the Kick Starter failed and the future seemed bleak for Red Ash. Almost out of nowhere Inafune announced that Red Ash would still be developed even without the funding from KS.
Tensions arose as many players were questioning where the funding for Red Ash had come from. There was a lot of confusion because of the overlap in Mighty No.9 and Red Ash’s impending campaign failure. Where could the funding have come from and what would happen if the goal was met after all? Fans started turning to the most obvious answer, Mighty No.9’s development funds. Inafune shortly explained that FUZE a Chinese video game company had decided to publish the game themselves. Now FUZE is practically an unknown company which currently has a console out in the market (bet none of you knew that detail). He further clarified that any money in the KS would go towards stretch goals instead of the game (it didn’t).
Yet, while all of this was going on in the background Mighty No.9 kept getting delayed. Red Ash however was getting ever further into development though. News of development for Mighty No.9 was practically non-existent almost as if the team which was developing it had been focusing on something different. Months had passed and a year later Mighty No.9 released looking very different to what was originally promised.
Mighty No.9 had terrible English voice acting, sudden drops in FPS, bad boss characterizations, and a disappointingly terrible last boss battle. The ports were all of differing (albeit still terrible quality) with the Wii U version getting the shortest end of the stick. All of Keiji Inafune’s promises fell short in regards to Mighty No.9. The end result was a half-assed attempt at capitalizing on the nostalgia felt by players for Mega Man. But, this is exactly what Red Ash (and by extension Inafune) is trying to do (capitalize on nostalgia).
Keiji Inafune has always had a huge soft spot for Mega Man Legends; it was his goal to create one last sequel for this series before he left Capcom. But, due to mismanagement from the higher-ups and some creative differences he ended up leaving the company and the Mega Man Legends 3 was axed. If you take the emotional state that Inafune must have been in after the departure it would seem plausible that he would still want to make that game. Red Ash is his chance to create the game he wanted.
In his blind passion it wouldn’t be surprising if he siphoned funds from one project to fund the other. Inafune could have easily let his entire crew work on one game, but instead he chose to split the teams. This caused Mighty No.9 to turn out the way it did, similar to what happened back in 2006 (Sonic Team split in order to create two games and Sonic 06 became a mess). History has taught us that this tactic is awful and has only led to terrible games being developed. While there is no concrete evidence of this type of embezzlement happening behind closed doors. It wouldn’t be the first time a game developer screwed over the funding from one game to another (see Aliens: Colonial Marines and Borderlands 2 fiasco).
Comcept has a long way to go in earning back the trust of gamers. I don’t know what Keiji Inafune is planning to do to turn his company around, but he better start implementing it quickly. I doubt Comcept will see many more years of work if this keeps up. It’s easy to earn the scorn of gamers everywhere (especially if you insult them with ads)