Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How Keiji Inafune Ruined Kickstarting Game Projects

The Red Ash Kickstarter was a disaster from the start. It was not even a month before Mighty No. 9 was released that Keiji Inafune announced he was working on a new project. And it all went downhill from there.

But don't worry; this story ends with a happy ending...well, if you were Inafune at least- for all the fans, well, it just meant not knowing what the heck you were even funding in the first place. Let us note all the many selling point essentials that were never addressed from the start of the Kickstarter: Story? Nope, they're working on that. Will I be able to play it on a console I own? Ahhhh...maybe? Well...what kind of game is it? Action-Adventure....you know, like Meag Man Legends or something who knows. I've seen episodes of Lost that were less vague in providing descriptions.

Unsurprisingly, the Kickstarter didn't get enough sufficient backers and there was no way they would've made the fund raising goal within less than a week. Luckily for Inafune, a Chinese game development company named Fuze (I looked them up; they apparently make game consoles for the Chinese market) came to the rescue and covered the rest of the cost of the game which was roughly over $100,000. Sound a little dodgy yet? Don't worry, it gets better. With all said and done you'd think they could make a game with what funding they had and end of story, but no, Inafune wants more people to fund the anime tie-in to the game...to extend the length of the episodes from 15 to 32 minutes. This tidbit coming just a few weeks after Mighty No. 9 had been delayed to early 2016. Bull. Sh**.

Now, Inafune is pretty revered for his talents and everyone knows him best as one of the core developers responsible for Mega Man, which is probably why he got way too big in the head thinking this could've worked, and well, to be honest this game would've worked if for not for its ill timing. But what in the holy f*** on white bread was he thinking when he thought people would fund another kickstarter for longer anime episodes based on a game we know little about and who's kickstarter mind you had both the game AND the anime in question??? Also, is it just me or is it strange that a 3DS (or even Wii U) stretch goal for Red Ash was never in question, despite the game appearing to be a love letter to Mega Man Legend 3 fans? Though maybe I shouldn't mention that or otherwise Inafune would want to make another fundraiser for it.

Funding these projects brings to fruition a major problem I have with Kickstarter: you really don't know what your funding sometimes and when you'll even get it. Granted, this is true as well when you preorder a game at Gamestop or from an on-line store, but in this case if the project is fully funded and you want for any reason to back out out of your order you can't. Those who funded the Project Cars' kickstarter for the Wii U version learned this the hard way, but the studio was mostly at fault for assuring everyone that the Wii U was delayed but still on the way- only to cancel the game a few months later. Generally speaking, it's a frivolous game developer's wet dream to get anyone to pay more for a game and then not ever having to be obliged to refund the backer of any of his money. This could potentially make pre-ordering look good in comparison, and we seriously need to wake up and realize what's going on. Look, I'm not trying to deter anyone to not back a kickstarter, all I'm saying is it's best to see if the project is already fully funded and if that's the case it's usually a good thing to wait and see if the game you want is coming to the system you have before reaching for that check book, because you might regret that decision later on.

But back to Inafune one last time. I think a golden rule of kickstarting projects should be that if you go over $1 million for one project you have really no business funding another Kickstarter. I realize it takes money to get a game rolling, no arguments there, but puh-leeze, making a spin-off anime a stretch goal before anything else is ballsy and pretty low. Still, I'm excited for projects like Bloodstained and Yooka-Laylee, two great shout-outs to their respective fanbase(s), but only because they focus less about tying in a tv show and are more about the fans' desires to relive nostalgia in a completely new way. But with Keiji Inafune's Red Ash, I can't think of one reason to shell out a single penny, and makes this Mega Man fan a sad panda.

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