The story of Mighty No. 9 is a weirdly convoluted one, and it got weirder and more convoluted this week when the game finally launched. The product of a Kickstarter campaign that earned close to $4 million, it’s helmed by Keiji Inafune, the original creator of Mega Man. Mighty No. 9 is very similar to that storied franchise, an attempt by Inafune to make a new title along the same lines of his much-beloved creation.
But Mighty No. 9 has had its problems, like delays and false starts, and its launch this week didn’t go any smoother. The game is buggy on all of the 10 platforms on which it appears, and other hiccups—like Kickstarter backers not receiving the downloadable content they were promised for their donations—have plagued it as well. Reviews aren’t kind, and even in a pre-release stream featuring Inafune and producer Ben Judd, the creators acknowledged the game had its issues.
It’s weirder than that, though. For one thing, Mighty No. 9’s marketing has been pretty much terrible. A few weeks ago, developer Comcept USA released a trailer for the game that felt like it’d be at home among the “extreme” game commercials of 1998, that included a line about fans of Japanese “anime” cartoons sadly staying home during their high school proms. A lot of people felt insulted by that line. And then the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account chimed in.
Dear Anime Fans: On Prom Night, at least we’ll still be there for you. pic.twitter.com/y5p6BPHHi1— Sonic the Hedgehog (@sonic_hedgehog) May 26, 2016
Pretty funny! Good social media-ing there, Sonic Twitter team.
But then the launch happened. In that same pre-release stream, Judd, who was translating an answer for Inafune, said Mighty No. 9 had it’s problems but it was “better than nothing”—and the internet ran with that one, too, because that’s kind of a crappy thing to say about a project people backed on Kickstarter and believed in.
And here comes Sonic again with another zinger.
This time, everyone in the video game Twitterverse cried foul. Too mean, Sonic! That’s a fellow developer just doing the best they can! Also the last handful of Sonic games have been pretty abysmal—last year’s Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was both the worst-reviewed and worst-selling Sonic game ever!
Or to put it more succinctly:
Sonic Twitter went to the doghouse to think about what it had done. Meanwhile, it became apparent that Inafune had actually been much more humble about Mighty No. 9’s issues than that translation first suggested. Other people listening to the stream translated his remarks differently: “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.”
Seems the “better than nothing” remark was Judd’s opinion on the situation.
And thus, that’s Mighty No. 9. Reviews put the game at just being, well, mediocre. The story will feel like a warning against Kickstarter for some; for others, it seems to be another well-worn example about how the best crowd-funded intentions can go unfortunately wrong. And finally, it’s a lesson learned by one speedy blue hedgehog, who will maybe stick to insulting only things everyone hates next time, instead of things that only most people hate. Like Mondays.
When your weekend was all up and down and all around… pic.twitter.com/yj0fJWj2k3— Sonic the Hedgehog (@sonic_hedgehog) June 6, 2016