So... my brother sends me this link to a ::shudders:: Kickstarter page
for a game tentatively called "Mighty No.9."
Basically Keiji Inafune is back with another "original" idea. Yes, the once brilliant game creator, who must have dropped acid one day, decided that Japanese game makers should try to be more "Western" and make games like Halo with billion dollar budgets and pretty much sunk Capcom in the last 10 years (because they actually tried to listen to him) before they booted his crazy ass out, has a brand new idea that he wants his fans to fund...
Read the first two bullet points of the project and you're probably going... "Wait... no fucking way... did Seth MacFarlane just possesses you?! Tell me you are NOT trying to make a Mega Man game without Capcom simply by making a Mega Man game with a different name? Tell me you are not this fucking stupid."
I am not a fan of Kickstarter... Mostly because I think it gets used a lot by scammers. I don't mean legitimate uses like buying a set of books for a classroom, or perhaps backing a well known and trusted cause. But I just envision it as a place where tons of people with half-baked ideas set up a page, promising the moon, and give you a lackluster product or the project gets lost in never ending developer hell and the original poster just hopes you forget all about it.
I also see it as a way for some legitimate corporations to milk fans before they will translate a favorite manga or anime, almost like some kind of weird usury system, "If you give me money, maaaaaybe I'll make that product that I probably would have made regardless, but now I have you to put up the money for it so there's no risk for my company to take. In return, I may send you a 'free' exclusive poster for paying us money to make something we know you would have bought anyhow." I just, have a very negative outlook when I see well known companies/people beg for money.
So, I can see fellow Mega Man fans saying, "OMG are you fucking crazy? Don't you want another Mega Man game?! It's Inafune! It's Tomita [Tom Pon]! It's Manami Matsumae! You've seen their names on other Mega Man games a hundred times! Sure it has a funny name, but who cares?! It CAN'T FAIL!"
Yeah ok, I like some of the people on the dev team, and I'll freely admit that I have no love for Capcom these days. But that doesn't make up for the fact that Inafune has done nothing but stick his foot in his mouth and burn bridges with developers for the last 10 YEARS.
Like, remember when he said, "[Japanese game developers] ...know they have to learn more from western games and create games that’ll sell more in the western market. However, they don’t know what to do or how to do it. Even worse, their pride gets in the way, preventing them from learning from overseas developers. As a result, they end up staying in the domestic market rather than going global.”
[Sarcasm]Yeah, so... you're taking your own advice here, right? Because that attitude worked so well for you in the last decade. [/Sarcasm]
Look, I like Japanese games because they are Japanese :p I mean people like hot dogs, but you wouldn't want to eat hot dogs every day, right? Sometimes you want a taco. Japanese games are like tacos in the never ending sea of Halos and Call of Duty sequels... I like them because they are foreign and have a different aesthetic.
Apparently somewhere deep inside, Inafune thinks so too, or he wouldn't be trying to rip off his own characters with a Mega Man poser game. Think Walt Disney's Oswald the Lucky Rabbit vs. Mickey Mouse (only reverse their popularity). Same character slightly different art, similar cog in the machine problem with creative differences causing a creator to strike out on his own. Think about it this way, and Inafune should be a fuckin' hero!
Sure, he may look as though he is giving his fans what they want: A Mega Man game, fully under his control, without Capcom's meddling. Because clearly all of Inafune's problems in life are Capcom's fault.
But with any crowdfunded project, I have lingering doubts about his true intentions. There is a such thing as "Intellectual Property" and corporations are notorious for fine print and trademarks which make it so that a creator essentially hands their creation's ownership over to the corporation. This game, as cool as it could be, is essentially a "Polex" watch. It may look like a Rolex, it may even operate like one, but if you are caught selling them, you're probably getting arrested for bootlegging.
Now, this situation will probably not play out exactly like a guy on the street selling things out of his trench coat in an alley. But there is a very real threat that Capcom will bankrupt the project before it goes anywhere with a massive lawsuit.
All it takes is a single regional branch of Capcom (Japan, USA, Europe... take your pick) to sue the shit out of him for infringing on their intellectual property for "too many similarities" [or as some might say "brand confusion"] to stop this project in its tracks. If he ever signed any kind of papers, at any point in his career, which basically allows the company to possess his characters or the underlying game design, they could very easily argue in court that he violated copyright laws.
This would result in a total PR shitstorm. On one side, you have a company protecting their products, even though they seem hell bent on cancelling every Mega Man project to piss off Inafune. On the other hand, you have a creator fighting for the right to "ownership" of his ideas. It's a great legal case study. However, there's a darker possibility that I can totally see too...
Inafune is pissed as hell at his former employer, and they are equally pissed at him. Although it seems cruel, I have a feeling Inafune knows this game will never be made... and he doesn't give a damn. Now, maybe I'm just cynical, but... imagine for a moment that in the back of Inafune's mind, he's even dimly aware that Capcom may sue the shit out of him. If that is the case, then one can't ignore the disturbing possibility that Inafune doesn't care about making the game so much as getting revenge.
Try this on for size: This could be an evil plot to turn all Capcom fans against Capcom forever... Maybe Inafune doesn't want to make a game at all... it's an elaborate scheme. Because one very likely, perhaps almost inevitable, outcome is Capcom will sue for intellectual copyright infringement. Inafune will take to the internet, as he has done so much in the last 10 years, and he will publicly blame Capcom for "shutting his project down." This will make Capcom look like the assholes, the fans will hate them for it, and then Inafune's revenge for them firing him will be complete.
Perhaps, I'm wrong. Perhaps Inafune's motives are totally pure and he really is some kind of idealist. Maybe he truly believes this will be a great fan project and this Mega Man clone will be beloved by all his fans. It could be that this is some kind of elaborate apology for the last 10 years...
Or, we could all be pawns in his little revenge scheme. Either way, I am not holding my breath. I'm not getting my hopes up. I'm certainly not going to donate. I'm going to pretend this little project doesn't even exist for the time being. There's just too much disappointment attached to Inafune's name for me these days. Just like the next Mega Man game, I'll believe it when I see it, completed.