Keiji Inafune Talks About The Impressive Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter Campaign

By Sato . January 10, 2014 . 5:00pm

It’s been about three years since Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune left Capcom to start his own company, Comcept, where he’s recently been working on titles such as Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Mighty No. 9, and KAIO: King of Pirates. During an interview with 4Gamer in November, he talked about his experience with Kickstarter.


In addition to Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Soul Sacrifice Delta, Inafune has keeping himself quite busy with Mighty No.9—what he considers to be the spiritual successor of Mega Man—which hit every single stretch goal in its Kickstarter campaign, amassing almost $4 million in total. 4Gamer asks if it’s safe to say that The Mighty No. 9 is the most popular title of his, within the western media.


“Yes it is, but the reaction is quite different from them when compared to the Japanese, starting with the very first word spoken when we meet,” elaborates Inafune. “From developers to publishers, the first thing they say is ‘congratulations on your successful Kickstarter campaign!’ but in Japan, while my fellow developers do congratulate me—and it’s not that they don’t have as much of a reaction—I think it’s that most people aren’t aware of [Kickstarter].”


4Gamer points out that not only is Kickstarter not as popular in Japan, but those who do know of it, don’t exactly know about how it’s used as a way to fund various campaigns.


“That’s likely the case. I haven’t asked others about it, but I think that could be it,” says Inafune. “Just the other day someone from the industry told me, ‘if I only had 200 million yen ($2 million) I still wouldn’t be able to make a game,’ so I think it’s also because of such a mindset.”


Inafune adds, however, that the person he spoke to was talking about developing games such as Call of Duty or Resident Evil, which wouldn’t really be possible with a budget of just $2 million.


4Gamer then asks if the United States was the country that backed Mighty No. 9 with the most funds.


“Yes, but speaking of money, those in the Middle East are amazing,” says Inafune. “Previously, I got an email from a funder who lives in the Middle East, and he said ‘I’d like to make a fund for all of the pledges, is there any way to make that possible?’ and he was really serious about it.”


“It makes me really happy to know that everyone is pleased,” he continues. “To have over 40,000 backers [at the time of the interview] and have them spend their money on a game that has yet to be released, is really quite something else.”


While having the support of 40,000 people might not seem as impressive to some, Inafune sees it as similar to having a complete baseball stadium full of supporters—and the best part about it is that they’re from around the world.


In addition to all of the supporting funds that Kickstarter made possible, Inafune also mentions that the entire project has caused plenty of people from within the gaming industry to reach out to him.


Mighty No. 9 is content to which we own the rights to, so I’ve been invited on numerous occasions from others who want to use the rights to make something together,” shares Inafune.


4Gamer points out that several popular games that are being funded through Kickstarter feature prominent industry veterans. They ask Inafune his thoughts on what he thinks of this.


“From this point on, Kickstarter will most likely become part of the main battlefield,” replies the Mighty No. 9 director. “The thing I’m most pleased to have done this time, is having opened the ‘gate’ that is Kickstarter. I hope to become some sort of reference to those who will be coming in afterwards.”

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  • almostautumn

    What I’m most interested in is the surrounding “idea” of fans paying for games.
    In the MM9 coverage in Retro, it quotes Keiji on how it’s terrific gamers can get to choose the game with MM9, and how by inviting fans to build the game in their own way that it may be a game-changer down-the-road for publishers, particularly in relation to how they address/satisfy their fans and the way they handle series.
    What’s interesting about this is that this goes hand-in-hand with the “Games should NOT be art” movement. Rather, that MM9 is so clearly hitting that Megaman itch everyone has, isn’t it true that gamers would rather developers not go about creating builds unfamiliar and antagonistic to the established and beloved series? If fans are willing to foot the bill so that developers DON’T mess with their series, isn’t this the entire point of why games should not be art, and why their presence strictly as entertainment is both the most reasonable and enjoyable?
    As far as I’m aware, this is a valid argument, although many will try to twist it to say otherwise. The point is that gamers don’t care for the vision or ideas of the development, but only that the game meets the desired standard of whatever subject it is they are working with.
    Totally independent projects may be a different entity than established series, but to say that “Indie is art” and “series are not” is B-S, and so this does seem like a critical point against the oft-hypocritical and (always) contradicting gamer community. If fans would rather foot the bill than allow companies like Capcom or S-E free-reign with their own series to assure that gamers get what they want, than this says a multitude of things about the modern state of gaming, as well as seals back up many neo-issues that have been founded this past gen.

    • Rohan Kishibe

      His name is Keiji not Kenji…

      • almostautumn

        Oops. Fixed!

    • John Lawson

      It’s hard to argue that games are art or not…
      You have games out there that prove games can be art like Majora’s Mask, in which the story and characters can be translated in so many different ways but is ultimately backed up by the personal effort that was put into the game.
      But then again, you have games like Gone home, which views games more like interactive movies which renders that the game should have been a movie…

      I think the most logical way to end the argument is that Games can be art, but not all of them

    • Exkaiser

      Entertaining games are still art. I would say that Mega Man 2 is a pretty exquisite piece of art.

      Just because a piece is made for an audience’s tastes does not mean it is not art. Conan Doyle only resumed writing Sherlock Holmes stories because fans demanded it- quite fervently. That doesn’t make these later stories less valid.

      “Art” is not some strange, antagonistic factor to “gaming.” Games have always been their own artform.

    • Rick

      Some games are art. Some aren’t. You can’t label the medium as a whole as art. An example: “Xenogears is art,” and “Wii Fit is not art.” Or so my opinion goes…

      • Anime10121

        I agree, different games can provide different things. Using your examples, I also find Xenogears as a very artistic game, whereas something along the lines of Wii Fit, isnt “art” so much as it is a workout tool (which, depending upon the individual, could be an art to them as well).

    • Nana

      So, by your logic, Shakespeare plays, Donatello’s ‘David’ and the Mona Lisa aren’t art.

      Being for recreational/entertainment purposes or being paid for doesn’t make something not art. Quite the contrary: Most art is commissioned by rich people for recreational/entertainment purposes.
      That artists must be poor and ONLY WORK FOR ART is a recent idea.

      A very, very stupid idea at that.

  • makubexnas

    i need to summon Sword of inafune…..

  • Warboss Aohd

    See Fellow Americans? The People of the Middle East ARE the same as us.

    Let Video Games bring us together in peace.


      See Fellow North Americans*


      • Warboss Aohd

        That would include Canada you know, which unless i’m mistaken, have no beef with anyone in the Middle East.

        • Astrotrain

          Also Mexico.

          • Warboss Aohd


    • KnifeAndFork

      I recall Kadaffi’s son was a huge Prince of Persia fan; had murals of the game covers in the hallways of his house….

    • Godman

      I never saw race as the cause of problems, oh no. . .its the fanboys and anti-fans alike
      The day people can stop forcing opinions is the day we can truly be in peace; then again all you have to do is ignore them and peace for me :P

      • Sergio Briceño

        At least fanboys are easy to ignore.

    • Adrian Duran

      maybe they just want to be a Blue Bomber

      • Anime10121

        I see what you did there, and honestly dont know whether it’d be considered cordial to laugh or not… (I did snicker though)

    • Tincho D
  • I’m just wondering what he’s going to do with 4 million dollars. Most kickstarter funds end at like fifty thousand at least.

    • makubexnas

      build inafune spaceship.

      • God

        And begin mass production of Inafune swords.

        • Bec66

          Not to mention building the first ever Inafune land.

    • Anime10121

      Howzabout pay some of the top notch talent that he has working on the thing…

      Megaman original Composer
      Megaman 2 composer
      Entire Inticreates team
      His own staff at Comcept
      Engine Licensing fees etc etc.

  • KnifeAndFork

    “That’s likely the case. I haven’t asked others about it, but I think that could be it,” says Inafune. “Just the other day someone from the industry told me, ‘if I only had 200 million yen ($2 million) I still wouldn’t be able to make a game,’ so I think it’s also because of such a mindset.”

    It’s annoying and depressing how out of touch some of these developers are…

    • It sounds like they just want to make a certain kind of game. That’s not out of touch. I can make a movie in my bedroom with my phone, but no theater’s going to show it. Maybe the >$2M game idea would never work with an indie budget.

      • Gemlit

        To back up Gentle Robot:

        With everything going on in Inafune’s career I have got to say that Inafune is NOT out of touch. He’s been saying time and time again something like “Japanese developers are out of touch with how to make good video games” when he was working with Capcom.

        To back this up, where are all the good Japanese games that we should have seen prior to now? There should be a surplus of them and much more then there are now! Not from the well-known Japanese companies that we already know about like Square-Enix, Nintendo, Sega, Konami, Namco-Bandai, and Cyber-Connect. I mean that we should have learned, bought and payed, and played the games from the companies that we never even heard of.

        Years later, when people are finally catching on to how to make good video games, he comes along and says “if [he] only had 200 million yen, he still wouldn’t be able to make a game” and “I think it’s also because of the mind-set.” He’s absolutely right, and he wants to make extremely good games and it seems that he knows how to do it.

        Who knows what kind of budget it would take but I’m positive that it may take more than $2 million. After all, it all comes down to the medium amount of quality and quantity of stuff [gameplay, story, graphics, music, etc..] in a game. No one wants to play a bad game, right?

        • Nana

          But…there is a surplus of them. Not just from the “well known” ones, either.

          You just don’t know them, because they were never localized. But you being ignorant of something doesn’t mean that it can’t exist.

          It just mean you don’t know about it.

          You can indeed make great games with a budget smaller than $2 million. Indie games prove this every week. As do the japanese equivalents (usually released during comiket).

          You just cannot make them graphical spectacles. And thats fine.

          • Gemlit

            I think that Inafune wants to make a spectacular game. And it’s possible that he does want to make a game that would take over $2 million because maybe he has figured something out that would take that amount of money.

            Maybe there are reasons why exceptional Japanese games that haven’t come overseas. But maybe not. Who knows. Also, I am not ignorant of this in particular. If something were truly amazing, wouldn’t we have known about it by now? Sure, some secrets stay hidden for a long time. But if something is so popular, how long would do you think it would take for word to spread elsewhere? Therefore, it is truly possible that it would mean that something could not exist as of yet.

            Yes, I’m aware of indie games that have budgets of under $2 million to create fantastical games. Like Angry Birds. But, I was more or less talking about games that require big budgets, tons of people, and graphical and coding prowess. And I’m sure that would probably involve a budget of over $2 million.

  • icecoffemix

    Don’t forget about Project Phoenix ;)

    I hope that and Mighty No. 9 set precedence on Japan about Kickstarter.

  • d19xx

    If was a son of an Oil Tycoon I would have produced tons of games right now…. I can only dream…

  • MaximDualBlade

    Something I’m really interested to know about Mighty no.9 is the story of the world. I’m sure the gameplay will be enjoyable, but something that really hurts from Megaman X and ZX never being finished is that the story was so interesting for me, I liked the whole Reploid mythos.
    I wanted to see the Elf Wars in action, they sounded really serious, gruesome and brutal. Also the secret ending of ZX Advent was so much of a tease for the story in Legends 1.
    Personally the original Megaman had next to no story, and I prefer the concept of robots being self aware but being restricted to not kill humans except for the infected/damaged units.

    In conclusion maybe hope too much, but I would like Mighty no.9’s story to have a complex story.

  • M’iau M’iaut

    Full on for everyone and anyone warning here folks. Drop the infighting from other sites NOW. Final warning from here out.

    • Ramiren

      Dude if we could express our opinions on our own site, believe me, we would.

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Yet our community is not responsible for the situation from any side of it. Off-topic is off topic.

  • Yan Zhao

    I agree with one thing Inafune said, people in Japan really need to take advantage of kickstarter more. Specifically when it comes to localization for western markets.

    I mean, if a developer is worried about how the game will do in the west and whether its worth the cost? Start a kickstarter to fund localization and see how much people are interested. If it dont meet the goal, nobody loses anything. It at least gives you a good idea of how much money you can potentially make to go forward with it.

    People should really start using Kickstarter or Crowdfunding for these things so we can get more great games.

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