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.”