Why Capcom Won't 'Learn' From 'Mighty No. 9'

Mighty No. 9, Keiji Inafune’s Kickstarter to essentially make the next 2D Mega Man without Capcom, has been enormously successful. To the tune of $4 million in development funding. And we’ll hear a lot about how Capcom could “learn” from this. One problem, though: There’s nothing to actually learn.

If anything, in fact, it’ll reinforce what Capcom has been insisting all along; it simply makes no sense for them to make Mega Man games. That’s because Kickstarter and game publishers are in two different businesses.

First of all, Mighty No. 9 is a record-breaking game on Kickstarter, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. But it is, very much, due to the passion of a small, hardcore group of fans: Just over 67,000 people actually contributed to the campaign. To Capcom, that’s not a sign of a massive successful franchise, not when they have to move hundreds of thousands of copies to justify even a $15 downloadable title.

Yeah, they know Mega Man has a passionate fan base. But consider, for a second, how people would react if Capcom tried this: “We’ll give you a Mega Man game, but you can only get the special edition with all the toys and art and the documentary and stuff.” It’d go over like the Hindenberg. Rants would fill message boards. Heck, I freely admit that when a game company eventually tries this, and somebody is going to at some point, I am going to make a lot of fun of them.

This isn’t to say Kickstarter is a bad thing; quite the opposite, as it’s been reviving styles and genres of games left and right. Unfortunately, those styles and genres got dumped because the economics of being a big-name game publisher have changed, and not really for the better. And the success of Mighty No. 9 is more about Inafune than Capcom. So, let’s enjoy the people getting what they want, not using it to club game publishers with things they can’t do anything about.