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Five days into their 31 day fund raising period on Kickstarter, Comcept USA, LLC has raised over $1.6 million dollars for their latest video game project; since I began researching their project a few hours ago they’ve received over $45,000 in additional funding from hundreds of supporters.
Initially announced at a panel over the weekend at PAX Prime in Seattle, veteran video game developer and Mega Man character designer Keiji Inafune and his three year young company Comcept have taken Kickstarter by storm with the upcoming side-scroller Mighty No. 9; having reached their base goal of $900,000 in 24 hours.
With 27,941 backers currently at a cool $1,601,306 in pledges (an average of $57 per pledge), Inafune through Mighty No. 9 has found the optimal route to traverse the crowd sourcing site for a successful campaign; yet it is not a path that any Kickstarter campaign can follow.
Though the age of the side-scroller has long since passed as video games entered the realm of three dimensions, a resurgence in side-scrollers has been on the rise for years now. Seeking fresh experiences through the classic action genre, gamers as well as developers are responsible for his dream come true with Mighty No. 9 stated Inafune.
“I know they also hunger for elements of the classic action games of my past,” said Inafune during the pitch video for Mighty No. 9.
“We're able to focus on what we always wanted to do, without the hardware limitations of the past, and with ideas that only come with experience...ideas we didn't have when we were younger,” added Inafune.
Featuring a team of video game and Mega Man development veterans alike, Mighty No. 9 is no fluke of fanatical fans, though they have certainly helped (22 supporters have pledged at least $1,000 five of whom have contributed $10,000); instead Inafune and company have spent the last four months in secret developing what appears to be not only the spiritual successor to the beloved side-scroller series but a more robust and imaginative gameplay experience.
“Our plan is to return to our roots and create a classic-style side-scrolling action game, while at the same time, adding in plenty of revolutionary new ideas as well,” said Inafune.
Brought into the fold are; Naoya Tamito who will handle game design which is fitting for the level designer of the flagship title Mega Man whom also worked on 2, 5, and 6, sounds effects guru and composer Manami Matsume will be the sole audio technician having done the same for the original Mega Man along with others in the numerical series including the latest title Mega Man 10, as for art direction Shinsuke Komaki whom first started working on the Mega Man series with Mega Man X3 will bridge the gap between the numerical and X series in regards to aesthetic.
“I'm so excited for the chance to once again work alongside many of my past collaborators, especially on a project I know our fans have been asking for,” said Inafune.
Combining a cherished character concept with a talented team from graphical artists, musical artists, developers, and even localization specialists; Comcept has struck a well-worn yet long neglected nerve lying dormant within gamers that has only recently begun to resurface. Aesthetically heralding the golden-age of side-scrollers Mighty No. 9 has fanned a dim flame within the hearts of almost 28,000 supporters; something Inafune sought to accomplish from the onset of the project.
“By joining the hearts of our dedicated fans with those of our passionate development team together, we can bring a new life into existence,” said Inafune.
However, resurrecting Mega Man through a new intellectual property can’t simply be the only reason for the fervent amount of funding the campaign has received already, still well within the early stages of development comcept has all but opened the door to their studio since Saturday by fundamentally involving their supporters into the conceptual evolution and developmental process of the upcoming title.
From surveys gauging aspects of game design and core mechanic, to polls for choosing a character concept, and even inviting supports to create their own original character concepts for inclusion into the game; this crowd sourcing campaign has gone one step beyond simply asking for money, the team has also asked for input.
The ambitious stretch goals can also be considered a contributing factor that has enticed tens of thousands to spare a little as $1 towards the project. Initially announced for the PC exclusively, the project will also be supported on Mac and Linux systems having surpassed the goal of $1.35 million.
Still gaining steam, Comcept has set a goal of $2.2 million for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U versions.
“Now, we can finally draw on the full extent of our fans' support and make the game we really want to make,” said Inafune. “The game we ourselves want to play.”
Stated at the end of the pitch video and borrowing from the film Red Dragon, Mighty No. 9 is gearing up to be more than a carbon copy of the favored Capcom series, but Mega Man transformed!
The analogy is also quite literal. Aesthetically the concept art which is available to view now will immediately invoke reminiscent images of the Mega Man series from Dr. Wiley, to Mega Man himself, along with Roll and Rush. Mechanically however; instead of only absorbing the weapon from a defeated boss, the protagonist robot Beck will be able to transform himself to navigate a variety of obstacles and baddies alike.
“His body itself can also reconfigure into new shapes, allowing for all kinds of new skills and abilities,” states the Kickstarter page. “For example, his limbs might become giant magnets, enabling him to walk up walls or rip away enemy shields...or he could have a tank-like body, easily crossing over spikes and pushing objects around the levels.”
Along with Beck’s transformative mechanic, the player can also absorb temporary bonuses through “xel” energy (pronounced cell) that provide a movement boost with a double-jump while increasing speed, a flurry of punches into the baddie to the character’s front, or erupting a powerful blast which affects anything on the screen; potentially adding a more dynamic gameplay experience than the Mega Man series.
“I want to create a world with an aesthetic in-line with the modern era of gaming,” said Inafune.
Visually Mighty No. 9 will place three-dimensional character models and objects against a two-dimensional backdrop, technically termed 2.5D, the game won’t be a modern NES rehash such as Mega Man 9 and 10 nor will it look like the X series from the SNES era. Instead, the development team has set forth to create a truly modern yet relatively unique side-scroller inspired by and paying homage to the Mega Man concept.
“While the beloved creations of my past are no longer at my disposal, the spirit they were born from still is,” said Inafune. “By tapping into that spirit, we can create a new game, and new characters, that carry on the legacy of the past.’