It's becoming almost formulaic at this point: An iconic game designer, backed by a legion of dedicated fans, turns to Kickstarter to allow them to break out on their own. See: Tim Schafer (Monkey Island, Grim Fandango), who raised over $3M for his studio, DoubleFine, or Doug TenNapel (Earthworm Jim), who raised just shy of $1M to build a spiritural successor to his earlier game, The Neverhood.
The latest gaming giant to turn to the crowd is Keiji Inafune, creator of one of gaming's most classic icons, Mega Man. In news that probably comes to many of his fan's delight (but presumably not his former bosses), his new game looks and sounds a whole lot like Mega Man.
In October of 2010, Inafune publicly quit Capcom after a 23-year stretch with the company. “I'm leaving Capcom with the intention of starting my life over,” he wrote on his blog.
Two months later, he launched a new development studio called Comcept.
Though Inafune never comes out and directly calls his new game a spiritual successor to Mega Man, they're also not trying too hard (or, really, at all) to hide that it's about as much of a spiritual successor as could be. I mean, come on - look at this description:
You play as Beck, the 9th in a line of powerful robots, and the only one not infected by a mysterious computer virus that has caused mechanized creatures the world over to go berserk. Run, jump, blast, and transform your way through six stages (or more, via stretch goals) you can tackle in any order you choose,using weapons and abilities stolen from your enemies to take down your fellow Mighty Number robots and confront the final evil that threatens the planet!
Let's go through the Mega Man checklist, here. Humanoid robot? Check. Stealing special powers from your enemies? Check. Levels you can go through in any order you want (presumably using gained powers to exploit the specific weakness of each boss)? Cheeeeck!
Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. Sure - if I were Capcom's lawyers, I'm sure I'd be all sorts of riled up about this. But I'm not. I'm just a dude who grew up playing Mega Man and has been waiting for a great, modernized Mega Man game since around 1995… so I can't wait.
Not surprisingly, there's a whole lot of Mega Man/Capcom blood running in the veins of Inafune's new team. The game's lead designer, Naoya Tomita, did much of the design for Mega Man 1, 2, 5, and 6. Its lead musician, Manami Matsumae, is the same composer who came up with all of the music and sound effects of the original.
Mighty No. 9 is trying to raise $900k on Kickstarter. With over $700k raised in just 24 hours, it's clear that they'll smash through that goal without much trouble. The only bummer: no matter how quickly they hit that goal, we won't be seeing Mighty No. 9 until 2015 at the earliest. They're only promising that the game will run on the PC, at first, though they pledge to port it elsewhere if they raise enough cash.