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Mega-Man creator Inafune says games should not be judged by sales numbers

Thursday, 6th February 2014 20:59 GMT By Phil Owen

Speaking at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas this week, the mind behind Kickstarter sensation Mighty No. 9, Keiji Inafune, says that over the course of his long career making games he become increasingly concerned about constructing games so they would sell well rather than just worrying about the quality of the product, With Mighty No. 9, he said, he’s shaking that concern.

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Speaking through a translator via GamesIndustry, Inafune said that when he started working in games he neither worried nor cared whether the end result would be a blockbuster, but simply that the end result be good and fun. He said going through Kickstarter and garnering nearly $4 million through the crowdfunding site freed him from worry about sales once again as he says all those backers already liked what he is trying to do enough to pay up front.

Inafune also said he thinks that mindset will soon be the norm in the industry, with developers, as GI paraphrases, “exploring wild ideas with no concern for their viability in the market.”

How does all this strike you guys? Are you intrigued by the thought of developers acting outside the bounds of “safety,” as it were?

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4 Comments

  1. TheKeyPit

    More developers need to think like that.

    #1 10 months ago
  2. thegrimmling

    I guess making a good game will not bring sales…… Do better marketing. j/k

    #2 10 months ago
  3. salarta

    I simultaneously do and don’t think this is a good idea.

    A lot of companies have done really, really stupid things purely to make money, and have drastically altered major franchises into being something they’re not entirely in the pursuit of appealing to the latest trends. Survivor horror franchises are turned into action franchises, action/adventure franchises are turned into horror film knockoffs, etc. These things are done first and foremost to try to make money. Even though often times these things do appear to attract a lot of new consumers, they also needlessly alienate the already existing fanbase, when it would’ve been perfectly possible to modify the franchise to make it appealing and modern without throwing out everything that makes it what it is. Sales gimmicks do a lot to make companies think that needs to be done.

    But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, a complete disregard for sales is also dangerous for existing franchises. I’ve seen other writers/directors in the industry go out of their way to essentially force their idea for a fangame into being canon, changing the way characters are and rewriting them in insulting and despicable ways just to satisfy themselves. The risk of poor sales can be an incentive to preventing these kind of antics from taking place, though that’s not always the case. Some companies are dumb enough to let it continue despite the damage it does to not only their franchises but the company as a whole.

    I think a balance is necessary, more or less. Be creative, but don’t do things that go against the core of what the franchise is supposed to be. You don’t need to turn Mortal Kombat into an MMORPG or give it an anime style, you just need to make the gameplay better and build on the lore and characterization already there, and we’ve seen how successful that is based on the positive reception to Mortal Kombat 9, and the better sales it’s had compared to the past.

    #3 10 months ago
  4. Selderane

    Kickstarter works for men like Keiji Inafune and Chris Roberts precisely because of the very profit-driven environment they’re giving the finger to. We know their names because other dudes with capital to invest took a chance on them.

    Now, how is Bob Guy, a bloke you’ve never heard of, how is his Kickstarter going? Don’t hear about them raking in $3 million, do you?

    I think Kickstarter is a great thing, but I also think that gamers need to realize something: We have no power. And what will you do when a KS game that takes in millions is complete crap?

    Normal investors have recourse because they own the IP. They can do things to at least try to break even.

    Us? Not a damned thing in the world we can do.

    You’re wise to be wary of the system that purely favors the investor. You’d be equally wise to be wary of the system that purely favors the artist.

    #4 10 months ago

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