Skip to main content

Nadia's Midboss Musings: The Mighty Miasma That Hangs over Kickstarter (Plus: Meet Slogra!)

Keiji Inafune is "sorry" for that Mighty No. 9 became, but he owes a lot of people more than an apology.

This article first appeared on USgamer, a partner publication of VG247. Some content, such as this article, has been migrated to VG247 for posterity after USgamer's closure - but it has not been edited or further vetted by the VG247 team.

Earlier this week, Parappa the Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura and Gitaroo Man maestro Keiichi Yano unveiled a Kickstarter for Project Rap Rabbit, a rhythm game about a rabbit who wears garb from feudal Japan and raps real good. As someone who adores rhythm games, I want very much for Project Rap Rabbit to secure the £855,000 (about $1 million USD) it needs to get funded.

The Kickstarter's been alive for a few days, and … well, not to be a Debbie Downer, but I don't think Project Rap Rabbit is going to get funded through Kickstarter. It has 33 days to go at the time of this writing, and it's garnered £98,768 (about $128,141 USD) of its goal.

"But 33 days is plenty of time!"

That's true, and Kickstarter miracles do happen. But most successful Kickstarters earn a significant chunk of their patrons in the first couple of days, and then residual hype helps cultivate steady growth from there. A good example is (sigh) the Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter.

I don't have a year to spare, so I won't recount everything that went wrong after Mighty No. 9 walked away with one of Kickstarter's most historic funding successes. I've written a bit about the disaster, and so have others. Many, many, others. A single Google search will tell you everything the public knows about Keiji Inafune's mighty gong show.

"Gimmie" indeed. Alas...

Did the fallout from Mighty No. 9 erode people's trust in Kickstarter as a funding platform for major developers who want to go indie? Yes. Is Mighty No. 9 to blame for the seeming lack of enthusiasm behind Project Rap Rabbit? Not entirely; with all respect to Matsuura and Yano, a game Kickstarter is a hard sell if you don't come to the table with any footage, plus some people weren't happy about the Nintendo Switch stretch goals.

Still, I think it's impossible to avoid flashbacks to PAX 2014 when we're introduced to yet another Kickstarter for a "spiritual successor" to a beloved property, no matter how well-intentioned. The Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9 generated a push of energy and goodwill previously unseen in independent game development, and Comcept squandered it.

But the real problem with Mighty No. 9 isn't the lingering memory of its fan drama. It's not the delays that kept an ultimately-mediocre game in limbo for years. It's not Inafune's push to turn the empty-eyed Mega Man substitute into a media darling, or his instance on firing up another Kickstarter for a Mega Man Legends successor before Mighty No. 9 went gold. The real problem is that Inafune fell silent after issuing a "mea culpa" for Mighty No. 9's suckiness a year ago.

It was all for that face. That ... beautiful, beautiful face.

Apologizing once and then slipping into the shadows doesn't cut it when you've made a mistake of Mighty No. 9's proportions – especially since a troubling number of backers have yet to receive their rewards.

Mighty No. 9 was released on June 21, 2016. Physical rewards remain undistributed. There's been not a peep about the promised Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita versions of the game. Some backers haven't even received their Steam codes. Brian "Protodude" Austrin, the proprietor of the Rockman Corner, says he's reached out to Comcept several times and has received "Nada. Zip. Zilch." in way of a response.

On one hand, the past is in the past. Inafune clearly got in over his head with Mighty No. 9's stretch goals, and the final product suffered as a consequence. Fine. Mistakes happen. But that's when you stand up, brace against yourself whatever tomatoes may come, promise to make things right, and then do it.

Maybe then Kickstarter will regain a bit of the hope we had for it as a game-funding platform back in 2014.

Featured Midboss of the Week

Let's move on to cheerier subjects. Like skeletal dinosaur-birds that live inside the Castlevania series.

"Let the eternal struggle climax 'pon this table cloth!"

Today's featured midboss is Slogra, who debuted as one of Dracula's most vicious guardians in Super Castlevania IV. Slogra is equipped with a spear, and his ancient, emaciated face is tipped with a beak like a butcher's knife. For my money, he's the hardest boss in Castlevania IV; every time Simon hits him, he flies up out of sight, and then drops back down in an instant. This makes his attack pattern notoriously difficult to read, and you can only administer one lash at a time.

Better still, Slogra has a spear that fires projectiles. You can disarm him halfway through the fight, but then he'll just jab you in the kidneys with his beak – usually immediately after he drops out of the sky. Good thing his music is amazing; given how easy it is to die during his fight, you might wind up hearing it a lot.

I still get the cold sweats when I'm up against Slogra in Castlevania IV. One of the cruelest jokes Konami ever pulled was making Slogra your first boss battle in Symphony of the Night. Thankfully, he's a comparative pushover (even though he's teamed up with his demon buddy, Gaibon), but talk about a heart-in-your-mouth moment.

Read this next