A Red Ash reaction reaction post.
Ever since I watched Barrett run up the side of a building, drop-kick a reaverbot in the face, and plow through a crowd of people on a hover bike launching pedestrians high into the stratosphere, I have had a burning urge to play the kind of game that a Mega Man Legends made in this decade can be. That dream was all but dead and buried until this month when the Red Ash Kickstarter was announced. My heart rejoiced, and yet… To read the reactions of the general gaming news to this project, this is fast becoming a recurring nightmare.
Compared to recent Kickstarted games like Bloodstained or Yooka-Laylee or even Inafune’s own Mighty Number 9, it is true this is not doing as well. There is no shortage of speculation on why that is: Kickstarter fatigue in what has already been a huge year for kickstarted games. Questionable feelings over Comcept and Inafune being greedy or overly-ambitious, or doubts carrying over from Mighty Number 9 (despite the early reviews posted in June that seem to be overwhelmingly positive) or even that MN9 already spent up much of the pent-up Capcom fan rage for its cause. Lack of strong punchy energy-driven video or enough “teaser” time to build up to the launch. For having a separate Red Ash anime Kickstarter running concurrently, dividing the funds. Setting too high of a base goal, thereby killing the momentum. Worries that the game will be “incomplete”. Concern over what console ports will exist (seems premature when we aren’t even sure which consoles will still be supported in 2 years). And finally, that no matter how close it might try to appear, that Red Ash is not the closure to Mega Man Legends’ story that so many fans hoped Legends 3 would be. These are all frustratingly true, and as much as I want to I can’t change any of it. These are the cards dealt, each one a towering colossus casting shadows of doubt and dismay.
It brings back memories of the vast oceans of bad press that Legends 3 was plagued with during development, before the Prototype even got the axe. All the “This game won’t be a true Legends game without Inafune!” “This game isn’t even greenlit! They’re holding the game hostage!” “They want us to PAY for a DEMO?!” and “Why 3DS? It needs to be on console!That system is a failure!” (Remember, it was before Nintendo slashed the price and sales shot up exponentially.) And here we go again, so many of the exact same concerns are now popping up with Red Ash, some even in reverse. The worry warts, the console camps, the jilted and the jaded. Just like before, there’s so much derision and negativity that it starts to overshadow anything positive and fun. You can try to chalk it up to mismanagement, bad timing, or circumstance beyond anyone’s control, but in the big picture it might be all that and more. Legends has been out of place since the very first game, always struggling to connect to an audience, always polarizing to fans and players. Perhaps what history is telling us is that a Legends styled game in any respect is indelibly cursed.
What it all adds up to is making me feel sick. So many headlines are ready to call it a stallout and a failure after just one week. The goal isn’t even quite at the halfway mark as of this post. Now this in itself is not unusual for Kickstarters in general. The way it is trending, it should reach its goal (if you put stock into such projections), but until it actually does there’s a strong chance that the amount of negative press is going to impact the results. Don’t go believing there is no such thing as bad press. There is. We’ve become so accustomed to big name game projects being all about the stretch goals that this kind of progress — though steadily climbing towards the initial goal and then some — is just slow and dull by comparison. Because Inafune is headlining this, we expect better turnout. If it doesn’t blast past the initial goal in a matter of days, it might as well be dead.
Kickstarter is increasingly becoming about the hype the indie developer can generate to get additional funding from publishers while maintaining creative control. It is an initial outpouring of potential profitability. It is part fundraising and part advertising. But the support this is raising is not positive. Unless Comcept turns this around in a big way, the headlines even after this game reaches its goal are going to declare how Inafune barely scraped up enough support. How this project just limped along to the goal by handful of diehard fans so desperate they will settle for an off-color bootleg. The message this is sending is that Capcom was right about cancelling Legends 3, because there is just no market for a game like that. And that’s what’s killing me most of all.
If you’re really not interested, okay. I’m not going to twist your arm. But if you have the means and you’re on the fence about supporting this, I really encourage you to jump in. $5 will get your name in the credits and up the numbers tally of support. $25 will get you the PC digital download of the game itself. Odds are you will have a computer that can run the game by then, but if you don’t, hey, maybe you can come over and play it at my house. If you don’t have any change to spare, there’s still one more day for Loken’s caption contest. Entry is only the time it takes to register on Proboards for the Mega Man Legends Station forums and send him a private message with something silly for Volnutt to be saying in this picture. Do that and he’ll donate $5 for you. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Just don’t wait. We still have over 2 weeks left, yes, but we may never get a second chance at this. I don’t know what to tell you. Let’s breathe some heat back into these ashes, get this fire going again.
I can’t take watching this burn out.