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Keiji Inafune Shares His Thoughts on PlatinumGames, Working With Fans and Mega Man's Creation

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Kaio: King of Pirates' fate is in the hands of its publisher, Marvelous

Keiji Inafune caused a bit of a stir a week ago, satisfying the fantasies and dreams of many Mega Man fans by announcing Mighty No.9, a 'spritual successor' to the Mega Man franchise that's steadily creeping towards its crowdfunding stretch goal that will bring a Wii U release onto the table. As a result Inafune, for so long the recognisable face of Capcom's franchise, has been everywhere, sharing his views and promoting his company's project.

Much of interest has been said about Mighty No.9, but an interview with Destructoid from PAX Prime has revealed some other intriguing opinions and nuggets of information.

First of all, when Comcept's latest project was announced some eagle-eyed Nintendo Life readers asked "but what about Kaio: King of Pirates?", the cute animal/pirate adventure for 3DS that's dropped off the radar since 2012. It seems to be a scenario not unlike Rodea the Sky Soldier, as from the game creator's perspective the project is finished and good to go; Inafune has simply stated that the game is in the hands of publisher Marvelous, which is yet to come up with a launch strategy. If the aforementioned project from Yuji Naka still has a chance — as the Rodea publisher claims — perhaps we'll finally see this project in 2014; we can only hope.

Meanwhile, Inafune shared an interesting perspective on fan projects and engaging the enthusiast community, particularly against the context of the ongoing proliferation of fan-made Mega Man games. Street Fighter X Mega Man showed Capcom's willingness to team up with a fan project, and Inafune feels its an area that can be explored further.

If you are a fan and you really want to make something like that that you love, then I think you should make it. Obviously that's going to be what makes you happy.

But if I was an IP holder and I saw that there was somebody that was that impassioned to work with the content, that they were willing to dedicate their own time and energy and potentially money to make it, then I think the smarter approach would be to contact them and see if there wasn't a way to do a project with them, very much like Kickstarter, get them somehow involved in it so that it really is you as a creator being [able] to make sure that you're controlling the quality and direction and stuff like that, but also getting lots of good fan input and really finding a perfect blend between fan and creator to make something very unique.

We're not sure we want to see Capcom take to Kickstarter — definitely not — but the idea of utilising keen fans seems worth pursuing, as long as those that do the work are rewarded financially. Considering finances, Inafune was asked about his fellow Capcom breakaways at PlatinumGames, a studio prominent on the Wii U in the current and future. With The Wonderful 101 struggling to date in Japan and Europe, however, the issue of combining creativity and great games with commercial success is a key area to be addressed.

I think that they are a very talented group of people. I've known them when they were all at Capcom and we were working together, so it's really hard to say what their strengths and weaknesses are, certainly in an interview like this. But I think that they have their own style and they're really good at that style. It's different from how I would necessarily build out or develop a game, but I think it certainly works for them and allows them to create something that's very unique and cool for sure.

I guess if I was going to say there's one area for improvement, maybe it's on how they produce things. They're great at building out great games, but they never really seem to hit the sales marks that they need to, so that gap needs to be decreased, shortened by stronger producers, etc. That will make their games hit a wider audience.

Finally, it's been pointed out to us that the status of Keiji Inafune as the 'creator of Mega Man' is up for debate; the man himself explained the process behind the character's genesis when asked about the "exclamation mark" helmet protrusion.

This is probably a little known fact... it's true that I did not design Mega Man, but what happened was there was a planner [confirmed to be Akira Kitamura, credited as A.K. in Mega Man 1 and 2] that whenever they made a Famicom character, they had to look at it on the screen and see how it popped, whether it was visible, whether you can play as it and it would pop off of the background. This planner put together a pixel character that really had good read against the Famicom backgrounds, then went to me and said, 'Okay, I want you to make a character that looks like [a] Famicom graphic could have come from that character.'

So it was like a reverse character design, the fact that Mega Man's birth came from this pixelized character that the planner initially created, but the actual animation, the rendition of him as a character I did create. But I had to look at the pixels and try to envision what that would look like as a character, and all you can see from the pixels was that, okay, this was where the helmet was, then it looks like there's a line. And that's all you can really tell. So when you're going to design a character, I literally could have put a triangle here or a square or an equal sign, it could have literally been whatever. So I just put what I thought matched well with the line, but it wasn't intentionally meant to be an exclamation mark or anything like that, unfortunately.

It's certainly worth checking out the full interview, and let us know what you think of Inafune's comments below.

[via destructoid.com]

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User Comments (21)

LordsOfSkulls

#3

LordsOfSkulls said:

You know what would be awesome............

If every developer out their would go to kickstarter and let the fans vote on which games to Developer/Bring over Seas/ and not just decide just base on "FEELING" that this is what "FAN Wants"

I think that would save alot of money >.> for alot of developers out their and made alot more fans happy.

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#4

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

Thanks for asking about Kaio: King of Pirates Tom. I've been interested in that since the beginning, and really hope it does finally get released in 2014.

Emblem

#6

Emblem said:

If Bayonetta doesn't sell well and they don't get offered MGR2 I fully expect PG to become a kick starter developer. That is of course if Nintendo don't come to there senses and buy them to help out with their lack of mature orientated games.

WebHead

#8

WebHead said:

I have to agree PG needs to start making games with a wider appeal. i think Nintendo will buy them next year because aside from maybe Konami with MGR2 where else do they have to go? Most of their games sell under a million copies and with budgets as high as they are that is simply unacceptable with most publishers.

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#10

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

@ThomasBW84 Any mention of that game makes me feel good about it. It seems to disappear every now and again haha. Anyhow, I'm thinking about backing Mighty No. 9. If I do so it will be my first time backing a game on Kickstarter.

WaveWarlock

#11

WaveWarlock said:

@WebHead

the sad thing is, these days the daring, creative and unique titles rarely ever sell well, where as a lot of these stale 'beaten canvas' & extremely safe sequels to many of these popular renowned franchises make all of that glorious mega moola. Other than that it's the violence, movie-like cinematics, post apocalyptic 'last man on earth' zombie/alien epidemic 'people going mad' outbreaks with the lead being a stubble warrior + guns a blazin' that seem to do amazing in sales as well. If this is the case, where in the hell is Zombies ate my Neighbours 3!?.
Oh wait, cartoony characters with super soakers wouldn't gel too well with todays insecure zit faced dorrito crunching 14 year olds who are too busy trying to prove their ridiculous masculinity in front of their tweener wiener bro pals in their local Jr.high locker room.

It seems like too many people are scared to try something new and would rather resort to something familiar like Call of Duty: Black Blops of Titanium 22, Battlefield & bored 17, New Super Stale Bros. 5, Farted Uncharted ect ect.

I commend Platinum Dunes for always doing the unordinary and zapping as much style and originality into their games. Viewtiful joe was amazing, yet neither IT or it's sequel did well in terms of sales. Same deal goes for Killer 7, Madworld, ect and now The Wonderful 101. I really hope the Big N takes them under their icarus-wing, because having 'Nintendo' shredder 'n stamped as producer could make a really big difference in sales. B-)

Anyways! Mighty No.9 is officially my most anticipated Wii U title on the heat man horizon. :O :D
Sorry, Super Mario 3D World & SSB.4, you have just been replaced. ;)

Shambo

#12

Shambo said:

Please, add one more stretch: physical boxed copies for all platforms. Then it's a TRUE thing, Mega Man's last game will be Smash Bros, talk about going out with a BANG! Mighty No. 9 is a true new game you can find in the shelfs of your local retailer next to it. That would make my hype fuse blow up.
And make those pluches more widely available, I love No. 2's design and I'd love to add it to my figures/statues/merchandise collection.

Gobelee

#13

Gobelee said:

@WaveBoy I agree. But I must ask...is there a Zombies Ate My Neighbours 2? If so, I was unaware and must purchase it at any cost. Zombies Ate My Neighbours was a childhood fav among me and my friends.

sinalefa

#15

sinalefa said:

@Prof_Elvin_Gadd

Please go support Mighty No 9. You can pledge even a couple of bucks if you like, and it will be helpful.

Regarding Inafune, this is the first time I support a Kickstarter project and I am very excited receiving updates and checking the progress of the project. Great to see all that passion, talent and experience still at work, while also involving fans.

It would be nice if Nintendo bought PG, and I feel that will depend on how well W101 and B2 will sell, and that probably won't be huge numbers. I hope to be proven wrong.

JaxonH

#16

JaxonH said:

@WaveBoy
That's a fantastic analysis, especially about the 14 year olds and proving masculinity. I totally agree about creativity and I'm extremely excited for Wonderful 101. Having said that, I don't automatically dislike a game just because it's not original or is a massive franchise.

While I absolutely enjoy games like Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101 and the like, I still had a blast playing Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and New Super Mario Bros U. Original games are great, and I'll support them first and foremost, but I'll support any game that's fun, even games with annual releases. For the most part, there's a reason sequels are so popular and sell well- it's usually because the game is fun. I know games like NSMB, AC and CoD won't win any awards for originality, but they're still very enjoyable games imo and I certainly look forward to future installments. Having said that, of course I wish we had more games like Wonderful 101. It's a shame that the industry has evolved to the point of suffocating almost all creativity.

Zombie_Barioth

#17

Zombie_Barioth said:

@WaveBoy
Whats considered "cool" does drive a lot of whats made, but to be fair thats how its always been. Wasn't the Sega Genesis marketed as the "cool kid's" toy back then, complete with rap and whatever else they thought was considered cool? Its just now, shooters and the like are considered "in". You don't see people going around saying things like "rad" now a days either, do you?

Not that it doesn't make me crankier than Cranky Kong himself sometimes too, just that the tides have changed and now we're the grumpy old geezers griping about "kids these days".:P

I don't like how the entertainment industry has been about choking-out creativity, but I don't have a problem with the games themselves or those who enjoy them. I've played COD with some friends and enjoyed it and I still enjoy NSMB on occasion. Theres a place for familar faces and sequals and a place for new experiences, actually, you could say that those safe, enjoyable experiences make the new ones all the more fresh and exciting. You can't have the new without the old after all.;)

WiiLovePeace

#18

WiiLovePeace said:

@LordsOfSkulls No thanks, personally I think that's a really bad idea. I don't back anything on kickstarter. I simply don't have the money upfront for a lot of the games I'm looking forward to, let alone games which are in the conception stage. There are so many issues with a development company like Nintendo opening their doors to fans at the early stages of a games life. There is literally no way for your idea to work for all developers imo.

Magrane

#19

Magrane said:

Great article. Long live InafunKing! Not that I'm biased or anything.....

By the way, hyped and excited about Mighty No.9. First Kickstarter I've ever supported.

I don't see nothing wrong with anyone starting up a project on Kickstarter with the prospect of getting a game as a reward. It's as almost you're taking a blind leap of faith with a developer, and there's the chance you can be disappointed and stuck with a lousy game.......but this is a true test of a developer earning street credit with fans. If the game is a success, they can count on more and more future investments.

I honestly think it's the new future of a developer and their creative design process.

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