Why The Red Ash Kickstarter is Completely Absurd

The Red Ash Kickstarter is going relatively slowly, as it kind of deserves to. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or years of experience in the field to tell that it’s poorly timed and planned.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish failure on any game developer, especially not when they’re making a game I’m really interested in. No matter how much you want to see a Mega Man Legends successor though, it doesn’t change the fact that this whole project comes across as half-baked. Red Ash‘s Kickstarter plans needed more time under wraps and in the drawing room before they went public with them.

Just look at the timing of this announcement. There have recently been several high profile Kickstarters in a short span of time. Yooka Laylee, Bloodstained, and most recently Shenmue 3 were all giant successes. All of them share a common theme: They’re made by old faces that we want to see more of and trust implicitly. Keiji Inafune himself benefited from these same exact traits with his Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter.

Since Inafune is attached to a Mega Man styled title it should be setting the world on fire, right? Nope. Gamers already opened their wallets and gave him a massive windfall of cash to make his dream project, again for extra content, and more still when he asked. Backers are still waiting for said project. Mighty No. 9 reached 400% of its original funding goal, and it’s not out yet. It releases in September.

Keiji Inafune
I admire his hustle, but Inafune’s latest project suffers from a major problem: We’ve seen too much of him.

The fact that this Kickstarter was announced roughly two months before the release of Might No. 9 is baffling. I understand that the game is essentially done at this point and they want to move on to their next project, which has a slightly different team working on it. You have to look at it from a backer’s perspective though, and that perspective is that it looks bad.

Were they so hard pressed for cash that they absolutely couldn’t push this Kickstarter announcement back until after the release of Mighty No. 9? They made over four times what they were initially asking for with their first Kickstarter project. Are they really that bad at money management that this needs to be a right now thing? I’d hope not.

Another way this news may be taken is that there’s zero faith in Mighty No. 9‘s performance and they wanted to push this Kickstarter out before everyone realizes they screwed up and close their wallets for good. I personally don’t think this is the case, as I’ve heard nothing but positive things about how the game feels from those with hands on time. However, this is something that needs to be considered when announcing project number two, and asking for money, before people can even buy the first one.

Moving on, look at the stretch goals and see (what I hope is) the worst planning I’ve ever seen in a Kickstarter that’s probably going to succeed. At $1 million Red Ash will receive a port to one home console. Which console is that? They say they want it to be the most requested console by backers, and they haven’t announced which console yet because they’re negotiating with console companies. What? Is the console port going to be what the fans want or whichever company gives them the sweetest deal? It doesn’t matter, you’ll find out eventually. Now give them your money.

Red Ash
*2: Give us you money now and we’ll tell you later if you’ll be able to play Red Ash.

That’s absurd. They already know they want to release Red Ash for PlayStation 4, so the only conceivable reason not to come out and say it is because they want extra cash. They’re just reeling in those people who will gamble on it being their console of choice, while trying to wring out a nice exclusivity payoff or extra support from console makers. A company like this should have a clear goal from the start, not after they go to what should be the last resort and start taking fan money.

On their kickstarter page they’re very candid about the fact porting Mighty No. 9 across multiple consoles was an issue technically and monetarily. I can respect that, and I appreciate that they’re up front with it. So let me explain why they want the PlayStation 4 to be the console they port to, barring money hat shenanigans, regardless of what they say. The PS4 is easy to port to from PC, it has the largest install base of all current gen consoles, and in some areas it’s selling a disproportionately large amount of software compared to its closest competitor.

It’s true that the Wii U has an audience that may turn up in force to support a 3D platformer, possibly outperforming the PlayStation 4‘s sales even with half the install base, but it’s a gamble. Plus, they’ve already revealed they had difficulties porting the graphically unimpressive, relatively simple Mighty No. 9 to the Wii U, so do you think they want to port a larger scale, 3D world to it? Uh, no.

Mighty No. 9
Making this game run on Wii U gave them some trouble, I doubt they want to try porting the full 3D world of Red Ash to it.

As for the Xbox One, I’ll live stream myself eating my hat if Red Ash was released on it via backer popularity, with no “assistance” from Microsoft.

They should have just came out and listed the PlayStation 4 port of Red Ash at the $1 million stretch goal and others down the line, like Bloodstained did. As it is, expect some backlash from this dubious stretch goal. The Red Ash Kickstarter already had the shadow of Mighty No. 9 looming overhead, it certainly doesn’t need the publicity black eye that this can turn into.

I could be wrong about my comments, but that would only strengthen my real point: Public perception matters more than actual intent. Regardless of what you think about the people of Comcept, Inti Creates, Keiji Inafune, or anyone else tied to this project, Red Ash‘s announcement was poorly executed.

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