Mighty No. 9 producer on development progress, the delay, and more
Engadget recently caught up with Mighty No. 9 producer Nick Yu for an interview. Yu commented on how the game is shaping up, why it was delayed, some of the messaging to fans, and more.
You’ll find excerpts from the interview below. For the full discussion, head on over to Engadget.
On how Mighty No. 9 has been progressing…
It’s good, however, we just announced that we’re delaying the release of the game until Q1 2016. The game is pretty much done. We were doing bug fixes and we found some bugs in the network system that will affect the multiplayer. It’s not like a ‘showstopper’ bug, but it’ll make players really frustrated. We don’t want that to be the experience for our players, so that’s why we decided to delay and polish the game a little bit more.
On anything the team would’ve done differently with Kickstarter…
There are always things that you regret, things that you wish that you could do again. For example, we have been communicating with the backers pretty regularly. We did three updates per month. Maybe it’s a bit too much for the development team. Because on top of their normal development work, they have to think about updates, they have to prepare the content, it’s a lot of work. Maybe we could’ve done less updates, but focusing on more communication with the backers. Focus on the game a little bit more, so there could be no delay, or we could find the bug earlier.
On what the feeling is like when not being able to deliver a game when it was expected…
I’m sure a lot of people, almost everyone, is upset about delays, and things that can’t be done. But, and this is my personal view, the creators announcing the bad news feel worse than the backers. You know that you have to tell the people, and it’ll make them sad, it’ll make them upset. And you’re the reason for that happening. You’re the one making it. Even if it was accidental, or you had no control over it, you’re the reason the delay happened. We feel bad. Really really bad.
People are saying that we didn’t announce the delay fast enough. But although we saw the possibility of the delay, we weren’t sure. You’ll never be sure until the moment when you say ‘this is not going to make it anymore.’ Even if there are rumors or possibilities for delay, we can’t say anything until we are sure. In the end that might cause some bad PR, people calling you liars, but there’s nothi– there’s maybe some things we could’ve done better, but, at that point, we couldn’t say anything for sure, so… We are upset as well, just as much as the backers.
On giving out clearer messages and the public perception…
The reality is, we said all that stuff in the updates, in the interviews, we did say [that Mighty No. 9 is not affected]. But it wasn’t communicated nicely enough. I’m not in that team, but I see that from the side, that communication wasn’t done right, at all. Timing-wise it was bad, but for a small company like us, we need to have projects constantly to be working on, or we have people just sitting there doing nothing. For a small company, even a month of sitting there doing nothing will hurt us a lot.
People say ‘why are you overlapping these two projects together?’ The answer to that is ‘we have to.’ Or people lose their jobs, or — this is a little bit exaggerated — the company can go bankrupt. For us, we can explain the reason behind it, but I know it’s hard for everyone to understand. There’s just no way the level of understanding will become the same.
There are people still working on Mighty No. 9, but other teams are just doing nothing, so we need to move those teams onto new projects. Something that can generate payments, generate their salaries. We had this idea for a while, about Red Ash, and we just thought, ‘why not do another Kickstarter?’
Once you explain to people they typically understand, but the initial message wasn’t clear enough, the timing was bad, it’s just — everything went in a bad, bad direction.
On whether the single-player campaign could have been delivered first, and then multiplayer later…
In order for us to just give out the single-player… It’s difficult to explain this in short terms. When you’re submitting a game to the platforms, there’s a testing, an approval process for PlayStation, Xbox, all that stuff. The way it is, you have to submit the product. If we were to give out the game to backers, they have to choose their platform. Either way, we have to go through that approval process for us to give that to the backers.
If we were to just give out the single-player, that means we have to make the whole package as a single-player game. Once that’s out, we can no longer say this game is single-player and multi-player, we can only say this is single-player. When that goes to the retailer, you can no longer sell the product as a single-player / multi-player game. Because it’s not, even if you add a patch later on. And the price will just break. Because it’s only single-player. It’s not that we don’t want to give that to the backers — we can’t.
For us to make that change — only single-player, then patch multi-player later — simply put, the approval process would be doubled, and we would have to spend even more time to break those two aspects of the game apart into separate packages. Submit the single-player first, get approval, fix the multi-player campaign, get approval again.. And there’ll be even more quality assurance because we’re taking stuff out. All that together, I think the game will be out with them together before we could’ve pulled them apart, even with the delay. That’s the reality, however, I know we should think about something to show that we are really sorry to the backers. We’re looking to see if there’s something we can do for the backers. But, we’re looking into that, and we’re looking to get a proper release date, seeing how bad the bug is. How fast we can fix it. Once we know that, we’ll announce the release date properly. For now it’s just Q1 2016.