The Red Ash Kickstarter Is A Disaster

The Red Ash Kickstarter Is A Disaster

In 2013, game producer Keiji Inafune earned gamers’ hearts worldwide by promising to bring back Mega Man in the form of Mighty No. 9. Two years later, he’s launched a sloppy, misleading new Kickstarter that threatens to squander all that goodwill.

Red Ash, which took to crowdfunding earlier this month with promises of launching a successor to the beloved Mega Man Legends series, has been a disaster from the start. There was confusion over whether this campaign was for a full game or a prologue; there was a great big mess when the campaign organisers promised a console port but wouldn’t say which console; and few fans were happy when they launched a simultaneous second campaign to collect even more money for a companion anime based on the game.

Now, with four days left and just under $US500,000 raised out of their $US800,000 goal, the Red Ash team has a new update: turns out they have got a publisher (the Chinese game company FUZE) and they’re going to publish the game no matter what. If the Kickstarter is funded — which at this point seems unlikely — all of that money will go toward stretch goals. What kind of stretch goals? Says the update (emphasis mine):

The Kickstarter campaign is going 100% towards more content! Consider your pledge a contribution to stretch goals from here on out.

Exactly what are those stretch goals? We’re sorry to say that will have to wait a little while longer! Like we said, we’re very busy with many behind-the-scenes things over here, and we apologise if you feel left in the dark. As you can see, the things we have brewing that are keeping us occupied are BIG, and all for the purpose of getting you RED ASH in its biggest, bestest form. That’s the reason we’re less communicative than we’d like to be!

We know we’re in the final days of our campaign, but we’d like to ask fans to continue their support of RED ASH! Your money is going towards 100% content now, so please look forward to the revised “stretch goals”!

In other words: ¯_(ツ)_/¯

If you think this is all sketchy — and you’re wondering how a Kickstarter campaign can suddenly shift from “we need this money to fund the game” to “this is now for stretch goals!” — you’re not alone. When I reached out to Kickstarter this morning, a rep told me that this wasn’t in violation of their Terms of Service, even though it appears to violate at least the spirit of rule #2: “Projects must be honest and clearly presented.”

I reached out to Comcept for clarification on how this publishing deal had happened and got back the following statement, from a spokesperson:

Inafune met FUZE at E3 this year, but they approached them only after the KS started. Comcept wanted to make Red Ash no matter what, so if the Kickstarter failed, they would find a different way. They were hoping to entice investors with the attention they were getting from the KS, even if it failed. They didn’t necessarily try to hurry up the deal since the KS was still at 50% for some time. The timing happened to work out nicely and then we made the announcement. The timing really wasn’t up to them, it was in the investor’s court. And the [stretch] goals will go out before the KS’s end for sure.

So now, whether or not Red Ash is funded, the game will happen. Comcept is promising an eight-hour game — The KalKanon Incident — that will be published for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It says that even though it’s getting funding from FUZE, it’s keeping all the rights to the game and characters.

If you’ve never heard of FUZE before, its website is quite an adventure. The Chinese-based company says they’re working on new gaming hardware — “coming soon” — and its pages are full of bizarre digs at Microsoft and Sony:

The Red Ash Kickstarter Is A Disaster

Pretty funny that they’re now helping publish Red Ash for both PS4 and Xbox One.

Meanwhile, today Comcept released a speedrun of the opening level for Mighty No. 9, which is currently slated for release in September. It looks… rough.


  • Oh wow… that does look kinda rough… also kinda very basic. I know it’s the first level but still, even Megamans series had some tough openers. Hope the full game is ok though…

    • Seems to be pretty on par with Mega Man X/Mega Man 7. Mostly easy targets with a few tougher but predictable enemies. Also keep in mind they scored an S rank and they clearly know the stage layout pretty well. This is meant to be the level you learn jumping, dashing and absorbing not a fortress stage. Probably would have been smarter to show off a speed run of a proper level, but I guess they didn’t want to make the regular stages look too easy.

      • I can’t put my finger on it, the animations look mostly good, but at the same time, kind of stunted. Graphics look nice, but the level itself seemed very bland. Like I said, totally accept it’s just level 1. Like someone said below, kinda looks like a Greenlight project rather than a high-end kickstarter one…

        • I assumed that they were trying to replicate the feel of old school NES games with stuttering animations and such, while keeping in modern.

          • Maybe, Ultimately it’s the gameplay that will count in the end. There’s been many games with average to poor animation whose gameplay has been fantastic. I’ll judge the game by its entire product when it comes out 🙂 I’m still highly interested.

          • lmao! You went full internet… you NEVER go full internet!

            Especially before midday.

          • As someone who has played the beta… the gameplay itself is more fun than it looks.

            The game really ticks off that whole itch to perfect a stage/level and speed run so much. Mostly because of the dash/absorb mechanic. The game plays a lot more smoother than it looks xD

  • Mistakes have been made but I feel like the big problem is they launched the campaign on an American long weekend. In the opening days they had almost zero coverage. This is Kotaku’s second article about it, the first being during the Fourth of July dead zone. The only time it’s been getting attention is when people have been pointing out how badly it was going to fail because it hadn’t reached it’s goal by day four. They’ve spent the entire campaign scrambling to undo the damage that mistake caused them. It’s a real shame.

    It doesn’t help that as much as I love Mega Man Legends it’s almost 20 years old and it was never particularly successful. The fans trying to gather support are totally focused on the fact it’s as close to MML3 as we’ll ever get rather than pointing out why this sort of game is totally fun and worth backing. Funnily enough fans relying on a connection to Mega Man Legends to sell the game has hurt Red Ash as much as Capcom relying on a connection to Mega Man X hurt Mega Man Legends.

  • I still cant help but feel that the Mighty No.9 kickstarter money was used to create the ReCore prototype. Mighty No.9 looks like something from Steam Greenlight.

  • I count myself as one of the lucky ones in that I’m not a big enough Megaman fan to have to deal with the ups and downs of this shitty adventure.

  • I have stopped contributing to these highly ambitious projects, instead I wait to see if it gets released and then make a purchasing decision based on the final product. Perhaps a lot more people are also acting similarly?

  • It looks like a lot of people are pulling out based on this news. Kicktraq’s Total pledges and backers went down over the last 1 day.

  • They need to pull both campaigns and start over, this time actually clearly spelling out what they’re doing, what they need the money for etc.

    Mighty Number 9’s development process was a bit of a shitshow and burned a lot of their goodwill and this is just making things worse for their reputation.

  • Just an update on this. They announced the new goals and restructuring this afternoon. Essentially the core game plus all the story expansions* and two console ports (XBOX One and PS4) will happen regardless of the outcome of the Kickstarter. However if the goal is reached it will activate three new stretch goals. Challenge Mode, Tyger as a playable character and a post-game side quest about repairing the village. Not the most exciting stretch goals but one of the big factors derailing this Kickstarter has been Comcepts desire to be realistic with their goals and rewards, so it follows that trend.

    *It’s a bit weird and they weren’t very clear about this, but the idea was that they’d start a Kickstarter for a low budget anime inspired open-world action RPG PC game to establish the Red Ash universe. This game would tell the story of the KalKanon Incident and while they wanted it to be a standalone experience they also wanted to make more games using this setting later down the track. However this is where it gets confusing.
    The KalKanon Incident is huge. It’s like an entire season of an anime. They run all over the place meeting people and doing stuff. It’s way bigger than the initial $800k goal could build. So rather than asking for the full price to make the entire thing they started low. They asked for $800k to build what you’d call the movie version of the plot. A more focused version of the script. This version has all the major stuff happen and tells the KalKanon Incident story from start to finish but it’s not as big. It’s a full game from a players perspective but it’s not the whole story.
    They then wanted all their stretch goals to expand on the content until eventually the whole story was told. Essentially at the $800k mark it would be an indie game, but at the $2.4m mark it would be a full scale release. They wanted people to think of it like a Zelda with a full story and three dungeons that grows into Zelda with a full story and twelve dungeons as the funding increased, but due to poor communication and their statement of intent to make more Red Ash games it came across as if they wanted to make the first hour of Zelda, have the story trail off into nothing when they ran out of money and then finish it in some unannounced game in the future.

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