Keiji Inafune and the Sense of Speed: Mighty No. 9 at MCM London Comic Con

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Twenty-eight years ago, the world of console video games changed forever when Capcom released Mega Man for the NES back in 1987. The series since then has had its highs and lows, but the classic style and pace of the original game are fondly remembered.

Now, a true successor has risen to carry the torch of the old-school classic so many people fell in love with: Mighty No. 9, a game by Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune, inheriting the same platform and shooter gameplay of the original. Inafune knows what made the first game and its sequels so beloved, and now he’s back with the same passion he had so many years ago.

MCMInafune1At MCM London Comic Con in the lofty Games Dome, the publishers of Mighty No. 9, Deep Silver, were there to present Inafune’s newest creation, which was funded massively through Kickstarter. Though Inafune could not be there himself, he was with the crowd in spirit – or, more accurately, through Skype, which started off having some audio and translation issues when Inafune forgot to let the translator speak.

He started by thanking everyone for being there for this presentation, and explained the core themes of his new game: a revival of the Japanese side-scrolling action genre which was once the most popular in the world, and one phrase he continued to expand upon, the ‘sense of speed.’

Inafune said that creating this ‘sense of speed’ was one of the biggest elements of gameplay that the development team was focusing on; it was important to make sure that the game played fast and had a quickening pace, but didn’t want to just speed up the regular action, because that would make it hard for new players to get into the action. Many design decisions for Mighty No. 9, he said, were built around maintaining this ‘sense of speed’ without making the game too hard.

However, he did go on to say that for those veterans of the Mega Man series, he’s made sure that the game will challenge and pressure them, especially with the depth of strategy he’s trying to include within the gameplay mechanics. In his own words, “A creator is always in battle with the players: you make a game, and the players will blow it away… for the sequel, you have to really impress them.”

During the question and answer period that followed, he stayed on the edge of the line of spoilers for Mighty No. 9, but mentioned his favourite part of the game so far: more than any Mega Man game before, he’s put emphasis on the bosses the player faces and their stories and motives. He feels that each one will be impactful in their own way, as they’re not traditional enemies, but rather your old friends that you’re fighting against.

After that, Inafune signed off to a huge round of applause, and the hotly anticipated second part of the event was set to start.

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Going off without a hitch, Deep Silver offered up a demo of one of the early levels in Mighty No. 9, taking place in a military base. Members of the audience were freely allowed to come up and play for three minutes in a speed run challenge – only a short period of time, but after the first couple of rounds of gameplay – one ending quite quickly, and the other going on smoothly until the player went too fast and fell into a pit – it became clear that Mighty No. 9 really does have the ‘sense of speed’ that Inafune was trying to achieve.

Mighty No. 9 will release worldwide for all platforms on September 18th.

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