Now that Mega Man 11 has finally been released and there’s something of a sense of relief about the Blue Bomber’s place in the gaming world among his community of fans once again, now seems like as good a time as any to look back at the would-be spiritual successor, Mighty No. 9.
By now, you no doubt know the story (and if not, no worries — it’s been covered in several places. I personally recommend this one), but there has been one loose thread that’s been kicking around since before the game was even released two years ago, and remains unresolved to this day:
What happened to the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita releases?
Neither version has officially been canceled (even though most would have expected it to be), though with Sony winding down support for the latter and no plans for a follow-up, we can safely assume that one is pretty much flat-out dead. But what about the Nintendo 3DS, which continues to receive support from Nintendo itself and a handful third-parties, even in the face of the popularity of the Nintendo Switch?
That’s what Patrick Klepek of Vice’s Waypoint set out to learn the truth recently. The last word came more than a year ago from a note to Kickstarter backers saying that they were “still in the process of porting,” but the social media presence for the game has since dried up. Along the way came a similar investigation from Chris Carter of Destructoid, who gained some interesting new information.
The short version is that the folks at the top — developer Comcept, Level-5 (who the former merged with), Japanese publisher Spike Chunsoft, and worldwide publisher Deep Silver — all did not respond to inquiries. However, Abstraction Games Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ralph Egas, did respond.
Abstraction was originally set to develop the handheld versions of the game, but ended up passing when Comcept failed to communicate properly (a claim made by other associates in the project, such as FanGamer) and deliver a final build on time. He cites the task of “demaking” the PC/console versions in as short a time as was required would be “impossible,” and though he took no pleasure in making the call, "business-wise, this was the only logical outcome lest we risk going under."
Fortunately for Abstraction, there was no binding contract signed — only a “letter of intent.”
The project was instead shifted to Engine Software, whose last mention of working on the game was in March 2017, and the game has since been removed from their website’s “in-development” section.
After a bit of a delay, Destructoid did hear back from Engine, whose Vice President of Development, Ruud van de Moosdijk, stated they were unable to answer any questions about the game’s development status due to being "bound by contractual confidentiality."
However, he did offer up something of a smoking gun by adding "we are no longer working on these ports so all future inquiries should be directed to Comcept."
“As of right now,” Destructoid states, “all third-party ties that we know of have been cut. The ball rests solely in Comcept's (and thus, Level-5's) court.”
Back to Waypoint, the problem seemingly comes down to one key factor: Unreal Engine 3.
Ethan Lee, a programmer whose résumé not only includes ports of Celeste, FEZ, and Transistor, but also worked on the Linux and Mac ports of Mighty No. 9 over a cup of coffee, had this to say: