Back in spring of 2014 someone emailed me a link to a Kickstarter. A small company called Jasco Games had got the Mega Man license and was trying to raise money to get the game actually made. I had never donated to a Kickstarter before but figured this was worth some of my hard earned dollars. So yes, to be clear, I am a backer of this Kickstarter project. Full disclosure and all.
While plagued with delays, I still felt like the project is showing a lot of progress and will probably be a very cool product once finished. I figured it would be worth chatting with Jason Hawronsky of Jasco Games about it here.
Jason thanks for taking the time to talk about your project here. First could you tell us a little bit about how this came about. What made you decide to do take this project on?
Before we ever started working with Capcom on the project, I came up with the game idea in a dream at a Best Western in Manhattan while I was on vacation in NY. It was my last day there before heading out and I woke up, wrote the entire game idea down on hotel note pads and then went back to sleep. Months later, I approached Capcom USA for licensing and we began development on the full game as well as the Mega Man Trading Card Game for the Universal Fighting System (UFS). The entire project has literally been a dream come true for me and I wouldn’t replace the experience for anything.
So how did you approach Capcom about it?
Capcom was familiar with our work under the Sabertooth Games and Fantasy Flight Games flag, from when they ran the UFS trading card game. Because of that, and our relationship with SNK Playmore for the King of Fighters XIII card game we produced, Capcom was confident in our abilities and happy to work with us. Our contacts at Capcom have been great to work with and we are happy we can bring the blue bomber to life in this way.
And how did you decide to go the Kickstarter rout for funding?
Kickstarter is really one of the best ways to promote projects and ideas these days. I don’t know if it is something that will be long term in the game industry, but short of a national TV commercial, Kickstarter is one of the best ways to get the word out to the public and test the market. We had every intention of producing the game regardless, but Kickstarter was there to really help spread the news and show a broader audience what we were able to do and get the game to more fans.
The project has faced some delays along the way. What are some of the unexpected problems you’ve encountered and when do you expect to have the product for sale?
To be honest, this was entirely new ground for us. Our first foray into making miniatures, and making a board game. Some of the delays are things that you can’t predict at all. We had built in time for a long approval process with Capcom. They were up front from the start that Mega Man is a premier property of theirs, and that it had to meet a really high standard.
One of the things is communicating the size of each game piece, and what can and can’t be done. However, sometimes there are things that are literally just ‘life happening”. For instance, one of our main sculptors, who did over half of the game pieces, had his house broken into and his computer, sculpting setup and backup drives stolen. He didn’t have a cloud backup, so all we had literally were rendered images of what he had done before and what happened afterwards was slightly different. But, because of that, and the fact that he’s a freelancer means that everything he had been working on up to that point literally had to be started over. Not just for us, but for other clients as well. Then all those had to start over in the approvals process again.
The expectation of product for sale is something that we’re hoping to have nailed down soon, but until the final approvals for colored miniatures are complete, it will be difficult to determine. Right now, we’ve received the beginning of the color samples. They’re hand painted, and there specifically so we can see the color and placement. When those are all complete (we’ve received a little under half at this time), we have to submit that to Capcom so that they can tweak colors as needed.
Once all that happens, mass production starts on the miniatures themselves and then the clock can probably be predicted a bit better. We would hope that people understand the level of quality not only Capcom, but we here at Jasco are trying to achieve. There are games out there where the paint job isn’t a priority, and we’re wanting to make sure this is a product not only we’re proud of, but that people will enjoy.
Are there any plans to expand the game to include Robot Masters from later games or perhaps even some more obscure Mega Man characters like Quint or the Stardroids?
We have designed the game specifically to allow for expansions into other Robot Master stages and new challenges! Once the core game is on the shelves, we will be working on expansion packs to allow players to try their luck against all sorts of Robot Masters and their stages.
What is it about Mega Man that you think resonates with people and has given the franchise such staying power over the years?
Mega Man is such an Icon in the gaming world. The games and the character have really changed how a side-scrolling platformer game can work. Most people my age remember the Mario Brothers game on Nintendo and have that special attachment to the characters and the feel of the game, and Mega Man is very similar to this. When you play a Mega Man game, you get something very unique from the other games of it’s time. It is basically a game for the player that wants more. You have strategies, powers, patterns that you have to memorize, trial and error and frustration that is rewarded by accomplishment later. The Blue Bomber, Mario and Sonic are the top 3 characters that come into mind when you think about games that really pushed the limits of this genre.
If this project is a success are there any other properties from Capcom you would be looking to try your hands at?
We have already released the Mega Man card game and the Darkstalkers card game for the Universal Fighting System. In addition to this we are very happy with our relationship with Capcom and are always eager to try new projects and games in collaboration with their licenses. We are always working and developing new things with this in mind.
And lastly, what would you say to everyone on why they should get this game when it’s finally for sale?
Whether you are a board game fan or just a Mega Man fan, we have spent countless hours creating a game that will be fun for everyone involved. We have kept the core feel of the Mega Man video games while also adding some elements that are only possible in a board game, giving it an amazing social experience. This isn’t just your traditional sit around, roll dice and move game, so be prepared for strategy, alliances and something you haven’t seen before!
For more on this project, check out their website JascoGames.com.
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