Yesterday Deep Silver posted a new trailer for Mighty No. 9, their thrice-delayed spiritual successor to the Mega Man franchise, on YouTube, and the response was … well, see for yourself.
That was one of the game’s original developers, and the fan response wasn’t much kinder.
With more than 20,000 downvotes and counting on YouTube, even Sega whipping boy Sonic the Hedgehog found the self-confidence to mock this trailer.
Now, the trailer is questionable on several levels. It struggles to excite us about Mighty No. 9’s impending release (assuming this incident doesn’t result in even more delays), it struggles to show the Kickstarter backers that their money was spent well, and above all, it struggles to portray the game as a fun, rewarding experience. But all of that has almost nothing to do with the actual game or the new features it boasts here, as nearly all the trailer’s problems trace back to one singular, corrupting entity.
Let’s talk about the narrator.
A disembodied soul with the voice of a sports announcer and the maturity of a WWE commentator narrates this trailer, and apparently he’s sworn on pain of death to Deep Silver that he will convince you that this game is cool. What we get instead is a man desperate to hype all the various dashes in Mighty No. 9 before he relapses into his bubble wrap addiction again and wakes up naked in the woods six days later. To be fair, new moves should be included in the trailer, but did we need Narrator Dude to explain every single one of them to us? He attempts to point out the ridiculousness of the situation by saying there’s probably a boost that makes you breakfast, but all that does is make you crave breakfast.
Narrator Dude also fancies himself a risque, witty spokesman, meaning we are treated to a brief glimpse into the dark recesses of his psyche. He tells us he loves when we use the boost because we “dance around like moon men,” followed shortly by his claim that we “love hot combo-on-combo action.” At this point, we point we realize how miserable his life has become. He yearns more than anything for the trailer when he can launch into a raunchy comedy, but alas, he is shackled to the E10+ rating, and there is no escape from a franchise deliberately marketed to children.
By far the most baffling and controversial line in the trailer comes towards the end, when Narrator Dude, frustrated by his own inability to make himself or the game look cool, bets everything on one, mean-spirited put-down that had no business anywhere but YouTube. After unveiling the “Absorption Boost” he says it’s so powerful that it’ll “make your enemies cry like an anime fan on Prom Night,” and immediately the entire viewing world checked to see if all the previous Mega Man animes still exist, let out a sigh of resigned sadness, then left Narrator Dude to debate the ethics of combo-on-combo action with his imaginary friend Vernon.
One would think trailers and the voices who narrate them wouldn’t have to demean you or prove how much cooler the game is than you. We know it’s a marketing technique—make the product desirable in a social setting—but it’s also suggestive of Deep Silver’s lack of confidence in the game’s current state. Nobody wants a game that they’re told is cool. They want a game that simply is cool, preferably with explosions that don’t look like pizza bagels.
Watch the Mighty No. 9 trailer below, if you must.