The Dina Disaster, the Story of Nepotism and Mighty No. 9

mighty no. 9 art 1

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about Mighty No. 9, the kickstarter funded spiritual successor to Mega Man. The game is headed by the man responsible for Mega Man’s success, Keiji Inafune, and has gotten a lot of funding from kickstarter, almost $4 million dollars in total.

Now that the game is fully in development, naturally they’ve been hiring people and bringing on a myriad of talent to help promote the game. One such hire was someone named Dina Abou Karam, who turns out to have been involved with the game even before being hired as a community manager. She was a backer for the kickstarter, and she originally posted about how she cares about gender representation in video games (a solid claim), and as such said that Call should be a playable character, or that Beck should be a female bot altogether. She even posted her own mock up of what a female Beck might look like.

Naturally, this where things started to get ugly. Her original post would normally just be a comment from a fan, but she was in fact hired at Comcept as a community manager. Fans and backers alike were concerned, as many of them were finding lots of feminist agenda posts on her personal twitter account, combining those with her original post regarding a female Beck, leading them to worry about the game being changed to meet other peoples’ agendas.

Dina’s personal agenda was never a real concern until she stated on twitter that she is also a designer and artist working on the project. So now, those concerns had real weight as the game concept they had backed could possibly be changed by people like her, who might be looking to push a personal agenda. In case you guys were not aware of how rabid the Mega Man community can be – they are one of the most hardcore nostalgia influenced fanbase I have ever known.

Here’s one of the biggest problems with her as a community manager on the project: she plainly stated she’s never played a Mega Man game on her twitter. This completely contradicts a later statement she made on the Mighty No. 9 forums where she said “Mega Man X is the best Mega Man.” So, either she simply forgot that she played enough of the games to know X was the best, or she’s a complete liar. Either way, people are not happy, and they are wondering why someone whose salary they’re paying is either A) clueless about the type of game she’s representing or B) lying to them as backers to the project.

Regardless, this led to a lot of backers post well thought out and completely reasonable threads asking for an explanation behind why she had very contradicting views on the Mega Man franchise, and if her strong personal opinions shown on her twitter would somehow influence the game in any way. Instead of her coming forward and posting an explanation, she locks her twitter account. After this, she posts a thread explaining that she just woke up, that she was bombarded with questions and that she freaked out and locked her twitter. She said she would unlock her twitter, and she did unlock it – but all of the questionable tweets had been deleted.

Nepotism comes into question when fans had realized that she mentioned her friends/boyfriend had been working on the game, in a tweet that has since been deleted. Naturally, this got people upset as it raised concern over whether or not she was given a free pass into the company, as she knew a way in. In a response to a backer’s question, she confirmed that she did get the job from a mutual acquaintance. This happens all the time in numerous industries, but when it’s brought to the light in regard to a person who has clearly been disingenuous to the backers for the project, it’s just sad.

Thankfully, Mark MacDonald from 8-4 (the localization team) chimed in for an official response:

“Hey guys n gals—Mark from 8-4 here!

Will the community manager be skewing things the way they would personally like to see the game? Will the community manager ignore views that don’t match with their own personal ideals? Will the community manager lose the community’s desires due to unfamiliarity with the type of game we are making? Will the community manager be creating their own robots and levels and programming, or changing the game in any way, from what the core creative team wants?! A lot of these or similar questions have been raised.

The good news is that the answer, in all cases, is no.

As far as affecting the game in other ways, rest assured all direction and decisions are still in the hands of all the same people they have been from the start. Everyone should know that choosing a community manager is not something the team took lightly — all the key players at Comcept were involved in the selection and hiring process, all the way up to and including Inafune himself. We are supremely confident we made a great choice, as we think you will all agree as you get to know Dina and see her work.”

So, it seems like the team behind Mighty No. 9 have a lot of faith in Dina and her abilities, despite the complete mishandling of the situation and bad impression she gave lots of backers. A lot of people have been upset by this, but ultimately the game’s direction seems to rest in the hands of the team at Comcept, not by a community manager like Dina.

What do you guys think – were the backers wrong to nitpick all of her tweets and call her out for things, or was she wrong for contradicting herself/lying over her past with the Mega Man games?

Brandon Orselli

About

Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.



  • The RPG Endboss

    Good read. A friend actually sent me something about this in the email a couple days ago but he always sends me “long” rants I never read. Now that I read this it makes sense. My…so much I could say.

    IMO, regardless of why you want to work on the game, you really shouldn’t be there if you aren’t a fan. Especially if you lie about being a fan and lie about being just a fan who was picked seemingly at random to be a team member. Makes me want to put a tin foil hat on and listen for radio signals.

    Community managers are suppose to bring the community together and be a positive force that unites all fans…and clearly, she isn’t doing this. Having her remain in that position is just pure stupidity at this point.

  • I think kickstarter as a whole is a great thing in the end. However, I guess as this shows, the one problem I have with it is that these companies can make controversial decisions on projects AFTER they already have all of your money.

  • tamlin69

    PR jobs, like community manager, should be given to people who are good at Public Relations.

    Dina is not.

    It’s unfathomable to me why a multi-million dollar project hires some developer’s belligerent partner for a job that is supposed to handle and smooth over controversies, not create them.

    (I think the answer is, “We at the Mighty Number 9 team don’t care about PR or who does the Community Manager job.” Probably a problem with Kickstarter projects in general. If I ever do a Kickstarter project, trust me, I’m looking for Marjaery Tyrell for the community manager job, not Joffrey Baratheon.)

    If they wanted to pay her for something, surely they could have found something less customer facing?

  • Mygaffer

    If she had never asked for female playable characters or for Beck to be a female none of this “outrage” would have even happened.
    I’m a male gamer, I love me some big titties and fan service, but I’m not opposed to or afraid of female encroachment on my games. As long as the market is there there will always be games released with fan service. We live in an exciting time, with better writing about games than ever before, more games than ever before, more platforms than ever before, we should be celebrating, not going nuclear on every perceived “feminist” threat.

  • nonscpo

    Agreed equality for everyone in gaming is great, however looking back at the Dina controversy she really should have done her research before opening her mouth and writing what she did. All she did was upset alot of people for no reason whatsoever, people whose money is the reason she even had a job to begin with. Looking back this really was an unnecesarry episode, hope Mighty No. 9 at least comes out well.

  • James Donald

    Social justice warriors are like cockroaches. Let one in, and soon they take over. Pretty soon Megaman will be transexual and will have a tragic backstory of persecution by hateful gamers.

    If you don’t check for social justice warriors under the bed at night, you will awaken with someone’s hands around your throat.

    You will find yourself at risk for lawsuits before a judge who is in their pocket.

  • bryoneill11

    Flag this idiot

  • Mygaffer

    Really dude? Instead of rebutting any of my points you just say “flag this idiot”. If anyone is looking like an idiot right now it is you.

  • John Silver

    >Makes me want to put a tin foil hat on and listen for radio signals.
    and as a bonus it’ll protect you from all those mind control rays used by the alien-controlled illuminati and patriarchy.

  • GoldenBay

    The only one looking like an idiot is you.

  • Amal Iel

    Actually the opposition to her has to do with the fact of her banning backers from the forums for putting pro-gamergate stuff on social media. If this hadn’t happened (and if she had actually ever played a megaman game), no one would care that she’s a feminist let alone call for her to be removed.

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  • El Rodrigo

    Feminazis are cancer, not just to this industry, but movies and comics as well. Attention whores and outright sexists who want to bend everything to their agenda, despite only having a minimal interest (at best) in the media that they’re affecting. Acknowledging them and their petty cries for attention is what is wrong with the world. We should be ignoring them entirely.

    If you want to support women’s rights, support equalism, NOT feminism. We are all humans, and no gender is supposed to be portrayed as ‘superior’ to another, which is what the term ‘feminism’ implies, and has spawned.

    What happened to Dina should be what happens across the board. They should be drummed right out of where they do not belong.

  • Milan Stefanovic

    She was also fired cus of her clear disrespect toward the people who backed the game. I mean. The forum was a BACKER only forum. So her banning people from it would be… well.. not ok. WHich is what caused alot of people to pull their funding from the game. Because the higher up didnt do anything. They just basicly let her push her feminist, sjw, gender bullshit ideology and behaved like a tyrant. I dont think most people would have cared much if she was a nobody that got hired as the comunity manager, even if she never played a megaman game. Her main job was to be the voice between the devs and the backers. Meaning, what they want to know, she would tell them what she was allowed to tell. I dont remember how it all started, but one thing led to another and well, that was when she started the banning of backers from the forum. She was abusing her position. And she was gloating over it. She felt no shame.

  • Holythirteen

    Imagine being poked in one spot one your body a hundred times by jerks, then some new guy comes along and gives you a friendly poke in the same spot. That’s you, new guy.

    We’ve all been over this “actually it’s about equality” schtick so many times, and we stopped buying it months/years ago.

    I could care less if they throw in a female Beck, but when you start shoving hateful ideology down our throats, don’t complain when you get some vomit for your trouble.

    How about we take a game you like and change it so it will teach kids about the love of Jesus? Would you like that?

    And you like fan service? Feminism is about taking that away from gamers, I could give you a hundred examples, but you’ll just tell me that those aren’t true Scotsmen, so instead of getting into that tired argument AGAIN I will just say get lost idiot.

  • Mygaffer

    You are so far gone down the crazy hole you don’t even realize how out of touch you are. You are making arguments to rebut points I’ve never made. You are arguing with some feminism in gaming ghost that you see everywhere now.

    This was a tempest in a teapot and much ado about nothing. She didn’t do anything to deserve the immense backlash she received at the time. She was never a designer or involved in the creative process with the game. She never had a boyfriend who worked there. Just looking at some of the replies to my comment where I’ve said the backlash wasn’t justified does a better job of showing how much people overreacted than anything I could ever say.

    I also find it amusing to try to bring up things like the no true Scotsman fallacy, which you don’t seem to quite understand, when your reply is filled with logical fallacies and is arguing against things I’ve never said.

    As far as who the idiot is I’ll just tell you that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  • John Smith.

    That’s the Japanese corporate culture for you, no one ever gets fired no matter how shitty there are. They just get moved into a smaller office away from everyone and given crap assignments of no importance until they either quit or hit retirement age.

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  • Damien Poe Rocks

    yes, that’s the problem.
    fraud or false promises are not illegal this way
    and if people ask for a refund, they’re not obligated to oblige