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

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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.