I’m going to make a prediction about the upcoming year in gaming — it’s going to be a great year in terms of Metacritic scores, but an unimpressive one in terms of sales. I can barely think of any major video games coming out in 2013 that don’t look promising, and yet, video game sales have been dropping for the past couple years, and I don’t think the downward trend stops this year. It’s the end of generation — people have amassed too many half-finished games by now and aren’t interested in buying anything new unless it’s a heavily hyped can’t-miss title (think Grand Theft Auto V).
So, here are seven games likely to be good to downright great, which just aren’t going to sell…
The first Bayonetta was Platinum Games’ best title to date, and Bayonetta 2 should be even better thanks to Nintendo’s involvement. Unfortunately that Nintendo involvement may also doom this game to poor sales — I just don’t think Nintendo has the ability to market a game like this. Nintendo’s standard “pretty people in a white room” approach just isn’t going to work with a violent game about a sexy hair-clothes-wearing witch. Particularly in America I fear this game will just be dumped into stores with little-to-no promotion at all.
Gears of War: Judgment
Were you aware there’s a new Gears of War game coming out in a bit over a month? I had totally forgotten, and combing through all the available video game news daily is my job. There’s just zero buzz around Gears of War: Judgment, which is a shame because it looks like it may be slightly less dumb than past instalments in the series. I’m sure the game will still do fine considering it’s the only major exclusive the Xbox has this year, but it’s not going to do anywhere near the numbers past Gears games did.
Rayman Legends is a fantastic looking 2D platformer, but it’s coming out barely a year after the also fantastic Rayman Origins. The general gaming public only has so much appetite for 2D platformers these days, no mater how pretty they are. Also the Wii U isn’t exactly short on 2D platformers — the system already has a 2D Mario, and a new 2D Yoshi game is coming this summer. I’m afraid Rayman Legends is going to end up the odd 2D platformer out.
Dead Space 3
EA’s hoping to bring their cult-ish horror series to a greater audience, and well, I think they’re probably going to fail. The changes they’re making with Dead Space 3 have angered the series’ hardcore fans, and worse, don’t really seem to be creating much buzz amongst the greater gaming community. Some games just aren’t going to be mainstream hits no matter how hard you try.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Lightning Returns looks like it may be the best Final Fantasy XIII game yet, but I don’t think most gamers are going to put themselves in a position to be fooled a third time. The Final Fantasy XIII ship has sailed. Time to move on.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
I don’t mean to pick on Platinum Games, I really don’t, but their games do disappoint at retail more often than not. Also, I think gamers are going to be confused as to what this game actually is — “Metal Gear Rising? Is this part of the Metal Gear Solid series? Is Revengeance even a word? Wait, does it star that guy I hated from Metal Gear Solid 2? Eh, forget it.”
The Last of Us
The Last of Us of looks fantastic. Amazing. Maybe a little too fantastic and amazing. I think the game may end up being too intense and bleak for the average gamer. Also, while I applaud Naughty Dog for sticking to their artistic principles and not removing their heroine Ellie from the game’s cover or taking the game in a more shooter-ey mainstream direction, those decisions are almost certainly going to cost them sales. The Last of Us may end up having a more literal title than Naughty Dog intended — I have a feeling the game won’t sell well enough for a sequel.
What about you folks? Any games you think will disappoint sales-wise? Think I’m wrong about any of the games I’ve listed? Hit the comments and give me an earful.