Last year I put together a list of games I thought would do well on Metacritic, but not so well in terms of sales. For the most part my predictions were correct, although I did miss badly predicting The Last of Us wouldn’t be a success (a flub you guys still like to remind me of from time to time).
But hey, I’m brave, so let’s try this again! Here’s seven likely to be good games I think will faceplant at retail this year…
Bayonetta 2 was on last year’s list, but the game got delayed until 2014, so it gets a spot this year as well! My Bayonetta 2 skepticism has only worsened over the past year — the Wii U hasn’t taken off, and with The Wonderful 101 Nintendo clearly demonstrated they’re either unable or unwilling to properly market a game not featuring their own characters. If Nintendo can’t get their head around selling colorful cartoon superheroes, what hope is there that they’re going to know how to promote Kamiya’s most fetish-tastic creation?
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
Sadly the Castlevania name just doesn’t mean much in 2014. The original Lords of Shadow was a success by Castlevania standards, but it still only sold around 1.5 million copies, and it feels like it’s been eons since that game came out. What cachet the Lords of Shadow name might have once had has dried up, and what’s worse, it sounds like the makers of Lords of Shadow 2 are making their new game, well, much more Castlevania-ey. More exploration, more backtracking, more puzzles. That’s great news for the few Castlevania fans that still exist, but it’s going to turn off mainstream audiences looking for another straightforward action game like the first Lords of Shadow.
The Sims 4
2013 was the year EA and Maxis f–ked up SimCity, and I think 2014 will be the year they f–k up The Sims.
The Sims 4 just feels completely out-of-step with the casual audience it’s targeting — it’s not on Facebook or smartphones, it’s not free-to-play, it doesn’t even have any sort of online features. It’s just a straight up, single-player, $60 boxed game. Of course after the debacle that was SimCity, some might applaud this back-to-basics approach, but there’s such a thing as being too old-school. It doesn’t help that EA and Maxis don’t seem to have any great new ideas for this go-around — so far all they’ve revealed about The Sims 4 is that it will feature a “greater focus on emotions”. I just don’t see this new Sims making any sort of impact with its traditional casual audience in 2014.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Broken Age’s backers will be pretty pleased by what they get. That said, after all the industry-changing, Kickstarter-fuelled hype, I don’t think very many people will end up playing Broken Age. This all started with Tim Schafer asking for a few thousand dollars to make a niche game, then some very impassioned fans made the game bigger, and Tim made it bigger yet again with his overspending, but in the end it’s still going to be a niche game.
The Elder Scrolls Online
Dan predicted The Elder Scrolls Online would be a disaster in his own 2014 gaming predictions article, and I can’t disagree with any of the points he made.
The Evil Within
People keep screaming at Capcom to make another old-school style Resident Evil game, and it looks like Shinji Mikami is doing just that with The Evil Within. Unfortunately there’s a reason Capcom refuses to revisit the early years of Resident Evil — people simply don’t buy games like that anymore. People don’t want survival horror anymore. They don’t want tightly structured games full of locked doors these days, they want open worlds and roller coasters. The Evil Within is my most anticipated game of 2014 and I think it might sells a few next-gen consoles, but I don’t think The Evil Within is going to revitalize the survival horror genre the way people are hoping it will.
I’m absolutely on board for Alien: Isolation — having to face off against a single relentless xenomorph with limited resources is what I’ve always wanted from an Alien game. Is it what the general public wants though? Most people prefer Aliens to Alien and there’s no way your average gamer is going to tolerate a game where there’s only a single alien to blast. Aside from all that, Aliens: Colonial Marines has poisoned the Aliens well but good — Sega probably should have let things rest a while before trying again.
So those are my picks. What about you folks? Which games are going to fail to connect in 2014 in your opinion?