While having lunch with someone from the video game industry, he revealed (off the record) that one of his former employers intentionally released horrible games, largely because corporate knew they would sell regardless of quality.
This was disappointing to hear, simply because companies often blame small budgets, short timelines and high turnover as the culprits for lackluster products, which we still believe to be true most of the time.
This, however, was something entirely different. We knew developers (just like painters and novelists) worked on projects so long they couldn’t tell if these things were good, but in this case, a greedy publisher disinterested in creating triple A games flooded the market with shovel ware, believing that the power of the licence would generate revenue.
Splinter Cell could have been one of the 3DS’ premier games.
Everyone who follows the industry can name at least one company suspected of doing this. You know, like Ubisoft, the publisher largely responsible for tarnishing the 3DS launch.
To be fair, other companies released some duds. Square Enix failed to excite gamers with Bust-A-Move Universe (which currently holds a 50 per cent review average on Metacritic), while Nintendo split its audience down the middle with Steel Diver (59 per cent). Even Sega churned out a stinker with Super Monkey Ball 3D (54 per cent).
Ubisoft, though, is by far the worst. Not only did it release more games than the competition, but it also forgot, dare we say neglected, to make them enjoyable.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars: 78 per cent
Rayman 3D: 62 per cent
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D: 47 per cent
Asphalt 3D: 45 per cent
Combat of Giants- Dinosaurs 3D: 42 per cent
Rabbids Travel in Time: 56 per cent
Total Review Average: 55 per cent
Here’s the thing. Ubisoft is one of the largest publishers in the world, primarily because it releases entertaining games from such hit franchises as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Splinter Cell. This isn’t some two-bit company that lacks the necessary resources to produce triple A titles. Everyone knows what its employees are capable of.
Somehow, Ubisoft managed to make dinosaurs boring.
Had it released one or two 3DS games, critics could have easily blamed the aforementioned excuses for such a lackluster effort, but it appears that the company chose to flood Nintendo’s system with as many games as possible, even if it meant tarnishing some of its best properties. Shadow Wars is the lone bright spot, but it was also a DS game hastily ported to 3DS.
That said, we don’t have much proof to nail Ubisoft, and a short time with the 3DS tech could explain those disastrous launch games. Then again, failing to make the grade four out of five times raises plenty of red flags.
The solution? Boycott Ubisoft until the publisher treats 3DS owners with respect.