An 80+ rated game should have been a 'guaranteed hit,' says the publisher's VP of marketing.
Namco Bandai has admitted Enslaved underperformed at retail, placing the blame firmly on the fact that the publisher failed to find a suitable release period for the critically acclaimed title.
"Quality is key and our mission is to bring the best quality," said Carlson Choi, vice president of marketing, Namco Bandai. "[Enslaved is an] 80+ rated title it did extremely well from a game quality standpoint."
Choi added: "To be perfectly frank, I think as a company prior to us reforming this organisation, going to market, I think the game went to market at a very busy season. It launched in the midst of a busy holiday season. Last year, there were like 4000+ games for consoles. We didn't do a good job finding the right time for it because when you look at the quality of the game it speaks for itself. An 80+ rated game is guaranteed a hit. We got DLC that came out that got 10 out of 10.
"Ultimately, I think that game had the quality needed to address the gamers. I think it's a matter of getting into the market at the right time, which is something you will see us do much better."
On the subject of Enslaved returning despite its disappointing sales, Choi was non-committal.
"You tell me, do you think gamers want more? I can assure you, a title like Enslaved, and every title we've worked on in the past we're going to re-examine them and say what is the potential for the game? We've been doing a lot of studies, consumer engagement, and community engagement... let's put it this way: one of these days stay tuned there will be more news to come."
However, Makoto Iwai, Bandai label president painted a less than rosy future for Enslaved: "It's hard to say black or white. Results are everything for a business unit, so we have to face it."
Releasing in early October always looked problematic for Enslaved, running into competition from football juggernauts FIFA and PES, F1 2010 and Halo: Reach, plus Konami's third-person action rival Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. The game's release was also followed in quick succession by Medal of Honor and Fallout New Vegas.
Hindsight is wonderful, but surely someone at Namco Bandai should have realised October was always going to be a bloodbath.