It’s frustrating, isn’t it? When we see a game arrive and know almost nothing about it because the developer couldn’t be bothered to create a promotional train leading to launch. The truth in all of this is that this ideology hurts not only the fans, but the game itself too. The Culling 2 is a prime example of that. Developer Xaviant closed down support of The Culling and stated that they were moving onto different things, only to release its sequel nine months later out of nowhere. Seriously, I actually only learned about this game from Microsoft’s store listing.
I’m not at all suggesting that some proper promotion would have changed the fact that The Culling 2 only had 249 peaked players, but there’s no denying that it would have helped, right? The problem was clearly simple. The developer just didn’t know what the hell they were doing. Hours later the game dropped to a base average of 2 players per-game, which for a battle royale game, is far below the 50 required for a single game. Xaviant pulled the game from storefronts and quite shockingly, have gone back to the predecessor for another spin.
Xaviant state that their mission is to rebuild their relationship with their fans to regain their trust. Well, one good step here would be to be more open with your fans, Xaviant, and address the feedback head-on. Sure, it doesn’t help that The Culling (and its sequel) rest in a gaming world where battle royale games are landing left, right and center, but as with anything, it stands a chance so long as its handled properly, which just isn’t the case here. Weak promotion of pre-launch support is not the way to go, especially in this online world.
It takes little time and little effort, and in some cases, little money to have content advertised or even shared across social media and media outlets. When a developer ignores that, for whatever reason, it only serves to hurt the game and those that are looking forward to it. Gene Rain arrived earlier this week and until I was sent the press release merely a few days before launch, I had never heard of it. Hell, not even Microsoft had it listed in their weekly release schedule, that’s how rapid and thoughtlessly it was pushed into the market.
I’m not going to dive into the specifics about whether the game is decent or not here, but would it not help to be more open in approach? Is it not completely ignorant and arrogant to release a game and “expect” everyone to know what it’s all about? Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a heap of smaller (even single) developers out there that cannot afford the added weight of heavy promotion, and that’s forgivable, but here, I’m talking specifically about developers that have a clear pool of resources and reach to get the promotion done.
I could name tens and tens of titles that have adopted this sort of approach, and developers soon after wonder why their game didn’t sell quite as well as expected. Promotion is every bit as important as the release date itself and when a developer fails to realize this, it’s worrying. There’s so many affordable (or even free) avenues that developers can access to get the job done, be it social media, press outlets and much more. Did The Culling 2 deserve to die a swift death? Maybe not. Was I in the least surprised that it died, fast? Not one bit.
More importantly, did I care? No, I really didn’t give a flying toss. I feel for Xaviant here, and I reference them so much because they’re a great example for this post, but I honestly believe they would have achieved a more fruitful outcome if they took the time to be more open about their work and actually push it out there leading to release. The end result has made for one of the biggest flops this quarter, and in turn, it’s not only hurt the brand and confused the fans even more, but it’s hurt the Xaviant name. Which just isn’t good for them.
I could go on and on and point out several examples from this gen alone but I would be here all day. The bottom line in all of this is that many games that pop out of nowhere (good or bad) deserve better. Fans or would-be fans, deserve better. Releasing a game that no one knows anything about, or has very little idea about, at least, is not going to help with sales or reputation. This, simply needs to be handled better – smaller devs to the side. I fully understand that promotion is an expense that not everyone can afford, but I’m targeting developers like Xaviant here, developers that could promote much better but choose not to. Do you agree that it’s annoying when this happens? What did you think of The Culling 2? Hit the comments below.