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Sony cuts ties with the fighting game studio it helped build
Sony cuts ties with the fighting game studio it helped build
February 4, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi

Sony Computer Entertainment has ended its business relationship with Superbot Entertainment, developer of last year's PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale.

The news follows recent layoffs at the studio that are rumored to have affected a substantial number of employees.

"We have had a positive working relationship with this talented studio, and wish them the best of success in their next endeavor," Sony said in a statement sent to Gamasutra, noting that the split was "amicable" and that the game and its upcoming content will continue to be supported by Sony's Santa Monica Studio.

While there is no publicly-available information on how the simultaneous PlayStation 3 and Vita release fared at retail, it is not thought to have sold well. In the U.S., the game did not crack the top 10 in either its November debut or its first full month available in December, and in the UK it debuted at number 38. Sales for its first week in Japan will be reported on Wednesday.

While Superbot is an independently-owned company it was, until now, a PlayStation-exclusive developer. The studio was incubated within Sony Santa Monica (much like Journey developer Thatgamecompany) and was, by some reports, built specifically for Battle Royale.

"When we saw that opportunity at Sony Santa Monica and some of the key or creative leadership that SuperBot was able to bring in, we knew that the timing was right; it was a great opportunity to celebrate the IP that has been living within Sony for many decades," Sony Santa Monica studio boss Shannon Studstill told Gamasutra in May of last year.

While Superbot has not responded to Gamasutra's request for comment, president David Yang told Kotaku that the relationship ended "on good terms."

"We are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work on with Sony on Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, and are extremely proud of the work we have done," he said.

"SuperBot Entertainment will continue working on projects that reflect our passion for games and our commitment to creating award winning titles."

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Wolf Wozniak
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it seemed like the contract just ran out.

I suppose this means that characters that players were hoping to be in there from the PS1 era may never show up. (Crash, Spyro, Cloud).

Had Superbot been able to secure these characters (as well as tone down the amount of content for unreleased games), this fighting game would have sold way, way better. You can't have a Sony fighting game and include two different character slots for Cole, and add Emmett Graves.

A game that's entirely fan-service that can't full deliver on said fan-service will always be a tough sale.

Joe Zachery
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Disagree with you Wolf. The game it self was going after the audience that plays Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. That game though is seen at least for Melee as a competitive fighting series. The gameplay that All Stars delivered was never in the same league as Smash. Then I would say that not having original Sony characters in the game was a factor. Still Sony has let many of the characters die off so I doubt fans of those characters even cared. So you have a fighter that has a design flaw, and then lack of needed characters. Finally the main factor is the PS3 gaming audience who has let many exclusive 1st party PS3 titles die a retail. This is not the first game this generation that Sony fans did not buy. MAG, Twisted Metal sequels of Resistance, LittleBigPlanet, and Killzone. Followed by new games like Modnation Racers, LB Kart, and Wonderbook. People haven't been buying games so why would they start now! I feel sorry for that studio, but the writing was on the wall!

Dave Long
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Agree they should have had Crash and Cloud in there as well - some of the roster choices were odd - but I reckon they should have stuck with it and built the brand. Everyone I know who's played it actually rates the game really well - I think it just needs more time to build its audience, and think its a shame Sony's letting it slide this early. Either way, best of luck to Superbot - by all accounts they crafted an excellent game.

@ Joe - all the reviews and the mates I've got that play both say quite the opposite - SSB is an arcade party game, while PSASBR is a more core fighter, and suspect that this may have turned people off a little (as these kind of games are more for the 'bash and giggle' audience than your Street Fighters and Tekkens) - if they'd made it _more_ like SSB, it probably would have done better, but building a more technically-minded fighter meant it was less likely to find its niche.

Wolf Wozniak
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Also, it got a lot of flack it didn't deserve. It's very fun.

Lewis Wakeford
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I'm not really sure lack of fan service was AS big of a problem as people say, but it certainly wasn't strong enough to carry the game. Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank and Kratos all had reasonable fan appeal. Spike, Sly Cooper, the dude from MediEvil and PaRappa the Rapper all had a certain amount of nostalgia with them, but only to people that actually played their games, and they weren't exactly international blockbusters.

Nobody cares enough about the other characters for them to really matter, I mean, who gives a crap about Raiden? If you couldn't get Solid Snake you could have at least tried to get any other MGS character and it would have more appeal to MGS fans. Nobody likes Raiden. New Dante was a weird choice too, I don't really care about the whole "they changed Dante!" thing, but he wasn't exactly going to be a selling point.

Chuong Ngo
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Just curious, in terms of the number of game studios closing compared to the total number of studios, how much higher was the last half-decade compared to earlier time frames?

Pablo Simbana
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I not surprised with this the game itself is fun if you decide to jump onto it without bias, I never played a smash brothers and I really like this game, playing it daily. However the last patch introduced bugs instead of fixing them, the fans are annoyed, go a get a look at the psasbr forums, the people are asking for some nerfs and fix some connection issues such as host migration (too many rage quitters) but superbot remained silent, didn't even acknowledged the issues. I'm glad Santa Monica will get their hands on it and hopefully they will fix what superbot did wrong, will look forward to it.