Dead Head Fred, Vicious Cycle Software's first original IP title for the PlayStation Portable, was notable for its polish, but the head-swapping action game was widely overlooked -- and the developer believes that's because the market for which the game was developed wasn't the one that was there when it launched.
"It was even different when we ended up shipping it because the market completely changed on us while we were in development, and really affected everything in the end," says company founder and president Eric Peterson, looking back on the game's launch as part of Gamasutra's feature interview on the company's 10-year anniversary.
In his view, the PSP skewed less toward a core, adult audience than the company anticipated: "Here, we thought that PSP was going to be this kind of an older audience handheld; something that was a little bit more savvy and slick and sexy, definitely geared towards the mature audience, and that's why we made Fred more of a mature game," Peterson continues.
"Of course, over the time of development things change; the landscape changed out there. One thing led to another: the game came out, and suddenly it seemed like the PSP was a little bit aged down [in terms of] the kind of games that people wanted to play."
Ultimately Dead Head Fred "didn't do as well as we wanted it to sales-wise" because it turned out to be an outlier against the kinds of games that were successful on PSP.
Peterson concluded: "We got swept under the rug a little bit by the timing because we came out against Monster Hunter, and that was a very big game," he says. "A lot of people loved imports, and they wanted to play that game. It was a hot title."