There's a plethora of reasons why a game might struggle to shift units, and sometimes even quality titles can't do the business on the sales front.
In a recent panel at ParadoxCon in Stockholm, the eponymous publisher took to the stage to explore why one of its latest releases, Tyranny, didn't meet internal sales expectations despite being universally praised by critics.
As reported by PCGamesN, company higher-ups expressed their disappointment at the RPG's "okay" performance, bluntly revealing that "everyone was hoping it'd do better."
So, why did the Obsidian-developed title -- the sequel to the the studios crowdfunded effort Pillars of Eternity -- fail to take flight?
According to Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester, the game faced an uphill battle from the very start, and couldn't cut through the noise during a crowded November release window that saw the likes of Watch Dogs 2, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Dishonored 2 hit shelves.
The publisher's VP of business development, Shams Jorjani, believes the problem goes much deeper, and suggests Obsidians past success may have contributed to its downfall.
"Obsidian did a great job of capitalizing on the timing of Kickstarter and the wave of nostalgia for these type of titles," he explained. "We've seen that most of the titles after Pillars of Eternity, if you look at Wasteland, Torment -- they haven't been anywhere near that kind of success. So maybe it's that a lot of nostalgia fed into the initial bubble and that's why. These games have a market, but it's never gonna be that peak [again]."
"But once people started playing them, they were like, 'I kind of know why they aren't prevalent anymore.' This form of gameplay isn’t really working in today's environment."
But player fatigue and a crowded launch window aren't the only purported reasons behind Tyranny's faltering start. Wester suggests marketing slogans designed to captivate consumers fell short, while cultural differences between publisher and developer might have also played their part.
Indeed, as much as we love to talk about success, it's important to understand our failures. So be sure to check out the full article on PCGamesN to learn more.