“Of course it was a surprise. But it picked up steam after the initial launch. The thing with the Wii is that it’s not like the 360 and the PS3 where in terms of sales you see this giant spike at the beginning and it tails off. Even with Nintendo games, you’ll see games like Super Mario Bros. or Mario Kart, they have a longer tail as far as sales are concerned. All we can do is make the best game we can make. It was great to see from a critical perspective people enjoyed it and that made us very proud. It validated the hard work we had done. But the rest of it is up to players, the economy and what they want to get out of a certain game system. Those forces are at play and you can’t control those. We’re happy with the game we made and now hopefully even more people will get to try it on the PS3.” – Dead Space 2 executive producer Steve Papoutsis
I had assumed that Extraction was a failure after the low initial sales. This statement makes me curious as to what the current tally is.
LOS ANGELES, Jun 15, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Experience the panic before the terror! At the Sony Press Briefing during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Visceral Games(TM), a studio of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced that an exclusive Limited Edition* of Dead Space(TM) 2 will be released on the PlayStation(R)3 computer entertainment system. The Limited Edition will include the award-winning Dead Space Extraction, the prequel to the entire Dead Space saga, now featuring support for the PlayStation(R)Move motion controller. Launching January 25, 2011, Dead Space 2 will unleash a truly epic Action Horror experience that will bring the psychological thrills of deep space to a terrifying new level.
From an Electronic Arts rendering engineer’s resume:
Dead Space Extraction XBLA/PSN port (Feb 2010 – Now):
– Currently porting the popular Wii title based on EuroCom’s EngineX to XBLA and PSN.
This certainly falls in line with things we have heard in the past about Extraction coming to the 360 and PS3 (here and here), so just try and act surprised when the official announcement comes out at E3. And you can actually be surprised if this doesn’t end up happening.
Edge: Dead Space: Extraction got off to a slow start, didn’t it? How’s it performed sales-wise and do you deem it to have been a success?
Steve Papoutsis, Dead Space 2 executive producer: First of all, from the team and my perspective we’re very proud of that game and we think that critically it was very well received. As far as commercial numbers on that, again I don’t have that information, but I think the perception of it starting out slowly as you said, that did happen, but clearly it increased in popularity as time went by. What we’ve noticed is if you look at Xbox 360 and PS3 software sales they tend to spike right away when a game comes out, and then on the Wii it tends to be a little longer of a tail, so to speak. Even if you look at the Nintendo firstparty titles, their games continue to be at the top of the charts many months after they’ve released.
The panel was also pressed about bringing Dead Space Extraction to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. They wouldn’t answer directly, but they did say to “keep your ears peeled.”
If Extraction does come to the PS3 or 360 it will be interesting to see how it sells. Low sales on the Wii were generally blamed on the platform but I suspect it had more to do with the title being an on-rails shooter. A port should help confirm exactly why the title failed on the Wii.
Kotaku is reporting that a survey sent to them indicates that Dead Space Extraction for the Wii could be ported to both Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network. According to the rumored survey the title would run in “full HD”, feature the same on-rails gameplay as the Wii version and cost $15.
“Without badmouthing people, a lot of the games they’ve been complaining about are rail shooters and a rail shooter wouldn’t have sold no matter what platform you put it on because it’s a rail shooter and that’s a niche genre that had its heyday back in the Dreamcast era.” – lead designer of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Sam Barlow
Barlow is 100% correct on this. Extraction and Darkside Chronicles are good games but they are on-rails. They would have limited sales no matter what system they were on.
IGN: Ok, a couple wrap-up questions. First off, what’s EA’s take on the sales for Extraction so far? We would have liked to see more sales personally, but is it considered a “success” yet internally?
Steve Papoutsis, Extraction Producer: Visceral Games and EA are both very proud of Extraction. We set out to create a high quality Wii game and we feel we nailed just that. Everyone that has seen or played Extraction at the company has high praise for the quality of the game. The team are very proud of what we were able to accomplish with Extraction.
An answer like that can only mean that sale are far below what was expected. Personally, I blame it on the game being an on-rails shooter.
“I think it’s also fair to say that people are still grappling with it. I think Dead Space Extraction was one of the best pieces of software built on the platform and it did not perform well. It’s a strong IP but for some reason it did not resonate in a way that brought consumers to the store to buy it. And Madden hasn’t performed to my expectations so far this year, even though it’s a fabulous piece of software. EA Sports Active and our Hasbro stuff have done really, really well. So you start to create a certain perception in your mind of the type of consumer that works on the Wii, that’s a little different, doesn’t have the core gamer in mind, etc. But there are an awful lot of core gamers that have this platform and there are oftentimes some surprising breakthroughs that feel pretty core.”
I think the Wii is confounding to people because it’s so darn big and successful. Even this year, what most people perceive as a down year, they’re going to sell just in the Western markets somewhere in the mid-teens of millions of hardware units, which is a blow-away success for a console. And yet it’s lower than they (and we) originally thought. But that’s a little bit like saying they won the Super Bowl by a smaller point spread.”
Did I think Dead Space and Madden were going to succeed on the platform? Yes, and I believe to this day that anyone who picks up those products will have a good entertainment experience that’s worth more than we charge for. They look great, they play great, and are every bit what a hit should be and they didn’t resonate. And I’m very proud of the teams that built them. So I think we have continued learning to do with the way people interact with that piece of hardware, and how you market to that consumer. I think, in general, publishers have had trouble finding sustained success and consistent understanding of what makes a success on Nintendo platforms historically because they’re so oriented towards first-party content like Mario and Zelda. So I think the Wii is going to be an evolving picture [for third parties].” – John Riccitiello, EA CEO
The reasons why Dead Space Extraction and Madden didn’t sell well on the Wii is pretty simple. Extraction is an onrails shooter. The market for that genre is extremely limited if you don’t have Resident Evil in your title.
Madden on the other hand is a bit of a strange duck in the video game industry. There is a large group gamers / NFL fans who will pretty much buy only Madden every single year and for them having HD is much more important than having different controllers over the ones they have been using since the Xbox / PS2 era.
If EA were to focus some core effort on the Wii that was not Madden (which has it’s base on the Xbox 360) and avoiding having an Achilles’ heel, like being onrails, they would see better sales.