It used to be that the first half of the year was a wasteland for exciting video game releases, with game publishers instead opting to save their heavy hitters for the holiday season. While a whirlwind of high-profile releases still dominates holiday release schedules, recent years have seen this trend broken, but success always seems to come at the expense of others — look no further than last year’s article examining the phenomenon.
This year that trend continues, with games such as Dead Space 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat, Portal 2, L.A. Noire, and inFamous 2 assaulting gamer wallets early and often. So what games were stuck sitting on the curb, like the sad little kid whose dad forgot to pick them up after soccer practice? Read on to find out.
January – Mass Effect 2
Pretty surprised to see ME2 kick us off, right? After all, the Mass Effect series has proven to be extremely popular in the 3+ years since the original graced Xbox 360s in late 2007; the original launched to the tune of 473,000 units sold in November 2007 (good for #6 in software sales that month), and ME2 on Xbox 360 moved 572,100 copies when it released last January (#2).
Surprisingly, PS3 owners didn’t respond to Bioware’s space odyssey, because the game failed to chart at all. While lagging behind games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and *shudder* Just Dance 2 isn’t surprising, it was edged out even by DC Universe Online, which scraped by at number 10 with about 195,000 units sold.
This can mean one of two things: either those without a 360 or PC capable of running the games went out and got one, or they simply lost interest after a while. A shame, too, since it’s one of the best games to be released on the PS3 this year. It kind of makes me wonder what sales will be like when Mass Effect 3 will be like when it releases simultaneously across all platforms next March.
February – You Don’t Know Jack
LOL crappy party game, amirite? Actually, no. If you’ve been following games long enough, you might remember this game from the 90s as a cleverly-written and hilarious trivia game that was an absolute blast to play with friends. Fast forward about 15 years later, and the game was resurrected for modern consoles, and the core stab-your-closest-friends-in-the-back and sharp humor was wonderfully intact.
As a party game launching at the budget price of $40, Jellyvision Games and THQ probably weren’t looking to set the NPD charts ablaze with a juggernaut release. Still, I feel that as a game that is leagues better than any ass-backwards party game currently available on any system, it definitely deserves more attention.
I won’t blame you if you bought Marvel vs. Capcom 3 or Killzone 3 instead. But if you’ve got $30 to spare, why not pick up a copy? We could all use a little more Cookie Masterson in our lives.
March – Yakuza 4
I’m not sure if you clicked the link to last year’s article in the introduction, but just in case you didn’t, here it is again. Take a look at March. See anything familiar?
God damn it, Sega.
Just like last year, Sega saw fit to dump the game right in the middle of several games that gave it zero chance to stand out. Could it ever pull the masses away from Dragon Age II? Nope. Crysis 2? Nope. Effing Pokemon? Double nope. So there wasn’t even a slight hint of surprise when the game failed to chart. Again.
Perhaps Sega are now simply relying on fans of the previous games to continue supporting the franchise, and are no longer interested in drawing in newbies. But considering that the games are always rock-solid adventures that are critically well-received, is that really the best approach? So here’s some free advice for Sega: when the crazy-ass zombie romp Yakuza Of the End inevitably makes its way out of Japan, choose your dates more carefully. Like any month without a new Final Fantasy or Pokemon game launching. LITERALLY ANY OTHER MONTH. There are twelve to choose from, fer crissakes!