There’s no arguing, for anyone that played the game, that Syndicate was a title that went criminally under looked. A reboot of Peter Molyneux’s sci-fi strategy title, Syndicate was a refreshing FPS amidst the militarized shooters that pervade this industry and unfortunately it didn’t sell quite as well as developer Starbreeze Studios was hoping.
Many factors can be attributed to the success and failure of a game, be it poor marketing or quality, but for Syndicate one contributing element that was outside Starbreeze’s control was the collapse of popular retailer GAME. As GAME was struggling to stay afloat, EA publishing decided to pull their support for the retailer, and with it any potential sales for games like Syndicate. It certainly isn’t a clear indicator of Syndicate‘s poor sales, but it couldn’t have helped.
Starbreeze is in the midst of their post-mortem at the moment, where they look back on what worked and what didn’t, and one element that stands out is the collapse of GAME. Starbreeze CEO Mikel Nermark felt that Syndicate was very much a retail product, and without a once-strong retailer like GAME’s support, it was going to be difficult to turn a profit.
“The numbers are not as high as we would like, and I think if you asked anyone they would say the same thing about any game they made. But [Syndicate] was released in the midst of GAME going under; the retail space is hurting, and I think that hurt us because we were such a retail product.”
Nermark doesn’t point to GAME’s struggles as being the only retailer issue – he acknowledges that the retail space as a whole is “hurting” – and Syndicate‘s extremely quick announcement and then release definitely exacerbated things. In some regards Nermark feels like publishers don’t give new IPs the attention that they do AAA titles. That isn’t to say that new IPs don’t exist and succeed, Nermark just feels there are too many AAA games that look very similar to each other.
Those that did give Syndicate a chance found a game that was actually quite fun to play around with, both in its single player and multiplayer modes. But, unfortunately, a lack of strong marketing support and issues with retailers kept gamers from actually seeing how unique the title was. If you’re still not convinced, be sure to read our review of the game.
Do you think that GAME’s financial troubles hurt sales for many different games like Syndicate? Was the game’s lack of marketing a contributing factor?
Source: Games Industry