Posted on Friday, January 20 @ 18:04:58 PST by Ben_SilvermanRight before last year's E3 convention, I went on record (well, GR office record, at least) by confidently proclaiming that Majesco might be the company to watch in the next six months.
"Watch implode," I should have said. "Watch erupt in a maelstrom of bad decisions," maybe. Clarity never was a strong suit.
Sadly, yesterday brought news that the ailing publisher is bailing out of the "premium" console games business and leaping into the dreaded pool of "value" gaming. In other words, they're refocusing their efforts on making bad games by charging you less to play them.
For better or worse, the company had balls. Giant, cartoony ones. Wearing goggles. They were the only ones willing to publish the once-dead Psychonauts, one of the year's best games, after Microsoft dumped it for greener pastures. That's awesome. And their reward for such cajones? Let's just say the game sold about as well as Gummi Road Kill.
But that wasn't their worst decision. That award goes to Advent Rising, a game that took four years to make and only one month to fail. Penned by the great Orson Scott Card with all kinds of positive press buzz, Advent Rising proved that it takes more than a good pedigree and a cool idea to be a worthwhile game. Bug checking helps. So does hiring a tester or two.
I'm not here to kick the company in those innovative balls, though. I'm bummed about their decision. In an industry run by sequel-obsessed companies (ahem, EA…cough, Ubisoft, cough), it's disheartening to watch a publisher with a twenty-year track record get shoved into a budget corner, especially when they've gone out of their way to publish unique products. Not many companies do that anymore.
And now, there's one less. My hats off to you, Majesco, for giving it the old college try. Hope Ski Master Xtreme 2006 is as good as it sounds. I'll be sure to save $4.99!
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