Let’s be honest here: the mere existence of Anarchy Reigns -- known as Max Anarchy in Japan -- is befuddling in itself. Platinum Games has provided us with plenty of quality entertainment, but few of their games have been commercially successful. Bayonetta has had the most success, reportedly having sold over one million copies worldwide. But the others have barely made an impact on the market, mostly due to Sega’s piss-poor advertising efforts, especially in Vanquish’s case. Yet fans of the company always cheer when underdogs are given another opportunity at making a good game, and Anarchy Reigns is their newest effort. They’re continuing the legacy of Clover Studios in every way.
Reigns will likely be the toughest sell of any game they’ve made for consoles
thus far, something hard to predict because of the genre it’s in. There aren’t
many games these days that fit the online brawler mold; not to mention the
“brawler” genre isn’t a particularly popular one anymore. Sega assuredly
realized this too (or didn’t, you never know), but decided to take a chance on
A pity some of their subsidiaries may be having second thoughts. We heard a couple of days ago that Anarchy Reigns has been delayed for an undetermined amount of time in the west, though it’s still due for release on July 5th in Japan. This was enough to send anyone looking forward to it in a fit of rage; especially those who watched the superlative “Launch” trailer for Japan, which shows off the plethora of modes and features the game contains. It’s one of the most idiotic moves the company has made in recent memory. And given that this is Sega, that’s saying something. We’re talking about a publisher who, for instance, thought advertising a gimmicky and mediocre horror game over two superlative sci-fi third-person shooters was a fantastic idea.
This isn’t the first time it’s been delayed either, nor is it the second. It was originally planned for release in fall 2011. Realizing that would have been suicide, Sega pushed it back until January of this year. Apparently there was too much competition in that period for them too, so they pushed it back to early July. Rumor has it that Platinum polished the single-player mode in this period, for anyone who didn’t want to spend most of their time online. The game was developed with the intent of being played online, though. How polished solo play will be remains to be seen.
A delay for the game now is a terrible idea because of its previous release date. The game was due on July 3rd and 6th in America and Europe, respectively, which was a perfect date. It was conveniently spaced far away from any competition; the only other retail game in its vicinity was Lollipop Chainsaw. Delaying it to any other date would be disastrous.
But it’s looking very likely that something even worse is afoot. You may recall hearing that Sega is scaling their publishing duties down significantly earlier this year, relying on only four franchises at retail from now on. Anarchy Reigns wasn’t part of that equation, and it’s why some think Sega’s going to cancel its release outside of Japan. It seems like a needlessly cynical conclusion ostensibly, but it would explain a lot. Though Sega’ been advertising the game in Japan quite a bit -- so much that they gave it its own Youtube Channel -- they’ve been doing nothing of the sort for the west. While you can chalk that up to their typical advertising ineptitude, Sega’s western blogs haven’t mentioned the game since mid-December. The official English website has also received no new updates since its previous release date change. To say that’s worrying is an understatement, and Sega’s silence on the matter is infuriating.
Not to mention that Japanese gamers typically don’t care about online-focused games, meaning it’s going to be a tough sell there too. And unlike the west, there are plenty of other games releasing around the time of its release. Releasing it only in Japan at this point would make zero sense. If they weren’t confident in its ability to sell, they should have had enough foresight to not green light it in the first place.
Heck, they’re not even telling Platinum Games what’s going on! Sega merely stealthily changed the release date on their site, but didn’t issue a statement. The developer, however, responded to this. They mentioned that the western version is fully localized and ready to go, and they’re puzzled as to precisely what’s happening behind the scenes. It’s also been mentioned that the Japanese version will include English text and voices on the disc. Unfortunately, it’s going to set you back around $90 at least, and no one knows if the 360 version will be region free at the moment. Even better, most of your opponents online will be Japanese, so good luck finding a match that won’t be a laggy mess if you live outside the country. That’s assuming many of them buy it at all.
Between this and the rumors that Bayonetta 2 has been cancelled from a month back -- which is looking exponentially more true given this situation -- it’s like Sega’s trying their best to throw Platinum Games under the bus with the hardest, most virulent chuck they’ve ever made. It’s yet another representation of Sega at their dumbest. Just when you think they’ve gotten past this, they show how moronic they can still be.
But hey, at least we still have Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, right?
P.S. A demo is hitting the Japanese Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Network on Thursday, May 31st, which will also be online-enabled. Here’s your chance to give it a shot at no charge. Making a Japanese PSN account is pretty easy.