Switch

Why Bayonetta 2 still will flop commercially


In case you haven’t heard, Platinum Games’s Bayonetta 2 is getting rave reviews from critics. Notoriously hard to please outlets, like EDGE and GameSpot are giving the title perfect scores in their reviews. The metacritic average review score for the game sits at 91% at the time of this post.

This isn’t a huge surprise to fans of the first game. Bayonetta is an over the top, touch in cheek action series that plays like riding the most exciting roller coaster of all-time. Despite these stellar reviews one thing remains disappointingly certain: Bayonetta 2 will still be a commercial failure.

I know. I don’t like saying it. I feel a jerk just saying it out loud and ruining Platinum’s moment of overwhelming critical success. Like as if someone told me they’re feeling better today despite having terminal cancer and reminding them of what terminal means.

But that’s the sad truth about Bayonetta 2. No matter how good it is, no matter who says its fantastic (critics, word of mouth, etc) it will not sell nearly as well as the first game which already sold poor enough to put the chances of the sequel in question.

Now you may be thinking that you know why Bayonetta 2 will be a commercial flop; because its exclusive for Wii U right? No. I mean, sure the 7 million strong Wii U user base is small and limits the potential sales for Bayo 2 a great deal but the first game couldn’t sell all that well on the combined user base of the PS3 and Xbox 360. I’m sure Platinum took into account the Wii U’s small user base when developing the game and kept costs at a reasonable amount. These people have been through so many commercial failures that I doubt they let their budgets get too far out of control unlike other major developers.

wonderful101hero_616

No, the biggest reason why Bayonetta 2 will be a commercial failure is due to fans and gamers as a whole. Check out any forum topic or review comments section across the web and you’ll find countless users saying they can’t wait to pick up Bayonetta 2 once it gets its first price drop or used at a cheaper price.

So the game gets called the “greatest action game of all-time” by some tough critics and several perfect review scores and has a reputation for not selling well yet that still isn’t enough to convince players to spend their $60 at launch. Even with the original Bayonetta included in the package. This isn’t just for people who don’t own Wii U systems, I’ve seen way too many Wii U owners say the same thing.

I understand that everyone has different budgets. Not everyone can afford to buy a Wii U right now nor can all Wii U owners afford to buy Bayonetta 2 this month. Things happen, I get it. But that isn’t the only factor here.

Platinum has a history of releasing critically acclaimed games that bomb commercially and go on sale for half off within weeks of release. Look at how quickly The Wonderful 101 hit $20-$30 after its September release in 2013. People expect Platinum games to sell badly and that retailers will discount their titles heavily soon after launch. This attitude is absolutely toxic for Platinum.

bayonetta2_thumb

If they weren’t as resilient, dedicated and lucky as they are, Platinum would have folded like so many other developers who released commercial flops in the past. But Platinum somehow manages to avoid these issues and deliver terrific games, sales be damned.

I’m buying Bayonetta 2 on October 24th. Perhaps I won’t play it much right away. Sunset Overdrive, The Evil Within, Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, GTA V, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Super Smash Bros for either 3DS or Wii U are all coming out shortly before or after Bayonetta 2 and they will all take up a great deal of my time. Bayonetta 2 is a fantastic game for a dead January or April where there aren’t many notable new releases.

But that doesn’t help Platinum if everyone is waiting to pick up a $10-$15 copy of Bayonetta 2 in six months because we all know retailers won’t order much stock (if any) after the initial shipment due to a poor sell through rate.

We all want Bayonetta 2 to do better. Even those who don’t care about the game wouldn’t wish ill upon the game and its creators. Simply put the idea that the game will be cheaper in near future destroys any chance of it defying the odds and selling well. Bayonetta 2 will still be a commercial failure not because its on a console with a small user base. It will be because everyone expects it to sell poorly and thus everyone will wait for it to hit the bargain bin.