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Space Marine Sequel a No Go?

Looks like a sequel to Space Marine is no guarantee.That’s a shame because the end of the game leaves the door wide open for one — it’s almost implied. Joystiq spoke with THQ’s Danny Bilson at a recent Saints Row 3 event in Hollywood about its future.

“It’s a really good game, it’s doing pretty well. In this world, honestly, you have to do exceptionally well to make any money, because the games are so expensive. We’ve already announced the Imperium in the MMO as a class you can play and if you combine that it’s very active, as opposed to the more turn-based stuff. I’m not sure there’s room for Space Marine. We are heavily invested in the 40K universe, so there’s more stuff coming in the 40K universe, absolutely. We extended the deal for quite a while.”

In other words:

In the current AAA game environment a franchise has one shot at making its mark. If it doesn’t sell enough units, that franchise is no more.

What I find interesting about that though is that Metro 2033, a game that we love here at NHS, has earned a sequel and Homefront has earned one as well. Perhaps Metro had a low enough budget to turn a profit to allow a part II? No way did Metro outsell Space Marine. I would need to see hard data to believe that.

In the end, this may not be a bad thing — especially considering the 2013 release of the Dark Millennium 40K MMO. Bilson may be right. That game may make Space Marine II redundant.

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Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

8 thoughts to “Space Marine Sequel a No Go?”

  1. Space Marine is one of only a handful of games I bought full priced. Usually I wait a few months for a discount. I was hoping for some expansions a la Dawn of War so I could play some other races. Very sad if this is the end of that line.

    I’m not sure I’m into an MMO. I don’t really care for any of the current ones. Not sure what would be different with this one.

  2. It’s *not* a really good game.

    Compare the simple elegance of the recent Orcs Must Die! (yes, different genre) to the clumsy and tedious controls of Space Marine.

    A game needs to instantly do what you tell it to do, with an absolute minimum of button pressing. Street Fighter2, Doom1, Starcraft, even WoW in most respects. These are games where you press buttons and things instantly happen. These games respect the basic nature of what a game is, which is a playful activity. The designers understand that all games takes place in the player’s head, and that the interface is the first enemy the player faces.

    Sure, not everyone thinks the way I do. But then again, these games I’m criticizing, ones with imperfect control methods, aren’t financially successful, are they?

  3. Here’s the deal. Games like Space Marine have a very limited window of profitability,and for big-budget games like this it’s a very short period of time to recoup production and marketing budgets. The marketplace either waits for the price drops or moves on to something else. This is why DLC has become such an important revenue source- it extends the profitability of titles.

    MMORPGs, however, can go on for YEARS, making money quarter after quarter. All off of one product, with occasional updates and add-ons.

    In an Annual Report…no, there’s no room for Space Marine. It just doesn’t monetize like an MMOs.

    This is also why MMOs, freemium titles, pay-for-play concepts, and so forth are the emergent business models. Because they provide a consistent- and sometimes even escalating ROI as compared to the sharp, sometimes immediate marketplace depreciation of AAA title. Of course, MMOs are like restaraunts…they may take off and stick around for years to come or they fail within six months.

    The AAA titles that _do_ succeed and continue to be profitable are the ones that sell in sufficient quantities to cover their production and marketing costs in the first _two weeks_ of sales. Everything else is a failure risk. What we’re seeing and will see over the next couple of years is that the range of big budget AAA titles is going to get even narrower. Such that no, there is no room for a Space Marine.

    Frankly speaking, it’s ridiculous for a publisher to stake so much on the sale of one game and a couple of pieces of DLC if it’s an untried, new IP. There’s the chance that you’ll hit Assassin’s Creed paydirt of course, but how many Next Big Things cut their prices by 30-40% a month afte release because they’re not turning over at retail? Plus, there’s a franchising issue…that first game now is almost regarded as a product line kick-off to actually market the next game…and if the first game doesn’t really start any fires…

    Space Marine seemed like a safe bet because it was a decent, well-marketed title with a good amount of momentum and a really rather underused (and very protected) license. But realistically, there was no way it was going to be a big enough hit to satisfy THQ.

    Metro likely was a much, much smaller-budgeted production. From what I understand, it sold OK and the frequent STeam sales on it have put the game in the hands of a lot of people. So there is groundwork laid for a follow-up with a bigger budget.

  4. Interesting. Do we actually know anything about the 40k MMO? Maybe Space Marine was a big testing ground for the combat of Relic’s newly conceptualized third person combat MMO?

  5. According to the Sept NPDs Space Marine came in 10th place for September, behind among others, Dead Island, Resistance 3, and COD:BLOPS (wtf). Rumor is Resistance 3 sold roughly 180k units. So Space Marine came in somewhere under that. And I agree that Metro probably had a much lower budget than Space Marine. Don’t most of those Russian developers work for vodka and peanuts? And with all of the Steam sales they have probably sold a ton of units. Hell I’ve purchased two copies myself and I don’t even like Metro 2033.

  6. I wont say that it didnt have its flaws but imo the controls definately werent one of them. But then im also somewhat surprised that many people seem to complain about the not bein invulnerable during execution animation thing. The multiplayer on the other hand is too barebone for me. Its still a shame i think the game is at least good.

  7. I think both Bill and Michael have the right of it. If a game doesn’t make COD/Halo money out of the gate, when made by one of the big devs they can it out of hand.

    I’d also suggest that their release timing was unfortunate (GoW3,BF3,Dead Island etc).

    It’s a shame too, 40k is an extremely rich and overwhelmingly huge universe to draw inspired game story/ideas from.

    But yes, Dark Millenium is in the works and they probably don’t want an in-house rival either. Oh well, at least we have this for awhile.

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