Sometimes when a rumor actually pans out it’s a cool occasion since it heralds a new game announcement or simply a cool development that pleases a part of the gaming community. But every once in a while we see a rumor become reality that we never actually wanted to happen since it’s nothing but bad news all around. As rumored earlier this year, Sega has announced a slight restructuring plan that could see the company eventually go the THQ route by focusing on smaller projects.
Far from being a complete doom situation like THQ finds itself in nearly every month, Sega has announced that they’re downsizing their European branch and in turn changing their company strategy. This of course comes a few months after the news that Sega didn’t do too well on the financial side of things as the company lost revenue in $90 million range. Sega announced today that its European branch will see several key offices closed in addition to a new focus that will see the company focus on around four key retail releases while it spends more time focusing on digitally distributed releases.
Closing up shop in the near future will be some of the offices Sega has located in France, Germany, and Australia. For those out there wondering if Sega will totally close up shop for their Western studios then you shouldn’t be too afraid as Sega is keeping Creative Assembly open for now. In fact the future of Creative Assembly plays a huge part in Sega’s forthcoming plans as the company is focusing on established IPs, in this case the Total War series, to keep the company afloat and hopefully make a better profit as opposed to “riskier” new IPs.
Aside from the Total War series, Sega is building their future plans around Sonic, the Aliens franchise, and Football Manager. Now that’s not to say Sega won’t ever produce any new IPs, but we likely won’t see any new IPs with $20 million+ budgets released via normal retail any time soon unless Sega strikes gold and makes a huge profit in the next year or so.
Sega won’t be limiting their number of core releases every year, but the company will be following suit in what THQ is hoping to do by only releasing a few select retail releases every year. Such a move may sound like an odd thing to do, but it ought to help Sega save some money in a few key areas and spend more time focusing on marketing games that they know will sell such as Aliens: Colonial Marines.
The news of Sega’s company shift and the status of its European branch wasn’t accompanied by any more news of project cancellations – at least for now. At this point it’s a given that a new Sonic game is in the works, but it’s still unknown if the earlier rumors which had the concept of an open-world Sonic with Skylanders influences is going to become a reality or was a mere fanboy pipedream. The same uncertainty can also be applied to other Sega projects we know about such as the Aliens game Creative Assembly was working on which was said to have a tone reminiscent of Dead Space.
Sega hasn’t had the best luck as a company in the last few years despite having a good attitude as a company and more importantly having software that’s actually compelling (Binary Domain still blows my mind). Perhaps this new company focus and slight trimming will result in the company bouncing back but I just hope we don’t see Sega further in the red two years from now once the next-gen consoles have finally been released.