After taking to the stage during the PlayStation E3 2012 press conference, Sony is now showing SuperBot Entertainment the door in one of those ways akin to pushing out a would-be retiree out the door About Schmidt style. Sony has announced that they’ve opted to cut their contractual ties with SuperBot Entertainment.
The news that Sony and SuperBot are parting ways may not be entirely surprising considering that PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, the debut game from the studio, was far from a commercial and critical hit. With initial sales of the game being around 100K in the month of November, which is rather abysmal since that includes both the PS3 and PS Vita versions, it was bound that some changes were abound. But with that said, I think no one expected Sony to bail out on SuperBot and the PS All-Stars franchise as fast as they have.
Perhaps using the term bail out is a bit hasty of me since Sony isn’t pulling out of supporting PS All-Stars faster than a dictator leaving a country whose citizens are finally uprising. Sony still plans on releasing the forthcoming DLC for PS All-Stars and has stated that all future DLC will now be handled at Sony Santa Monica, one of the key 1st party teams which aided SuperBot on developing PS All-Stars.
It may be reassuring to hear Sony is still releasing the first major DLC pack for PS All-Stars, but at this point it’s unknown, and perhaps highly unlikely, that any additional DLC packs will be released. With the core creative team of PS All-Stars residing at SuperBot and only a few key support figures such as Seth Killian being part of the Sony Santa Monica crew, it’s unlikely that Sony will create a small internal team to push out new content for a game that has failed to make a huge foothold within the market.
A trailer for the first PS All-Stars DLC pack
The news of SuperBot and Sony parting ways is of course disappointing and it could have major ramifications in the coming weeks. Previously it surfaced that SuperBot had laid off twenty employees, who were presumed to be contractual workers given how job postings were recently posted for the studio. But with Sony cutting ties with a studio whose very existence revolved around creating a themed fighting title, the fate of SuperBot isn’t looking that good right now.
SuperBot’s David yang issued an official comment to Kotaku on the matter stating, “SuperBot Entertainment will continue working on projects that reflect our passion for games and our commitment to creating award winning titles. We are very excited about beginning the next chapter of our future and invite all of our fans and supporters to follow our journey.”
Putting up a strong front is to be expected, but the fact remains that it could be difficult for SuperBot to pursue core console development considering their first title wasn’t exactly a mega hit. It’s possible that we could see yet another former Sony 2nd party team go the iOS/Android route as Eat Sleep Play and Lightbox Interactive have considering the viability of that platform these days. Though we should still brace ourselves in case SuperBot unfortunately has to close their doors due to financial difficulties.
All together this news is disappointing for various reasons. Those who enjoyed PS All-Stars are no doubt fuming right now over the franchise being pushed aside, perhaps for good, and it’s yet another sign of company mismanagement, the importance of marketing, and how some games would be better off delayed instead of being rushed out the door with a modest budget despite their aspirations for the triple-A moniker. I personally hope for nothing but the best for the team at SuperBot as they’re talented individuals who definitely deserve a second shot to show us what they’re capable of.