Babylon’s Fall is one of the worst games of the year and a massive warning to anyone preparing to make or buy an always-online live service game. Despite bold plans for season content and continued updates, publisher Square Enix announced last month the action-RPG would be removed from store shelves and shut down before its one-year anniversary. Now the CEO of the studio behind the flop, Platinum Games, has broken his silence in a new interview to apologize to fans.
“Any disappointment that we might have caused for our fan base is something we feel extremely sorry about, the fact that we led our dedicated fans to feel that way as a developer,” Atsushi Inaba told VGC. “Providing any sentiment other than enjoyment and fun in our creations to players is something that we’re not very happy about at all as a developer.”
Platinum is a powerhouse when it comes to combat action, collaborating with other publishers to make genre-defining games like Nier Automata and Bayonetta 3. While some of that was on display in the loot-chasing dungeon crawler Babylon’s Fall, none of the pieces quite fell into place. The levels weren’t fun, the progression system was tedious, and the visual style was washed out and indistinct, despite several adjustments to its European oil painting aesthetic.
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The game was panned at launch, struggled to find a dedicated player-base, and saw its post-release content delayed as the development team tried to fix underlying issues. Square Enix promised the game would not be abandoned, and then announced it would abandon it just a few months later. GameStop was reportedly giving away Babylon’s Fall discs for free to some customers rather than send them to the landfill, even though the always-online requirement meant the game would be dead for good once the servers shut down in February 2023.
“In terms of any concrete reasons or the process that led to this conclusion of the title, you’d have to go ahead and ask Square Enix about the details, unfortunately,” Inaba told VGC. The CEO seemed to suggest he was frustrated that he couldn’t speak out earlier on the issues with the game, while also noting that Platinum having “full control” over every aspect of Babylon’s Fall wouldn’t necessarily change the outcome.
But the studio doesn’t plan to back away from its ambitious plans to do more live service games moving forward either. “There’s a lot that we learned from this experience, and it’s not changed our future plans or outlook moving forward regarding doing live service games at all,” he said.
Square Enix, meanwhile, has been throwing everything at the wall this year to see what sticks. Just last month alone it published Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden, The Diofield Chronicle, and Valkyrie Elysium, with many more RPGs to follow through the rest of the holiday season. Fortunately, good or bad, none of them will disappear because of an always-online requirement.