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Babylon’s Fall looks dead in the water

Babylon’s Fall

Babylon’s Fall is in trouble, and it probably won’t be coming back from its rocky start. Announced back in 2018, it took forever to actually hit shelves. And despite the promise of being made by the legendary PlatinumGames, there’s just nothing here worthy of praise. And the current attitude towards the game reflects that—both from fans and developers.

But it would seem there’s still a glimmer of faith left in the project. Square Enix is seemingly still working on content for the struggling game.

“Based on the feedback we have received from our players, we feel that we need a period to re-evaluate the game’s future operating roadmap and accordingly have decided to extend Season 2 by three months, meaning it will now run until Tuesday, November 29, 2022,” the game’s development team announced last Friday. Platinum will use that time to refine the game and work on new content. But it will be some time before we see the fruits of that labor.

The next batch of content is scheduled to land on May 31 with the launch of season 2, adding a new storyline and missions. And that’s it for some time.

Babylon’s Fall was released on March 3, 2022 for PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. According to SteamDB, the game peaked at 1,188 players on its release date.  Babylon’s Fall only ever managed to get short of 1,200 peak players on Steam. Now that’s obviously not including console sales, but the picture we can get isn’t good. Reviews across all versions are generally pretty negative. How we got here is a mystery wrapped in confusion, but it’s easy to see how bad the situation is.

The latest mega-hit in the PC space is Elden Ring, capturing more than 950.000 players at peak at launch. Even now, more than 2 months after launch, the peak player count is north of 100,000 players on Steam alone. And it’s not just that huge success that casts a stark shadow over Babylon’s Fall. V Rising, a surprise out of Early Access games has garnered tons of positive reviews and peaked at over 150,000 players when it launched this week.

Coming from the company that gave us cult classic weirdness like Bayonetta, these numbers are a gut punch. And one would think that this should be a lesson in how not to handle releases from big names if you’re the publisher. Early previews and feedback for the title pointed to various issues even going as far back as its initial reveal, problems Square Enix promised to fix. But it seems like they just let the issues ride, and the game has suffered for it.

At the very least, Square Enix seems to have an inconsistent marketing effort for their titles, as many barely even registered the game on their radar when it launched. Then you have to address the grind-heavy combat and progression, which is core to the game. This is a disastrously common issue in modern games. Titles like Anthem were left to wither on the vine; where other rough launches like No Man’s Sky actually managed to bounce back. For every redemption, there seems to be a failure, and it looks like Babylon’s Fall has landed in the latter group.

Even the devs have acknowledged how difficult it will be to bring this game back from the brink. “It really brings home the realization that this game is very much a service as well as a standalone product,” director Kenji Saito said in a recent interview. “We do understand that these measures are still far from enough and will continue to push on with further fixes and improvements alongside all the new content we will be releasing going forward,” his co-director, Takahisa Sugiyama, added.

Given that attitude, it’s hard to see where the game goes from here.

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