You know what's funny? If any of Hatsune Miku or Suzumiya Haruhi games comes to the West, I will guarantee you these games will sell better than Binary Domain.
Unlike Binary Domain, Hatsune Miku and Suzumiya Haruhi each have a huge fanbase in the West already.
Then with that fact alone, how on earth is this a good example of Sega getting their priorities right?
The great crime here is that Binary Domain could have been one hell of a big selling title had Sega got their act together and promoed it. If theres a Binary Domain 2, I suspect most people who bought the first will run out and buy it and the reception might be a bit better in terms of sales. But having a fanbase alone was the least of this games problems.
Specifically the following.
1: Nobody had a bloody clue what it was about... Fault here is Sega, stupidly poor marketing and promotion.
2: The boxart is shit.... Fault here is Sega again. The boxart shows... well here it is.
You have a random guy carrying another random guy... shooting his gun in the air... At what is anyones guess, since theres no sign of the bullet hitting anything or even a monster/robot there that he's aiming at. I don't even think he's looking in the direction of the gun.
Can you guess when in the game you do this? You don't. At no point in the game does anything like this ever happen. The closest thing you get is if one of your allies goes down, you can revive them if you have a medical kit. Now in the background you see two characters shooting robots... the problem is that on the actual boxart itself, the physical copy... as in... the one I'm holding in my hand. The robots are so dark, you can't see that they are robots unless you pick up the box and look carefully at it... So the game just looks like 'random space marine shoots other space marines...
Which brings me onto point 3.
3: The boxart is shit for a whole heap of other reasons...
On a shelf of games, this boxart looks so crap. It just looks like random space marine shooting his gun whilst saving other space marine. There is nothing here to suggest excitement or any kind of difference from any other game on that shelf at the time... This is what Binary Domain looks like on a videogame shelf
Now also remember, here in the UK Binary Domain was one of the last games that GAME got before most of the publishers pulled out during their troubles, so the shelfs did indeed look like this as random as it may seem.
Oh but wait, before you all say 'well you should pick boxarts that are not as colourful.' Just look at it. Just look at every aspect of the boxart compared to those games which Binary Domain was competing against.
Look at the font on Both Catherine and SSX compared to Binary Domain, which looks the less interesting?
The placement of the title itself, Binary Domain's plain white text at the top of the package looks more like instructions for putting together a BBQ than it does an exciting piece of entertainment.
But also just look at what jumps out on all the boxarts... Binary Domain just screams 'I am shooting a pistol in the air in a dark space unless you squint your eyes.' You've no idea where they're fighting. The game is set in future where the ice caps have melted and old cities are in ruins... and there is a clear social divide of people living in the ruins and those living in a technological utopia on the newly built cities... where on the boxart do you get a sense of that? Even if you have picked up the box and stare at the background, the enemies they've chosen are the first enemies in the game, the boring green drone robots. Why didn't they pick the red assasin robots? The police bots? Or heck even one of the bosses? Any other enemy in the game would have been more interesting than the green drones.
Cathertine is full of colour and crazy images, you want to pick it up just because you'll be curious to read the blurb on the back to try and decifer whats going on. "This game has a woman taking her top off, a guy trapped between her bewbs and a sheep falling.... *picks up the box* what the heck is this game about!? *starts to read the box*"
SSX, the cover speaks for itself. OMG I'M ON A SNOWBOARD AND I'M FLYING OFF A MOUNTAIN AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD! I'M GONNA DIE BUT IT'S AWESOME!!!!'
There is an argument in retail, and it's one I kinda agree with, if you can make the customer pick up a Movie/CD/game, then you are one huge step closer to them buying it even if they had never heard of the product or had any intention to buy it.
If that argument is correct... would you pick up Binary Domain based on that box art alone? Because I wouldn't. As I've said, the only reason I bought the game as because I played it at Gamefest and thought it was a pretty cool demo.
4: Sega didn't bother to announce any of the games features until a day before release.
Binary Domain has a very large and for the most part quite a fun multiplayer... So why didn't sega announce it had a multiplayer... Until a day before the game came out!? Seriously, thats how long they left it! It's almost like they simply forgot that their cool robot shooting game had a multiplayer mode in it.
5: This game had tons of promotional content, both DLC and physical merchandise yet didn't tell anyone how to get it!
Why the hell did nobody get told this!? Pre-ordering this in Japan got you the Yakuza characters as well as weapon packs. Here in the west there was a weapon pack that was never announced or reported on by anyone. One retailer had it.
But the game also had a lot of merch made for it. Backpacks, T-shirts, keyrings etc. Did they have any of this at gaming events? Nope. Did they say how you could get any of this stuff? Nope... ... oh wait... there was a backpack given away during a Free Stuff Friday 2 weeks after the game came out.
Why did they make all that merchandise and promotional content, then not advertise or make any effort to... oh I dunno... Promote their game!? It's crazy,
Rep 1: We've got all these T-shirts and backpacks advertising our game... shall we give them out during Gamescom? Pax? Gamefest? People might wear them and we'll get more interest on our game.
Rep 2: Nah... I doubt it'll work... it doesn't work when all the other companies do it...
Me: Wait... What?
Binary Domain might as well have been made by an indi company for all the love and promotion Sega gave it, they did a great job making it... but a really bad job at selling it.
Hatsune Miku and Suzumiya Haruhi will sell... .... millions!
First of all, up until a few posts ago I had never heard of these... I still have no clue who or what either of them are despite looking...
Secondly... that quote isn't a direct quote, but this seems to be the thinking thats going on. Do we seriously believe that? The last Spiderman game barely sold, despite it being Spiderman on the cover. Ace Combat Assault Horizon has struggled in the sales too. Hyperdimension Neptunia MK2 which is probably a good comparison if we're talking about localising random Japanese RPG's has also sold very poorly in the west despite it having a bit of a cult following. Even the first one didn't sell that great so the excuse of people having bad memeories doesn't fly too much with that one. Even Final Fantasy 13-2 has also suffered from poor sales (well much poorer than they wanted), this is despite a barrage of DLC and it being Final Fantasy.
But Hatsune Miku and Suzumiya Haruhi is different? Urm... Why?