Why did Enslaved flop when Borderlands succeeded?

Resolution's Mark Raymond writes: Sadly, and unsurprisingly, Enslaved: Odyssey of the West has bombed. It’s so far sold an estimated 75,376 copies on the PS3 and 76,607 on the 360, a combined total of 151,983 worldwide. According to GfK Chart-Track, it entered into the UK all-formats chart at number 7 on the week ending 9th October 2010, fell out of the top ten to 11th place the following week, then to 25th, and now it’s hanging on at 28th. Already, sites like The Guardian and Play-Mag have articles up, exploring why this may have happened and who or what is to blame.

Yet, I think what’s interesting is the context within which this product failure occurred. Compare Enslaved to Borderlands, and you’ll see some similarities:

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EscoBlades3648d ago

I never liked Borderlands anyway. I also played Enslaved st the Eurogamer Expo, and it felt fairly "empty" to me. The platforming was a little off, the visuals didn't wow me (not that visuals determine the strength of a game) and the general gameplay felt flat. can't say i'm surprised it didn't sell more.

gillri3648d ago

but character were great and the setting and narrative was great

sometimes people concentrate on gameplay too much when that isnt what this game is about

Ju3648d ago

"sometimes people concentrate on gameplay too much when that isnt what this game is about"

Lol at that line. We are still playing video _games_, don't we?

Baka-akaB3648d ago

god forbid people play an hack and slash for its gameplay .

If they wanted to focus on other crap , they should just have done an action rpg (or something like heavy rain , could work) and be done with it .

It failed at platforming , failed in fighting bits because of the stubborness in design from NT , period .

chazjamie3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

yeah, gameplay. what is that? i watch the cutscenes, and enjoy the hell of reading npc text. thats gaming for me, books and movies. i hate touching the controller, one day its going to be seamless, so all i have to do is press the button to switch the console on.

sorry for the rant, but this is a game, not a movie.

longcat3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

Gaming has evolved over time and there are now many facets to a videogame, which i think is good fro the medium.

I think what gillri is trying to say is that the game has some worth but it is not necessarily in the gameplay department.

I played assassins creed 1 mainly because of the presentation and the fact that the story interested me (politics, religion).

perfectCarbonara3648d ago

a game not about gameplay, now I've heard it all.

Redempteur3648d ago

thank you gillri for opening my eyes ...

i mean you pass your time climbing and hiting robots in a pretty shallow format BUT THIS ISN'T WHAT THE GAME IS ABOUT !!

escuse for wanting to have fun with my games

RememberThe3573648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

This game isn't the peace of crap you guys are trying to make it out to be. Most of you didn't even play and frankly need to shut up.

The game had serious issues like the crap camera (in combat), and shallow hack and slash fighting, and the horrible ending. The the story and characters are frankly amazing. I play games to be entertains and to challenge myself. But the character development in this game is something I had to see through.

I really liked this game and it had a ton of potential to be one of the years best. Unfortunately it is a little too unpolished and simple to get the honors.

But all the negative talk about this game in unwarranted. If this was an exclusive people would be rushing to defend it's characters and story, but since it's multiplatform everyone just wants to shit all over it.

@below: They did. They still do. Hell, I do. When have to seen Sony fans not defend Heavenly Sword? Please point me to that thread.

Here's a comparison. Typical SOny people defending Heavenly Sword and Typical 360 people hating on it. All of them pretty much ignoring Enslaved.

Unfortunately a lot of the old stories aren't coming up in the search right now. otherwise we could put this to rest.

Gohadouken3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

Yeah like everyone defended Heavenly sword back then ?
Give that weak excuse a rest , it didnt work when they had an exclusive and more fans of the game .


Except they did not . What am i talking about ?

There werent more defenders of Heavenly sword back then , than there are today for Enslaved . Only a few for both games on N4G.

So how the hell does it qualify at "people rushin to defend the game if it was an exclusive" ?
Hell the game didnt even have the support of the press like Enslaved did .

For both games there are dislikes and critics that go beyond the silly "exclusive/multi" excuse .

EDIT 2 :

I wont do your homework for you , go search for it . People have consistantly complained about HS' short campaign and it's gameplay . It's not new .
Sure some guys love and defend the game , but they are quite few ... most others dont even care

AAACE53648d ago

The hard fact of reality is, Ninja Theory just doesn't make games that a lot of people like! I don't know what it is about their games, but you feel like they should be cheaper that what they charge.

When they made Kung fu chaos for the original Xbox, it sucked! I liked the concept of Heavenly Sword, but the only reason it sold decently was because there was very little to buy on Ps3 at the time that had such great graphics. I bought it and played it for like 3 hours and put it away.

The concept of Enslaved was just too wierd for me. I had low expectations for this game from the start. I always considered it a $20 purchase.

The Wood3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

NT's arrogance is why people are sh!tting on them. They acted immature and promised to give more than they could. Some of this is self inflicted and you can see that both camps are sh!ttin on it. I enjoyed heavenly sword but it was short. People were defending it because others were attacking it. Their attacks were purely to discredit the game as a whole like there was nothing good about it. Show me any game that hasn't been defended and you'll have a point.

- Ghost of Sparta -3648d ago

Borderlands is an endless RPG FPS that focused on insanely addictive co-op (or SP) gameplay while Enslaved and the douche bags at Ninja Theory focused on bad graphics, 3 hours of incredibly easy, one button gameplay, and cutscenes.

I'm sorry but Enslaved isn't worth a penny.

bakasora3648d ago

It flopped?
Maybe because they were going screw up Dante.
There is reaction to every action.

DragonKnight3648d ago

Gameplay is what makes or breaks a game. People need to be able to enjoy what they are DOING in a game, not just what they see and hear. Why do you think the old-school SNES games are still considered by those old enough to have played them to be among the best games ever made still to this day? It's because of gameplay.

Take a look at a game from this gen like Demon's Souls. The game has a bare bones story. No character development to speak of. Hell it almost has no music. But pure atmosphere, massive customization, and punishing yet highly addictive gameplay have made it Atlus U.S.A.'s most successful publishing project in 20 years. So many people love that game and want a sequel it's not funny.

Enslaved went in the complete opposite direction. Focused on looks and story, and made it bare bones in the gameplay. Auto-platforming, clunky and simplistic combat, ridiculous camera, robot enemies. And the thing is, they could have had an awesome game with the premise of using the Journey to the West story of Sun Wukong if they kept it in it's Ancient context and used demonic enemies and Sun Wukong's magic. Now that would have been a game to play. But this is Ninja Theory. A green developer who think they've created the greatest masterpieces gaming has ever seen for 20 years, when they've only made like 2 games. They blame everyone else for their failures and mistakes, and expect reception to their games to be unanimously perfect.

Well sorry NT, you had something with HS and decided to bitch about it, alienate your fans, NOT create a sequel to it, and made an unfinished game in Enslaved. It's safe to say we have little expectations of you, and are now really in fear of how DmC will turn out.

RememberThe3573648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

I'm not saying that not one hated on Heavenly Sword (I'm not sure where you got that from), I'm pointing out that there would be more people defending it if it was a PS3 exclusive. That is how this site works. Hell, people still defend Lair, and that game sucked.

@The Wood: Talk shit about NT all you want, they deserve it. They bitched about Heavenly Sword not selling, and talking about how going multiplatform would solve all their problems. I feel like they deserve it. Plus, they're completely f*cking up one of my favorite franchises. Dante deserves better than to be turned emo...

Also, there are plenty of games that no one defends. That is not my point. My point is that when a game is an exclusive people seem to let things slide or decide to see the brighter side of a game with a few flaws. When it isn't exclusive people here seem to be more harsh on it. I find it contradictory to praise one game for it's excellent story but flat gameplay (Heavy Rain comes to mind) but then say the opposite for an other game (enslaved). One moment gameplay it's as important and the next it's most important (I'm not calling out Heavy Rain explicitly just using it to add context).

Again, my point is the contradiction that no one seems willing to admit exists.

Edit @above: You make good points about the game. But you are acting like it's unplayable. I'm only saying that the game in entirely playable and that I had a good time with it.

For me games have evolved to be more then a gameplay experience and have become a great story telling medium. We've seen it many times with Uncharted, Heavy Rain, Lost Odyssey, and so on. Gameplay is indeed important, I could bare to finish Lost Odyssey (to make your point for you). I couldn't bare the combat in LO and spent most of my time reading the great side stories, so I understand what your talking about. But combat in Enslaved does not make the game unplayable in anyway. It's a bit shallow but it works.

Gohadouken3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )


And i never said people didnt defend it , just that they are a minority .
Wich your "proof" (two morons going at it as per usual , whatever the game involved) hardly address .

That more people or not were pro heavenly sword than enslaved , is a debatable opinion
My take is it's doubtful , with many people simply siding with the stellar reviews reinforcing their stance .
heavenly sword didnt have that , at best some could hide beind the usual "they hate the ps3" .

"I find it contradictory to praise one game for it's excellent story but flat gameplay (Heavy Rain comes to mind) but then say the opposite for an other game (enslaved). "

No offense but's that's a BS point and comparison . Heavy rain had , without surprises anyway , the gameplay of typical game of its genre . It had no particular mention of clunky gameplay and just did what's usually warranted by its genre (qte or click and point) .

Enslaved , on the other hand , had the typical gameplay of a game of its genre , but mediocre , subpar in comparison .

Mind you , i'm not saying it's unplayable and pure crap , it's obviously overall probably a decent , good game like Heavenly Sword . But the game's (un)success is do to its own flaws and the market , hardly some fanboy vendetta .
It's far from some gem suffering from infamy and underserved fate like some are claiming now .

HolyOrangeCows3648d ago

"sometimes people concentrate on gameplay too much when that isnt what this game is about"


Jaces3648d ago

Guess Ninja Theory can't blame PS3 now for the "poor" Heavenly Sword sales now since Enslaved did even worse, and this was multiplat....ouch. ;P

Mr2Good33648d ago

That's has to be the dumbest comment of he year

DragonKnight3648d ago

Just because the game is playable, doesn't mean it's a good kind of playable. And just because the story is good, doesn't mean it should be at the expense of the gameplay. Video games could be a great story telling medium, but they are GAMES. What you do should always be more important than what you see or hear in a game.

ChickeyCantor3648d ago

"sometimes people concentrate on gameplay too much when that isnt what this game is about"

You make it sound like an old FMV game like those on the sega cd or something.

Ult iMate3648d ago

Batman was single player. Darksiders was single player. God of War. Heavenly Sword sold 1.5 mil being singleplayer. So it's not the singleplayer to blame.

Coffin873648d ago

had Splitscreen.

This is absolutely the reason why I bought it. Last year, ca. 2 weeks before christmas. I had LOTS of fun with my bro with this game, we still play it from time to time, just for the sake of the non-stop-shooting action. It's very much fun.

But Borderlands 2 (if they do it, which in this day and age is pretty much a given) will have to eliminate the shortcomings of the first game, or it won't really attract me.

Fan Tastic3648d ago

Enslaved flopped because it sucked.

It flopped more because they released a demo prior to coming out, which in effect killed a ton of blind buys.

bluebogle3648d ago

If you are going to limit yourself to gameplay alone, than there are plenty of old NES games out there. If you want video games to evolve beyond just the game part of it (as they've been doing over the years,) then yes, story, setting, characters; all of these are important.

I would have bought this game if it came out on the PC. Oh well...

ExplosionSauce3648d ago (Edited 3647d ago )

Monkey was raised in the wild, yet he speaks so eloquently.
So story and narrative shouldn't be the only important thing in a game, especially if they're not that great.
Good voice work though :P

DORMIN3647d ago (Edited 3647d ago )

FPSs sell more.

No matter how many WE all complain about the over saturation of shooters, many people still buy like crazy. Its just the trend right now.

Sarcasm3647d ago (Edited 3647d ago )

I fail to see how the two are even remotely related. I think most people who play Borderlands just love looting and the whole idea of finding a plethora of different weapons. If only they had armor customization too, it would have been even more addicting. Add to the fact of exploration, shooting, and leveling up, it's pretty much an easy sell for a lot of gamers. And I forgot to add that it can be played with up to 4 people online or offline.

Enslaved is a straight through single player experience. Some people just aren't looking for that kind of experience, hence why the sales are so low.

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jellybalboa3648d ago

they should of asked why has enslaved flopped and castlevania triumphed, both games are in the same genre.

Baka-akaB3648d ago

they never do that oddly , and you know why ? Because it's that obvious that Castlevania plays better and might be more fun and worth more .

Wich they can't admit , since they almost all backed up Enslaved as a critical darling and it backfired .

Vojkan3648d ago

what a re....d comparison!
Borderlands is 40 hours long rpg shooter that you can play with friends. Enslaved in 8 or less hours action adventure.
I couldn't care less about Borderlands, but come on comparing these two makes no freaking sense.
Ninja Theory shot themselves in the foot when acting arrogant and dissing PS3. Many PS3 owners took it to the heart and didn't care about this game. Second it games out in bad time, same can be said about Vanquish. These type of games should be released durring summer, or August at latest..

dredgewalker3648d ago

We bought it and it never appealed to me and luckily someone traded it for Castlevania which I enjoyed. We also bought Vanquish and though it's on the short side I had a lot of fun playing it and I'm going through hard mode right now.

badz1493647d ago

comparing 2 new IPs. Castlevania LoS is a reboot but it's still a long running franchise. with that in mind, as a new IP Borderlands sells great even compares to established franchises. although that must be because it's basically an FPS RPG which usually sells more due to more crowd loving the genre compared to action games!

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Stealth20k3648d ago

I hope everything that namco touches fails misserably

there treatment of tales and its fans is abhorrent

vhero3648d ago

One game was new, innovative, had great multiplayer and was made by a dev who didn't slag off fans who bought there previous game.. Multiplayer was probably the biggest killer as unless you got a huge name behind it, it seems we are living in an online generation so no online = no sales unless your game is a really great game like bioshock and has such a good single player it doesn't need a multiplayer aka an RPG.

chazjamie3648d ago

well, this is what you get when a bunch of film students want to make games(you pick up on this arrogance, since they see and understand things no one besides them will understand).

Mmmkay3648d ago

going to film-school doesn't make me like enslaved any better... the demo sucked btw.

princejb1343648d ago

because enslaved aint bordeland

Christopher3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

I really don't see how Enslaved will become a cult gem. It's an okay game at best with an above average story. Borderlands was addictive fun with the addictive loot finding of Diablo games and had great co-op and online multiplayer features with a story that really didn't try to get in the way of having fun.

JasonPC360PS3Wii3648d ago

What killed this game is the same 3 button mashing combo's throughout the entire game. xxxx xxxy yyy thats it.

ilikestuff3648d ago

played the demo of this game, the jumping and climbing was slow and it felt off, the combat was a pile of brown too, it wasnt fun and it was an eyesore. just my opinion, id never buy it

ReservoirDog3163647d ago

Well they just sold one more. Just got it from amazon today.

solar3647d ago

havent played Enslaved, so i cant comment on the game, but Borderlands IMO had a lot of potential, but failed with the release product.

no mini map, constantly out leveling missions to make the game too easy, boss battles that had no challenge, lack of epic weapons unless playing with a co-op team of 3-4, horrible ending, better game play with DLC, Randy preaching how great the PC version would be compared to the console versions (which was an absolute lie), the game was a mess.

if it wasnt for Gearbox finishing DNF (which i've waited 13 years for) i would never buy another Gearbox game. empty developer promises that are not met.

DigitalAnalog3647d ago (Edited 3647d ago )

They neglected the PS3 port SO MUCH, that they removed the Dolby surround from the PS3 and offered it ONLY to the 360 making their version superior in both visuals AND sound.

-End statement

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big_silky3648d ago

borderlands is possibly the most boring game i've ever played

schlanz3648d ago

"Enslaved is a single-player-only game, which is reportedly quite short in length (I’ve heard between four and twelve hours from beginning to end) and doesn’t feature elements which would typically aid a game’s replay value. On the flip side, Borderlands was a huge game in terms of content, had both single and multiplayer functionality, and even had a mode dedicated to a second playthrough. You could literally spend dozens of hours in that game world and still be experiencing stuff for the first time. If you were to compare Enslaved to a game like that, it clearly doesn’t even compete, and it’s understandable that people would be reluctant when they’re being asked to shell out £30-40 for an experience as short as that."

That sums it up pretty accurately for me. Borderlands had me playing for well over 50 hours between multiplayer and single player.

Not a very good comparison though, they aren't similar games at all. The only thing they have in common is their release date and the fact that it came shorty before a CoD game- which theoretically should hurt an FPS like Borderlands more than an action/adventure game like Enslaved.

OSU_Gamer3648d ago

Im surprised to see that many agrees. I thought the game was great if you like RPG's.

antz11043648d ago

Im STILL playing Borderlands, and its been out for a year. Boring isn't the word I would use to describe it.

@ OSU I know, right?

EliteAssass1n3648d ago

the box art is what sold Borderlands. Almost got me buying it but i didn't, which i was so thankful as i soon learned that its one boring-ass game if you got no online.

solar3647d ago

if you played with a friend or a group of friends it was tolerable. what Gearbox promoted compared to the finish product out of the box without DLC, it was a letdown.

OSU_Gamer3647d ago (Edited 3647d ago )

I still have to respectfully disagree. I only played by myself, and thought it was an awesome game. And I don't see how it was any more boring than any other single player RPG. If anything it had more action.

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FriedGoat3648d ago

If this was an exact 1:1 copy of the TV show "monkey" i would buy it.

Blaster_Master3648d ago

This game was pretty shallow for a platformer. Im playing Ratchet Crack in Time and Enslaved fails on so many levels when I compare it to something like CIT or Mario Galaxies.

NewsForMe3648d ago

One is a single player only game with a short campaign, the other is one of my favorite coop games that is quite lengthy and has lots of replay value. Three playthroughs on Borderlands with all the DLC with three friends is worth the money.

gillri3648d ago

Campaign is an average length actually,

people who buy games for replay value or MP, or Coop and not for creativity and originality are ruining the industry

same with Psychonauts and beyond good and evil, they were awesome but how many of you have played those games?

Baka-akaB3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

Please do not insult those games by lumping them with Enslaved .

For starters , those games were actually original and good in every aspects , not just the plot and presentation .

Do not dare use that excuse for a game that wont be remembered in the distant future , for creative achievements unlike those .
There have been enough games with both creativity AND gameplay , and there will be enough more in the future , to make sure of that .

NewsForMe3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

Sorry video game industry that I don't have the money to buy 50 games a year so I buy good games that don't under deliver to get more out of what I do get. Renting has been around for a long time and the industry is still here. Enslaved was a renter plain and simple.

OSU_Gamer3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

"people who buy games for replay value...are ruining the industry


Redempteur3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

?? you're coomparing this " this" to the awesome BGE ?
BGE had variety, exploration , several gameplay styles ( races, taking photos, evading ennemies, battles AND mini games!!)
it had an open world to explore with several hidden arenas.
Platforming in BGE when it was here wasn't scripted AT ALL .

chazjamie3648d ago (Edited 3648d ago )

no my boy, people who create games with intention of replay value and releasing dlc the next month is ruining the industry. i did not want 4-6 hours games, i have not heard one gamer on this site ask for such a stupid request. you know what bullshit capcom, namco, and everyone els said, they trying to expand the market, trying to appeal to the casual market.

we have to be "grateful" for what they do give us (no matter how much it costs). we cant do anything about this shit, except hope that the sp is longer than 3 hours, and that the mp works.

antz11043648d ago

So I shouldn't buy a game that I'm going to play over and over again in favor of one that Im going to play thru, put on the shelf, and maybe play a year later when I get bored? C'mon now, creativity and originality lose their luster by the third play thru.

Christopher3648d ago

***people who buy games for replay value or MP, or Coop and not for creativity and originality are ruining the industry ***

Dumbest thing I've seen written on N4G in a long time.

The fact of the matter is that it all matters. People want creativity, originality, replay value, online gameplay, and even the option to play with others sitting right next to them.

Even then, how the heck you think that Borderlands is a typical FPS when it's the first to ever merge the gameplay of Diablo with an FPS is beyond my understanding. Borderlands is comprised of the two things you just mentioned and more.

I'd love to see your argument for the 'originality' and 'creative' aspect of Enslaved apart from the storytelling. Last time I checked, it's far from the first 3rd person action game with combat and platforming.

vhero3648d ago

@OSU_Gamer I rarely agree with you but yeah I said the same when I read it some people really are that deluded..

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