Close
Report Comment to a Moderator Our Moderators review all comments for abusive and offensive language, and ensure comments are from Verified Users only.
Please report a comment only if you feel it requires our urgent attention.
I understand, report it. Cancel

Retail

505 Games: Ashes Cricket 2013 "failed to deliver"

505 Games: Ashes Cricket 2013 "failed to deliver"

Thu 28 Nov 2013 12:02pm GMT / 7:02am EST / 4:02am PST
RetailDevelopment

Publisher blames developers for bad game, offering full refunds

After deciding it was unhappy with its quality, 505 Games has taken the unusual step of removing its PC game Ashes Cricket 2013 from Steam, blaming the developer for its issues and offering full refunds to consumers.

In a lengthy statement to RockPaperShotgun, 505 Games explained what had led to the current situation.

"The chosen developer [Trickstar Games], even with their many years of cricket game development experience, was unable to overcome the unexpected challenges that the chosen game engine threw up, even with multiple extensions to the development schedule," it said.

"The chosen developer [Trickstar Games] was unable to overcome the unexpected challenges that the chosen game engine threw up"

505 Games

"The net result of the challenges we have faced was a game which, despite our best efforts over the course of a 2 year development, couldn't meet the quality benchmarks of either us, our licensors or our customers. 505 Games' main priority right now is to protect the Ashes name and that of the ECB and Cricket Australia, and do what we can to recompense the cricket community."

505 Games also apologised to "licensors, the ECB and Cricket Australia, and their respective partners/sponsors," and fans of the games, and stated that those who had purchased the title would so be contacted and offered a full refund.

"It is clear that, in this instance, we have fallen way short of our stated aims and failed to deliver. We know that the mitigating factors, as highlighted above, hold little solace to the hordes of excited cricket fans worldwide who had hoped this year to be able to play out their fantasy of playing in the Ashes series."

The Australian developer, Trickstar Games, has yet to comment, but will no doubt be stung by the criticisms. Its studio motto is "quality is the foundation of our studio" and indeed scored a BAFTA nomination for its work on Ashes Cricket in 2010.

On Metacritic the game has no official reviews, but does have a user score of 0.9 and an overwhelming amount of negative comments ranging from "train wreck" to " an insult to the Ashes license." Only one user gave the game a 10, calling it a "beautiful masterpiece."

14 Comments

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,611 1,473 0.9
Popular Comment
"The net result of the challenges we have faced was a game which, despite our best efforts over the course of a 2 year development, couldn't meet the quality benchmarks of either us,.."
So, first thought is, how on God's green Earth did the publisher let it out the door when they knew how bad it was?

Second thought, which answers the first, is "Better to seek forgiveness than ask permission". The publisher knew full well how bad it was, and hopes that a few refunds for the people who notice this press release will sting less, financially, than not releasing the game at all. After all, Steam is notorious for consumers who purchase games that sit in their backlog for months or years.

Pity the poor consumer, for they're treated like fools.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 28th November 2013 4:51pm

Posted:A year ago

#1

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,199 1,012 0.8
Is this the worst game of all time?

Posted:A year ago

#2

Ben Board Senior Product Lead, Boss Alien Ltd

8 20 2.5
Adam, that's not a comment worthy of this site. Have some respect for the developer and the publisher, despite the outcome.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,611 1,473 0.9
Popular Comment
Have some respect for the developer and the publisher, despite the outcome.
Respecting the developer is one thing, but I don't think anyone should respect the publisher for this little escapade. Not only have they heaped the blame upon the developer (something that at the very least is undiplomatic), but they're the ones who released the game. I'm sure many games are canned by publishers for many reasons (poor Day of the Tentacle Remastered :( ), so tell me why 505 Games didn't perform quality control on this and prevent its release?

Posted:A year ago

#4

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,199 1,012 0.8
Popular Comment
Adam, that's not a comment worthy of this site. Have some respect for the developer and the publisher, despite the outcome.
Excuse me for sounding cold but as a shocked gamer that's the first question that comes to mind when seeing something fundamentally flawed. Honestly, I haven't seen anything quite like it.

As a shocked professional, I'll ask how the development, QA and publishing process could have broken down so dramatically. I don't think this has anything to do with respect (which should be earned). Its shock and criticism.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 28th November 2013 7:49pm

Posted:A year ago

#5

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios

78 35 0.4
Ben look at Adams comment in context. We've all seen bad games get released, but this seems to go 1 step further, ie its pulled from Steam, refunds are being offered, ECB and Cricket Australia are actually getting formal apologies. Can you see how it's different?

Game developers should not be wrestling with tech and game engines. We should must make fun! Thats our job, creating entertainment for people. I hope Trickstar treat this is as a lesson, license better tech, focus your energies and efforts on making something fun.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Marty Howe on 29th November 2013 1:41am

Posted:A year ago

#6

Christian Slater DevilBliss Games Consultancy

26 45 1.7
"I hope Trickstar treat this is as a lesson, license better tech,"

According to this the game engine was Unity, though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashes_Cricket_2013

I suspect the underlying cause of the problem was the game simply had to come out to coincide with the actual Ashes that just happened, no matter what. They missed first the first part of the competition that occurred in the UK in the summer so it must have become a rock-hard deadline..

The story has gone mainstream, it seems: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25137093

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Slater on 29th November 2013 12:14pm

Posted:11 months ago

#7

Eric Boosman Creative Director, Dark Tonic

14 7 0.5
There's no mention (understandably) of any of the financials here. It's possible that the developer was a low bid, vastly underpaid and unable to acquire the staff needed to deliver the quality in time.

Cost, time, quality. You never get all three.

Now, the article mentions they worked on it for 2 years, which is a healthy amount of time. Especially if they already had a history of doing cricket games as also mentioned, so something somewhere certainly did go wrong.

Posted:11 months ago

#8

Stu Johnson Technical Lead

15 39 2.6
Having watch the video on the Beeb site, my ghast is well flabbered!!!!

It would be hard to blame the tech (whether it was Unity or not) as long as the engine supports animation blending, IK and basic bone manipulation plus the ability to render 11+2 characters and a ball on a flat pitch at decent fps then I see no problems. Hey, even physics could be a custom implimentation as we used to manage with in the 'olde days'

and if the tech couldn't provide, then that should have been immediatly obvious during evaluation and prototyping..

It's Cricket, the rules have barely changed since the days of W.C. Grace, the 2 years dev time surely were not eaten up by design decisions, concept art and the other considerations that often desimate development schedules.

OK, I wont trivialise the Ai, but given this is not the first Cricket game produced by the devs, they were supposed to be the best at it, it should at least not look like a game of kindengarten rounders.

Certainly someone has been very unproffesional here, and not in my opinion Adam, where was QA, the producers, the dev & art leads?? With a 2 year time frame this should have been fully functional and playable before the first year was up to work on polish, UI etc...

Just my cynical but experienced opinion

addendum:
I'm not just picking on the devs, as stated above the publisher need to shoulder the final responsibility here not just for publishing, but did they not monitor & QA it themselves ????

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stu Johnson on 29th November 2013 3:03pm

Posted:11 months ago

#9

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,170 0.5
Not a cricket fan here, but a fan of games, period. I just watched that video and others online today and yikes.

OK, Am I a jerk for wondering why It couldn't even be patched up post-release to something that wasn't a total mess and perhaps saving a tiny bit of face for 505? Was it THAT poor? I mean, I've played some awesomely bad games that no one intended to be that way, but stuff happened and things ended up a bit undercooked. No one wakes up daily and says "let's make a bad game today!" as far as I know...

Some of those games were fixed up in a short time either by the developers or fast-moving fans while others took years of dedication by many people to get running in some way or another and better than the initial release.

Posted:11 months ago

#10

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios

78 35 0.4
Its all down to leadership. The team follows instructions from leadership. Greg I think to patch it etc, would be more time and money.

Posted:11 months ago

#11

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,170 0.5
@Marty, yeah I know... but how much more (or less) money than completely refunding every single person who paid for the game? If it's more than it cost to make, I guess that bridge was on fire a long time before it was crossed...

Posted:11 months ago

#12

Matthew Hill Head of Recruitment, Specialmove

75 26 0.3
What makes this even more perplexing is the developers Transmission Games had a reasonable track record in developing cricket titles. International Cricket 2010 - 70% on Gamerankings [link url=""]http://www.gamerankings.com/ps3/991500-international-cricket-2010/index.html[/link]

Ashes Cricket 2009 a UK number 1, was developed by many of the same team - 72% on Gamerankings [link url=""]http://www.gamerankings.com/pc/959995-ashes-cricket-2009/index.html[/link]

While these scores are hardly astounding its confusing how quality can allegedly have dropped so dramatically

Posted:11 months ago

#13
I think the difference would point to the fact that possibly it's the same company, but not the same people?

Posted:11 months ago

#14

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now