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In brief: Square Enix is known for making and publishing some pretty fantastic games. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise gem, and both the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises seem to knock it out of the park with every new release. Unfortunately, even a publisher of Square's caliber is capable of throwing their weight behind a bad game now and then. The latest Square Enix-published action RPG, Babylon's Fall, has performed terribly on Steam.
To be clear, Square Enix is regularly "disappointed" by the performance of their published works, even when said games actually performed very well. The publisher is known for having unreasonably high expectations for releases. Sadly, even with that in mind, Babylon's Fall is not doing well. It might be faring better on console, but on Steam, it hit a pathetic 8 concurrent players during the evening of April 12. Since the title was only released on March 3, that's not a great sign.
It is common for player counts to drop off after the first few weeks of a game's release, but not to this extent. Even PlatinumGames' past work, Nier Automata, continues to maintain an average concurrent player count of 1,464 over the past 30 days – and that's five years after launch. By contrast, Babylon's Fall has averaged about 138 concurrent players, with regular dips into the double digits.
So, what, exactly, is wrong with Babylon's Fall? According to reviewers, the problems lie in the non-existent difficulty of the game, its dull level design, and an odd oil painting-like filter that negatively impacts its graphical fidelity. The game's main saving grace, according to reviewers, appears to be its combat, but even that apparently doesn't "blossom" until the late game.
Fans of Nier Automata likely expected better from PlatinumGames this time around. A 1-4 player action RPG with the depth of Nier, but a fresh setting and unique aesthetic? Even I'd have reason to check that out, despite having never played a Nier game before. Sadly, as we've learned repeatedly over the past few years, games don't always release in the state they ought to. Babylon's Fall appears to be another casualty of this trend.
With that said, PlatinumGames is determined to do right by its players. According to a tweet published in March, the developer is already working on Season 2 and 3 of the game's content, and improvements aimed at addressing player feedback are in the pipeline. Will this turn into another "No Man's Sky" situation? With the game sitting at "Mostly Negative" recent reviews right now, that is difficult to say. However, anything is possible, and we hope PlatinumGames can turn things around for the sake of both itself and its players.
If you wish to give the game a try, it's on sale for $41.99 right now, down from $59.99 on Steam. That deal ends on April 27, so you still have some time to take advantage of it if you wish. Alternatively, you can try out its free demo, which does require you to link a Square Enix account to play.