Whenever a game flunks on sales or gets terrible reviews the gaming media pounce on it like hyenas to a wounded gazelle. So with Dishonored 2 sales not quite meeting standards compared to it’s predecessor back in 2012, you can bet there’s been some pretty damning statistics thrown about!
However… Despite the shameless click-bait title, I’m here to try to make sense of why such a critically acclaimed game isn’t getting the attention it deserves.
2016 has been one of the most competitive years for games releases in recent memory. 2012 by comparison was rather sparse with a couple of big releases including the annual Call of Duty and Assassins Creed games. This fall/autumn we’ve had some huge titles launch including 2 non-annual shooters (Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1) as well as the return of the beloved Gears of War franchise. Although being a first person game however, Dishonored 2 is fairly uncontested in it’s genre of action adventure this season.
Dishonored 2 is rated 18+ meaning a large portion of the gaming community will have difficulty getting their dirty paws on it! With Christmas fast approaching though, Dishonored 2 is looking like the perfect gift from irresponsible/gamer parents. So maybe sales can be expected to plateau instead of dropping with time!
Reasons could even extend to the themes involved and the art style being incredibly unique. The fact that Dishonored 2 looks different to everything on the market right now should be a big seller, but the general public (including myself) like the safety of the known. I knew that Battlefield 1 would be amazing; it uses familiar aestetics, it gives me a gun and shows me where to point it; it’s based on a Battlefield, I know where I stand. Dishonored 2 is edgy and stealthy, a product more subtle, made for gaming enthusiasts. It won’t necessarily be first choice of game for the general public who may only buy a game once or twice a year.
This is the reason our reviews include a longevity/value rating. For me personally this is the reason I didn’t rush to the store to buy Dishonored 2! In this day and age when a game doesn’t have multiplayer we consider it to have a finite amount of entertainment value. Leigh said in his review that the game can easily last 20 hours by playing the missions as both Emily and Corvo. This should be enough! It’s far longer than most AAA campaigns, but due to it’s apparent lack of multiplayer people (including me) cannot see it’s value for money matching the likes of Titanfall 2 or Gears of War 4.
The only way games are able to overcome this is by stretching out their gameplay time. Fallout 4 for example had a lot of empty space, and for me the gameplay and overall immersion suffered for it. I can’t realistically compare Dishonored 2 to Fallout 4 though since they occupy very different genres. I believe the issue lies within linear games: however complex the story and however free player choice is made, there is only a finite number of hours till game completion.
I could go on. There are other points attached to value; it not having a massive open-world is just one, but I believe it is a combination of all the factors above. Sales don’t reflect a game’s quality, and it’s our job at Xbox Sector to make sure the hidden gems get their lime-lights! If you disagree with me I’d love to hear what you have to say so feel free to comment; as I said before, I don’t even own the game!