Last week people noticed that Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma had been pulled from Steam and PSN, and had actually been deleted from the libraries of players who had already downloaded the game. Even given the game's disastrous launch, it was a bit of a surprise. Those storefronts both have their fair share of bad games, and it's not everyday that a publisher decides to de-list a title, yank it from consumer hard drives, and hand out an automatic refund.
Over the last few days, information about the game's removal has come to light through a series of interviews with Steve Escalante, the General Manager of publisher Versus Evil. Speaking with CGM, Escalante said that Afro Samurai 2 "was a failure." He continues:
We could not do, in good conscience, volume 2 and volume 3. So we’ve begun the process, it’s been a long process to figure it out because Sony has never really had to do this in this way, but we’re returning all the money. So across the board we’re putting out an apology saying ‘sorry about this.’
A follow up interview with Gamasutra reveals that Versus Evil paid for the full development, licensing, marketing, and testing for the game--with no outside investment--but it doesn't offer any insight into what exactly went wrong here.
Versus Evil is a young, independent publisher that's had a real hit or miss track record thus far. The company published The Banner Saga, Guild of Dungeoneering, and Skyshine's BEDLAM, each of which blend tactical decision making with a whole lot of styyyyyyyle. But... Versus Evil has also released the lackluster Toren, the buggy Armikrog, and Afro Samurai 2. It's good to see them offering refunds, but it's frustrating that the game made it onto digital shelves at all.
I haven't played Afro Samurai myself, but out of morbid curiosity I checked out our Quick Look and... um... yeah. It doesn't look good.