Festive Feature #2 - Top Five Success Stories of 2012

Festive Feature #2 - Top Five Success Stories of 2012

Written Tuesday, December 18, 2012 By Lee Bradley
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While industry talk this year has centered on plummeting retail revenues, a shift to mobile and long console cycles negatively affecting consumer enthusiasm, there’s also been plenty to celebrate.

We’ve had stratospherically performing digital download releases, the launch of several popular new franchises, genres returning from the grave and even completely reinventing themselves. As the sun sets on the Xbox 360 there’s still plenty to celebrate.

To that end we’ve put together a list of this year’s Top Five Success Stories, documenting the triumphs of 2012. And while list features are always open to discussion, I bet you can’t argue with this year’s number one.

Let’s not kid ourselves, Japanese game development is on the slide. Asian giants like Capcom used to dominate the industry, with quality title after quality title. But in recent years that number of hits has slowed with Japanese publishers becoming increasingly reliant on squeezing every last drop out of ageing franchises.

Dragon’s Dogma is one of the few games to get it right. A fantasy RPG with great ideas like the Pawn system and a fresh approach to combat, it’s a brand new franchise that sold in excess of 1 million units. That’s enough to help make it the best-selling new property launch in Japan for a decade.

Evidence that Japanese developers can still go toe-to-toe with the very best Western studios, fingers crossed that Dragon’s Dogma heralds a new dawn for the region’s success.

Forget what happens in the game for a minute, Sleeping Dogs is one of industry’s very best underdog stories. Initially developed as a True Crime title, it began life as an Activision game before the publisher decided to ditch it mid-way through production.

So it’s a miracle that the game even exists, but what’s even more remarkable is just how good it is. Hitting shelves as a Square Enix title, Sleeping Dogs is a thoroughly entertaining game that even managed to show the big boys of the open-world genre a thing or two. Truly, if GTA V can nail contextual combat as well as Sleeping Dogs, we’re in for a treat.

Despite it’s “sluggish” performance at retail, a comment that Square Enix President Yoichi Wada has since backtracked on, Sleeping Dogs phoenix-like rise from the grave earns it a deserved spot as one of the Top Success Stories of 2012.

For years point-and-click adventure games have been a spent force, especially on console. Even Telltale Games, the genre’s most stalwart devotees, seemingly ran out of steam with last year’s lackluster Jurassic Park: The Game. Once more the genre was dead.

Fast forward 12 months and that same developer has put adventure games back on the map in a big way with The Walking Dead, enjoying the kind of commercial and critical success their peers can only dream of. The first season was a triumph and like a shuffling zombie with a gob full of his Auntie’s brains, we’re hungry for more.

Fantastic writing, touching relationships, pressured decisions and forking narratives have ensured that The Walking Dead is going to turn up on a whole bunch of Game of the Year lists this Christmas. If you’d have told us that in January we’d have laughed in your face.

Launching a brand new series is never an easy task. Publishers think gamers want familiar experiences and to a degree they’re right. You and I may want something new, but for many of the paying public a safe purchase is a good one. Just look at Call of Duty’s success.

Dishonored is different. It’s freeform approach to gameplay is its greatest strength, allowing us to approach areas of the game in a variety of ways. Coupled with a new world and characters, that’s not an easy sell. Many publishers may not even have supported it.

Yet Bethesda did and they were rewarded with 2012‘s biggest new IP launch. Indeed, sales were so high that even the publisher was surprised. “We clearly have a new franchise," said VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines earlier this year. Hurrah!

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition doesn’t care about rules. An indie title, based on a PC game initially developed by just one man, it has trounced the opposition, temporarily dethroning Modern Warfare 3 from the top of the Xbox Live activity charts and making Mojang a hell of a lot of money in the process.

Just how much money? Well, it’s estimated that during one spell in August this year the game was making around $340,000 a day. Even more recently it was estimated that the game is still raking in between $800,000 and $1.2 million a week. And that’s almost purely by word of mouth.

Total copies sold now stands at around 5 million, making it an easy choice for the Top Success Story of 2012. An utterly brilliant game, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition deserves every penny and accolade.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 474
Comment #1 by Fozki Razormaid
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 01:59:32 PM
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Minecraft . A game you can play forever

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #2 by ZLU CORONA
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 02:02:55 PM
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nice choice

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #3 by ViperousPaps
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 02:26:05 PM
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Dragon's Dogma get in!! Great list.

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #4 by x19KN1GHT89x
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 02:45:51 PM
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Great list...I havne't played all of these, but I have a good list to start on with this and the 12 games of Christmas!!

Forum Posts: 19
Comment #5 by glitch12
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 03:03:41 PM
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I still need to get dd but I hear its almost required to install on older 360s and most games I install always give me a disc read error.

Forum Posts: 166
Comment #6 by el_pieablo
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 05:23:49 PM
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I dont see the appeal in Minecraft, but I agree with the rest!

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #7 by TheBrute1997
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 06:11:39 PM
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Minecraft is a great casual game, the 16-bit colour suits the game perfectly and with a lot of replay value. Good choice for No.1.

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #8 by the bears beard
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 @ 05:48:11 AM
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Minecraft's strength is the steady stream of updates coming free, making the initial 1600 MS point price a worthwhile spend.

Forum Posts: 62
Comment #9 by Thiago123
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 @ 08:34:26 AM
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No disputing Minecraft's success, but it was a known quantity. I would have rather seen a game like Mark of the Ninja get recognized instead. Or something that got a lot of verbal AND/OR critical buzz like Far Cry 3 and Binary Domain.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #10 by iBlaise
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 @ 08:57:48 AM
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I still haven't played Dishonored yet so I wouldn't know where to put that, but The Walking Dead and Minecraft should be switched.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #11 by Eoth
Thursday, December 20, 2012 @ 03:45:30 AM
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Just wanted to say, you guys make original and fun lists, not to mention well thought choices at that. It's been a long time that I fully agreed with multiple lists on a website. Or can at least acknowledge the reasons behind it.

Unlike other sites like where on one wellknown site a game like Hitman Absolution is nominated for GOTY whilst on another it gets Biggest Disappointment of the Year. Then something has got to be wrong with how these awards are selected.

So kudos to you guys!

Forum Posts: 7003
Comment #12 by THE DEADLY DOG
Thursday, December 20, 2012 @ 07:29:09 AM
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Loved TWD, Dishonored and Sleeping Dogs. Interested in getting Dogma. =D

Forum Posts: 404
Comment #13 by ViNyLek
Thursday, December 20, 2012 @ 11:10:15 AM
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Minecraft is pretty shitty game for me, but that's probably because I grew up on pixel games and know how much better it gets. Let kids see and enjoy how we used to play games (even though they were way more limited back then) I own middle 2, but I am seriously considering getting Dragon's Dogma, so more than not I agree with this list.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #14 by WadeMcG
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 07:15:45 AM
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Let me get this straight: over the past few years, Activision has shitcanned Sleeping Dogs, Ghostbusters & Brutal Legend, yet they gave the green light to three of the entries in your Most cynical cash grabs list?

Forum Posts: 410
Comment #15 by banej
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 07:19:36 AM
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Sleeping dogs and Walking dead.

Forum Posts: 420
Comment #16 by Optomistic
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 12:43:11 PM
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"What's minecraft?"
"Hitlers lesser known book on his love of knitting"

Forum Posts: 124
Comment #17 by Croc 494
Friday, December 28, 2012 @ 05:08:35 AM
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I just don't get minecraft, who has time to sit and build all the crap that they built, I mean its ridiculous go and get a job and then buy real games

Forum Posts: 990
Comment #18 by Devil Sora
Thursday, January 03, 2013 @ 12:41:50 PM
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No Asura's Wrath? Weak sauce. Other then that good list.

Forum Posts: 37
Comment #19 by Loopy Altitude
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 @ 10:59:21 PM
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Although I'm strongly against Minecraft being number 1 (it was a big success on the PC way before it came to the Xbox, as most people know, and the base game isn't what most people buy it for anymore), I agree with pretty much everything else on the list.

Also, I found that Medal of Honor: Warfighter was, akin to its predecessors, the standard for Military FPS's. Although it didn't sell well (mostly due to EA blundering, not its developers, with EA sending out review copies extremely close to launch), and EA is pulling the plug on the series (which I'm against, I mean, me and my dad bonded as a kid over playing the original Medal of Honor on the Playstation 1), I still think it deserves some recognition.

Forum Posts: 67
Comment #20 by oobawlzmahonyoo
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 03:32:24 PM
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There defintely needs to be more games like the walking dead as long as they're done RIGHT. anybody remember deja vu or Shadowgate? both for NES. those were awesome

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #21 by flechetteXXX
Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 01:21:41 AM
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I can argue with this years number one

Forum Posts: 18
Comment #22 by Suthef
Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 01:06:03 PM
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My respect to MINECRAFT but it doesn't deserve the rank 1 of the list !

Forum Posts: 1009
Comment #23 by Tai_MT
Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 03:51:04 PM
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Weird that there's so much hate on Minecraft. I just don't understand how you can hate something that's basically "digital legos".

My guess is that so many people hate Minecraft because it's "mainstream". If you don't discover something, then to hell with it and anyone who likes it!

I do argue against it being #1 though. Simply because it is ALREADY a huge success on the PC. Bringing it to the Xbox is simply extending that already known game to players who want to play with their friends who won't buy the game on PC.

I cannot argue that it's a fantastic game with millions of possibilities.

I do wonder how "Dragon's Dogma" got on the list though. I played the demo and went, "huh, another dime a dozen beat-'em-up with God of War elements". It didn't really inspire me to play it any more or buy it. I just don't get it, I guess.

Forum Posts: 8
Comment #24 by STB Bodam
Sunday, January 13, 2013 @ 04:18:06 AM
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X-Com hopefully gets people thinking that there's more to console gaming than just first person shooters.

Lets hope anyway.

Also, I didn't like Dragon's Dogma... I'm open to giving it another shot but I want to know what makes it so great? Dark Souls seems like such a better game and more worth my time. Someone convince me otherwise, please!

Forum Posts: 771
Comment #25 by Axel 360
Sunday, January 13, 2013 @ 10:28:57 AM
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I love Minecraft, but in THIS list, about story, it just makes no sense. In fact, Walking Dead not been number 1 is already a great FAIL.

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4J Studios


US May 09, 2012

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