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Elden Ring publishers Bandai Namco cancel at least five games, target future “emphasis on quality”

By setting “stricter standards” and “narrowing down titles”

Malenia, Blade of Miquella and the Goddess of Rot in Elden Ring
Image credit: Bandai Namco

Coming off of 2022’s biggest game in Elden Ring has been a tricky time for Bandai Namco, it seems. The publishers have announced that they have cancelled “at least” five games in the works to help overcome a significant drop in income over the last year, adopting a new approach to development that will focus on quality.

Looking for some tips to get started in Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon? Look no further.Watch on YouTube

The decision to cancel five games was made due to their “higher than expected” development costs and after being evaluated against the publisher’s internal rules for in-development titles, a Bandai Namco representative explained during a recent Q&A session following their latest financial results. (Thanks, VGC.)

Those financials painted a fairly painful picture, with the third quarter ending in December 2023 seeing income for the company’s digital division fall by over 96% compared to 2022. Net sales fell by just shy of 9%.

Of course, the big reason here is the immense success of Elden Ring in 2022. Bandai Namco said that while Armored Core 6 was “popular”, it simply wasn’t Elden Ring. (What is?) Spin-offs from popular anime series like Dragon Ball and One Piece also held steady, but couldn’t make up for the Elden Ring-shaped hole in last year’s releases.

On the more positive end of things, this year’s Tekken 8 is apparently faring well, shifting over two million copies and expected to see its popularity maintained for a while to come - helping the company’s next financials.

Kuma uppercuts Paul in Tekken 8.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

Still, Bandai confirmed that they had cancelled development of “at least five other titles”. As well as cutting down the number of games, the publishers said they were already working to increase the quality of future releases. As part of that, they are looking at focusing on games with more mainstream appeal for “casual” players alongside their big “strategic” releases.

“Since the second half of the previous fiscal year, we have changed our development structure, setting stricter standards for proceeding with development, narrowing down titles, and changing the method of recording development expenses” the rep said.

“Due to the longer development period for games, the time from investment to payback is also lengthening. In addition to narrowing down titles, we are considering the best way to optimise our titles by classification, such as strategic worldwide titles and casual titles for light users.”

Presumably that bottom line will be helped by the release of Elden Ring’s long-awaited DLC Shadow of the Erdtree, which had been rumoured for release later this month - around the game’s second anniversary - but may arrive further down the line if Bandai’s recent update that “there is no update” is to be taken at face value.

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