Tag Archives: hitman absolution

Square Enix’s Actual Sales Targets For Tomb Raider, Hitman, and Sleeping Dogs


Normally what you’re about to read here would be a news story with editorial or something, but it’s not really being picked up by very many people and I’m not really ready to write a whole lot else.

Basically this is a follow-up to the story on why Square Enix is restructuring and just got rid of CEO Yoichi Wada. Everyone picked up the story of them explaining “low” sales of titles in the North American marketplace as the reason they expect massive losses. Not many people however seem to be going over exactly what those expectations were.

A little while ago a PDF went out detailing all that, but very few people seem to be willing to translate the Japanese document. So far I’ve only seen the story picked up on NeoGAF and a couple small news websites so I’d like to use this blog to highlight it. The people who did the translation figured out what Square Enix’s sales targets were for Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs. Those targets were sort of insane if you ask me.

Tomb Raider: 5 to 6 million copies (it shipped 3.4 million in a month).*

Hitman Absolution: 4.5 to 5 million (it did 3.6 million in roughly four months)

Sleeping Dogs: 2 to 2.5 million (it did 1.75 million in around seven months)

Now let’s look at the sales histories for the Tomb Raider and Hitman franchises. According to this chart from a Square Enix slide, a Tomb Raider game hasn’t hit five million copies life-to-date since The Last Revelation back in 1999. The franchise basically took a nosedive after this that the soft reboot of Legend, Anniverssary, and Underworld couldn’t turn around. The fact that the full reboot has been able to blow past Underworld’s LTD numbers in just a month is outstanding, but expecting it to match the 90’s entries in the series in that amount of time is insane. The new Tomb Raider will probably hit those numbers eventually, but it would never have done so in a month.

Square Enix having similar expectations for Hitman is even crazier. The most successful Hitman game — Silent Assassin back in 2002, did just shy of 4 million units. Both succeeding games did around 2 million. I don’t know why Square Enix wanted 5 million from Absolution. What it’s done already puts it near Silent Assassin and well above Contracts and Blood Money.

This has happened a bit too much in the console video games industry. Didn’t the studio that made Protoype 2 get closed down because the game “only” sold 2 million copies? I’m still wondering what’s happened with Dead Space 3, which I remember Visceral Games saying it needed to sell 5 million to make a profit.

For comparison, 5 million is the kind of number you see from a Halo game, a Zelda game, or a Gears of War game. 5 million copies is not a reasonable expectation unless your game is already among one of the most popular franchises in the market right now.

What I can’t understand is why publishers can’t just budget their games to be profitable at 1 or 2 million units? What keeps making them believe that they can hit five or six with a franchise that has recently never come close to that number? Why does almost EVERYONE releasing retail console games think they need to be AAA blockbusters?

*Those 3.5 million copies for Tomb Raider only include the console versions. Apparently the PC version did pretty good as well, so the real numbers could already be as much as a million higher than what you see here.


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Fall 2012 Battleplan

Borderlands 2 kinda crept up on me, and one look at my fall release chart has let me know that the 2012 gaming crunch season has already begun. Worst of all, this is probably the most broke I’ve been for the fall in years.

There actually isn’t a whole lot that I’m 100 percent ready to buy right now. Mostly it’s games that I plan to rent then possibly buy later. Even stranger is the platform distribution I’m looking at here.

Borderlands 2 is the first such game that I plan to rent first despite the pressure I’m feeling from my Steam friends list. It was the same with the first game too, and after a PS3 rental I only declined on it because I already had enough loot games on my plate what with three Phantasy Star games, Torchlight, and DeathSpank. Now, Borderlands 2’s only competition seems to be Torchlight II (didn’t’ really get into the big DIII), which I seriously need to consider. It’s a third the price of Borderlands 2 and I’m actually intrigued with how different it looks from the first game.

The game that I’m really pulling for but still only renting thus far is Dishonored. I think I’ve talked before about how that game is pushing all the right buttons for me – the designers seen to really understand stealth gameplay and their pedigree is highly auspicious. Arkane (and in a way ZenMax in general) just seems like the kind of company that hasn’t gotten caught up in making games that will sell lots of copies, and just wants to make quality games. Despite that I’m still only gonna be 99 percent sure on Dishonored until I’ve actually played it. A demo would really help me out.

Hitman: Absolution is another one that I’ve become more optimistic for as the weeks have gone by, but I still remain cautious on it. Earlier this year the press and previous made it feel like another Splinter Cell Conviction – an “action stealth” game with the challenge and cerebral gratification replaced by the visceral, or what the developers think of as visceral. The more recent gameplay videos however have begun to restore hope for the open-ended “public stealth” game that Hitman fans love.

Far Cry 3 rounds out the stealth trio for me. Far Cry 2 was a flawed gem in my opinion that didn’t have the impact on the industry that it should have. In a world of increasingly linear shooters here we have a completely open-world first person shooter. It’s one of the only games that really let’s the player stretch out with their own style. Industry trends make me worry that Ubisoft will somehow screw up the formula in the name of accessibility. It’s probably a hard balance to nail exactly what I liked about FC2 while getting rid of that game’s problems, but every preview I’ve seen of FC3 so far suggests the game is heading in a direction that I like.

So far, there are only three new games that I absolutely intend to buy this fall, and two of them are handheld games. Other than Assassin’s Creed III I plan to get two relatively under-the-radar games this fall. They are Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, and Zero Escape: Virtue’s Lat Reward.

If you still don’t know, Power of Illusion is actually being positioned as a sort of spiritual sequel to the Castle, Land, and World of Illusion games for the Genesis and Master System. Mickey Mouse platformers used to be excellent games back in the day and it’s great that they’re capitalizing on the Epic Mickey IP for a chance to make another one. Does anybody even really care about the console versions?

Virtue’s Last Reward is pretty much the sequel to Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors for the DS – the first visual novel that I genuinely enjoyed. Despite the lack of gameplay, turns out all it took for me to enjoy one was a good storyline. Now I’m invested in Kotaro Uchikoshi’s writing and hope this game can build off of 999’s success.

There are a few other games I plan to buy this fall, but all of them are HD ports of old games. With my bank account in its current condition those are almost all I might be able to afford. Jet Set Radio should be out on Steam around the time I post this. I never got it play NiGHTS Into Dreams, Okami HD seems to be making all the right moves, and Zone of the Enders HD Collection is still slated for 2012 in North America. DOOM 3 BFG Edition is also a maybe.

What I find odd is that no console games are on my list this year.

Other than Okami and ZOE on the PS3, everything I’m buying this year I’m buying on either PC or the 3DS. Oh I’ll rent all those games I’m trying out on the Xbox 360 – one of the top reasons I even own one is because I can’t rent PC games. Despite PC having been my main game platform this generation this is the first year where this has happened.


  • Hopefully the Vita’s manga reader goes worldwide. Like I indicated previously, it would bring some new content to the platform. On top of that, manga has been woefully behind on the digital front for years now. It’s gotten to the point where piracy is ripping the media apart, and the publishers back in Japan are doing almost nothing about it.
  • This better turn into something: http://t.co/vBZeA15a Patlabor 2 was a great anime film but to be honest about 80 percent of it could have been live action. It’s basically a detective movie where giant robots appear for maybe five minutes. Only the very beginning and very end would’ve needed some special effects.
  • Portal 2: The Animation: http://t.co/DlgJ7yFb
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