Versus Evil is a small indie-style publisher who publishes small and quirky games. They attempted to elevate their offerings with Redacted Studios' Afro Samurai 2, a sequel to Bandai Namco's much derided hack-and-slash title. But things didn't go over so well and they had to pull the game due to quality concerns.
CG Mag Online managed to talk with the general manager of Versus Evil, Steve Escalante, while they were attending the Montreal International Gaming Summit. According to Escalante they had to pull the game because it just wasn't a quality title...
The game was a failure. 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.’
The game originally launched in late September for the PlayStation 4 and PC. After reviewers and gamers alike skewered it for its poor quality, Versus Evil decided to pull the plug on the game. It's now no longer available on the PlayStation Network or on Steam.
For those who followed the development of the Afro Samurai sequel, the game was supposed to be an episodic hack-and-slash title with three volumes. Players donned the role of Kuma, a part cyborg who was supposedly killed during an attack on his village. He was once friends with the Afro Samurai but after his friends and family were killed he was filled with nothing but rage and hatred toward Afro. The two ended up meeting and fighting in the original Afro Samurai, with Kuma being one of the bosses. However, he was beaten and left for dead... again.
Afro Samurai 2 picks up after the defeat of Kuma, with players taking on the character in an attempt for him to exact revenge, hence the subtitle Revenge of Kuma.
Unfortunately, the game didn't quite live up to the potential of the story. Playing a fallen antagonist looking for redemption and revenge could have been pretty cool but the reviews for the game were anything but. The game was hampered by poor gameplay implementation, poor story presentation and poor level designs, amongst the obvious bugs and glitches. The comic book story panels were pretty cool and most people liked them, but the pacing was all off, with very little actual gameplay actually making it into the game. The levels were extremely tiny and linear and the action wasn't very satisfying due to limited AI opponents who provided very little challenge.
Due to all the complaints from consumers about the poor quality of the Afro Samurai sequel, Escalante noted that they had to pull the game and offer refunds in order to be more pro-consumer...
We’re Versus Evil; a company perspective, from a partnership perspective and now we have to do it from a consumer perspective. So we pulled it down, because we didn’t want to exacerbate it anymore and then we’re refunding the money.
It's not often that a publisher apologizes about the low quality outing of a game, especially one with brand recognition. Warner Bros encountered a similar problem with Batman: Arkham Knight on PC, and to this day they're still dealing with issues on that game.