There haven’t been many videogame advertising campaigns as pervasive or, one would think, as expensive as the one for Brütal Legend. Ads for the game seemed to pop up everywhere on television and online, while Jack Black himself made numerous promotional appearances on shows ranging from Jimmy Fallon to the MTV Video Awards, usually at least partially in character. In spite of all that, however, and the high hopes of Tim Schafer fans and middle-aged metalhead gamers everywhere, Brütal Legend didn’t exactly come roaring out of the gates in October. It failed to break into the NPD Group’s top ten sales chart, putting out a combined 215,000 units on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, a respectable but hardly Earth-shaking number.
It’s still considerably better than what Activision racked up with DJ Hero, however. The latest addition to the Hero franchise, including both the regular and Renegade Edition releases, managed combined sales of only 122,300 units on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PS2. To be fair, DJ Hero was only released on October 27, but sales still fell well short of analysts expectations.
How did they fare in relation to the month’s more successful releases? The NDP’s top ten videogame sales list is as follows:
1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3) – 537,000 units sold
2. Wii Fit Plus (Wii) – 441,000
3. Borderlands (Xbox 360) – 418,000
4. Wii Sports Resort (Wii) – 314,000
5. NBA 2K10 (Xbox 360) – 311,000
6. Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360) – 271,000
7. NBA 2K10 (PlayStation 3) – 213,000
8. Forza Motorsport 3 (Xbox 360) – 175,000
9. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (Nintendo DS) – 169,000
10. FIFA Soccer 10 (Xbox 360) – 156,000
Brütal Legend and DJ Hero, by comparison:
Brütal Legend (360) – 150,000 units
Brütal Legend (PS3) – 66,000 units
DJ Hero (360) – 62,000 units
DJ Hero (PS3) – 39,000 units
DJ Hero (Wii) – 19,000 units
DJ Hero (PS2) – 3,300 units
The slow start isn’t a death knell for either title; with the holiday season upon us, sales for both could experience a significant jump over the next 60 days. Activision also made a point last month of predicting that DJ Hero would be a “slow starter” that would build an audience over time and eventually become an important part of Activision’s lineup. Still, I can’t help but be a little disappointed about Brütal Legend; as someone who appreciates both Tim Schafer’s creativity and violently thrashing my head around in time with K.K. Downing’s melodious strumming, I was really hoping for bigger and better things.