It's not often a game is canceled after it's been released, but that's exactly what happened to the abysmally-bad Ashes Cricket 2013.
The Ashes is a cricket series between England and Australia that's run, with a few brief interruptions, since 1882. It's not nearly as much of a big deal here as it is there, what with most North Americans effectively unable to distinguish cricket from Calvinball, but the recent cancellation of a new game based on the series is universally noteworthy from a gamer perspective because it happened after it came out.
User reviews typically need to be taken with a grain of salt but the Ashes Cricket 2013 score of 1/10 on Metacritic, which dodges a flat zero thanks only to a few joke reviews, speaks volumes. And now it seems that publisher 505 Games actually agrees with the assessment, as it's pulled the game from Steam not to fix it, but to kill it, bury it and salt the earth.
"At the start of the project, 505 Games received all assurances from the developer that the engine was up to the task of creating a dynamic, cutting-edge cricket game for the modern age across multiple platforms, and unfortunately those assurances were found to be misplaced," 505 Games said in a statement. "The net result of the challenges we have faced was a game which, despite our best efforts over the course of a 2 year development, couldn't meet the quality benchmarks of either us, our licensors or our customers."
"As the licensee and publisher of name for Ashes Cricket 2013, 505 Games would like to apologize publicly and sincerely to our licensors, the ECB and Cricket Australia, and their respective partners/sponsors, who have been nothing but patient and supportive of us throughout the challenges this project has presented, and who, ultimately, we have let down," it continued. "Our deepest apologies, however, are reserved for the fans of cricket and cricket games worldwide. 505 Games prides itself on being a safe pair of hands on which gamers of all tastes and denominations can rely to put their best foot forward to create compelling gaming experiences. It is clear that, in this instance, we have fallen way short of our stated aims and failed to deliver."
It's not often you see that level of brutal honesty from a publisher, and given that 505's stable includes a number of less-than-great titles, Ashes Cricket 2013 must have been uniquely awful to bring it about. The publisher said its priority at this point is to "protect the Ashes name and that of the ECB and Cricket Australia," and also promised that everyone who purchased the game will be offered a full refund.
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun