The Conduit, a sci-fi FPS, and MadWorld, a stylish and extremely violent third-person fighting game, attracted a lot of attention when they were announced, in large part because they were being developed exclusively for the Wii, a platform known more for family-friendly fare like the Mario games. Despite their unique status, however, both games fell well short of expectations and as a result, Sega appears to be finished trying to crack that particular nut.
“Are we going to do more mature titles for the Wii? Probably not,” Sega of America Development Director Constantine Hantzopoulos said in a 1Up podcast.
“It was a space that was open and we took a gamble on it. It’s like, ‘Wow there’s no mature games on the Wii, is there an audience out there?'” he continued. “We did some research and it said that there was an audience out there.”
Unfortunately for Sega, that audience failed to materialize when the games hit the shelves, which Hantzopoulos blamed primarily on the Wii platform itself. “Next-gen” consoles have penetrated younger demographics much more deeply than previous generations of consoles, he said, and most gamers who play M-rated games are already doing so on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
“Kids are skewing much younger toward next-gen, and that’s what I saw out of The Conduit,” he said. “Anyone past 12 years old is playing 360 and PS3 shooters, and you can’t tell a 13-year-old, ‘But it’s on the Wii.’ That’s not what they see or hear. They’re not really interested in the techno-fetishist aspects of, ‘Look how great it looks on the Wii’… No one gives a shit.”
Hantzopoulos’ comments were in direct contrast to those of Sega President and COO Mike Hayes, who said in August of last year that the company would persist with mature game development on the Wii. “The thing that we’re saying is, Sega would be extremely arrogant to have a title that didn’t do as well as we thought on a platform and then say, ‘Those kind of games don’t sell on that platform’,” he said at the time. “MadWorld sales were very disappointing, but was that to do with the platform? Was it that people didn’t like the art style? Or that people didn’t like the way the game played through? It could be many things, which we’re obviously researching.”
Perhaps that research led to conclusions that weren’t quite what Hayes was expecting.