Horizon's Backseat?



  • Two Horizon games and two unhelpful release dates for both Zero Dawn and Forbidden West. If you cast your minds back to 2017, Zero Dawn came out on the 28th of February, three days before that year's consensus GOTY Breath of the Wild came out. Now here in 2022 it seems history is almost repeating itself-Forbidden West is coming out this Friday the 18th and a week later this year's strongest potential GOTY candidate Elden Ring will be coming out. I don't know if Guerilla et al are undermining the Horizon franchise but surely they ought to release their games at better times to maximize sales and give them their own time to shine. Does anyone else feel similarly or do you think these Horizon games are released at the right time?



  • Horizon has that open world appeal though. It has Dino robots and an open world structure. It screams mass appeal more so than both Zelda and Elden Ring.

    I’m sure the original sold well and I’m sure this one will as well.

    But I agree, I’m probably not going to play it because I’d rather play GT7 and Elden Ring two games that will likely take up all of 2022 while we’re at it.



  • The highest selling Souls game sold 10 million copies. Alternatively, Horizon Zero Dawn has sold 20 million+ copies.
    Additionally, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is hovering around 5 million+ units and that was From's latest game.

    From Software still sells pretty niche games compared to what the majority of gamers like. I think Horizon Forbidden West probably won't get as many day-one sales as Elden Ring does, but it's better than releasing a game three days before a mainline Zelda game.



  • @crepe

    I vaguely remember at launch there were discussions that Dark Souls 1 sold 1-2M on PS3 which were BIG numbers compared to Sony exclusives like Uncharted 3, which sold 2-3M at launch. Then I remember discourse around the 360 version selling 500K and whether that was good or bad. Personally, I think that's good considering it was the first Souls game on Xbox and Xbox was dominated by COD/Halo/FIFA/Gears crowd back then.

    I feel like lifetime for Dark Souls could've been in the double digit millions if it launched on PS4/XBO instead of PS3/360 with slow download speeds and used game stores. Crazy how times change and now 2M is "good for niche" when it used to be good in general.

    --

    Just found this press release here:
    0_1644942005344_c9799398-cca6-4ac4-bb40-9ecec435d816-image.png

    Not to stray too far off topic, but it is pretty amazing what From Software and their partners in Namco/Sony have done to make this series a success. They've created an incredible foundation for new games without breaking the bank and rewriting the book. They can make GOTY caliber games in 2-3 years working off this model.

    It's just so smart and hasn't worn me down yet because they continue to push every new Souls or Souls-like game in some sort of new territory so things feel fresh no matter what.

    I guess all of this is to say, 27M lifetime sales is amazing in context from where they were in 2009, Demon's Souls. And on that note, they are just in totally different lanes than a Sony exclusive like Horizon. Sony's marketing budget for Horizon is probably half the total budget for Elden Ring. There is just too much money being pushed into Horizon for people to skip it.



  • @dipset Yeah I agree with all of that.

    As I was re-reading this thread, I realized a Pokemon game came out less than a month ago. From a marketing perspective, THAT's a release you definitely want to steer clear from. I don't think Pokemon Legends: Arceus is going to influence the sales of these February releases, but I'm interested in the sales comparison of all three games.



  • To add a bit to everyone else's points, I think they're different enough that they appeal to different groups of people. It's tempting to just compare them directly as action RPG open world games because we know a lot about them, but for most people out there, they gonna take one look at the screenshots or whatever, and it's either gonna be a colorful futuristic game or a dark fantasy game. From Soft games has always been deeply appealing/popular in the dedicated/core gaming community, so it's no surprise that we in the community see ER as the most sure-fire hit, while most other people out there are much less certain on that front. I assume both of these games will be very well received by critics so that aspect matters less, it's more about the marketing and first impressions.



  • @jdincinerator said in Horizon's Backseat?:

    a week later this year's strongest potential GOTY candidate Elden Ring will be coming out

    but that isn't Nintendo Switch Sports...



  • I respect them about HFW release date and don't think ER will hurt HFW a lot; Horizon as an IP proved itself strong enough to not caring other releases as long as it's not a new Rockstar game. I never see the Souls games as crowd pleasers, even though there is hype for it I feel like at the end of the day it will still be about the real fandom+1-2 million for some time but HFW looks like a real blockbuster.

    HZD's release date was a really crazy move though.



  • I'll be passing it up for Elden Ring personally. Price is a big issue as well for me though with shops retailing Elden Ring at around £44.99 but for Horizon I see it being listed for a ridiculous £69.99.



  • Horizon will be fine, it's kinda like saying that X Marvel movie will be in trouble because Scorsese is about to release a movie at the same time.

    From a creative standpoint I can understand. I will not be playing HFW anytime soon, probably never, but when the first Horizon came out I played it right after BotW and it was such a disappointment, such a bland design approach in comparison. As a creative I can understand the frustration of someone being happy after releasing a satisfying title like Horizon but then having it side by side with something as incredible as BotW, which on top of everything else is running on a potato.

    I have no idea how good or bad Elden Ring will be, but given the track record there's the real possibility that it will be another master class in game design that will again make Horizon look more mundane in comparison. But Sony knows their costumer base and what game they like and Horizon seems to be just that. It will probably sell a ton.

    There's this funny meme on Tweeter being passed around developers, joking that after ER is release there will be a lot of "there's this game I've been playing..." during game design meetings.



  • Now I’m actually curious to see NPD numbers or whatever data is out there. Elden Ring had a new record for concurrent Steam players and it was big for ANY game let alone a From Software game.

    It looks like it’s already sold over a million on PC alone. My entire PS5 friends list is playing Elden Ring, with one outlier person on Horizon FW.

    I have casual gaming friends who play NHL or MLB exclusively who bought this over the weekend due to the GRRM connection and being a fan of his work.

    I wonder if we all underestimated Elden Ring and I wonder how they did head to head now that it’s out, it’s one of the top rated games of all time, and even casual gamers are talking about it. Hell, even my girlfriend is getting ads about it.



  • @dipset yeah I feel like I also underestimated ER big time. I just have this thought that From Soft are still kinda niche even though they're widely popular in the pop culture and stuff, meaning that people will talk and meme about those games but not necessarily buy the games themselves. Elden Ring feels like a turning point on that front in particular. Maybe it being open world was the thing that pushes it to the mainstream. Or maybe I was wrong this entire time and they're actually that popular all along. Either way it's great for From Soft. I wasn't particularly interested in trying ER out but now it seems like it will at least be an eye opening, interesting experience, regardless whether I actually like it or not.



  • Just to double down, I really think Elden Ring is THE game of February / March and we all underestimated it's success and notoriety.

    In terms of new releases, I'm going to say Elden Ring wins February and March sales. Last night at 12:30am Eastern Time, not prime weeknight entertainment hours, Elden Ring had 350k viewers and Horizon had about 6k. This is what I pulled right now at 1:40pm ET:

    0_1646246523440_5bc5084e-45d1-4f8f-9150-bb1dd6b22a87-image.png
    vs

    0_1646246541816_70c1cf8c-7693-4e86-8872-1a79e27441b5-image.png

    It doesn't mean more viewers = more sales, but let's be honest—any publicity is good publicity.

    --

    0_1646246616033_69462e26-a34e-424a-9b8a-dc2ab6372ea5-image.png
    https://www.pcgamer.com/elden-ring-accounts-for-4-of-the-top-5-best-selling-games-on-steam-last-week/

    0_1646246635130_fbe2321c-02e7-4828-b077-6c07b8984038-image.png

    And I shared this earlier, but we probably should stop thinking of Souls games as "niche". The Bandai Namco games alone have sold 27 Million copies before Elden Ring's launch.

    I definitely was of the mindset that Elden Ring's more hardcore nature would affect sales when it goes head to head against a very tried and true AAA exclusive like Horizon FW, but I can admit my logic was flawed.

    Sometimes difficulty or content doesn't matter when the zeitgeist is so large scale. There are your usual From Soft debates online. There are people calling it the best open world game. There are people calling it dated. There are people streaming it, doing co-op and having a blast interacting with viewers. There are people in to for the GRRM attachment.

    My prediction for new releases in Feb:

    1. Elden Ring
    2. Horizon FW
    3. Destiny 2 DLC
    4. Dying Light 2
    5. Warhammer III


  • "Elden Ring is the biggest non-FIFA or Call of Duty launch since Red Dead Redemption 2 | UK Digital Charts"

    https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2022-03-03-elden-ring-is-the-biggest-non-fifa-or-call-of-duty-launch-since-red-dead-redemption-2-uk-digital-charts

    Absolutely crazy. It beating Horizon is not surprising considering the multiplatform nature of ER, but beating Valhalla and C2077 is a big deal.

    Also it got a ton of coverage during launch week.



  • Wow!

    Also proof that controversy doesn't necessarily produce the biggest discussion. I feel like the top 3 in that graph of game coverage during launch week is mostly uncontroversial until CP77 and Infinite.



  • @bam541 said in Horizon's Backseat?:

    "Elden Ring is the biggest non-FIFA or Call of Duty launch since Red Dead Redemption 2 | UK Digital Charts"

    https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2022-03-03-elden-ring-is-the-biggest-non-fifa-or-call-of-duty-launch-since-red-dead-redemption-2-uk-digital-charts

    Absolutely crazy. It beating Horizon is not surprising considering the multiplatform nature of ER, but beating Valhalla and C2077 is a big deal.

    Also it got a ton of coverage during launch week.

    This is the sole reason for it breaking records:

    @dipset said in Horizon's Backseat?:

    I have casual gaming friends who play NHL or MLB exclusively who bought this over the weekend due to the GRRM connection and being a fan of his work.



  • @oscillator

    Nah. Not the sole reason. Those same friend I anecdotally mentioned still want to try it based around the hype. They did enough research to know it isn’t a very textual game but they were still intrigued and it gave them a push to try a Souls game.



  • @dipset said in Horizon's Backseat?:

    @oscillator

    Nah. Not the sole reason. Those same friend I anecdotally mentioned still want to try it based around the hype. They did enough research to know it isn’t a very textual game but they were still intrigued and it gave them a push to try a Souls game.

    Do you think "open-world Souls" would've generated a fraction the hype of "Game of Thrones dude made a video game"?



  • @oscillator yes, because dark souls is talked about near endlessly in the gaming community and in games media



  • I'll admit, I was wrong about Souls games still being niche. Competition with other games aside, it's fascinating to me that Sekiro or Demon's Souls (PS5) were not nearly as hyped as Elden Ring. I have no clue why Elden Ring has captured gamer's attention in a bigger way than both of those, but I have my theories.

    The zeitgeist around this games, even excluding their similarities, feels exactly like Skyrim to me. Back when Skyrim was released, I remember there were droves of people playing it who hadn't played previous Elder Scrolls titles. And, much like with the Souls games, previous Elder Scrolls games were not that inviting. After putting 13 hours into this game, and intentionally avoiding the next main-story boss after beating the first one, this is easily the first Souls game I would recommend to series newcomers. On top of that, even if a player hates Souls games, this is a gamechanger for open world games.

    I feel exactly the same about Skyrim in both regards.