The popular consensus in the video game industry is that a game needs a multiplayer component to survive in today’s market. Electronic Arts, Insomnia Games, and many other studios say they’re finished with single player games. For all those game makers ready to give up on the solo game, you’d better take a look at Bethesda first. Following up on 2011’s multi-million selling The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a wholly single player affair, comes 2012’a breakout newcome Dishonored. The steampunk stealth game is doing so well that Bethesda is already talking about making more.
“We clearly have a new franchise,” Bethesda public relations chief Pete Hines told Destructoid.
While Hines didn’t give out a specific sales figure, he did say that Dishonored is holding its own against heavyweights like Halo 4 and Assassin’s Creed III. “I can tell you that Dishonored is far exceeding our sales expectations, which is especially cool considering it’s new IP facing a host of well-established franchises this quarter. We did terrific numbers again this weekend, both in stores and on Steam, where Dishonored was listed as the #1 selling title over the holiday weekend. And Dishonored has really sold well overseas. So we’re very pleased and appreciate all the fans that have supported Dishonored and Arkane.”
In terms of sales numbers on the record, NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said earlier this month that more than 460,000 copies of Dishonored were sold at US retailers in the month of October. With November US retail sales, global sales, and digital sales, Dishonored is shaping up to be a major hit.
It’s not just impressive that a single player-only game like Dishonored has been so successful. Many in the industry believe it’s bad business to start a brand new franchise at the end of a console cycle. The sweet spot for a new IP on a popular gaming console is five years in, when the technology’s still selling, developers know how to best exploit it, and the next round of machine’s are on the way making it easy to bring a new property to the masses. Sony demonstrated this strategy well with God of War on PlayStation 2 in 2005, a period when the system was at its peak and the PlayStation 3 was due out in just one year. Dishonored has proven, though, that a new property can thrive even as the current technology landscape is in decline.