Sega had a rough 2011. Even with a string of licensed titles like Captain America and Thor, solid earners to bolster more offbeat releases like Yakuza 4, the company didn’t meet sales expectations for the year. A note issued by Sega’s parent company Sega Sammy Holdings on Friday said that the company expects to report an “extraordinary loss” for the year. These brutal financial circumstances mean that the company is restructuring its games division, including the reorganization of both its U.S. and Europe to make Sega into a smaller, more manageable company that might be more profitable.
It also means games are getting cancelled.
Anyone in the working world knows that “restructuring” is a word to be feared and loathed. For any fans of Sega’s current output though, this restructuring comes with even more sad news since a number of unspecified games will be cancelled. According to Siliconera’s Friday report, Sega singled out Sonic the Hedgehog, Football Manager, and Total War as franchises that are strong and safe from the axe. It also mentions the Aliens franchise, which means that Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines should be safe as well.
Offbeat titles like Anarchy Reigns from Bayonetta creators Platinum Games, however, are the sort of niche games that might be in trouble.
It’s not all bad news coming out of Sega though. Andriasang reported on Friday that Sega has filed trademarks for new games in its much-loved cult series Yakuza and Valkyria Chronicles. A trademark for Ryu Ga Gotoku Kizuna was filed. The company has already published an iPhone and Android version of this social game offshoot of the Yakuza series.
The other is for Valkyria Duel. Valkyria Chronicles on PS3 and Valkyria Chronicles II for PSP have a vocal fan base in the U.S. but it’s so small that Sega didn’t bother to bring the PSP’s Valkyria Chronicles 3 across the Pacific. The series is quite popular in Japan though. Maybe it’s time for Valkyria to move up to Vita?
Sega also filed a third trademark, the generic-sounding Galaxy Conquest.
It’s disappointing to hear that Sega is struggling in the market. Even as the company has further branched out into shoddy licensed games and half-baked Sonic games, it’s continued to release strange and excellent games in recent years. The hilarious and smart House of the Dead Overkill; Platinum Games’s trio of mad action games MadWorld, Bayonetta, and Vanquish; even more recent games like the brilliant Binary Domain. Sega has backed some great work and they have not been rewarded for the effort. A shame.