It’s nothing short of a disaster for cricket video game enthusiasts.
In the last one week, 505 Games’ Ashes Cricket 2013 was released on Steam after a 4-month delay without any hint of publicity, and then taken off four days later after getting an avalanche of complaints about a gameplay riddled with bugs. Add to it some ludicrous graphics and control options, and it was a volcano waiting to explode.
Right from the release of its trailer, which revealed absolutely nothing relevant about the game itself, there had been nothing right with it. Today, 505 Games officially announced that they’re cancelling the game and apologised to the fans for having “failed to deliver.”
The game was earlier supposed to be launched in July this year, but the release date was postponed to November because the game “simply wasn’t good enough in its current state”, according to Tim Woodley, senior vice president global brand & marketing for 505 Games.
An anomaly that resulted in two Ashes series in a calendar year in the real world turned out to be a blessing for 505 Games, as despite shelving the plan to release the game during the Ashes in England, they were still able release it during the return leg down under just a few months later.
But the game, which was finally released on 22nd November, turned out to be entertaining for completely unexpected reasons!
We’re all accustomed to some glitches in cricket games over the years, but what Ashes Cricket 2013 offered was probably the most hilarious game you’ll ever play. The videos that emerged on YouTube can bring tears to your eyes, resulting from a good hearty laugh.
This one’s quite appropriately titled ‘Great Fielding’:
Developed by Trickstar Games, and priced £13.99 on Steam, the game was launched only for PC, with dates for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U versions not announced (There were rumours about the game failing the certification process for consoles).
When the crowd in the game reminds you of old PC games you played as a child, camera cuts from batsman to fielder in a way best attributed to Indian soap operas, and when fielders question the essence of life before trying to collect the ball, it’s no surprise that it is a sorry excuse for a ‘next gen’ video game.
To start with, for a PC version, there’s no involvement of the mouse in the game at any stage whatsoever. It’s all keyboard (Personally, it’s not too much of a loss).
But the biggest surprise is that there’s no way to tell which key means what! There’re no instructions, none at all, about the key controls! Even with a 360 controller, the instructions on the screen refer to the keyboard controls.
If you get past all that and experience the actual gameplay, prepare for some more hair-pulling experience. Running between the wickets and fielding provide the most hilarious moments in the game.
One user, who had the misfortune of having bought the game, tells an interesting story of having run 16 runs off a single delivery!
“Highlight of my game time was running 16 on a mistimed cut that dribbled toward point who stood and watched while I ran which outshadowed the 8 I ran on a push straight to mid-on. The animations jumping around so you couldnt figure out which fielder had the ball was pretty epic and helped to get my batsmen run out but the game freezing on the scoreboard whenever I felt like I was finally figuring out the insane timing was just awesome!”
Clearly, the bugs in this game simply couldn’t have been missed by the development team, and it’s a shame that it was put for sale in the first place! Some videos have put light on the limbo that is Ashes Cricket 2013:
The AI has been criticised severely, and there are reports of broken statistics too.
In light of the outburst, the game was pulled off Steam, but it wasn’t clear whether it was an action taken by 505 Games or Valve, the creator of Steam. The official Facebook page was taken down too. Later, 505 Games issued a full length apology and announced the cancellation of the game.
The complete episode has turned out to be partly hilarious and partly depressing, depending on whether or not you were one of the enthusiasts waiting for it. Ashes Cricket 2013 had the advantage of licensed player names and kits, having taken Cricket Australia and ECB on board, but it blew the whole thing.
4 days, all it took were four days for the game to be taken off and then cancelled after its release. After two years of work, this was atrocious, to put it mildly.
If for cricket lovers this was frustrating, you can just imagine how it would be for two Americans trying to decipher what sorcery is going on in this game! This gameplay video shows you exactly that:
The example of Ashes Cricket 2013 proves that official licensing is not everything, and it’s not necessarily where money needs to be spent to make a good cricket video game.
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