Babylon’s Fall devs want to make another live-service game

By Lee Brady,

Babylon's Fall's closure has prompted the CEO of developer PlatinumGames to issue a public apology, though the game's significant failure has not deterred the developer from making another live-service game.

Despite having to shut down the servers of failed live-service game Babylon's Fall just a year after launch, PlatinumGames CEO Atsushi Inaba has stated that more live-service games in the future are "definitely something we do want to do and put our effort in moving forward."

Babylon's Fall PlatinumGamesPlatinumGame's putting Babylon's Fall in the rear view.

Babylon’s Fall devs stop short of throwing Square Enix entirely under the bus

Speaking in an interview with VGC, PlatinumGames' Inaba apologised to all the fans and players who had invested in the developers' latest title: "Any disappointment that we might have caused for our fan base is something we feel extremely sorry about, the fact that we led our dedicated fans to feel that way as a developer. Providing any sentiment other than enjoyment and fun in our creations to players is something that we’re not very happy about at all as a developer.”

PlatinumGames worked with publisher Square Enix to develop the title, and Inaba cites this agreement as a reason why he can't comment too specifically regarding the game's development. However, he does set time aside to throw shade at his company's partner: "That's one of the reasons we’re not fond of our current situation that only limits us to game development, to be honest with you… in terms of any concrete reasons or the process that led to this conclusion of the title, you’d have to go ahead and ask Square Enix about the details, unfortunately."

What typically happens in game development is a third-party development studio like PlatinumGames will pitch a project to a publisher like Square Enix, and if they're happy with the pitch, the publisher will commission the project. From there, the publisher will fund the developers to do the work over a certain period of time and then engage in a back-and-forth over whether the game's scale fits that timeline, budget, and also negotiate all kinds of loose ends. For example, in the case of a live service, they'll need to figure out how far the budget stretches after launch to continue supporting the game. At the end of the process, the game is essentially owned by the publisher, and they decide when to cut their losses.

As readers might have noticed in our story on the rumoured Square Enix acquisition by Sony and Square Enix's sale of its western studios to Embracer Group, the Final Fantasy publisher is perhaps a little quick to cut its losses lately. It would be no real surprise if your Babylon's Fall trophy speedrun in the face of the game's looming shutdown came mostly from the publisher's side.

Key ArtMay its tombstone read, like so many others, "it certainly had potential."

That said, Inaba is currently in the process of trying to grow PlatinumGames to a point where it can both develop and publish its own games — it even made its first publishing effort this year with the release of Sol Cresta. Going forward, with eyes on developing and then maintaining its own live-service games, Inaba is evidently wary of being solely responsible for a failure like Babylon's Fall: "It doesn’t mean that even if you have ultimate control of the title that you’re not going to have any frustrations in the long run, regardless of whether you are a developer or a publisher.

“If we hypothetically were to do everything on our own to develop the game, with full control, then if we failed it’s pretty much 100% on us and if we succeed it was basically on us." It's a frustrating time for the company, but it seems the reason Inaba's plans haven't changed on live-service games is that he feels, were it fully PlatinumGames' responsibility, things would be done differently. So, in order to keep the message positive, the CEO claims it's better to "admit the fact and make this end result clear, move on, and connect this experience to our efforts moving forward."

Babylon's Fall PlatinumGamesThe worst possible timeline — we see a lot more of this game.

Perhaps that learning experience won't make any of you less frustrated about having paid for a game that will mostly not exist in a few months, but perhaps it does ease things to know that the Bayonetta developers might just be as frustrated about that fact as you are. Let us know in the comments what your thoughts on this interview are, and whether any of this changes your thoughts on Sony's live-service plans.
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee loves writing about the game design of classic PS Plus Premium games and upcoming PS5 games like Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Final Fantasy XVI. He's a big proponent of video games as an evolving artistic medium, though he's also a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog games, so the medium might want to keep looking for a better spokesperson.
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