Ubisoft Milan, the studio behind the popular game series Mario + Rabbids, has provided an update about the disappointing launch of their sequel, Sparks of Hope. In a recent interview with VGC, the series producer, Cristina Nava, expressed confidence that the game’s commercial performance will pick up over time, much like its predecessor.
Addressing the concerns surrounding the sequel’s launch, Nava explained that the studio isn’t overly worried about the initial reception. She stated,
The first Mario + Rabbids had more than 10 million players. Even though it’s Mario, it’s also a genre game: turn-based tactical adventure. So we cannot expect to sell high numbers at the very beginning, because a game like that is a slow burner.”
Nava highlighted the unique nature of the game, acknowledging that despite its association with the beloved Mario franchise, the turn-based tactical adventure genre naturally takes time to gain traction. She believes that Sparks of Hope’s positive reception from both players and the press will contribute to its long-term success, primarily through word of mouth.
The producer went on to mention that the sequel is designed to be more accessible, incorporating real-time combat to guide less experienced players. This approach, she believes, will help foster positive word of mouth and further contribute to the game’s growth in popularity.
While acknowledging the disappointment in the commercial launch, Nava stated,
We’re not worried on our side, because we know that we achieved what we wanted with this sequel. On our side, we’re not worried and we’re satisfied with what we did.”
What Went Wrong With Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope at Launch?
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot revealed that Nintendo had warned Ubisoft about the release timing of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. He acknowledged that the company made a mistake by releasing the game too soon. Nintendo advised Ubisoft to delay the game’s launch until their next console (Switch 2) was available.
Nintendo believed that having one iteration of such a game on each console would avoid oversaturation. Ubisoft had already released the first game in the series on the Nintendo Switch; Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was a Switch exclusive and it gained popularity with over 7.5 million players.
He admitted the company should have been more patient and waited for the next console to release the sequel, enabling better longevity and future updates.
Despite the critical acclaim and positive player reception, the commercial performance of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope fell short compared to its predecessor. Ubisoft expressed surprise at its underperformance despite favorable ratings and a robust marketing strategy.
However, Ubisoft Milan and the producer of the Mario + Rabbids series are confident that the game will gain traction over time. It seems they have a plan, and things will work out commercially in the end for Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope.
Especially with the release of DLC for the game and the potential launch of Switch 2 with backward compatibility (hopefully), these factors could boost Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope sales. What are your thoughts about this news? Let’s discuss this in the comments section below.