Just over a month ago Retro City Rampage arrived on the Wii Shop on the Wii and, of course, Wii U, bringing a wacky, irreverent tale cloaked in endless parodies and retro-GTA infused gameplay. As a last fling for the WiiWare service, it was in our opinion worth the wait.
As explained to us in our interview with the game's creator, Brian Provinciano, he had serious doubts whether the title would make him any money on the Nintendo platform due to the infamous WiiWare sales threshold; failure to shift a certain number of units means that the developer receives no payment at all. With the Wii's online platform long past its glory days, Provinciano said the following about his motivation for following through with the release, and his fears for the worst.
And as it stands, virtually no games hit the threshold these days, so it’s only being released as fan service. A $20,000 gift to the fans. However, I wanted to keep my word and didn’t want to see it go to waste. I’m happy to see it finally out, and the many happy players. That said, I encourage everyone to buy it! I’m crossing my fingers that it will hit the threshold at least in one region.
Even with the — admittedly clunky — option for Wii U owners to also pick this up in the new system's Wii Mode, it seems the title is underperforming and struggling to hit the magic barrier of financial return. It's been revealed that the game has shifted around 100,000 copies across its five platforms, with PS3 and PC performing well, though Xbox 360 sales have disappointed. WiiWare sales are unsurprisingly the lowest of the lot, to a worrying extent for Provinciano, as he told Destructoid.
It hasn't sold anywhere near 5,000 units on WiiWare. It has, in fact, sold only about 25% of the threshold.
Considering the fact that the WiiWare version is cheaper than on other home consoles, that's certain to be a big disappointment. It's a shame that such a good title is toiling to such a degree on the Wii platform, and provides a timely reminder that its online service is seemingly becoming nonviable for developers; thankfully the sales threshold has long since been abandoned on the eShops.
Have you downloaded Retro City Rampage, and what are your thoughts on this scenario? Sound off in the comments below.