Back in June, the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight launched with so many technical problems, Warner Bros. made the highly unusual decision to pull it from sale and refund players who bought it. It was simply too broken to stay in stores.
However, even more unusual is developer Versus Evil's recent decision to pull Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma from sale and offer anyone who already bought it a refund. It's not that the game is horribly buggy. It's just bad. The combat is repetitive, the voice work is offensive and poorly acted, and other systems are either confusing or meaningless. Basically, it's no fun.
Based on the animated movie featuring the voice of Samuel L. Jackson as the protagonist, Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma, which released in September, is a sequel to the original third-person action game released in 2009. Versus Evil's plan was to release it in three volumes, but since the first volume was reviewed so poorly, that's no longer happening.
"The game was a failure," General Manager of Versus Evil Steve Escalante told CGMagazine. "We could not do, in good conscience, volume 2 and volume 3. So we've begun the process, it's been a long process to figure it out because Sony has never really had to do this in this way, but we're returning all the money. So across the board we're putting out an apology saying 'sorry about this.'"
At the time of writing, Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma had already been removed from online stores like Steam.
GameSpot, which gave the game a "terrible" score of 2/10, said that "every moment brings new problems to light, and it doesn't take long before you want to put the controller down and walk away." Like the first game, Afro Samurai 2 was also offensive in its representation of women, gratuitous violence, and juvenile cussing. "Afro Samurai 2 needlessly objectifies women for the sake of nothing but titillation and attitude," GameSpot continued. "The reverb from this particular blare of ignorance is deafening."
The game currently has a Metacritic average review score of 21/100, compared to a 65/100 for the original game. I've played that first Afro Samurai game. It was also bad, so the fact that the sequel isn't much better doesn't surprise me, but pulling it from sale is a completely different story. As you might be able to tell from Escalante's comments, it implies a certain level of humility.
Think of it this way: Versus Evil would rather make the game and its memory go away forever than keep it in stores and cut its losses with whatever money it will generate in sales over the years.
Even Batman: Arkham Knight, which sadly is still broken in many ways, didn't go that far.