And what exactly is the cause of this bizarre faith in LucasArts' predictions? In the last several years, LucasArts has had an utterly TERRIBLE track record of judging which games are worth releasing, so to assume they'd know how this one would have sold is pretty silly.
In business, any prediction is no more then a guess. Even if they did make some mistakes, it is not a sufficient reason to do the exact opposite of what the sales department advices to do. The people in the head positions can examine their advice more carefully, ask externel bodies to re-eveluate the market, fire all of the people in that department, but it isn't there just for the fun of it. These are the people the president, or whoever, hired, and ultimately, he should either trust them or sack them.
So you think the sales department should have the final say in anything, because anything contradicting what they say is "doing the exact opposite" and should not be considered, even if that sales department has a terrible, terrible track record and can't even justify their own decisions? What? Do you have a vested interest in this? Are you planning on working for a sales department later in life?
Furthermore, Mike Nelson in all likelihood didn't hire those people. Also, by your own admission, you said "he should either trust them or sack them." Regarding this statement: I think they should be sacked, because they make consistently poor decisions. And speaking of poor decisions, I think Mike Nelson should be sacked as well. He hasn't done any good for LucasArts (or Electronic Arts, which he pretty much left in shame), and he isn't even familiar with LEC's product line. This is a man who, in complete seriousness, looked at the Full Throttle 2 concept and said "What are 'cavefish' doing in a biker game?" By the way, shit like this on his part is what DIRECTLY caused Ahern and Ackley to leave LucasArts. When bad company management repeatedly causes talented staff member after talented staff member to leave the company they worked with and loved for years, something is wrong. This whole "ultimate loyalty to sales and executives" thing you're defending is silly. I mean, you shouldn't disagree with everything your boss says, but these conditions were so bad that Schafer, Grossman, Gilbert, Bajakian, Land, McConnel, Ahern, Ackley, Chan, etc., etc. (almost all guys who started at LEC and made their names there) couldn't stand it and left.
I still don't understand why you can't just admit that sometimes companies do stupid things without sufficient reason. History has proven this countless times. We often look back at failed companies and say things like "Man, they REALLY shouldn't have made that completely ridiculous decision." We can ALSO, at DIFFERENT times, say things like "That was a great decision, too bad the odds were stacked against them." This, however, is almost certainly not a case of the second situation.
I don't expect you to keep up on external forums, but gamers all over big mainstream (ie, non-adventure) gaming sites like GameSpot, Shack News, Blues News, and even non-gaming sites like Slashdot have been posting thousands of angry messages. These are not the hardcore adventurers, these are the guys you claim would "prefer the latest version of this or that First-Person Shooter." And even if those guys DO prefer a FPS game, that doesn't mean they can't enjoy or purchase an adventure game. I mean, I prefer Grim Fandango to the original Sam and Max, but that doesn't mean I didn't absolutely love the latter.
I am quite aware of the buzz surrounding this game. I've even seen Sam & Max 2 high on the list of the Readers' Most Expected Games. However, despite what it may look like, this is still the minority out there that is complaining. Otherwise, this genre would be prospering now.
A minority of what? Every single gamer? Obviously. However, this is, hands-down the biggest public outcry I've ever seen for the cancellation of a game with the possible exception of Fallout 3. There's a difference between "adventure games" and "Sam and Max", and you dont' have to be an adventure gamer to want to play Sam and Max 2.
(side note: And not just "Readers'
Most Expected Games." Multiple big gaming publications have put SM2 on the list of the most anticipated games of the publication itself, and PC Gamer even put them on the friggin cover two months ago.)
And while it may be true that MOST adventure games don't end up being huge sellers, games like The Longest Journey and Syberia have provided enormous amounts of revenue to their publishers and those were games with no pre-existing fanbase.
The key word here is missing - relatively. Both of this games were created on a low-budget and aimed at a limited market. Thus, they sold well relatively to the expenses. But a project such as Sam & Max 2 is in a league of its own. It's created by a big firm such as Lucasarts on a much bigger budget, and they cannot be satisfied by decent sales in the European market. A Lucasarts product has to be a hit. For some reason, they thought it wouldn't be, and this is the main point here. I, you, Steve Purcell or anybody else can't possibly know how the game would have fared on the market. Lucasarts decided it would do badly, and so it is fully legitimate to cancel the project. Whether their reasons to do so are valid or not is irrelevent. They made a decision, and they acted according to it. I could not have expected them to do otherwise.
A LucasArts game has to be a hit? So... Gladius: hit? I wouldn't say so. Armed and Dangerous: hit? Ha, ha. RTX: Red Rock: Hit? BWA, HA HA HA HA HA! Those are all examples just from the past few months
. Coincidentally (or possibly not coincidentally at all), the general concensus of quality from the gaming public on those games is pretty much in line with how well they sold. Considering how highly everybody who actually was involved with or was shown Sam and Max 2 thought of the game, it easily had the potential to outsell any of those games. By the way, the sales of RTX were in the low thousands
. Yes, it sold a couple thousand copies, that's it. And LucasArts' sales department pushed it out the door
. Pardon me if I do have even the SLIGHTEST bit of respect for the scumbags in that department, who couldn't analyze gaming trends if faced with the threat of a rabid bunny biting off their balls.
Basically, the vibe I'm getting from your post is "If someone makes a decision, the verdict is automatically acceptable, even if they don't have any good reason." I mean, you're saying (quote) "Whether their reasons to do so are valid or not is irrelevent." Why is that irrelevant? You think we shouldn't have standards of accountability? I feel kind of bad for you, because with that kind of attitude people are just going to walk all over you in life. Of course, this is just a game, but your overall attitude is somewhat worrying.