Rare questions Piñata marketing

Says MS favoured Gears of War.

Rare has questioned owner Microsoft and its decision to pour more money into marketing Gears of War rather than Viva Piata, GamesIndustry.biz reports.

Software engineer James Thomas felt sales of the new family-friendly game were affected by the decision, which propelled Epic's already very sought-after creation to worldwide chart success.

"Most interestingly I think from our point of view, it was interesting to see how the marketing budget was split last Christmas, because obviously everyone knew that Microsoft were publishing Gears of War and Viva Piņata," said Thomas, talking to Gamasutra.

"Yet, so much of the money went towards publishing Gears of War, which was going to sell millions anyway."

"It was a bit like, 'what about the other franchise?' I think we got left in the wake somewhat. Hopefully the PC version this Christmas, it might get something of a second wind."

In the same interview, Justin Cook, who worked as a designer on Viva Piņata, notes that the game has sold "close to half a million sales now, so that isn't a terrible debut for a game."

In contrast, Epic's Gears of War broke records on release, becoming the fastest-selling next-gen console game and hitting 3 million sales within ten weeks, as well as becoming the most played game on Xbox Live.

Epic Games president Michael Capps said earlier this year that much of the success of the game was due to a big marketing budget, and the company was "extremely lucky" to have the backing of Microsoft.

However, Microsoft does still has faith in the Piņata franchise. At E3 this year it unveiled Viva Piņata: Party Animals in development at Krome Studios, and Climax's Games for Windows version of the original is due shortly. A DS version is also in development.

Viva Piata is due for release this Christmas, where it will ironically share shelf space once again with Gears of War, albeit the PC version due out on 9th November.

News lurks everywhere, which is why GamesIndustry.biz is far more important than breeding animals or chainsawing Locust.

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