Has there ever been a point when you’ve looked through your gaming library and wondered, “Huh, whatever happened to this title?” Well, I’ll be taking a look at videogame standalones/franchises and the lead up to their eventual absence. With that being said, today I’ll be asking the question: “Whatever Happened to… MindJack?”
When it comes to videogame development companies, there are a lot of solid names that one can choose from. Examples include: Ubisoft, Bioware, Bungie, Blizzard, Bethesda, Konami, and so many more. One notable absence from this list that you might have noticed is the creator of the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series, Square-Enix. Now, despite not being the biggest fan of the company myself, there’s no denying that they have been an influential part of the games industry for quite some time now. That being said, no developer is without a bad day, and the 11th of January, 2011 was a rather troublesome one for Square-Enix.
The date I’m referring to marks the release of the semi-innovative third-person shooter, MindJack. A game with a rather unique concept, the main premise behind this title was that it gave online players the ability to ‘hack’ into other people’s campaigns to either try to stop them or help them proceed. Despite the interesting idea, however, it wasn’t enough to pull away from other releases of the same year as Mindjack would find itself lacking in sales.
Now, the lack of sales wasn’t really due to MindJack’s lack of ideas (no pun intended). It was more because of the execution. Unfortunately, the title didn’t exactly measure up to industry standards at the time with many critics deeming it to be more last-gen than current. That being said, though, famed (or infamous depending who you ask) games critic Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw had other things to say about the title, stating that MindJack was: “fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking, bad, bad, bad, bad…” which shouldn’t come as a shock to those who keep up with his work.
Now, I bet you’re wondering where Square-Enix comes into the fold as I mentioned them earlier on. Well, truth be told, Square-Enix didn’t actually develop the title, instead deciding to act as publisher. The actual developers were a studio by the name of feelplus. Known for games such as Moon Diver, Ju-On: The Grudge, and No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise, feelplus certainly had the ability to make MindJack a product of success, but it ended up failing when all was said and done. Where Square-Enix had its bad day was by taking a gamble on a fairly fresh studio that attempted to bring something new to the table only to not deliver. With that in mind, MindJack only managed to sell an estimated 180,000 copies which is more than a little lackluster.
So, with all that taken into account, I think it’s clear to see what happened in regards to MindJack. All in all, it was a mishandled property that tried to bank on its one good premise only to come up short. For those hoping for a sequel; I wouldn’t hold out much hope for any continuation of this title considering how poorly it sold, but stranger things have happened in the games industry.