Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma is now lost to history after being deemed a failure by its publisher.
The game’s first volume released digitally on Sept. 22 for the PlayStation 4 and PC on Steam. Afro Samurai 2 received extremely low review scores from critics and users. The game was severely criticized for a laundry list of technical problems, bad gameplay designs and overall poor quality.
Versus Evil, the game’s publisher, removed Afro Samurai 2 from all digital stores earlier this month. The game can no longer be purchased on any platform, although its Steam page is still up. Even if someone already bought and owned the game the PS4, it has also been removed from their digital library and account. This means they can’t re-download and play Afro Samurai 2 in the future. All owners of the game are being given an automatic refund.
Afro Samurai 2 was supposed to be an episodic game, with chapters two and three releasing at a later time. These additional episodes have also been cancelled. The first episode was also supposed to release for Xbox One on Oct. 9 but that version never launched and has also been cancelled. There’s no retail version of the game.
Steve Escalante, the general manager of Versus Evil, explained to CG Magazine the reasons for the game’s sudden removal. “The game was a failure. We could not do, in good conscience, volume 2 and volume 3.”
Revenge of Kuma had cost $14.99 for the game’s first chapter and $34.99 for a bundled release of all its episodes. Escalante said the entire delisting process has been complicated because Sony has never had to do something like this for a game before.
Escalante also said that from a company and consumer viewpoint, taking the game off digital stores and automatically refunding buyers was the best decision. “So we pulled it down, because we didn’t want to exacerbate it anymore and then we’re refunding the money.” He said the company apologizes for the game’s quality.
The game is the follow-up to Afro Samurai, a 2009 retail release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The original was developed by a different studio and published by Bandai Namco. The video games are based on the popular manga and anime license.
Redacted Studios, the game’s developer, opened in 2012 and is based in San Francisco. The independent studio has a limited history of game creation, with Afro Samurai 2 seemingly being its only release. The small development team had less than 10 people working on the project. Some of its members worked on the original game. David S. Robinson, the studio’s president and co-founder, was the senior producer on Afro Samurai. Versus Evil has also published independent games like The Banner Saga (2014) and Toren (2015).
Redacted used the Unity 5 engine to create Afro Samurai 2, which led to a difficult transition from the previous game’s development that used a unique engine. Instead of re-using assets from the first Afro Samurai, the team had to remake everything for Revenge of Kuma without the backing of a major publisher like Bandai Namco. The game’s story was written by Jim DeFelice, a co-founder of Redacted and an author who co-wrote “American Sniper,” the autobiography on Chris Kyle. RZA of the Wu-Tang-Clan produced the game’s soundtrack.
Watch the game’s trailer: