BBC News

Ashes Cricket 2013 game taken off sale

By Dave Lee
Technology reporter, BBC News

media captionThe official video game for the Ashes cricket tour has been pulled from sale after gamers branded it "shameful", "embarrassing" and "farcical". Footage credit: 505 Games

The official video game for the Ashes cricket tour has been pulled from sale after gamers branded it "shameful", "embarrassing" and "farcical".

Publisher 505 Games apologised and said refunds would be given to those who had purchased the title for PC.

The game had already been delayed by several months, and will now be abandoned entirely.

One games journalist said it was "clearly unfinished" and "didn't even have an animation for catching". editor-in-chief Simon Miller said such a botched launch was unprecedented.

"They were never going to get away with it," he told the BBC.

"Usually if a game is pulled they delay it - but for them to say they can't do this at all, it must have been an absolute nightmare in development."

The game was made available on Valve's Steam online store on 22 November.

Future releases on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U were never given a firm date. The title had originally been scheduled for release to coincide with the Ashes test that took place this summer.

Footage of glitches in the game were quickly uploaded to YouTube. One clip, uploaded by editor Matt Whitehorn, showed fielders in a state of confusion, dancing around and throwing the ball in random directions.

Misplaced assurances

505 Games blamed the lacklustre quality on Australian-based Trickstar Games - the developer contracted to make the game.

"The development of Ashes Cricket 2013 has been fraught with challenges almost from the outset," 505 Games said.

"The chosen developer, even with their many years of cricket game development experience, was unable to overcome the unexpected challenges that the chosen game engine threw up, even with multiple extensions to the development schedule.

image captionThe title was originally scheduled for release in summer 2013, but was pushed back

"At the start of the project, 505 Games received all assurances from the developer that the engine was up to the task of creating a dynamic, cutting-edge cricket game for the modern age across multiple platforms, and unfortunately those assurances were found to be misplaced."

The company went on to apologise to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia, as well as various sponsors involved in the series.

It added: "Our deepest apologies, however, are reserved for the fans of cricket and cricket games worldwide."

Trickstar Games has not commented on the issue.

'Extremely disappointed'

The official rights to produce the game are dished out jointly by the ECB and Cricket Australia.

A spokesman for the ECB said: "The ECB entered into a licensing agreement with 505 Games, in conjunction with Cricket Australia, with the intention of producing a high quality game linked to both the recent Ashes Test Series in England and the current one in Australia.

"We are extremely disappointed that the product did not match our expectations and would like to extend sincere apologies to any supporters who purchased this product."

505 Games has said that those who purchased the game will be contacted shortly with details of how to claim the refund.

In the meantime, gamers took to social media and forums to poke fun at the product.

"I'm struggling to understand why Ashes Cricket 2013 was pulled from sale," tweeted Peter Parrish. "It's the comedy game of the year."

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

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