Two Worlds 2 — Too Little Too Late?

Two Worlds 2

Two Worlds 2 delayed ... again

Two Worlds 2, the sequel to the critically panned RPG from developer Reality Pump, has been delayed for the second time, according to Joystiq.  Originally set for release on September 23, publisher SouthPeak first pushed the release date to October 5, pointing to Halo Reach as justification.  This week’s news of a second delay, this time to January 2011, raises some concerns.  Especially in light of SouthPeak’s stated reason this time around – “heavyweight quality assurance.”  

I’m willing to accept at face value a publisher’s reluctance to launch a relatively little-known RPG, supported by what I assume to be a relatively modest marketing budget, into the Microsoft – Halo marketing tsunami.  Even Bioware would be wise to sidestep that storm.  But SouthPeak’s excuse for this second delay, which pushes the game out of the lucrative holiday sales window, is not so easily dismissed. 

The game needs several months of additional quality assurance?  Heavyweight quality assurance?  That’s not encouraging. 

Somehow, against all odds and despite the original game’s many, many failings, Two Worlds 2 had actually managed to build some hype.  Screenshots revealed an original-looking fantasy land filled with much better visuals, interesting architecture, and … dinosaurs.  A completely informal and unscientific survey of message board posts and blog comments seemed to suggest that many RPG fans, even some of those burned by the first game, were ready to give Two Worlds 2 a chance.  For me, at least, SouthPeak’s announcement this week deflates much of that hype. 

Two Worlds 2 dinosaur

Forget dragons. Two Worlds 2 promises dinosaurs!

One delay might not be cause for alarm, but in the world of western role-playing games, two delays brings to mind Obsidian’s Alpha Protocol debacle.  (You will recall Obsidian’s much-anticipated espionage RPG, which, after enduring multiple delays last holiday season, was finally released in June of 2010 to generally low review scores.  Exact sales numbers are unknown, but just a month after its release, Sega announced that it had no interest in publishing a sequel.)  Will Two Worlds 2 suffer a similar fate as Alpha Protocol? I hope not.  Despite its problems, Obsidian is one of the best developers of western RPGs.  Reality Pump, on the other hand, is lucky to still exist after the first Two Worlds, and surely cannot survive another bomb.  

What do you think?  Were you anticipating Two Worlds 2?  Did you pre-order it?  Has the news of a second delay made you question your decision?  Can Two Worlds 2 still be salvaged?  Is a T-Rex enough?  Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section! 

Update:  Apparently TopWare Interactive (of which Reality Pump is an internal studio(?)) has told Gamespot that SouthPeak’s earlier statement is incorrect and the real reason for the second delay does not relate to quality, but rather to the crowded release schedule.   True?  Or desperate damage control by PR folks?  You decide.