Crimson Alliance developer Certain Affinity believes the game under-performed in part due to expectation it would be just like Diablo.
“Crimson Alliance is neither Diablo nor Torchlight. We knew this from the onset, but we didn’t do a very good job of letting the world know about this before release,” director of product development Phil Wattenbarger said in a post-mortem published by Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer Magazine.
Wattenburger said similarities in art style, setting and the fixed-perspective camera makes Crimson Alliance look like a Diablo clone, but the mechanics are quite different.
“The game is much more similar to a modern version of Gauntlet than it is to a classic loot-based dungeon crawler,” he said.
“Monsters don’t explode like pinatas when killed, and the character advancement is streamlined for fast-action and couch play.”
The “terrific following” of games like Diablo and Torchlight led to a backlash when these fans found Crimson Alliance didn’t deliver the same emphasis on “loot and leveling”.
“While many players and web sites have written that they love the game, others have panned us based on what the game is not,” Wattenburger mourned.
“The amount of vengeful passion behind some of the more polarized scores and forum posts have led us to conclude that to many people, we’ve committed a nearly cardinal sin in the RPG world: We let them believe they were getting a ‘real’ RPG, when in fact, they were getting an action game with RPG trappings.”
Crimson Alliance is available now on Xbox Live Arcade. Certain Affinity is probably best know for Age of Booty, although it contributed content to the Left 4 Dead and Halo series, too.