It's been a good week for Embracer Group and Saber Interactive: after the publisher/developer combo announced that Evil Dead: The Game sold 500,000 units in under a week, it's become clear that there's an appetite for all things multiplayer horror – a trend helped into popularity by the runaway success of games like Dead by Daylight.
During Embracer Group’s Q4 Report presentation, Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch was asked about the launch of Evil Dead: The Game, with the host of the presentation bringing up the game's review scores... which he says "aren't fantastic, but for the genre are quite solid".
In response, Karch notes that the Saber team is "pleasantly surprised" by the scores to date, which have – to date – exceeded the team's internal targets. "The other thing we've learned," Karch continues, "is that the days of a Metacritic score determining how well a game sells are long gone."
Games these days are sold by "social media, by influencers, and by buzz, per Karch."
"Games are sold by the quality of the product itself, irrespective of how well the game performs. I can name games that scored 8s and 9s that, I can tell you, publishers wished they never released. It's nice to put a plaque on your wall, but if you can't afford the nail to hang the plaque, what's the point, right?"
Hinting at Elden Ring and its dominance of the market in the early part of 2022, Karch explained that its hard launching (and monetizing) a game when there's such "a juggernaut" to operate around, but the developer has learned that "there are plenty of ways to monetize product after launch" and that "even premium games are no longer about being put in a box, hoping the first month goes well, and forgetting about it".
Karch says that, in the case of Evil Dead: The Game, it's both reviewing and selling better than the publisher expected, and is a little surprised by its success. To support its initial jolt out the gate, the CEO notes that it will continue to be supported with a lengthy DLC roadmap, because "when a game has a long tail, it needs to be supported."
And if you want more from Evil Dead: The Game, fret not – Karch refers to the game as the “first in a new franchise,” and repeatedly references the "strong legs" and "long tail" of the title. So, aside from the extensive roadmap that Saber has already laid out, you can likely expect to see other games continue the legacy of Sam Raimi's cult series.
Karch also notes that Saber – which has over 50 titles in the works – has plans to release "similar games that rely on similar past horror licenses" and explore a new area of the gaming market.
For now, Karch looks forward to seeing Evil Dead: The Game “continue to kick butt.”