The Fall of Babylon’s Fall – Why Babylon’s Fall Failed

Latest posts by Elijah Lee (see all)

Platinum Games is a developer that perfected the art of the hack-and-slash game, creating excellent titles such as Nier: Automata, Astral Chain, and Bayonetta teaming up with publisher Square Enix, arguably the masters of RPGs and storytelling, sounds like a match made in heaven.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Platinum Games set out to make the next great action RPG, a live-service game with a solid single-player campaign and multiplayer activities where you and three friends face challenges and collect loot.

Babylon’s Fall would join the rank of other failed live service games such as Godfall. “Maybe they should stop putting ‘Fall’ in the title of live-service games,” I say as I remember Destiny 2: Lightfall releases this month.

And speaking of Destiny 2, I will be referencing the game because love it or hate it, Destiny is a live-service game that other games like Babylon’s Fall have wanted to mimic the success of. The tragic thing is that if companies learned from Destiny and its developer Bungie’s mistakes and triumphs, they would’ve had a better chance of succeeding.

The Game That Never Lived

Why Babylon's Fall Failed

To say that Babylon’s Fall died isn’t entirely accurate because the game never lived. At launch, the game only had around 650 concurrent players. That is not good for most games coming from a developer as big as Platinum Games, but it’s especially terrible for a live-service game.

For a live-service game to succeed, you need to have enough active players to support the matchmaking for your various activities. Without that the player misses out on a large portion of the game. The peak number of players for Babylon’s Fall was 1,166, and that number only got lower. As of writing this, as seen on steam chart, the current peak number of players for Babylon’s Fall is 14.

But how did it get this bad? The trouble started when the game was released and would continue well beyond its launch.

The Beta Test

Why Babylon's Fall Failed

On paper, Babylon’s Fall sounds like it should work. A live-service hack-and-slasher from the developer that made its name creating hack-and-slashers. However, the execution of the game would have us all scratching our heads in anger and frustration. The cracks in the game started to show during the beta test. Platinum wanted to try something new. The official Babylon’s Fall about page says: “Babylon’s Fall features unique visuals created with an original “Brushwork Filter” that gives the world a look reminiscent of living medieval oil paintings.”

Which again sounds excellent on paper. Kudos to them for trying something new, but unfortunately, the graphics looked unrefined, almost blurry, and, for the love of god, why is everything so brown?

I know you’re probably tired of every time the graphics in a video game aren’t up to par with the writer’s standards, the first thing they do is compare it to a PS3 game. It gets old. However, with all sincerity and not the slightest bit of hyperbole, I can say that there are PS3 games that look better than Babylon’s Fall. Platinum heard the fans’ outcry and tried to improve the graphics. It made the game sharper, but overall it still looked pretty much the same.

Then players noticed that Babylon’s Fall was reusing assets from Final Fantasy 14. First, I don’t think a developer reusing an asset is inherently wrong. As a 3D artist, I know how tight deadlines can be and that budgets are not infinite. So if a developer reuses some older content, I usually don’t mind.

However, to reuse assets from an entirely different game, and not something innocuous like a lamp or a chair; they re-used entire sets of armor and weapons.

Babylon’s Fall follows the Looter-Shooter template, where the goal is to do activities and kill enemies to get gear. The more challenging the activity, the better the reward. The driving force behind this type of game is the gear. The incentive of getting better equipment to show off or use on enemies. It’s very unsatisfying to get gear that is reused from another game even if that gear is low to mid-level gear. And without that dopamine hit from getting NEW and flashy gear from completing an activity, the activity and game itself lose all meaning.The fact that this was done in Babylon’s Fall screams of a developer and publisher that are out of touch with their core audience.

This questioned the overall quality of the game and speculation about the overall effort Platinum was putting into making the game. Platinum Games’ response was underwhelming. The apology didn’t do anything to reassure fans.


Babylon's Fall Gameplay

Along with the realization about the graphics and assets, the beta feedback about the combat ranged from moderate to lackluster. I didn’t feel the combat was terrible; however, it didn’t feel like the over-the-top action and tight controls one would expect from Platinum Games. Though Platinum Games attempted to fix the combat after the beta feedback, it never quite measured up to people’s expectations. I personally didn’t feel there was much difference between the beta and the game we got at launch.

The gameplay revolved around an item known as Gideon’s Coffin that is fused to your character’s spine. The coffin allows the character to use four weapons and switch them on the fly. That is the start of what sounds like a good idea, but for that to be the only gameplay mechanic makes it less of a mechanic and more of a gimmick.

To make Babylon’s Fall, Platinum Games created a separate division just for their live-service games. Though not every one of their core staff was working on Babylon’s Fall, they still have some well-known names on the team. One of those names was game director Kenji Saito who also directed Metal Gear Rising Resurgence, a competent and respectable action game. But for whatever reason, none of the things that made Metal Gear’s combat fun and stand out showed up in Babylon’s Fall. The combat in Babylon’s Fall isn’t broken. It is just uninspired, which makes it not fun.

Launch and Reception

Why Babylon's Fall Failed

The beta comes and goes, and with a litany of bad press and negative feedback, Platinum Games and Square Enix could’ve delayed the game but instead decided to continue business as usual while also doing little to no marketing for the game.

It is unknown whether the marketing was pulled because of the game’s lousy reception or if it was always planned like that. But the lack of marketing leading up to the game’s launch didn’t help to increase sales. Then the reviews came in. The game currently has a 41% on Metacritic, with almost every reputable news source giving the game low review scores. So if there was anyone on the fence about getting the game, I’m sure the abundance of poor reviews pushed them toward not getting it. Additionally, player reception wasn’t better either with most of the 200 reviews of the game being below 50% on SteamTo make matters worse, Platinum Games and Square Enix decided to release Babylon’s Fall within a week of Elden Ring’s launch.

If you want your game to go unnoticed, release it the same week as the most anticipated game of that year. If anyone was interested in Babylon’s Fall, they were probably too busy playing Elden Ring to notice its release.

Content Drought

Babylon's Fall

As the 700 players who played the game at launch would find out, there wasn’t much game there. The single-player campaign was short, and the multiplayer activities were repetitive. To mitigate this, Platinum Games announced a Babylon’s Fall Nier: Automata crossover where the premium battle pass would be free for a month, and players could get cosmetics to dress up as Nier characters and go on Nier: Automata themed quests.

This event ran from March 29th to April 26th and seemed to show that Platinum Games was not confident in Babylon’s Fall content and was desperately trying to use the popularity of a much better game to attract players. Sadly, this did little to draw in new players, and their player count continued to drop.

A Dry Story

Babylon's Fall Story

In the story of Babylon’s Fall, you play a Babylonian with a device known as a Gideon’s Coffin fused to your spine. This allows you to summon four weapons as you climb the ziggurat, defeat enemies, and collect loot.

That’s it. That’s the story. The story here is just an excuse to get the player from point A to point B. The plot describes every looter-shooter but with a few keywords thrown in.

The problem with this is that live-service games need a story to help keep players interested and coming back for more. Each season of the game builds up the story and gives players new mysteries and satisfying conclusions. The story helps get players invested in your world and helps them feel like they’re a part of it. Poor storytelling was one of the main criticisms behind Destiny when it was released, and it was an issue that would plague the game even into its sequel, Destiny 2.

Destiny 2’s player base had dwindled considerably, losing 60% of its concurrent players at one point. So it’s no coincidence that their concurrent players would finally peek over 1 million after putting the story in the forefront. There were, of course, other factors, but a good story keeps people playing and gets them talking, which brings other potential players interested. There’s a reason games like Destiny and World of Warcraft have youtube channels dedicated to their lore.

Babylon’s Fall’s shallow story did nothing to inspire excitement in its players. No characters to get attached to and no stakes to get invested in, equates to a detached player base who will not return.


Babylon's Fall

Live-service games are expensive, and to do them correctly, they need consistent content and updates. This requires paying people to make that content and updates. Because of this microtransactions tend to be inherent to live-service games.

At launch, Babylon’s Fall had a Premium Battle Pass. It was free for the first season but players would have to pay for it afterward.

Despite this Babylon’s Fall doesn’t miss a chance to push its microtransactions on its players. The battle pass had 100 tiers to unlock, and in order to unlock them, the players needed to collect battle points. The problem with this is the time it took to earn the points in the game, which required you to play daily and weekly activities; the grind to get 100 was difficult. It was almost as if players were being pushed toward the second way of unlocking battle pass tiers, which was by paying for them. Each tier could be unlocked for 150 “Garaz,” the game’s in-game currency that’s obtained with real-world money.

The smallest amount of Garaz you could purchase at one time was 300. 1 Garaz translated to roughly 0.1 USD, so to unlock 100 tiers of the battle pass with Garaz would cost $150. The battle pass mainly consisted of exclusive cosmetic items and emotes, and there were vendors who pushed other microtransactions as well.

To put it into perspective, the game costs $59.99, and the premium battle pass costs $9.99, and that’s not to mention all of the other microtransactions Babylon’s Fall pushed on its players. And all this for a game that openly reuses armor, weapons, and emotes from another game. When you purchase a live service game, it’s like an investment. You buy the initial game knowing you’ll have to pay for the add-ons. So, when you purchase it, you’re buying into the promise of things to come.

But with the launch of Babylon’s Fall being so lackluster, it was hard to buy into its future.

Season 2

Babylon's Fall Season 2

After a disastrous launch, Platinum Games took to social media, asking players how to improve the game for the next update. In response to players’ complaints of lack of content, Season 2 of Babylon’s Fall, known as Light of Aaru, would feature 80 new quests, a new faction for players to join, a new weapon type, and a new element called Helio.

This sounds like a heap of content on paper, but it was too late. Many, myself included, felt that this content should have been available at launch. And more importantly, Babylon’s Fall had lost the trust of its player base so much so that by May, two months after launch, the second season was released, and it did little to nothing to increase the player count. On May 1st, Babylon’s Fall had its lowest number of concurrent players, with just one person. One person saw the beauty in this disaster and kept the game alive. Babylon’s Fall had fallen.

Square Enix

Babylon's Fall Square Enix

So we know what events led to the game’s failure, but how did this happen? Platinum Games is a great developer; how did they miss the mark so broadly?

I feel Platinum Games is unfairly taking allof the blame when some, should fall on Square Enix. I don’t see a developer like Platinum Games going to their publisher asking for help and saying,” Hey, we need help with this game. Can we reuse some of the assets from your other game?” I think it’s more likely that Platinum Games went to Square Enix asking for help in either more time or more budget, and Square Enix’s response was, “Here, make do with these old assets from Final Fantasy 14.”

In an official blog post, Yosuke Saito, producer of Babylon’s Fall, describes that he was doing a presentation for the game when, Final Fantasy 14, director and producer Naoki Yoshida asked if he wanted help. This would lead to Platinum Games re-using assets from Final Fantasy 14. This would suggest to me that something in that presentation suggested to Mr.Yoshida that Platinum Games needed help. It feels odd to me that a developer and publisher as renowned as Square Enix would see a developer in need and would suggest reusing assets from another game rather than allowing for more time or money.

Square Enix seems to struggle to support developers of live-service games. Just look at Marvel’s Avengers, another live-service game ending support way too soon due to its underperformance. Crystal Dynamic, the developer who worked on Marvel’s Avengers, and Platinum Games, are both competent developers. The common then denominator seems to be Square Enix. Babylon’s Fall isn’t up to Platinum Games’ usual standards; look at the character models from Nier: Automata, another Square Enix and Platinum Games collaboration.

Babylon's Fall

There is a stark difference between the two. Also, keep in mind both those images are screenshots from an official press release. So both pictures are meant to be glamor shots, showcasing the game’s graphics.

A video game’s publisher’s responsibility is to take care of the marketing and make sure the developer has the time and money to focus on developing the game well. To do a live-service game successfully, you need a lot of time and money upfront, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the money and time it takes to maintain the game and make additional content.

Square Enix’s philosophy seemed to be to reduce costs by any means necessary. It feels like they sought to save money by reducing the content in the first season so that the second season (the season they were charging for) would have more content. I think they wanted to put in as little money as possible upfront and then make money with microtransactions, battle passes, and DLC. The problem is Babylon’s Fall made a terrible first impression, and no one was buying what they were selling.

Could It Have Been Saved?

Babylon's Fall

There were many contributing factors to the game’s failure, but could it have been saved?

I think it could have, and I think there’s one significant thing they could have done that might have changed everything. Instead of releasing the game in March, Square Enix and Platinum Games should have delayed the release. The second season was released on May 31st; even if they had waited until then and combined season one and season two content, I think they would have made a better impression on the community.

If they had delayed the game and put in more time and money, they could have put in original assets, not just reused the ones from Final Fantasy, and they could have polished the combat to be on par with their other games. This would have also helped get the game from under Elden Ring’s shadow and give it a chance to shine. People hate delays, but it would have shown that player feedback was being considered and built trust with the community.


Question: Is Babylon’s fall Cancelled?

Answer: Yes, on September 13, 2022 it was announced that Babylon’s Fall would terminate service after less than a year being live.

Question: What went wrong with babylons fall?

Answer: A bad open beta test with bad graphics, basic gameplay and reused assets. This caused potential players to lose faith in the game before it even launched.

Question: Is Babylon’s fall online only?

Answer: Yes, Babylon’s Fall is a live-service games so it must be connected to the server in order to be played. Even the signle player campaign.


Why did Babylon’s Fall fail? First, the game was released before it was fully realized because the players’ feedback was met with broken promises and little to no actual changes.

The game itself isn’t broken; it’s just uninspired. It feels like a knock-off of a much better game that doesn’t exist. The players’ experience was put second to monetization and microtransactions.

Gamers have become too savvy and too good at spotting when developers aren’t putting their best foot forward when releasing a game. We all saw that Babylon’s Fall would be a trainwreck, which makes it all the more surprising that Platinum Games and Square Enix didn’t see this coming.

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