505 Games has taken the rare move of canceling further development of the already-released Ashes Cricket 2013 to protect the licensor from fallout over the abysmal quality of the game.
Developed by Trickstar Games, Ashes Cricket 2013 was first delayed past the first Ashes this year to arrive in time for the event's unusual second showing, but was met with universal ridicule.
Having been pulled from Steam earlier in the week, 505 Games has confirmed the title is now no longer in development.
“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," read a statement from the company to Rock Paper Shotgun.
"The net result of the challenges we have faced was a game which, despite our best efforts over the course of a two year development, couldn't meet the quality benchmarks of either us, our licensors or our customers.”
The game had the backing of the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia, and 505 admitted that it let both these organisations down.
“505 Games' main priority right now is to protect the Ashes name and that of the ECB and Cricket Australia, and do what we can to recompense the cricket community,” the statement continued.
A full refund has been offered to anyone who bought the game.
Just how a cricket game could be released in such a state - there isn't even an animation for catching the ball - is still unknown, and Trickstar has been unavailable for comment.
It's even more puzzling considering that one of its previous foray into the cricket franchise - International Cricket 2010 - scored well, and even picked up a Bafta nomination.
It's definitely not a good sign that a studio with a proven track record of excellence that advertises “a solid Unity technology based production pipeline and have made quality the foundation of the studio” has let something like this see the light of day, but there has been no official suggestion that Tickstar has run into administrative trouble or laid off staff.
All that can be gathered from 505 Games's statement and what is known of Trickstar is that the Studio's prior experience and assets with Cricket games – which frequently make use of rapid camera changes - did not transfer well into the Unity game engine.
"It is clear that, in this instance, we have fallen way short of our stated aims and failed to deliver,” said 505 Games.
“We know that the mitigating factors, as highlighted above, hold little solace to the hordes of excited cricket fans worldwide who had hoped this year to be able to play out their fantasy of playing in the Ashes series."