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Default Ascaron - Files for Insolvency!

April 17th, 2009, 19:56
According to their own homepage, Ascaron has filed for insolvency! This step was necessary due to delays during Sacred 2's four year development cycle.
Sacred 2 sold more than 100k in Germany and more than 400k units worldwide so far.
Work on the Sacred 2 console versions has been successfully finished. Both Sony and Micrsoft have given their approval. Now Ascaron is working on a Sacred 2 addon and the successor Sacred 3.
Ascaron confirmed they are in take-over negotiations with well-known parties. The talks will continue in close cooperation with their preliminary insolvency administrator.

This doesn't necessarily spell the end for the developer and publisher. It simply means that the company, at the time of the filing, didn't have enough cash on the bank to pay all bills. Now the preliminary insolvency administrator will assess Ascaron's business modell and every asset they have, try to find solutions with all creditors, modify the business so that it can be pursued successfully, and try to save as many of the 90 jobs as possible.
Ascaron had to file for bankruptcy once before, back in 2001. They survived after painful cuts.
The most probable candidates for taking over Ascaron are Ubisoft and Koch Media. Ubi has already successfully integrated two other experienced German studios, Blue Byte (The Settlers) and Sunflowers (Anno / nnnn A.D.). Koch Media's premium label Deep Silver publishes Sacred 2 in several European Countries. Both companies are big enough to stem such an acquisition.
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April 17th, 2009, 19:57
Only 400k in 5 months must be a disappointment after the 2M+ units during Sacred's lifecycle. They must have hoped for more.
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April 17th, 2009, 20:37
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Only 400k in 5 months must be a disappointment after the 2M+ units during Sacred's lifecycle. They must have hoped for more.
How long did they need to sell those 2M+ units?
Sacred was released quit a while ago.
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April 17th, 2009, 20:43
Yes, but Sacred was unknown while Sacred 2 is the successor to a generally well received game.

Official word is that they are satisfied. But what else should they say?
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April 17th, 2009, 21:54
IMHO they just had good luck with Sacred 1. It came whgen then action players were thirsting for a new game.

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April 17th, 2009, 22:23
Sacred 1 and 2 are maybe the best aRPG's, and I was exited when I heard about the add-on.

I really hope they can manage the situation.
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April 17th, 2009, 22:59
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
IMHO they just had good luck with Sacred 1. It came whgen then action players were thirsting for a new game.
Yes! Agreed.
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April 17th, 2009, 23:54
What a funny news cycle…

Sacred for consoles finished! Sacred 2 addon on the way! Sacred 3 on the way!

…oh, by the way, the company bringing you all these games files for bankrupcy!

Just reads a little absurdly…

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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April 18th, 2009, 00:15
It's totally unclear how serious the situation really is.

Anything between the two extremes "they're completely fucked" and "they only ran temporarily out of cash" is possible. German bankruptcy law makes it quite clear that management has to file for insolvency within a very short time if they are convinced the company cannot fulfil its financial commitments. If they don't do it they could be liable with their private property, despite the company being a GmbH (similar to Limited).

Ascaron has 4-5 SKUs in the pipeline over the next couple of months. If they survive that long (plus the time it takes for the money to filter through), they could be back on track.
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April 18th, 2009, 00:18
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
What a funny news cycle…

Sacred for consoles finished! Sacred 2 addon on the way! Sacred 3 on the way!

…oh, by the way, the company bringing you all these games files for bankrupcy!

Just reads a little absurdly…
Sounds so, but it's perfectly logical.

They're sending out a couple of messages:
1. We are seeking a bigger partner.
2. Two SKUs are ready, so money will come in quickly.
3. Another SKU (addon) will ship in the summer.
4. We have a valuable franchise which we'll continue.
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April 18th, 2009, 01:19
Once I was able to install the thing and get the patches to work Sacred 2 was actually a good game. Hope they make it.
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April 18th, 2009, 02:38
I think sales for Sacred 2 will keep going since there are a lot of people that can't play the game because it is too resource intentsive. I wasn't able to play the game until I upgraded my system because it lagged too much and that was with a decent computer that was almost the best you could get a few years ago.

PS. This was even at the lowest settings that it lagged too much.
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April 18th, 2009, 05:37
Australian law is also very strict about trading while insolvent.

Very disappointing sales for this product, considered against their likely expectations. I would say they have been hurt on four fronts:

- Unstable release
- High system specs
- Confusing international release schedule
- Migration of players to consoles

This really is a great game but the marketing message wasn't coherent because the timing for different regions was all over the place and the console launch kept getting put back. They probably needed a release for cash flow but a single, international launch on all platforms would have received far more attention. I've heard people say they couldn't find it on US shelves.

My partner Kayla would also like to play it (she's a perfect example of that casual but obsessive female demographic that like The Sims etc) but it just won't play on her notebook, despite all that rubbish about optimisation for them.

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April 18th, 2009, 07:25
It probably won't play on most notebooks and the only ones it will work on are high end.

It wouldn't work on the below specs even on low settings. (extreme lag)
amd 3800+ X2
geforce 7800gt 256mb
2gb ram
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April 18th, 2009, 08:33
I guess Sacred 2 just didn't have enough new eye opening features to separate itself from its first part and the rest action rpgs. It wasn't released in its best shape either. After the latest 2.40 patch, the game has become more enjoyable. (At last the player is allowed to skip difficulty levels to more challenging ones without completing each one at a time. )

Even after filing for insolvency, is Ascaron allowed to release new products like the Xbox and PS3 versions of Sacred2? I imagine those would give some returns for the company to go on.
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April 18th, 2009, 10:11
Ascaron's games have serious quality flaws for years now. Anstoss, Port Royal as well as Sacred 1 have been clearly released to early and would have needed more polishing. Their business model doesn't really work, it seems to be depending on the success of one single game. It's not their first file for insolvency, the already had been bankrupt between August 2001 and February 2002.

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April 18th, 2009, 11:44
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Australian law is also very strict about trading while insolvent.
What do you mean with "trading" in this context?



Originally Posted by Avantenor View Post
Ascaron's games have serious quality flaws for years now. Anstoss, Port Royal as well as Sacred 1 have been clearly released to early and would have needed more polishing. Their business model doesn't really work, it seems to be depending on the success of one single game. It's not their first file for insolvency, the already had been bankrupt between August 2001 and February 2002.
I've also heard they were in the ropes when Sacred came out.


Originally Posted by Surlent View Post
Even after filing for insolvency, is Ascaron allowed to release new products like the Xbox and PS3 versions of Sacred2? I imagine those would give some returns for the company to go on.
They'll continue their normal business, with the difference that the preliminary insolvency administrator has the final say and the sole control about money. If they saw the insolvency coming and were prepared there's a realistic chance they could make a suggestion as to whom the court should appoint as preliminary insolvency administrator though. The job went to a lawyer from their home town. Of course only the people involved can say whether or not they had the chance to pick their temporary new boss.
His job is to both satisfy the creditors and keep as many people employed as possible. The good thing is that the Sacred franchise is worth millions, the brand Ascaron (possibly Germany's oldest active studio) is well known and it's not unrealistic to assume a small 8 digit sum will come in over the next two years through all the Sacred 2 SKUs (especially on consoles). So there is substance for negotiations.

It is possible that the employment bureau pays the wages for up to 3 months. But that's complicated stuff, I don't know enough about it.
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April 18th, 2009, 13:52
If worse comes to worse, hopefully they can release any tools and such necessary for there to be community patches in the future for Sacred 2 to further fix things up, kinda like how the situation went for Iron Lore and the Titan Quest games but hopefully better.

I grabbed Sacred 1 off GoG so hopefully that revenue stream will help at bit as well as I surely can't be the only one.
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April 18th, 2009, 18:50
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I've heard people say they couldn't find it on US shelves.
That would be me at this thread.

It was only yesterday (04/17.2009) I saw Sacred 2 at a computer store here in California for the first time.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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April 18th, 2009, 20:28
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
It wouldn't work on the below specs even on low settings. (extreme lag)
amd 3800+ X2
geforce 7800gt 256mb
2gb ram
Not to derail the thread, but I played it well enough on a computer weaker in every regard - Sempron 2800+, GeForce 7600, 1.5GB RAM. Yes, it was all on low and lagged a lot at certain times, but you could definitely play it. I assume your should be able to run it fine - perhaps you were hit by the sound issues? Have you tried downloading sound drivers (for your integrated card, I know it helped me a lot)?
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