Sangokushi VIII (Credit: Tecmo Koei)Successfully launching a video game is no easy task. There are a million details that publishers have to check off the list to get a game out the door, on to shelves, and into your hands.
Over at Tecmo Koei, though, they missed a rather big one: They shipped the wrong game.
It happened in Japan. The publisher was re-releasing Sangokushi VIII -- better known as Romance of the Three Kingdoms here in the U.S. -- in budget form for PSP owners. After tearing open the packaging and loading up the game disc, though, they were greeted with Sangokushi VII, the previous installment of the series.
Those Roman numerals can be tricky, ya know.
To the company's credit, it quickly owned up to the mistake, halting sales and posting a note of apology online. Consumers who bought the game will be supplied copies of the correct one, the company says.
The confusion is bound to bring about a new round of jokes from critics of the series, who have complained that its games are largely indistinguishable from one another.
It's definitely an embarrassing gaffe, but Koei's hardly the first game company to fumble a big component of a product launch.
Earlier this year, Capcom released Resident Evil: Revelations for the Nintendo 3DS, but somehow misspelled the game's name on the packaging. And several years ago, esteemed developer Bungie shipped a version of their strategy game Myth II that included a ruthless bug that, in the company's own words, "erased your entire hard drive, and wiped it cleaner than Ghandi's driving record."
"It was discovered by a very nice young lady in a Japanese office as she worked on the Asian versions of Myth — just as she was trying out the final build," the company explained. "She attempted to uninstall it from the main root folder of her hard drive — not brilliant, but pretty common practice -- and perfectly fine for most games. The game proceeded to eat her hard drive like a fresh Bento Box."
Fortunately, the game hadn't yet shipped to stores and Bungie was able to avert the bad PR. Koei's going to have to bask in it for a while.