No gamer has to be a cricket fan to remember Ashes Cricket 2013. Released exclusively on PC, Ashes was promised by developer Trickstar Games as the quintessential cricket video game.
Instead, the title shipped sans most of its promised features and was universally slammed by critics. Gamers and journalists alike panned the game for, well, not being finished, and it was removed from the Steam store not long after launch. Since then, Ashes has been reviled as one of if not the worst sports game ever made.
Now a new one is coming out. Ashes Cricket (no year in the name) is slated to hit the field this November.
A sequel to Ashes 2013 sounds like suicide, but this title isn’t quite a sequel. Rather, the game is an entirely new production from Big Ant Studios, an Australian dev with no relation to Trickstar. Unfortunately for Big Ant, the fact that their game is also titled Ashes Cricket may lead many players to assume that this title is a sequel to Trickstar’s cricket quagmire.
This wouldn’t be the first time such a phenomenon occurred: Alien: Isolation, the survival horror game developed by Creative Assembly, suffered a big dent in sales because customers assumed it was a sequel to Gearbox’s much-maligned Aliens: Colonial Marines.
The jury is still out on whether Ashes Cricket will be a good game, but in the interest of preventing it from being unfairly associated with Ashes Cricket 2013, it warrants a closer look. According to Big Ant’s press release, Ashes seeks to be “the most realistic and authentic recreation of the sport ever created.” The game will feature real players from professional men’s and women’s cricket teams, as well as recreations of real grounds on which to play. The game will also feature a career mode in which players can create and manage their own teams.
It’s worth pointing out that most marketing material promulgates its respective video game as being the most authentic or faithful recreation of (insert sport x here) but Big Ant’s Ashes Cricket bears paying attention to for several reasons. The title seems unusually intent on making players feel that they’re in the game rather than merely being a manager or an abstract spectator, what with its heavy focus on a career mode and flexibility with choosing athletes, logos, and even stadiums.
Ashes Cricket looks pretty good. The characters’ facial animations are a little stiff, but the environments seem to have been created with minute attention to detail and impressive lighting effects. Video game trailer should always be taken with a grain of salt, but Ashes Cricket still looks good even when accounting for a bit of post-production airbrushing.
Ashes Cricket should be considered distinct from Ashes Cricket 2013 because the game hasn’t already been delayed multiple times. Yes, simply by sticking to its schedule, Big Ant’s game holds a distinct advantage over Trickstar’s oft-delayed production. It’s too early to say whether Ashes Cricket will actually be the penultimate cricket simulator that fans of the sport have been waiting for, but the game seems well-positioned to gun for that crown. Ashes Cricket is scheduled to release this November on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.