It is not impossible for games with troubled launches to recover and become successful later in life. Theoretically, with enough development time and funding spent on a project, the salvation of just about any game should be possible. We’ve seen other come-from-behind success stories from other games as well - No Man’s Sky, Final Fantasy 14, Street Fighter 5, Elder Scrolls Online, SWTOR, to name a few. It’s difficult for sure, but not impossible.
That said, no publisher has an infinite amount of time and money to pour into each and every faltering project. For every success story, there are loads of failures and cancellations. Businesses have to make money, after all. Burning a bunch of money in hopes of saving a sinking ship is generally counterproductive. The more money spent on a project without success, the higher the bar for success becomes - the game needs to earn back the initial investment, all the additional time and money spent to rescue it, and still needs to earn a profit beyond that. The real question is how much time and money the publisher is willing to pour into a project before they either achieve success or accept the loss and move on.
Remember, publishers are limited by funding as well. Every dollar spent trying to fix this project is a dollar that could have been spent on a different project instead. That’s really the measure of success that the publishers are weighing each project against - will saving this game be a better investment than green lighting a different, totally new game? Or should they invest those resources into expanding development on another live game that’s doing better? Ultimately, it’s a question of the priorities and decisions of the executives as they choose between tradeoffs. It takes a lot of faith to risk the company’s survival on fixing a bad game. Sometimes it pays off, but the road to success is paved with the corpses of those who didn’t make it.
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