Mad Max game lead hits back at Furiosa director’s “complete arrogance” over the open-world game, blames Metal Gear Solid 5’s release as a factor for “bad sales”

The studio founder behind 2015’s open-world Mad Max game has hit back at Fury Road and Furiosa director George Miller’s suggestion that Hideo Kojima should make a new adaptation of the film series.

Earlier this week, George Miller said that Avalanche Studio’s 2015 adaptation, which has become something of a cult classic, “wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be,” and hinted that he’d like Hideo Kojima to take on a new adaptation. Putting aside the fact that Kojima has three games in development and that’s probably already two too many (and Miller’s own involvement in one of those games, Death Stranding 2), there’s been some significant pushback against Miller’s comments.

A large part of that pushback stems from Christofer Sundberg, founder of Mad Max developer Avalanche Studio, which is arguably best known for the Just Cause series. In a series of posts on Twitter, Sundberg hits back at the “complete arrogance” of Miller’s statement, lambasting it as “complete nonsense.”

This is complete nonsense and just shows complete arrogance. They did everything they could to make this a complete linear game after having signed up with a developer of open-world games. I’m sure Hideo Kojima would make an awesome Mad Max game, but it would be a completely… https://t.co/eFwogyfDNYMay 23, 2024

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Miller suggests that the success of the game “wasn’t in our hands,” but Sundberg’s responses suggest that wasn’t the case. “They did everything they could to make this a complete linear game after having signed up with a developer of open-world games,” he says in one tweet, going on to say that “after the first year of development they realized they had forced us to make a linear experience rather than the open world game we pitched.” That resulted in Avalanche throwing out “a year of work,” while being told that “‘players want autonomy'” – something relatively apparent to the team behind Just Cause.

That was just the start of the game’s woes, according to Sundberg, as Mad Max was eventually “forced to release” on the exact same day as Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain – Hideo Kojima’s own game driven by player agency and large open world-style maps. It was also one of the most hotly-anticipated games of 2015, and it dwarfed Mad Max. Sundberg claims that publisher Warner Bros “blamed [Avalanche] for the bad sales,” despite apparently refusing to adjust the release date – “it was a hell of a great game, but released in a terrible release window, which we could not convince the publisher to do otherwise.” As a result of those poor sales, Warner Bros also “cancelled a bunch of awesome DLC that was just sitting there waiting to be released.”

Mad Max was eventually well-received by players, with 91% ‘Very Positive’ reviews on Steam, and a MetaCritic user score of 79. That’s far from a bad game, but it does go to show how much of an impact a troublesome release window can have – much-beloved FPS Titanfall 2 is well-known to have suffered as a result of launching between that year’s Call of Duty and Battlefield games. Now, it’s increasingly common for games to publicly acknowledge that they’re getting out of the way of genre juggernauts – from Baldur’s Gate 3 dodging Starfield to the Prince of Persia roguelike distancing itself from Hades 2. Back in 2015, however, that strategy wasn’t really in the playbook, and Mad Max suffered as a result.

Check out our list of the best open-world games.

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