If you didn't know The Culling 2 came out last week, that's probably for the best since developer Xaviant Games announced today that it will be pulling the game from PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The reason? The Culling 2 didn't perform very well at launch, with negative player reviews and a total player count in the single digits. The latter is particularly bad if you're an online multiplayer game like The Culling 2.
Instead Xaviant announced that it will be returning to the first The Culling, pulling the sequel from stores and restarting development on The Culling 1. Xaviant is also releasing the earliest build of The Culling 1 appropriately titled The Culling Day One.
Xaviant director of operations Josh Van Veld made the announcement in a video post today where he said, "Last week we launched The Culling 2, and that launch was not successful." Van Veld added, "One thing that's emerged very clearly for us is The Culling 2 is not a game you asked for, and it's not the game you expect as a worthy successor to The Culling."
The Culling first released in Early Access back in 2016 and was an early battle royale game featuring 16 players battling it out in a game show like setting. After the popularity of battle royale games like PUBG and Fortnite, development on the first Culling ceased in December 2017.
In June 2018 Xaviant announced The Culling 2 which increased the size of the player pool from 16 to 50. Players were unhappy with the sudden Culling sequel announcement and noted a visual aesthetic closer to PUBG, which Van Veld addressed to PC Gamer citing the evolution of the battle royale genre.
When The Culling 2 launched last week however, reception from players were not great hence the back to the drawing board strategy Xaviant is taking with the series. Along with the return to The Culling Day One and the removal of The Culling 2, development on The Culling 1 will make it so that the version of the game that came out when The Culling left Early Access will resemble the Day One version.
The Culling will also go free-to-play, but not until the updates to The Culling make it closer to the Day One version according to Van Veld in an email to Kotaku.
It's hard to say what will happen to The Culling after the change. The Culling was a popular battle royale game in 2016, but the market for the genre has been overshadowed by the success of Fortnite and PUBG. And as games like Call of Duty and Battlefield get ready to enter the genre it remains to be seen how big the market is for battle royale games in 2018.