After 14 years, one of the devs behind the "fourth-best shooter" of 2010 says it was perfectly positioned to be a cult classic

(Image credit: PlatinumGames)

PlatinumGames' powerslide shooter opus Vanquish launched to good reviews and some dedicated fans, but in a year dominated by some of the best FPS games of all time, it never got much appreciation in its day. Now, one of the devs is reminiscing about how it was basically perfectly positioned to be a cult classic.

Jean Pierre Kellams, narrative producer at PlatinumGames at the time of Vanquish's release in 2010, says on Twitter: "Someone very smart said that year 'never be the third-best shooter.' With BLOPS, Battlefield, and Halo - we were the fourth 'best' shooter. Combine that calendar with some bad marketing and poof - cult classic." 

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In fairness, those games were the original Call of Duty: Black Ops, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Halo: Reach, all of which have proven to be among the most beloved entries in their respective series. But Vanquish was unlike any of them, and not just because of its third-person perspective. It was a fast-paced cover shooter that was as much about moving efficiently as it was about popping off headshots, and one that ended up feeling more like Bayonetta than Gears of War.

We don't need Kellams' comments to recognize that Vanquish has become a cult classic, but I'm taking this as an opportunity to wax a little nostalgic - and to remind you that the game got a re-release on modern platforms, which eliminated the frame rate issues that plagued the original version.

Vanquish was competing against the likes of Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas, and Red Dead Redemption in its year of release, but it was also up against the very perception of Japanese-developed games at the time. In 2010, Capcom was between the most maligned entries in the Resident Evil series, Nintendo had gone all in on casual gaming, and FromSoftware had just put out a niche little action-RPG called Demon's Souls that nobody seemed to quite understand.

At the time, Vanquish just seemed like another in a line of weird-ass Japanese games of not much consequence. But hey, we're in a world where Dragon's Dogma is now a beloved classic with a hotly-anticipated sequel on the way, and FromSoftware - the niche studio that brought you King's Field and Echo Night - is one of the industry's biggest powerhouses. In a way, I guess Vanquish was just far ahead of its time, and on the upside you can still play for an experience that's still unlike anything out there today.

There's a reason we've written multiple times over the past decade about why Vanquish is under-appreciated. 

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.