Rare duo: Viva Pinata left in Gears' wake

Viva Piñata has found moderate success since its release late last year, with about 500,000 units sold, but it's far from the "next great family franchise" it was positioned as. Over at Gamasutra, James Thomas and Justin Cook of Rare discuss why they thought that Viva made less of a splash than many hoped.

Interestingly, the two say that the game was supposed to be more of a symbol for third parties, showing that Microsoft was serious about games for kids. The sales were still low though, something that, in part, they chalk up to the marketing force put behind Gears of War, which shared Viva's launch window. "So much of the money went towards Gears of War, which is going to sell millions anyway," Thomas said. "It was a bit of like, 'What about the other franchise?' I think we got left in the wake somewhat. Hopefully with the PC version this Christmas, it might get something of a second wind."

We'd be more likely to attribute Viva's sales to the fact that the game is too complicated for most kids, but sports cartoon graphics that turn many adult players off. That said, we're sure that Gary Jules on TV every 30 seconds didn't help matters.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.