Sacred 3 didn't go over particularly well with fans of the franchise, primarily because it doesn't really seem like part of the franchise at all. While the first two games were fairly straight-up action-RPGs, Sacred 3 is more of a Gauntlet -style brawler, with linear hack-and-slash action for up to four players at once. That's not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but it's a real departure for the series; and for that, according to one of the developers who worked on the game, you can thank Deep Silver's marketing department.
Sascha Wagentrotz took to Steam earlier this month to apologize to Sacred fans who "didn't get the game they wanted to have." As a gesture of contrition, he offered up an unused Steam key for the game, but he also made an effort to defend the work of Keen Games, the developer of Sacred 3 and Wagentrotz' former employer.
"I've read a lot of hate against my former employer Keen Games, that they destroyed the franchise (on purpose)," he wrote in his initial post. "All I can say is, that you should not overestimate the power of a developer in a 'work for hire' constellation with a big publisher."
He said there's no "black or white answer" to the question of who was responsible for Sacred 3's design, but then went on to effectively provide one anyway. "The executive producer and creative producer were employed by Deep Silver and they did a good job. But they both had a boss too, the marketing department," he wrote. "The marketing department of Deep Silver was the only one with enough power to change the direction of the franchise."
He also claimed that he wasn't surprised by the "fan outrage," although it ultimately proved even worse than he expected. "Even with this anticipation, some things did hurt pretty hard," he wrote. "For me personally it was Totalbiscuit's WTF, RPS' Wot I Think and the Steam tags of the German Steam store (one tag is "Müll" which means garbage.)"
Wagentrotz drops other bits of information in the thread, including how some of the background combat systems aren't noticeable unless the game is played at the "hard" or "deity" difficulty levels—which the majority of players aren't going to do. The conversation has slowed down a bit but it's still ongoing, and even though it appears that Wagentrotz has dropped out, it still offers an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how Sacred 3 ended up the way it did. Read it in full on Steam .