With video games racking up more money than movies and sports, the stakes are higher than ever before. Today, the success of a game determines the fate of the studio, developers, and investors. In this highly competitive landscape, some games just fail to deliver on the hype.
Here are the biggest video game flops that rocked the gaming community and resulted in massive financial losses and dramatic backlash.
We just hope you didn’t spend your hard-earned money on these major flops!
1. Assassin’s Creed: Unity
Ubisoft is infamous for its iconic video game glitches, and Assassin’s Creed: Unity lived up to the expectations – but for all the wrong reasons. The game received many updates after its initial release, but the patches aren’t doing it any favors.
While gamers are used to discovering glitches in the studio’s offerings, this time Ubisoft tested the players’ patience with errors that halted the gameplay entirely. Imagine perpetually floating after accidentally slipping over a ledge and hitting an object mid-fall.
It’s another rushed Ubisoft game that showcases just how little the studio cares about delivering a finished product. It was marketed as if it was some polished masterpiece, yet this installment of the franchise received a substantial amount of hate from the community.
The storytelling is fairly decent, as per usual, but the number of bugs and technical issues that popped up soon after the launch left fans enraged and disappointed. NPCs kept walking in place, the combat was repetitive, and some characters even had their models bug out during cutscenes.
Ubisoft ended up rebooting the entire franchise, and the developer’s reputation took a massive hit. Eventually, the dust settled down, and the studio began to pick up steam again for future installments of the series. Although we can’t be too blindly optimistic, considering the developers’ track record.
2. Superman 64
Most people call it the worst Nintendo game ever made. Superman 64 was a massive disappointment even before its big pre-launch at E3 1997.
The game was a buggy mess riddled with all sorts of flaws. It lacked any sense of clear direction and failed to live up to the incredible hype it generated as being the official game to the classic Superman: The Animated Series show.
The French developer Titus Interactive barely got the chance to implement their impossible plan, making the game a 3D open world and real-time strategy action-adventure title. Something similar to what the Tomb Raider games were doing at the time, but on a larger scale.
Beyond the hardware limitations, they had their hands full with tip-toeing around WB licensors who wanted to make a Sim-City clone. As if flying around Metropolis doing nothing but passing through rings wasn’t fun enough, the whole city is practically indestructible and empty.
3. Marvel’s Avengers
Imagine doing everything right but still making something nobody wants to play. If you want lifeless NPCs to boss you around so you can experience a sub-par story through repetitive gameplay elements, then Marvel’s Avengers is just the game you’ve been looking for.
They took all the best aspects of the visual novel, took away the exciting story, and presented us with a pretty yet lifeless corporate attempt at a cash grab. Sure, it’s cool being able to hang out with Tony Stark at the Avengers Tower, but what about all of the other countless superheroes on the roster?
Beat ’em ups are usually pretty popular, but something like Marvel’s Avengers completely missed the mark. It was repetitive, lacked a decent amount of content, and offered loot-based gameplay. Just like its marketing, the game lacked passion, solely relying on the Marvel fanfare to do its magic.
Despite having a development budget of $100 million, it only managed to generate a teensy bit of hype. It’s safe to say the developer Square Enix didn’t make its money back and got dealt some hefty losses, even though they reportedly spent a ton on marketing the game.
4. E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial
This beloved Steven Spielberg character was the star of its own Atari game. It is affectionately revered as being the worst video game to ever exist. ET was one of gaming history’s darkest moments.
Imagine offering your buddy a couple of hundred-thousand dollars and a chance to go to Hawaii in exchange for developing a game. Now imagine selling that after only one month of development.
Now Howard Scott Warsaw wasn’t just some random guy off the street. He was a wiz-kid programmer known for his skills. Unfortunately, even a genius can’t deliver quality with such a short deadline.
Atari put all of its eggs in one basket and decided to capitalize on the success of the Spielberg film just in time for Christmas. That decision came back to haunt them as soon as they paid the hefty licensing fees.
The game was a huge flop, and it led to the video game market crashing entirely. It ran Atari out of business and earned several copies of itself a one-way ticket to a hole in the Nevada desert.
5. Sonic Forces
Over the years, Sega has had its hands full with making a decent game that features the blue hedgehog. So when some of the fans came together and actually produced one of the best games in the franchise, a follow-up just wasn’t in the cards.
The blue blur’s multiple iterations finally culminated in a drab 3D Sonic experience but with barely half the fun. The gameplay was repetitive, and the project lacked creativity and charm. Sonic Forces couldn’t live up to the hype of Christian Whitehead’s love letter to the franchise, Sonic Mania.
The level design was about as decent as the limited custom character creation options players had to work with. The main selling point of the game was for the fans on Deviantart to get their chance to thwart Robotnik’s plans, on Sonic’s team, with their own original characters.
What makes a good game? Is it the hefty marketing, or is it how unique an idea is? Is it the execution or the reception? A good game needs heart and packs a punch. It’s supposed to be an experience that challenges players and engrosses them. With that in mind, we can safely say these games don’t meet those requirements.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, no amount of nostalgia can shake away the feeling when you don’t get what you paid for.