The biggest failure in the gaming industry is, of course, the crisis of 1983, closely related to Atari’s desire to make money on the release of Pac-Man and ET The Extra Terrestrial. However, this was not the end of the matter, and over the next thirty-odd years, developers have repeatedly smashed the expectations of naive players into small fragments. True, in some cases, the developers themselves became victims, as, for example, in the case of Grim Fandango.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Grim Fandango (1998)

It would seem that Grim Fandango, the first 3D adventure from LucasArts, had everything to become a real commercial hit in ’98. The creation of Tim Schafer was praised from all sides, the developers were awarded awards, but what is the result? LucasArts failed to sell half a million copies over the next ten years.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

The reason for this failure was not the quality of the game, as was the case in most of the cases described below, but the fact that in 1998, in addition to Grim Fandango, several revolutionary games were released that are still equal and will continue to be equal in the future. As great as it is to go on an adventure with Schaefer’s fantasy hand in hand, if monsters like Metal Gear Solid, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Thief: The Dark Project, Resident Evil 2 and the first Half enter the scene -Life, it becomes very difficult to fight for the attention of players.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Grim Fandango did not bring much money to LucasArts and Schafer himself received even less, after which the game designer decided to leave the big company and found his own studio Double Fine Productions, the first game of which would be the notorious Psychonauts.

By the way, in January 2015 Schafer finally released a remastered version of Grim Fandango.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Superman 64 (1999)

“I can’t believe I’m playing a Superman game, but all I’m doing is flying through the rings. She is indescribably disgusting. A real test for my mind.” — Angry Video Game Nerd.

It’s hard to imagine, but Titus Software not only screwed up with what is arguably the weakest superhero game, it added to the list of candidates for the title of «Worst game in the history of the industry.» But, according to the developers, their goal was to create a title where «players behave like real superheroes.»

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

If it was only about boring gameplay, which it is, everything would not be so scary. After all, the release of Superman for the Nintendo 64 was primarily aimed at gamers’ wallets rather than revolutionizing the industry. But when they received the long-awaited game on a fresh platform, players found that Titus Software left behind a bunch of technical problems, and in general there was a feeling that they simply simply did not have time to finish the game.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Everything became completely ridiculous when Nintendo announced that the graphic bug, which manifested itself in the form of a green cloud flying over the main character, was actually “kryptonite fog”, and was not in the game by chance.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Shen Mue (1999)

When game designer Yu Suzuki launched a fundraiser for the development of Shenmue 3, he never expected that fans would raise the required $ 2 million in just eight hours. However, fans of the series went further and raised as much as 6 million, making Shenmue 3 the most requested video game on Kickstarter.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Knowing this, it’s hard to imagine that the first two parts of the franchise were unsuccessful, at least commercially, and the outrageously inflated budget played a significant role in this. According to various sources, the development of the first part cost Sega about 45 to 70 million dollars.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

The fact is that the ambitions of the developers were significantly ahead of their time and their platform. Shenmue was produced exclusively for the Dreamcast, but despite the enthusiastic fans and the press, it was almost impossible to break the budget. Portal GameRadar calculated that in order to make a profit, each owner of the Sega Dreamcast had to purchase the game twice.

Although Shenmue 2, released two years later and developed on a more modest amount, also garnered excellent reviews, Sega soon decided to shut down the entire series, cutting off plans for the release of Shenmue Online in the bud.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Daikatana (2000)

Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake — all these revolutionary action games were forged by id Software, one of the founders of which was John Romero. So it’s not surprising that when Romero, already at Ion Storm, announced Daikatana, supposedly a new word in the action-RPG genre, the hype rose to unprecedented heights.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

In fact, the high expectations of the industry and the resulting pressure and ruined the game. Of course, it also played a big role that Daikatana offered players a terrible combination of mediocre graphics, boring gameplay, far-fetched story telling about a fighter looking for the fateful sword in the future, after which the game is named. However, if Daikatana had been released by a little-known studio, and not one of the founding fathers of modern action, its mediocrity would not have remained forever in the pages of video game history.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

It should be noted that the concerns and dissatisfaction of the fans began long before the release, when information began to emerge about intra-studio conflicts and an unreasonably large budget of $ 40 million. Not to mention the ad campaign that said, «John Romero will soon make you his bitch.»

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Driver 3 (2004)

It was in the early 2000s, when Reflections Interactive’s main opponent, Rockstar Games, began to bombard the industry with excellent GTA titles in an attractive open world setting. At this point, Reflections had been preparing their response to Rockstar for a couple of years, and it seemed that after two successful two-part Driver, it was quite possible to expect that Grand Theft Auto would soon have a serious competitor. It wasn’t there.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

In 2004 (when GTA: San Andreas came out), after four years of development, Driver 3 comes out, bringing down a huge disappointment on all fans of the series. If there was an impressive difference between the first and second part of the series, then here everything turned out in a sense the other way around. In addition to the non-intuitive controls that annoy players, the single-player campaign of the game lasted only some three hours.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Adding to the notoriety of the game was the fact that many of the journalists described the objectively weak game as an unforgettable adventure. This controversial incident was later dubbed «Driv3rgate».

As a result of all of the above, the Driver series lost the GTA war, causing publisher Atari a multi-million dollar loss.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Okami (2006)

Okami not only turned out to be a decent game, released to the delight of players and critics, many of whom gave it a 10/10 rating. No, Okami officially became the «Game of the Year» according to IGN and got into the Guinness Book of Records as … the most commercially unsuccessful winner of such awards. For the first year, Capcom was able to sell no more than 300,000 copies in North America, but even by 2009, it could not go beyond a million.

True, this time the quality could not be the decisive factor. Japanese game designer Hideki Kamiya, whose portfolio includes works such as the first Resident Evil and Devil May Cry games, did it right, creating an amazing combination of interesting gameplay and a bright, catchy visual style that made Okami stand out from the competition.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

If you still try to find any reason, then perhaps the fact is that Okami was released at the dawn of the PlayStation 2, when the players were already looking with might and main towards the seventh generation of consoles, they were not drawn to immerse themselves in a game that was incomprehensible at first glance with a strange name.

Later, thanks to the continued interest of the established fan base, a rather successful sequel, Okamiden, was released on the Nintendo DS, and the original part received an HD remake on the PlayStation 3.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Def Jam Rapstar (2010)

Have you ever heard of rap karaoke? Def Jam Rapstar, released in 2010, was exactly that…genre, but despite the positive reviews embracing the unhackneyed concept, the game was doomed to failure.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

In Def Jam Rapstar, players could test their vocal abilities by choosing the right track from a fairly extensive library, but for some reason the developers did not get the rights to use 50 of them. As a result, the record company EMI sued the developers, and they had to pay a substantial compensation of $ 8 million, in fact, they were left with nothing after that. When the online portal dedicated to the game was closed, the fate of Def Jam Rapstar was finally determined.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

APB: All Points Bulletin (2010)

Similar to Daikatana, the MMO APB: All Points Bulletin fell victim to high fan expectations, with David Jones, one of the designers of the GTA series, in charge of development. As planned, the game was supposed to become something like GTA Online became, and about $ 100 million was spent on the development of this «online revolution».

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

Needless to say, Realtime Worlds didn’t even come close to achieving what they set out to do, and even had to shut down the game’s servers just three months after its North American release. The reason for this, as always, was the external and internal imperfection of the title, which did not meet the level of quality promised by the developers.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

As if anticipating the flood of negative reviews, Realtime Worlds imposed an embargo on the publication of reviews of their game and lifted the ban only a week after the release. According to the developers, they wanted to make sure that the reviewers would not jump to conclusions and study the game properly before reaching a final conclusion.

Some time later, K2 Network bought All Points Bulletin and relaunched the free-to-play game called APB: Reloaded.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

No Man’s Sky (2016)

Here is a very recent case. The English studio Hello Games was accused of the fact that their survival sandbox No Man’s Sky contained almost nothing of the promised. In addition, the launch was accompanied by a bunch of technical problems, not to mention the disappointing level of graphics.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

There were so many outrages that the Advertising Standards Authority even launched its own investigation into this matter. And although in the end Hello Games was fully justified, the game managed to lose most of its audience and set a record for the number of negative reviews on Steam. But here’s what’s interesting. No Man’s Sky lost 90% of its players, but still proved to be incredibly successful financially, selling 800,000 copies and earning the studio $40 million.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

“In our game, in fact, there is no multiplayer. There’s just a tiny chance that you’ll end up somewhere that another player has already been.» — No Man’s Sky Lead Designer, Sean Murray.

Outstanding failures in the gaming industry

***

Of course, the gaming industry is waiting for many more such cases. And given the saturation of the market with all sorts of offers, every year the players seem to pay less and less attention to the fact that the developers have not done so much of what was promised.

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