There’s no worse feeling out there than having waited months or years for a game to drop and it ultimately disappointing you in the end. You’ve already invested so much of your time into it that your expectations get insanely high. It’s great for sales numbers, but not so much once the reviews start rolling out. There have been plenty of notable busts over the years that were initially thought to be game changers. It’s all about the hype that’s created throughout the marketing campaign. Really, that’s what initially sells units. But if the game’s bad then that stops pretty quickly — you can’t move a bad game.
Between all the concept art, trailers, interviews and gameplay footage that’s made available to us, it’s easy to see why we as players would get so easily drawn into the vacuum when it comes to well-publicized games. Information is usually sparse for a number of months. Whenever any is shared it usually just serves the purpose of making the product look better. Really, you can only tell if a game is really bad or excellent once you've got your hands on it (or heard so from someone you trust). Overhyped games continue to pop up — and it doesn't show any signs of stopping. It’s just how it works. Let’s look at 15 overhyped games that flopped.
15 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
The first Force Unleashed game proved to be a fun hack and slash adventure that gave players a chance to use the force, enjoy some lightsaber combat, and fiddle with customization. While it wasn’t a perfect game, it did manage to gather a pretty loyal following and was one of the more entertaining additions to the Star Wars game franchise. Its successor, on the other hand, did not share the same success. The Force Unleashed II released when LucasArts was experiencing some major problems. The poor state of the developer at the time was reflected in the game’s weak story, repetitive nature and glitchy gameplay. It essentially put the series on ice, meaning you shouldn’t expect to see a continuation to this story.
14 Aliens: Colonial Marines
This next one is one of the worst received games of all-time, and earned some of the lowest review scores on this list. Prior to its release, Aliens: Colonial Marines looked to be a pretty promising title. Both gaming and film fans were drawn into the hype that formed around the title. But as we’ve often seen, high expectations can often backfire on developers. The game was so poorly received when it finally came out that fans were practically seething. It didn’t really do much (if anything) right. From the bad graphics to the subpar multiplayer and undemanding level of difficulty offered by the AI, Colonial Marines failed on pretty much every level. In fact, the game was so poorly received among fans that some of them actually sued SEGA and Gearbox. That doesn’t happen every day.
A launch title for the PS4, Knack shouldered a ton of responsibility while attracting a lot of attention shortly after its announcement. The game actually started off somewhat promising. While we’re all aware of how bad most PS4 launch titles were there was a good reason to be optimistic when it came to this title. It promised to be something of a throwback, focused on following the footsteps of games like Crash Bandicoot. If only Knack were an entertaining game. The game was generally frustrating, as chance encounters forced players to backtrack following abrupt deaths. The story wasn’t much either and didn’t really offer much in terms of engagement with the audience. Bad gameplay and a boring plot make for a dull, dull game.
12 Duke Nukem Forever
This is perhaps one of the most memorable gaming busts in recent memory as not only did it take so much time to complete, but was also responsible for letting down an entire generation of long-time fans. Duke Nukem Forever was stuck in what you’d call “development hell” for nearly two decades. Fifteen years of back and forth finally culminated in this terribly outdated 2011 title – which seemed like it was quite literally stuck in its own time. Game franchises tend to adapt and change over the years. That’s how they remain so successful. But Forever didn’t really feel as though it had ever attempted to take a step out of the late 90s. Apart from the aesthetic, nothing had really changed all too much.
11 Homefront: The Revolution
The first Homefront was a solid game that offered players hours of fun along with challenging gameplay and an entertaining plot to navigate through. So when The Revolution was announced, it’s easy to see why some fans were pretty excited for it to drop. Sequels always have a lot of pressure riding on their release, especially if they’re following up a well-received title. Sadly for Homefront fans, The Revolution failed to live up to expectations, with most critics calling it a mediocre entry to the series. Most agreed that the game had potential, but technical issues plagued the title so prevalently that it ultimately ruined ones experience when playing.
10 SimCity (2013)
You won’t find that many games that had as bad a launch as 2013's SimCity. The game was the first major addition to the SimCity series since SimCity 4, and so was eagerly anticipated by fans. In what should’ve been a routine day, the game’s launch was an utter disaster that damaged its reputation among fans to such a degree that it’s still the first thing people will think of when you mention SimCity (2013). One of the major holdups was the server issues that plagued most players upon starting the game. This then led to network outages and subsequent reports of crashing, disconnections, loss of saved data and more. It was – and remains one of the biggest launch flops in gaming.
Haze is a pretty interesting case. It actually had the potential to be a big deal in the gaming world, but like every other game on this list, failed to take advantage of the immense excitement it created throughout its development cycle. The game was marketed as an alternative to Halo and looked like it could actually surpass the iconic franchise. Anyone who bought into all that was left disappointed and a little light in their wallets, as Haze was anything but a competent shooter. With so much hype built around its potential to dethrone Halo, there was no way that Haze was going to please probing fans. Boring level design, conventional and otherwise unimaginative gameplay and a subpar story made this one of many in a sea of forgettable shooters.
This is a pretty well-documented case of unwarranted hype and the immediate fallout that followed, seeing as it just recently happened. Evolve was an ambitious title from the start. And as we’ve seen, that ambition doesn’t always guarantee successes. Sometimes it backfires in a big way. The game was focused on multiplayer where players would play as “Hunters” and “Monsters.” But players and critics almost instantly criticized the game for the dull and often disengaging multiplayer that upon experiencing first-hand over a period of time, was incredibly weak and often boring for most involved. With all the bad press and reception, the game was re-released as a free to play title.
7 Star Fox Zero
The Star Fox franchise is one of the most iconic ones out there, especially to veteran gamers. Many have fond memories of playing the games as children, meaning that the majority of the fan base is all grown up now. As a result, the announcement of a new Star Fox game back in 2014 left many fans of the series excited, harboring some pretty high expectations. This is, after all, a Star Fox game we’re talking about here. But when it finally did drop, fans were a little underwhelmed. It wasn’t necessarily a bad game, but many said it was a little too similar to Star Fox 64 in terms of gameplay and feel. The controls were a little difficult to grasp as well, though there were some reviewers who didn’t mind the challenge.
6 Final Fantasy XIV Online
At first glance, Final Fantasy XIV Online looks like a fantastic title with the high quality attributes you’d expect from such a successful franchise. Despite the great graphics and awesome soundtrack, the game wasn’t all that successful. Actually, it was kind of a mess. It looked good, which is what drew so many people in, but ultimately was an unfinished product. At least, that’s what most thought of it as. Once the hype died down, XIV Online got some pretty bad press. Those in the gaming community weren’t all too pleased with what they received as a final product, and because of that Square Enix pretty much pulled the plug and started the entire project from scratch. Of course, that culminated in the release of A Realm Reborn, a much better received title than its predecessor.
5 Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)
2006 marked the fifteenth anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. To commemorate the event, a brand new Sonic title was released. Sonic the Hedgehog —or Sonic ’06 as it’s sometimes referred to— was profusely hyped by Sonic fans (as hard as it is to believe now). Most of you already know this, but Sonic ’06 was one of the worst games ever released. The game damaged the series’ reputation so bad that it still lingers on some gamers minds whenever a Sonic game is mentioned. Everything from the cringe-worthy story to the clunky controls, insanely long loading screens, and game-breaking glitches make this a golden example of how not to make a game.
4 Mighty No. 9
Sequel games might have the most expectations from fans, but spiritual successors are right up there as well. Any time an upcoming game is drawing comparisons to a previously well received one, it ups the ante up to such a degree that anything other than an amazing product would be disappointing. Even a solid game kind of lacks punch if it’s hyped up to such insane degrees. Mighty No. 9 was expected to be a spiritual successor to Mega Man, with Mega Man character designer Keiji Inafune working on the project. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, all the hype surrounding the project shifted to uneasiness, anger, and finally indifference. Delays and controversies shrouded the game's development, and ultimately derailed the previously unstoppable hype train. Poor mechanics, easy bosses and bad level design and gameplay put the game in the dirt short after it was released.
3 Mass Effect: Andromeda
If you wanted to look for the modern day equivalent of watching a ship slowly sink into the bottom of the ocean, you’d have to look back on the development and release of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Andromeda was first announced in 2015 and fans of the original trilogy were pretty hyped to finally be getting a new entry in the series. Fast forward to the weeks before its release and the hype slowly turned to anxiousness as issues with the game began to make themselves apparent. Upon its release, Andromeda was heavily criticized for its technical issues and absolutely hideous facial animations while the story and characters split fans. It was so bad that BioWare recently that they’d put the series “on ice.” Ouch.
2 Watch Dogs
After its reveal at E3 2012, Watch Dogs seemed like it would be the next great game. It’s normal for games to receive a considerable amount of hype at E3, especially if they’re revealed at the event. But this was some next level stuff. The short amount of gameplay shown was impressive enough that everyone was either sold on or incredibly optimistic for the game. People were already calling it one of the most innovative games in recent memory. Instead, it turned out to be an average, extremely overblown GTA clone – which left a pretty bitter taste in many gamer’s mouths. The respective gameplay, side-missions, and woefully adequate graphics (that looked nothing like what was shown at E3) all added to the frustration that culminated with Watch Dogs’ release.
1 No Man’s Sky
We now come to one of the most disappointing game releases in recent memory. No Man’s Sky offered way more as a concept than it did as an actual game. Yet another title that was supposed to change gaming as we know it, No Man’s Sky didn’t do much to live up to the cavalcade of promises it made all throughout its development. The large space open world was supposed to offer players a multitude of planets to visit, with different species terrains and flora on each. But space was —for the most part— empty, and most of what you saw was just color swapped iterations of the same stuff over and over again. The game had also scrapped a ton of features like planetary physics, large fleets, and radio chatter throughout the development cycle. All in all, it was a decent game, but after all, it promised and subsequently failed to deliver, wasn’t really worth playing.