The arrival of Anthem has reminded us that not all video game releases are going to be bonafide hits. Luckily, all is not lost for fans of the game or those hoping for a more complete title. We live in an age of constant support for already release games where an entire game can be radically changed after launch.
As we wait for the inevitable improvements coming to Anthem over the next couple of months, we look to the games that came before it that broke through their own mediocrity through the hard work of their development team. Unfortunately, not all of them clawed their way back to popularity, but all of them drastically improved in quality over time.
10 Star Wars Battlefront 2
Star Wars Battlefront 2 was never a bad game, but it did have a bit of an identity problem. Prior to the game's launch many fans were concerned by the supposed pay to win mechanics present in the game's randomized upgrade system. Though the microtransactions were removed before the game's official launch, the damage to the game's image had been done.
Over time developer DICE has made multiple changes to the game, balancing weapons and abilities, adding new heroes, game modes, and maps, and introducing new customization options while revamping the game's progression system. While the game never fully recovered from the image problem it had at launch, the continued support from the developers, coupled with steep discounts, has served to breathe new life into the game.
Fortnite didn't have a rough launch so much as it simply didn't have a following. The PvE focused gameplay that Fortnite provided at launch was interesting and competently constructed, but it didn't really resonate with audiences. Falling into relative obscurity shortly after launch, Fortnite seemed destined to be another forgettable game among thousands.
Surprisingly, Fortnite's story wasn't over and developer announced Fortnite's Battle Royale mode, seemingly out of nowhere. Within months Fortnite had stolen the Battle Royale crown from Player Unknown's Battlegrounds to become a cultural phenomenon and the most played game on the planet.
8 No Man's Sky
Developer Hello Games promised a lot of fantastic things with No Man's Sky. What it delivered included almost none of those things. Rather than a huge journey across countless diverse planets and ecosystems filled to the brim with things to see and endless possibilities, players were given a generic survival game with very little unique content and a very monotonous galaxy.
Players felt misled by the game's marketing and many demanded refunds from the company. For a long while, Hello Games remained quiet on the controversy it had created until finally they committed to making things right. After numerous updates, No Man's Sky has turned into a much better game that has attracted many more players. With more content planned for the future, including a huge multiplayer component, the possibilities for No Man's Sky are as vast as its nearly infinite galaxy.
7 Final Fantasy XIV
Many players were excited for the Final Fantasy MMO when it released. The problem was, it kind of sucked. The game felt unfinished, had numerous bugs, and most importantly the gameplay wasn't fun. After being massacred by reviews at launch, a new team was brought in to fix the issues with the game. The issues were found to be so vast that the best solution the team could find was to literally make a new game.
After a few updates, the original Final Fantasy XIV was closed in 2012 and an in-game event destroyed the game world. The game was relaunched as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, featuring a completely rebuilt game on a new engine with an original story and enhanced gameplay. A Realm Reborn was much better received and continues to receive updates and new content and maintains a respectable player base.
6 The Elder Scrolls Online
Many players were excited by the prospect of an MMO mixed with the freedom of an Elder Scrolls game, but upon its release, The Elder Scrolls Online was unable to deliver. Accused by many of being a generic MMO, The Elder Scrolls Online quickly fell in popularity.
Following a number of big updates, including a huge overhaul allowing all players to quest and explore together regardless of faction or level, the game began slowly recovering its player base. Though the game is unlikely to ever rise to the popularity it had upon release, it continues to release new content and updates for its existing players that far exceed the standard it set upon release.
5 For Honor
For Honor quickly gained the interest of many upon its reveal at E3. A gorgeous game with an incredibly innovative, skill-based melee system, For Honor seemed poised to take the world by storm. Upon release, the game was plagued with a myriad of issues ranging from latency issues and frequent disconnects, to severe balancing issues with a broken upgrade system and overpowered heroes.
Over time, Ubisoft has supported the game with frequent updates and after numerous balancing changes to heroes, a revised gear system, and the introduction of multiple new game modes and dedicated servers, For Honor has transformed into a much better game.
4 Halo: The Master Chief Collection
In theory Halo: The Master Chief Collection was the perfect package. The opportunity to replay the entirety of the classic Halo trilogy, multiplayer and all, on Xbox One with improved graphics and higher framerates in a single game was a dream come true for an entire generation of gamers who grew up playing couch co-op and split-screen multiplayer on one of the most legendary game series of all time.
Unfortunately, the game didn't really work and players were met with incredibly long matchmaking times, frequent lag, and innumerable bugs and glitches. People quickly abandoned the game and it seemed that the dream of a classic Halo experience was DOA. After countless updates and years of work by developers 343 Industries, the game has gone through numerous improvements. Though it hasn't fully regained its player base, The Master Chief Collection has seen a noticeable boost in active players. That number seems likely to rise with the recent announcement that the collection will be releasing for PC and beloved classic Halo: Reach is to be added as well.
Oh, Evolve. Gone too soon from this world. Unique to this list, Evolve did not get a happy ending or a sequel. It was an interesting concept from the original creators of Left 4 Dead. Four hunters worked together to track and kill one powerful monster. When the game launched it was pretty fun. When it worked. Plagued from day one with glitches, connection issues, and even players losing all of their progress, Evolve's community abandoned the game in droves.
The team committed to resolving these issues and eventually created a much more stable game. The devs continued to work on new content for the game and resolve many balancing issues, but it was too late. The much-improved game failed to recapture a following and eventually died.
2 Tom Clancy's The Division
Unlike many other games on this list, The Division held a fairly respectable player base for some time after launch. Despite this, a large number of players were turned off of the game shortly after launch due to the lack of a satisfying endgame and poor balancing in the game's PvP area.
The game continued to receive updates that vastly improved the game's endgame and other problem areas of the game and transformed into a perfectly enjoyable experience. With The Division 2 out now, it seems that Ubisoft has learned its lesson from the first game with a big emphasis on the endgame and more accessible PvP content.
1 Sea of Thieves
Once a highly anticipated title for its promise of freedom and exploration, Sea of Thieves was met with a lukewarm response. Though the game performed fairly well technically, its lack of content left a lot to be desired. Just days into its launch, Sea of Thieves saw drastically reduced player counts. While it seemed that Microsoft's new IP would figuratively end up at the bottom of the ocean, the development team behind Sea of Thieves weren't ready to give up on the game.
The team vowed to fix the biggest issues with the game and got to work. Since then, Sea of Thieves has received various updates and continues to receive support. While it is unlikely that Sea of Thieves will ever bounce back in the way that some other entries on this list have, it's clear that developer Rare is determined to give remaining players plenty of reasons to not abandon ship.