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Overhyped Games That Totally Flopped Hard

There's no bigger embarrassment than hyping up a game, whipping an audience into a an excited frenzy ready to preorder away, and then disappointing everyone. We know what it's like to listen to the flashy marketing schemes and promising trailers, load up the game and find that in reality, the anticipated title is at best just okay and at worst, a total flop.


It's no fun for anyone involved when a game flops. Players feel deceived, even betrayed, and the developers that promised the world have the burden of failure to shoulder. It's worse when the trailers look so sleek and the demo is so cool. Yet somehow, the game winds up impressing absolutely no one upon release. What happened? The unfortunate fact is that things go wrong along the way. Here's some games that we hyped up, hoped, and prayed would be good. But then they just weren't.

Final Fantasy 14 Online was killed by graphical quality

The world of "Final Fantasy" is beautiful and detailed. Just look at how many belt buckles the average player sports! Despite this careful crafting that developers pour into the games, it's this "unhealthy obsession with graphical quality" that effectively killed "Final Fantasy 14 Online." This MMO was Square Enix's second, and had seemed promising at first. It was definitely easy on the eyes. However, it's beauty turned out to only be skin deep.


Upon its 2010 launch, the game was an all-around failure. With constant crashes and a hard limit on the number of players on screen at a time, the MMO failed basic MMO requirements. There had been a marked dichotomy in priorities by devs: they put the same number of shaders on potted plant as they did a playable character, limiting what the game could support. After the disaster, Square Enix gave a presentation at the Game Developers Conference on exactly what went so horribly, horribly wrong. They acknowledged that the game had an unfriendly user interface, an extreme lack of content, a broken battle system, and unstable servers. They said that even with eight years of experience running "Final Fantasy 11," they were unable to recognize changes in the MMO market and user needs. It turned out that "creating a successful MMORPG sequel is harder than it looks."


Fortunately, Square Enix was able to learn from their mistakes and relaunch the game in a far better incarnation.

Epic Mickey 2 didn't fix the mistakes of the past

Before "Bendy and the Ink Machine," there was "Epic Mickey," a series of games featuring Disney's favorite mouse, a magical paintbrush, and globs of malicious ink. The first game was a hit on the Wii, selling 1.3 million copies in about a month as it sketched out the story of Mickey in a world of forgotten Disney creations. It had interesting mechanics, nostalgic platforming, but despite positive reception, had some glaring gameplay issues that took it from a ten to a seven.


People were also disappointed that the premise wasn't as dark as it was hyped up to be, but "Epic Mickey 2" gave Junction Point Studios another chance to clean up the camera controls, vary the missions, and make the characters more charming. But they didn't.

2012's "Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two" definitely added some flair and charm, but failed to erase the wonky controls that marred the first game. The sequel didn't have nearly the success of the first, and flopped hard. "Epic Mickey 2" made less than a quarter of the sales of its predecessor and had largely mixed reviews. Cutscenes were cool, but they didn't make up for broken AI. The characters were more fleshed out, but tasks were mind-numbingly repetitive and boring. The good name of Disney couldn't save this bellyflop of a game or Junction Point Studios, which was shut down by Disney in 2013.


Fallout 76 fooled us all

Bethesda's "Fallout 76" presentation at 2018's E3 was nothing but a hypefest. There were beautiful vistas, a compelling narrator, and tantalizing glimpses of massive machines and monstrous creatures. You could call it almost heaven. The audience was ecstatic and Todd Howard still had more to reveal after the trailer had already convinced gamers that this was the next step in the post-apocalyptic world of "Fallout." Yes, you could still experience a solo story in this online, multiplayer game. Yes, your progress will be saved when you join up with your buddies. Yes, you can nuke each other. Oh yes, the collector's edition map "glows in the f***ing dark."


When the game came out in November of that year, it had just about the amount of appeal that a glow-in-the-dark, fictional map does: it was nice to look at, appeared to have a ton of content, but just didn't function. Any story that the game has is scant due to a glaring lack of the NPCs that usually make Bethesda games memorable. It's rare to run into other players, and when you do, the PvP system is bunk. There were several infamous bugs with the nuke system. Oh, and that exciting collector's edition? Comes equipped with a second rate nylon bag that effectively turned the internet against Bethesda. We were excited, then disappointed, and then angry with "Fallout 76."

Always online SimCity never connected

There's a reason why the steady stream of "Sims" games stopped after 2014. And it may have been because of the utter flop of 2013's SimCity. It had the burden of a grand legacy of beloved games upon its shoulders. Previous "SimCity" titles managed to garner the admiration of amateurs and master architects alike as they built and wrecked whole interactive cities. But when it came to the launch of the 2013 reboot of the founding series of the "Sim" line, the emphasis of play was on the wreck.


The game had the ambitious aim to make "SimCity" bigger than ever. It was going to be 3D and free of everything that made previous games tedious or confusing. If that wasn't enough, EA had machinations for an always-online experience wherein players could connect their cities to that of their friends and build metropolises together.

But this cool-sounding idea turned out to be a fatal flaw, because upon launch, a million people trying to play were left unable to log on. The servers couldn't handle the load and wouldn't for months and months, even as EA scrambled to add more and repair others. This meant that planned content was scrapped in favor of putting out fires, and that fans were disappointed enough to demand refunds.


Mass Effect: Andromeda still makes us cringe

People like "Mass Effect." People like exploratory games. Therefore, people should like "Mass Effect: Andromeda." But they don't, for a myriad of totally legitimate reasons. BioWare also hyped up "Andromeda" for a number of entirely valid reasons: players would be discovering whole new worlds inhabited by whole new races of aliens. Players had more customization options than ever before and with the march of technological progress, surely the animation would be something to behold.


The more that was released about "Andromeda," the more that fans realized how wrong they were to assume that it would be a better game than the original trilogy. Stuck in development hell, the game was cobbled together in the way a college student throws together a term paper six hours before it's due: messily. Where was the well-written, compelling narrative of "Mass Effect" games past? Why was the UI so frustratingly cumbersome? And how in the world did the animations look so awkward and broken? "Andromeda" might not have been a total failure — unlike "SimCity," it was still playable — but some people were playing it just to clip the sad interactions made by the characters plagued with thousand-yard stares. Fans were disappointed, and reviewers were too: for a AAA title, "Mass Effect: Andromeda" was maybe a C-rated game.


Brink was on the brink of greatness

It's sad to see potential wasted, and Bethesda's "Brink" had a lot. The first-person, class-based shooter had everything that was cool at the time of ye olde 2011: a post-apocalyptic setting that commented on global warming, parkour, cyberpunk character designs, and "Team Fortress 2"-esque gameplay. And Bethesda, of course, was one of the strongest names in the business.


"Brink" could have been a hit. It could have been a favorite game to play with friends. It could have been the game that the cool kids play. So why haven't you heard of it? Reviewers just weren't sure what to make of "Brink." It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. A sure way for a game to go quietly into the night is straddling the line between okay and mediocre. Its lackluster performance wasn't enough to incite riots, but the game definitely left players sighing as they looked back on months of anticipation. In the end, "Brink" warranted nothing more than a shrug. More recently in 2017, "Brink" was added to Steam as a free-to-play game without so much as a whisper of fanfare. A far cry from the "second-coming of shooting games."


Red Steel was less precision and more flailing like mad

Back in 2006, "Red Steel" presented a novel idea: a grown-up game for the Wii. It wasn't the first, and certainly not the last, but the trailer made the game stand out from the piles of shovelware that later made Nintendo ultra-wary of third-party developers. "Red Steel" was produced by Ubisoft, and the trailer showed off a perfect marriage between gameplay and the Wii's motion controls. Players were able to carefully aim guns and — maybe with less precision — swing katana. Despite what the name suggests, "Red Steel" is a largely bloodless title, but turns players into a vengeful warrior taking down yakuza in an immersive experience.


That was the idea, anyway. In reality, "Red Steel" was just a disappointment. For a game that was built around motion controls, the actual gameplay is all wild swinging and blind shooting that looks nothing like the precise moves shown off in the trailer. Disappearing reticles and the slowest characters ever further complicated what should have been seamless gameplay. If players are able to get past clunky controls, then they might find that the game honestly looks good ... but sounds kind of racist. As "Scott-san" cuts down his enemies, they sound an awful lot like white voice actors faking a Japanese accent.

Too Human took too long, tried too hard

"Too Human" was compromised from within by a big-talking, overly-ambitious, argumentative studio head that led to every unsold copy of the game being wiped from the face of the planet.

The game's long descent into infamy began all the way back in 1999, when developer Silicon Knights announced that they were crafting a fully 3D, futuristic game that sounded suspiciously like "Blade Runner" for the PlayStation. Then it was going to be on the GameCube — no wait, actually the Xbox 360. The game, which had undergone significant changes both mechanically and narratively was at last expected to release for the holidays of 2006. It was going to be an epic, sci-fi RPG reimagining of Norse mythology, and people were pumped. And for anyone who doubted that it would be anything less than game of the year, they had Denis Dyack, "Too Human's" biggest fan and creator, to answer to.


Dyack was well-known for getting into arguments with skeptical fans on the forum NeoGAF. But fans still had a considerably long time to wait until they were able to confirm if they were "owned by Dyack" because "Too Human" got delayed another two years, since Silicon Knights sued Epic Games, saying that their Unreal Engine 3 hadn't delivered the results they had expected. When the game flopped upon its 2008 release, Silicon Knights later bore the brunt of a double whammy: they lost their suit against Epic, and every copy of "Too Human" had to be destroyed.

Lair was something ... different

Dragons are cool. Riding on dragons? Even cooler. Supposedly you can't go wrong with dragons, but looking back at the failure that was Lair proves that a game needs more substance than big, scaly fantasy creatures. "Lair" was such a flop that Sony had to try desperately to soften its deafening crash: they sent out "reviewer's guides" in which journalists were encouraged to "open your mind and hands for something very different!"


"Different" in this case was mediocre, and not at all the vision studio Factor 5 had hyped up. Along the way, the game had lost the story that the studio had been passionate about and wound up being a shadow of what could have been. Throw in the fact that the controls were practically nauseating, because for some reason it was imperative that you really felt like you had hold of a dragon's reigns, and "Lair" turned out technically unimpressive, narratively uncompelling, and internally embarrassing to Factor 5 devs.

People like Factor 5 co-founder Julian Eggebrecht lost interest in the game when it went from an open-world game to a linear story. He allegedly was an overbearing boss, and caused a few devs like designer Joe Pinney to quit. Like fans, no one from Factor 5 was happy with what became of "Lair." "'Lair' was a genuine f***-up by everybody involved, probably me the worst," Eggebrecht later said in an interview with Polygon.


Daikatana did not make anyone its b****

Okay, so being a big influence behind historic titles like "Doom," "Quake," and "Wolfenstein 3D" gives you some right to brag. John Romero, co-founder of id Software, has shaped gaming as we know it. He coined the term "deathmatch." He's allowed to be cocky, and the industry is also right to have high expectations for any game he hypes up. But 2000's "Daikatana" didn't deliver.


Romero was so confident in the time-traveling, futuristic RPG shooter that the ads read, "John Romero's about to make you his b****. Suck it down." A little aggressive, and in the light of the game's flop, downright humiliating. The game was delayed several times, but the extra time in development did little to improve the clunky gameplay, weird story, and aggravating enemies. If players didn't fall through the world into polygonal oblivion, then they had to face down the same ugly enemies again and again. Its graphics looked like that of a game that had come out five years previously, and fans were disappointed.

"You know, I never wanted to make you my b****, not you, not them, not any of the other players and, most importantly, not any of my fans," Romero later told Gamesauce magazine.


Thief stole our faith in the franchise

The dismal performance of 2014's "Thief" remake proves that you should never try to reinvent the wheel or well-received stealth games. 1998's "Thief: The Dark Project" was something of a revolution, and its influence has touched a myriad of games since. Instead of running in guns blazing and swords flashing, "Thief" was all about slow sneaking and light fingers. The game and its sequels had a cult following, and are still perfectly playable today. Maybe it would be better to stick with them instead of the remake that marred the series' good reputation.


Eidos Montreal's remake had to live up to some high expectations. They had years to do so, and a AAA budget, but like many a flop, something went wrong along the way. The game that was finally, finally released was worse at stealth and quick escapes than its contemporary counterparts like "Dishonored" and "Assassin's Creed." Apparently legendary master thief Garrett is unable to open windows after they are shut behind him. The world of 2014's "Thief" was a whole lot of locked doors and dead ends, with little polish to make up for bad AI and frequent bugs. Rather than stealing hearts, "Thief" stole fans' faith in an otherwise amazing series of games.

Brute Force couldn't kill Halo

"Brute Force" is a series that put gaming on the map. Countless professional gamers have been proud to participate in "Brute Force" tournaments. Everyone knows and loves Tex, one of the most recognizable characters in the medium, right? Right?



You probably don't actually remember "Brute Force," but at one time, it was trying very earnestly to be the next big thing. To be frank, it was trying to kill "Halo" by being remarkably similar to "Halo" and doing nothing to differentiate itself from being nothing more than a discount "Halo." Produced by Digital Anvil in 2003 exclusively for Xbox, the game was released before "Halo 2" and if anything, only made players more eager for Bungie's sequel. Because although "Brute Force" wasn't bad, it wasn't good. Certainly not as good as it claimed to be.

The squad-based shooter had an uninspired sci-fi plot to explain the missions in the game. The flimsy story follows Tex — who has the exact personality you would assume a guy named Tex would have — and his squad as they protect colonists on alien planets. The game was hyped up to the point that it did beat out "Halo" in terms of first-week sales. Once people got ahold of it, however, they found that the squad was unbalanced, the gameplay had gone from tactical to shoot-em-up, and that everything else about it was unmemorable other than the poor reviews it received.


Wizards Unite couldn't overshadow another big game

"Wizards Unite" was supposed to be a "Harry Potter"-flavored version of "Pokémon GO," but it was also meant to be so much more than that. The mobile game, developed by "Pokémon GO" developer Niantic, promised players a narrative-driven adventure full of spells, magical creatures, and exploration. However, the game only lasted a few years before being unceremoniously shut down.


It's hard to pin down exactly why "Wizards Unite" was a total flop, but one reason could be money. The wizarding game didn't bring in as much cash as its "Pokémon" counterpart, partially because some players didn't feel incentivized to continue playing after goals were easily met. Some gamers have argued that "Wizards Unite" was a bit too difficult and didn't offer enough of a return.

For its part, Niantic explained that "not all games are meant to last forever." That said, the developer's other game, "Pokémon GO," has had no problem lasting. Ultimately, the rocky run of "Wizards Unite" never beat out Niantic's other big game.

Gotham Knights was less than super

To be clear, "Gotham Knights" wasn't a bad game, but it did fail to live up to the massive hype surrounding it. On the surface, it had everything gamers wanted from a new Bat-game. The title promised a focus on other members of the Bat Family (like Batgirl, Nightwing, etc.), as well as all the fluid combat one could desire in an open-world setting. It sounded too good to be true – and it was. 


While fans expected an "Arkham"-styled game with different main characters, the plot and combat of "Gotham Knights" left much to be desired. Critics complained that the title also had performance issues, and that it was difficult to play on some platforms. Most infuriatingly, "Gotham Knights" didn't have a performance mode. The game is also permanently capped at 30fps instead of 60fps, even on PCs, which has infuriated some fans. Gamers felt like the lack of a performance mode – paired with the game's general performance bugs – made "Gotham Knights" worth skipping.

Really, though, we all know the true reason "Gotham Knights" flopped: Fans claimed that Dick Grayson was missing his greatest asset in the game.


Saints Row just didn't work

Not every game needs a reboot, and 2022's "Saints Row" proves that rule. The "Saints Row" series has a notorious reputation for being wild, wacky, and violent, full of unexpected jokes and action packed adventure. Unfortunately, the reboot fell flat for many gamers. While the original series was initially written off as a "Grand Theft Auto" clone, it eventually found its fanbase and went on to have some successful entries. 


In 2022, however, the series got a reboot from Volition that went wrong. Early reactions to the game all said the same thing: It was buggy to the point of being nearly unplayable. While the reboot eventually got an update to fix the glitches, the damage was already done. Players just weren't interested.

"Saints Row" was such an embarrassment that the CEO of Embracer Group (Volition's parent company) spoke out about the game's harsh reception. Lars Wingefors said that even though critics didn't enjoy the game, some gamers did. He assured investors that the reboot would eventually earn money for the company, even if it didn't rake in the big bucks as planned.

Scorn was a long, disappointing journey

"Scorn" combines H.R. Giger-esque art direction with eldritch horrors to set an ambiance like no other. So why was it a flop? Well, "Scorn" was a long time in the making, with several failures in its past. Developer Ebb Software originally sought funding via Kickstarter, but when its first campaign didn't work out, it looked for investors elsewhere. One more Kickstarter later, and "Scorn" was in business. Still, the public wouldn't see the game for a few more years. Originally announced in 2014, "Scorn" wasn't actually released until 2022.


And when it did arrive, critics weren't impressed. "Scorn" garnered lackluster reviews at best, with most reviewers simultaneously praising its creepy atmosphere while shaming its story and gameplay. For a game that took so long to develop, "Scorn" didn't quite deliver on its promises.

There was drama before the game even released, though. In 2021, an update from Ebb Software CEO Ljubomir Peklar directly addressed supporters who complained about the lengthy development of "Scorn." Peklar challenged dissatisfied customers to ask for a refund, and – based on the comments the update garnered – many did. Even though Peklar later apologized for his angry response, many gamers were turned off by "Scorn," which had already been in development for years at that point. Strange interactions with backers and an underwhelming final product left players scornful.


Biomutant felt empty

"Biomutant" was originally announced in 2017, promising a lush open world with an adorable, mighty creature serving as the player character. While not much was known about the game during its development, gamers got enough glimpses of fighting creatures and rolling landscapes to get excited about all of the strange characters they'd meet during their adventures. After a delay, "Biomutant" finally arrived in 2021, only for gamers to discover that the beautiful world they'd been promised was mostly empty.


To be fair, "Biomutant" took so long to create because THQ Nordic is a relatively small team, but the final product didn't meet the hype that preceded it. Critics said that "Biomutant" was too big for its own good — and despite its sheer size, the gameplay was repetitive. While there are plenty of mechanics to learn in the game — like an intricate crafting system, dialogue options, skill trees, etc. — the world itself feels rather empty. Sure, there are plenty of biomes to explore, but much of the charm of similar open-world hits (like, say, "Fallout 3) is missing. "Biomutant" felt like too little, too late.

Forspoken said too much

"Forspoken" isn't quite the game that many people thought it was going to be. When it released, critics praised its fluid movement and combat, but felt baffled by its casual dialogue and lackluster story. Worse yet, the sprawling fantasy world promised to gamers in the trailer ended up feeling rather empty and bland. "Forspoken"cdidn't have the spark many gamers hoped for when it came out, no matter how beautiful it looks.


There are a variety of reasons why "Forspoken" didn't do as well as Square Enix hoped. Many gamers felt put off by the constant chitchat between Frey and her magical cuff. Even though there was a way to turn off the optional dialogue, the tone of the conversations can feel overwrought and, at times, cringey. Other gamers felt irritated that the allegedly open-world game was full of invisible barriers. Running too far in any one direction would hit players with a warning to head back, essentially cutting off swaths of the land. 

At the end of the day, "Forspoken" had an amazing trailer that got fans hyped, but the final product floundered in a way its developer didn't expect.

Balan Wonderworld had a host of behind the scenes issues

What can one say about "Balan Wonderworld" that hasn't already been said? The baffling game from legendary game designer Yuji Naka seemed like it had potential, but many were perplexed from the start. "Balan Wonderworld" is colorful, chipper, and full of dark hidden pains, simultaneously directed at children (with a simplistic one-button control scheme), but also delving into themes more appropriate for older audiences. Critics said "Balan Wonderworld" looked and played like a game from a different time, and that its dated qualities kept it from being enjoyable. Yes, it was a bad game, but it also had a series of misfortunes working against it.


Yuji Naka slammed Square Enix for removing him from "Balan Wonderworld" development months before its release. While the creative team readied the game for its debut, Naka was allegedly barred from putting the finishing touches on the game and making sure it was fit for the public. Naka publicly apologized to gamers who purchased the game, saying that he wasn't proud of the final version.

The game also bombed because it simply didn't manage to sell. Gamers weren't sure what sort of game it was supposed to be, and review copies of "Balan Wonderworld" didn't get distributed to news outlets in time for reviews to be written. The gamers who did pick up the game also weren't shy about blasting it online, ridiculing every aspect.


Anthem didn't have support

"Anthem" seemed to be sort of a mess from the get-go. The game partially launched for some gamers before others, leaving many fans confused about when they'd be able to access content. But even before that, some gamers suspected that "Anthem" could spell the end of Bioware, as the company had seemingly sunk all of its resources into the game. While Bioware continues to develop games, "Anthem" sadly went dark in 2021, ending work on a series of updates that were meant to rework the game from the ground up.  


The game had promise, and many enjoyed it, but a lack of updates — not to mention features to set it apart from the competition — ultimately led many gamers to stop playing. While some fans stuck with "Anthem" until its end, the title lost most of its playerbase within its first few months. Because it was a title that needed online engagement to succeed, Bioware had less incentive to continue live support for the game. 

Still, "Anthem" didn't have to go out the way it did. On one fateful Black Friday, the game dropped to a humiliating $5.

Cyberpunk 2077 was a mess at launch

"Cyberpunk 2077" lived up to its glitchy wetware aesthetics by being unbelievably buggy at launch. While many of the glitches were funny, several also blocked player progression within the main storyline. Gamers who couldn't progress quickly became frustrated, and many requested – and received – refunds for the game. PlayStation even delisted it from its online storefront until developer CD Projekt Red could get the title in working order. Considering the game had been in development for years, no one could have predicted such a disastrous release.


In fact, the release was so bad that lawsuits against CD Projekt Red started to roll in, with plaintiffs arguing that the developer had misrepresented the state of the game. CD Projekt Red eventually agreed to a settlement in early 2023. It might have been easy for fans to excuse the poor shape of "Cyberpunk 2077" if the developers weren't aware of mistakes in the game, but it seems that CD Projekt Red knew these glitches were coming and chose to release the title anyway.

To be fair to "Cyberpunk 2077," various patches have greatly improved its performance since its initial release. The game ultimately made money. However, the fallout of the lawsuits and the embarrassments that accumulated during the game's first year or so of life will stick with CD Projekt Red forever, tarnishing gamers' good faith in the company.


Marvel's Avengers couldn't save the day

Video game fans will take almost any chance to be a superhero, but "Marvel's Avengers" failed to save the day. Fans were initially excited for the Square Enix-published superhero game, but things began to go awry before it even released. First, PlayStation announced that gamers playing on its systems would receive an exclusive character: Spider-Man. Of course, this infuriated folks left playing on another system. Even though PlayStation fans ended up not enjoying their exclusive version of Spidey, this inequality in the game's rollout had some players suspicious before it even released.


And when it did release? That was another set of problems. "Marvel's Avengers" lost almost 96% of its playerbase within months of its debut. Players believed that the game had uninspired mission design, gamebreaking bugs, and a lack of support from developer Crystal Dynamics. Even with updates, "Marvel's Avengers" never really improved, meaning that fans weren't surprised when Crystal Dynamics announced the 2023 shutdown of the game. 

While there were some good aspects to the title – like the recognizable characters and stellar voice acting – "Marvel's Avengers" ultimately felt doomed from the beginning, even with such a powerful IP behind it.