Video game

Biggest flops from top 10 video game developers

Video games have overtaken Hollywood movies in terms of revenue, and that is a testament to the real power of the medium. However, many developers play fast and freely with their properties, resulting in a few flops along the way. These games were either put into production too quickly or too ambitious in scope and scale to be successful.

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Even AAA developers and studios aren’t immune when it comes to getting too big for their boots. Even if a concept seems like a winning idea, there is no guarantee that players will agree. As developers invest more money in their titles year after year, there is an even greater chance that a single flop could be fatal to their entire bottom line.


Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt Red, 2020)

A photo of a street in Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 represents the worst of what happens when developers promise to leave heaven and earth and then fail to deliver. Aesthetically, it’s an amazing game, but it loses some of its shine due to the fact that it was not the game promised to fans. Plus, it’s a technical mess, with some lingering bugs still present in Cyberpunk 2077, despite several patches.

As a result, the game was a critical flop, although some players still manage to derive some joy from it. CD Projekt Red promised to change things, but their Cyberpunk 2077 The roadmap has been questionable at best and laughable at worst. The game lacks DLC at this point, which is a major issue for a developer who wants to keep this game afloat for the foreseeable future.

Superman (Titus Interactive, 1999)

Superman fights thugs in Superman 64

The N64 version of Superman was an attempt to build on the animated series of the same name and make it a winner. Sadly, Titus Interactive’s ambitious plans for the game far exceeded console limits, and only a fraction of their intended game made it to the finish line.

Although billed as a hugely successful bestseller, VGChartz details that Superman likely ended up growing to less than half a million copies, thanks in large part to its near unplayable status, gruesome graphics, and uninspired gameplay. Titus would go on to create a chain of forgettable titles, and a few other flops like the 2003 one RoboCop, before it collapses.

Duke Nukem Forever (3D Realms, 2011)

Duke fights a tall alien in Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem forever was stuck in development hell for what seemed like an eternity, and when it was finally released in 2011, it was nowhere near what fans expected. Unlike the incredible popularity of its predecessor Duc Nukem 3D, the sequel was bland, cliché, and just plain offensive.

It didn’t help that publisher Take-Two and 3D Realms went head-to-head in court over license rights, as early as 2009. The scattered development cycle resulted in an extremely poor final product that VGChartz reports sold around 886,510 units as of July 1, 2018. Not exactly a stellar number.

Daikatana (Ion Storm, 2000)

A player talking to an NPC in Daikatana

John Romero could have had LOSS on his resume, but that wasn’t enough to get him across the finish line with Daikatana. The game was meant to be a next-gen first-person shooter based on previous titles, but the game’s misguided marketing campaign fell short of expectations. When it finally came out (late), gamers and critics hated it.

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Daikatana was supposed to sell up to 2.5 million units, which was supposed to be the number required for the game to make a profit. According to an article by CNET by July 2000, the game had failed to even sell 10,000 units. PC Data would revise the total two months later, revealing that around 40,000 units had sold.

Def Jam Rapstar (4mm Games, 2010)

A pic of a rap song by Def Jam Rapstar

Most games fail because of bad marketing, poor quality, or a combination of the two. Def Jam Rapstar failed because the developer painted a legal target on their own back, costing them everything in the process. Essentially, gambling was touted as the antidote to Get on Da Mic, which was released for PlayStation 2 in 2004.

Def Jam Rapstar was a much better title, but it was overturned by 4mm Games’ refusal to license a total of 54 tracks owned by EMI. The company took the developer to the cleaner with a lawsuit totaling around $ 8 million in damages according to hollywood reporter. During the case, 4mm ran out of money, and the studio and Def Jam Rapstar were dead and buried.

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness (Base Design, 2003)

Lara Croft on the sidewalk in Tomb Raider

Gamers should appreciate Core Design, the company that brought cosplay icon Lara Croft and the mighty Grave robber franchise to the gaming world towards the turn of the century. However, they do not deserve any sympathy for releasing Angel of darkness, what only a fraction of the players considered good, and sparked much debate around popular and unpopular views on Grave robber.

Sales of the game were strong but critical and the public reception was terrible. The game was a buggy and irritating mess, and players were tired of Core’s existing formula. The rights have been transferred to developer Crystal Dynamics, who created a remake of the original Grave robber with updated visuals, gameplay and controls. This in turn paved the way for the much appreciated Grave robber reboot in 2013, which rekindled its popularity.

Shenmue (Sega AM2, 1999)

A photo of a street in Shenmue

Shenmue is still considered a historic title, and diehard fans love it for trying to push the boundaries of what video games were capable of back then. Unfortunately, the first attempt is often the worst attempt, and by Shenmue ambitious game mechanics couldn’t quite compensate for technical issues.

According to The Guardian, SEGA injected $ 47 million into by Shenmue development, which was astronomical for a game of this type in the year 2000. The elements and gameplay mechanics introduced were hugely influential, but it came at a huge cost, including the demise of SEGA’s last video game console. , the Dreamcast.

Battlefield V (DICE, 2018)

A war-torn town in Battlefield V

Battlefield V was a disaster, before he even left the door. Many gamers lamented the questionable weapons, aesthetic choices, and soldier designs, which flew in the face of historical accuracy. EA responded bluntly, saying that if they didn’t like it, they shouldn’t buy the game, and fans decided to take their advice.

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The intense backlash forced EA to slash the price of the game to $ 29.99, less than a week after its release. Worse, Battlefield V was littered with a ton of multiplayer issues, bugs, anemic maps, and visual glitches. He was rushed into the market and collapsed like a lead balloon.

Marvel’s Avengers (Crystal Dynamics, 2020)

A battle with Iron Man and Thor in Marvel's Avengers

The video game adaptation of Marvel’s Avengers is living proof that a white-hot pop culture property doesn’t always guarantee success. Although it managed to push 2.2 million copies in the first month of release, subsequent sales fell sharply, placing publisher Square Enix in the red with a Operating loss of $ 65 million.

Since then, the company has kept its nose on the stone in an attempt to reverse the bad trend, with some success. However, to view a comic book / movie property like The Avengers Stumbling so badly in the world of video games is something shocking and indicative of the mainstream theory that superhero fatigue may finally have set in.

AND The Alien (Atari, 1982)

A screenshot of ET for the Atari 2600

At this stage of the story, no need to retread the debacle of the Atari 2600 version of AND, an attempt to capitalize on the massive success of Steven Spielberg’s film about a likeable alien who befriends a young boy. What’s interesting is how much money Atari bled before finally closing the lid on this painful chapter of its existence.

According to a Time-Union article in January 1983, Atari shelled out $ 21 million just to obtain the license. By the time the post-Christmas dust settled, Atari had failed to produce 3 million copies, bringing them a combined total of $ 536 million in losses that year. It was the beginning of the end for the Atari craze.

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