The video game industry is a multi-million dollar industry. The excitement and anticipation of new games and releases can incite long lines and be the subject of insane release events. Gamers have come to expect high fidelity graphics, solid mechanics, and a glitch-free experience.
What happens to the games that don’t live up to the hype? Or fail to meet expectations? They wind up on this list. Here are some of the biggest flops in video game history.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Platforms: Atari 2600
Starting off this list is a game so terrible that it was literally buried away. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was a game intended to be on every child’s Christmas wish list in 1982, but that would not be the case. Due to a lengthy (and extremely expensive) negotiation with Universal Pictures, Atari spent most of its development time and budget just acquiring the proper rights. This left only five weeks for the game to be developed and shipped! The end result? One of the most poorly designed and least polished games ever created, and a crippling amount of debt that would destroy Atari. The remaining copies of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial were buried in a landfill. Ouch.
Duke Nukem Forever
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: 3D Realms
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
He went from one of the most iconic gaming characters to grace player’s screens, to one of the biggest jokes in video games. Duke Nukem’s last foray into battle was not a pretty sight to behold, especially after a development period of over 15 years! The game would be passed around to different development teams, new engines, and more. All of these changes hindered the title even more, resulting in a game that looked extremely dated. When Duke Nukem Forever was finally released, poor review scores, stale gameplay, and even worse comedy would be the final nails in the coffin. Developers 3D realms lost tens of millions of dollars on this one.
Publisher: Titus Software
Developer: Titus Software
Platforms: Nintendo 64
A title that left so many excited and hopeful but would stain gaming history forever. Released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, Titus Software’s Superman 64 has a bad reputation for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons behind its infamy is the incredible number of bugs players experienced while playing the game. Nintendo perhaps even lied to consumers about a “green fog” spotted by gamers when flying around in-game. Nintendo claimed it was Kryptonite when it fact it was a huge visual bug. When the game actually did work properly, which was rare, the horribly designed controls didn’t help the situation. From coding to design, Superman 64 was anything but super.
Developer: Clover Studio
Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii
Unlike every other game on this list, Okami was very well-received by critics. This beautifully designed and executed title would also go on to receive many awards. If those accolades weren’t enough, the game even accrued a small cult following. So, why was it a retail flop? The game’s own developers were left with that same question. Even with great review scores, the retail sales of this unique title were abysmal by comparison. Many blamed a lack of advertising and others still blamed its unique style and concept. Okami would go on to set a Guinness World Record for being the least commercially successful game of 2009!
APB: All Points Bulletin
Publisher: Realtime Worlds
Developer: Realtime Worlds
What could have been a competitor with Grand Theft Auto turned into nothing more than another free to play title. APB: All Points Bulletin pitted two factions, cops and criminals, at war with each other in an expansive open world city. This modern take on the classic “cops vs. robbers” looked fun and fresh. Character design tools in the game actually continue to be some of the most advanced, allowing endless player customization. But ultimately, the game fell victim to poor critic reviews, stale, unimaginative gameplay, and financial ruin. The original development studio behind this ill-fated game actually closed and filed bankruptcy. And while the game changed hands and became free to play, it never managed to recapture the hype that was generated before its release.
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Silicon Knights
Platforms: Xbox 360
A mixture of sci-fi and Norse mythology is something you don’t usually see. This cool looking and unique dungeon crawling RPG had some ambitious plans behind it. Silicon Knights, the developers behind Too Human, planned to create an epic trilogy of games. Those ambitious plans would never see the light of day as critic and user reviews were a bit too harsh on Too Human. Odd design choices, annoying cameras, and legal trouble would kill this trilogy before it could get its valkyrie wings off the ground. After a nasty six-year suit with Epic Games, Silicon Knights was ordered to destroy all remaining copies of their own game and it was removed from all digital outlets.