OVER-hype is the bane of any modern video game, and throughout recent years, there’s been an abundance of promising titles that have simply failed to live up the extremely (or unrealistically) high expectations set up for them by developers, fans and worldwide media outlets.
Today, we’re breaking down 8 of the biggest games that, in my opinion, never quite lived up to the hype!
Anthem has unfortunately become the poster child for games that never met up with the overwhelming expectations and hype that were set for them, and in this case for an enormity of reasons. A lot of the failure came down to the ‘games as a service’ model, which BioWare are not known for whatsoever, but with some heavy influence from EA went down the route of revolving the entire development around this.
From a dated game engine, poorly optimised combat and looting systems, to a huge lack of end game content (which should be the absolute cornerstone for this style of game), BioWare really missed the ball on many accounts. This eventually led to the game shutting down entirely and my local JB Hi-Fi throwing in free copies of the game with any purchase made to clear out the unwanted stock.
Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the biggest projects in CD Projekt Red’s history, with a massive eight years of development from it’s initial announcement way back in 2012. With the high quality of games already produced by the studio, a high level of expectation and buzz built among the gaming community, which was only exemplified when it was announced that Keanu Reeves would be playing a major role throughout the game.
The project very quickly became an absolute nightmare after launch however, as the entire game was riddled with bugs and was almost entirely unplayable on lower-end PC’s and older generation consoles. Over the course of the last few years, a lot of this has been rectified, but it still has had a massive impact on the gaming community’s perspective on CD Projekt Red.
It is worth noting not everyone had issues – our Editor In Chief, for example, loved the game, had no significant technical issues with it on his PC, as he noted in his review at the time.
For those unfamiliar with the title. all the way back in 2011, Homefront was pitched as the ‘Call of Duty Killer’ from THQ, which in of itself is a very ambitious claim from a studio with with no proven track record of matching the quality of games being produced by their competitors. An exorbitant amount of money went into the marketing for Homefront, which ultimately never amounted to all that much, as the game grew little no no traction in any market.
Despite an unique and exciting setting for the game, it shipped out with a plethora of bugs, a poorly implemented open-world and an awfully unmemorable cast of characters, so there really wasn’t much worth sticking around for.
One would assume that arguably the most well known entertainment brand in the world would produce a really well-rounded video game, but despite the frequent success stories synonymous with the brand, Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers significantly failed to live up to community expectations.
The game serves as another unfortunate example of how a poorly implemented ‘live service’ can drastically deter a potentially infinite player-bass almost instantaneously. Too much attention was put towards this service rather than the actual game-play and story, which has still left Marvel fans around the world itching for a true gaming ode to the franchise.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint was previewed and teased as a gritty, realistic, survival-based shooter, with a focus on healing injuries, stealth and coordinated tactics. A significant downfall of the most recent addition to the Ghost Recon franchise was that the game players eventually got their hands was a completely different experience to what had been shown in previews, had numerous bugs and graphical issues, and also had an uncharacteristic lack of polish.
The attention to detail synonymous with Ubisoft seemed to be completely thrown out the window in a variety of forms, and with the introduction of a sub-par loot levelling system, gear scores and a low-quality AI, there really wasn’t much to stick around for. The development team at Ubisoft tried rectify some of these issues by radically overhauling a lot of the game, but by the time all of these changes had been rolled-out, the player-base was long gone.
Cyberpunk 2077 wasn’t the first sci-fi game to fail to live up to a massive amount of hype over the course of a years-long development cycle. One of the older titles on the list, Too Human was announced for the play-station back in 1999, had its release moved to the Nintendo GameCube a year later, and was finally bought by Microsoft in 2005 and released on the Xbox 360 in 2008. Game hype was at an all time high during this period, as the transferals of ownership just build the allure of the unknown title that was making it’s way across every major gaming company.
Similarly to Cyberpunk, the concepts and mechanics presented for Too Human were far too ambitious, and although the final product wasn’t a complete catastrophe, it could never live up to the immense hype that was set out for it. Sadly, what Too Human is now known for is it’s lack of existence – Silicon Knights (the developers of the title) attempted to sue Epic Games during the game’s development, and then they were then countersued for using copyrighted engine code, which ultimately led to all copies of Too Human being pulled from all stores and consoles.
Another recently over-hyped title that had an incredibly disappointing launch would be Fallout 76 – the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, without any players. On paper, it seemed like a really straight-forward idea; replicate the success of Elder Scrolls Online, but just set it in the Fallout universe. Instead, players were presented with an empty game-world without human NPCs, dialogue choices, quest chains and no justification for exploration. Additionally, the visual assets presented throughout the entire game were an exact replica of Fallout 4, which even for its time were starting to look a bit dated.
In 2022, Fallout 76 is in a much more playable and ‘enjoyable’ state from what I’ve been told, but I cannot find it within myself to ever re-visit the vastly disappointing wasteland that was presented to myself, along with a trove of other ambitious players back in 2018. The entirety of the first 6-months of Fallout 76’s release were equivalent to that of an ‘early access’ game, which is incredibly unfair to its player base that forked out their money for a finalised Triple A product.
Brink is the primary reason I put this entire list together, and for me; acts as the perfect example of how disappointing game-hype can be. In my head, Brink was going to be the next-best thing. I was an absolute fiend for Team Fortress 2 and Call of Duty in my early adolescence, and Brink was shaping up to be the most innovative class-based team shooter available. On paper, it was everything everyone wanted in the genre – it just never made it off of the paper.
The game was filled with strokes of genius ruined by poor implementation. For instance, the parkour system generated the most hype before the release of the game because the way it was presented in trailers was flawless. The idea of stealthily scaling up buildings and slipping under obstacles to then ambush the enemy from unexpected angles before making epic escapes is exactly what everyone wanted to do. Instead, we were presented with the option to only be able to parkour at very specific points that everyone knew about, and the result was clunky, awkward and genuinely unenjoyable.