The video game industry sure is a tough business – it can be tricky to predict what players will respond to, and there’s never any guarantee that a quality game will turn out both a critical and commercial success.
Failure can mean different things depending on the circumstances – a game can get panned by reviewers and fail to sell, or sell well despite poor reviews yet fail to prove itself worthy of a wider franchise.
The possible reasons for a game failing to meet expectations one way or another are countless, from publishers oversaturating the market, to picking a poor release date, or most commonly, simply putting out an inferior product that failed to connect with gamers at large.
And yet, these 10 failed video games saw publishers and developers performing extreme feats of mental gymnastics in an attempt to explain why their new releases reviewed poorly, fell short of sales projections, or both.
Obviously publishers want to save face for their shareholders above all else, but to anyone paying attention it was outrageously clear that these unconvincing “explanations” were pure PR spin…
The latest Call of Duty received some of the weakest reviews in the series’ history and failed to meet Activision’s sales expectations, prompting them to blame the commercial underperformance on the game’s World War II time period.
In their recent annual investors report, Activision said the 1940s setting “didn’t resonate with some of our community,” yet with the WWII shooter becoming an increasingly crowded space, it really felt like a convenient place to plant the blame.
After all, the primary criticisms of Vanguard had nothing to do with the time period it takes place in, but rather the short and unremarkable campaign, embarrassingly lackluster zombies mode, and standard fare multiplayer suite.
Simply, there wasn’t much of an incentive to pay top dollar for another garden variety Call of Duty game that didn’t present a unique experience when they could just play Warzone for free instead.
WWII-themed games are still performing well outside of Vanguard, so it’s clearly more a problem with this specific game than the setting. Oversaturating the audience while failing to offer majorly compelling content is the real issue.