No video game is perfect, not even the most successful games on the market. But while games are allowed to have flaws, bugs, and other issues, it’s incredibly frustrating when a studio rushes development and releases a game before it’s finished. Studios that force an early deadline — for the holidays or due to publicity pressure — end up releasing unfinished, broken, and sometimes unplayable games that can tarnish the company’s reputation and betray the trust of expectant fans.
In some cases, developers released extensive patches and updates to the original games that managed to fix the major issues and deliver the intended product. Others suffered from problems throughout their development, and discovered the hard way that their game was always doomed to fail. Regardless of the cause, several iconic games suffered from rushed development and overly-ambitious deadlines.
10/10 FNAF: Security Breach Was A Buggy, Glitchy Mess On Launch
The most recent installment of the Five Nights At Freddy’s franchise, FNAF: Security Breach, was the series’ first attempt at a more open-world, dialogue-heavy game. While the concept was ambitious and unique, the development team was too small, and the deadlines were too restrictive for the game’s premise to develop properly. As a result, it became infamous for game-breaking glitches, bugs, and poor performance issues following its release.
Ironically, Security Breach was delayed more than once during its development period. After its launch, the game received divisive reviews regarding its gameplay, story, and restrictive save systems. A longer, less restrictive development might have given Steel Wool Studios more time to fix its performance issues and disjointed narrative.
9/10 Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Kept Its Glitches In For A Holiday Release
Pokémon‘s most recent release, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, was forced into a rushed development in order to meet its holiday deadline. After its release, it quickly went viral for its glaring technical issues, hilarious glitches, and poor optimization, yet it still managed to become Nintendo’s biggest launch to date.
Some of Pokémon Scarlet & Violet’s issues were blamed on the processing power of the Switch itself, but the core game was poorly optimized for its hardware. Plenty of problems with the game could have been reworked, patched, or even avoided had the developers been given more time to work through them. Instead, the game was launched unfinished, but still managed to break records with its sales.
8/10 No Man’s Sky Used To Be Empty And Unfinished
The ambitious adventure-survival game No Man’s Sky became infamous for its over-promised and under-delivered title on launch. What had been advertised as an exciting, sci-fi multiplayer experience ended up being a fairly empty, single-player game with limited resources and repetitive gameplay.
It might have been the small size of Hello Games’ development team and relatively short development period that contributed to the lackluster launch; the game received heavy criticism for its false advertising and lack of communication. However, since its release, No Man’s Sky has received several major content updates, including added multiplayer components, that have redeemed both the game and the studio in the public’s eyes.
7/10 The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask Had To Reuse Several Assets And Models
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is one of the franchise’s most popular and unique titles, gaining a large cult following in the years after its release. After just two short years of development, Majora’s Mask was released as a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time, the series’ first 3D title. To make the deadline, the developers had to reuse several elements and character assets from its previous installment.
Luckily, the writers of Majora’s Mask were clever enough to turn such restricting guidelines into creative decisions for the game’s story. Had the game not been so unique or ambitious, its recycled assets might have been criticized, and the game could have been considered unfinished.
6/10 Final Fantasy XIV Was So Bad It Was Rebuilt From Scratch
In 2010, Final Fantasy’s reputation was almost demolished by the universally-hated release of Final Fantasy XIV. The original game was nearly unplayable, with game-breaking bugs and untested issues that caused the then-president of Square Enix, Yoichi Wada, to issue a formal apology and extend the game’s free trial period indefinitely.
The programming for the game’s original version was so poorly developed that even several bug fixes and patches were incapable of redeeming it. After an overhaul of Final Fantasy XIV’s development team and two years of work, “Version 2.0” was eventually released to the public to a much more positive response.
5/10 Assassin’s Creed: Unity Was A Poorly Optimized Title With Lots Of Potential
The excitement surrounding the release of Assassin’s Creed: Unity was quickly dispersed following its release in 2014, just a year after its predecessor Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The game’s highly anticipated cooperative multiplayer mode and expansive maps were disappointing, glitchy, and poorly optimized, prompting Ubisoft to issue a formal apology shortly after its launch.
The premise, story, and voice acting of Assassin’s Creed: Unity was generally praised, making its technical flaws all the more frustrating. To compensate players, Ubisoft released a free story expansion and allowed those who bought the game’s season pass to receive a free title of any other Ubisoft game.
4/10 Fallout 76 Ruined The Public’s Faith In Bethesda
Fallout 76 is generally considered one of Bethesda’s worst titles, partly because of its shallow gameplay and frustrating bugs, but also its overpriced subscriptions and pay-to-win mechanics. The game was empty, the story monotonous, and the environment devoid of the complex lore other Fallout games had been known for.
In response to such heavy criticism, Bethesda released several patches for Fallout 76, some of which were almost as large as the game’s original file size. Yet the game remained a buggy mess, and the community lost respect for the studio in the following months. Even its Wastelanders update was not enough to change the public’s opinion of the game’s poor premise.
3/10 Halo 2 Was Only A Fraction Of What The Developers Wanted
According to the public, Halo 2 is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. Yet, despite the critical acclaim, the scope of the game’s multiplayer mode and its ambitious story were both cut short to meet deadlines and time restraints. The writers and developers had to rein themselves in, and the finished product was only a fraction of what they’d wanted to create initially.
Halo 2 was revolutionary for the gaming industry. Despite its rocky development and cliffhanger ending, the game was praised across the board by fans and critics alike. While technically an unfinished game, at least according to the developer’s standards, it still stands as a pivotal piece of video game history.
2/10 Cyberpunk 2077 Was Almost Unplayable On Console
Cyberpunk 2077 was in development far longer than anyone expected. Despite this, the studio was somewhat pressured into releasing the highly anticipated title in late 2020 to mixed criticism. While the PC version was praised, the console version was unfinished and buggy, a disappointing game that caused CD Projekt Red to remove it from the PlayStation Store several months later.
The controversial reception of Cyberpunk 2077 led to several discussions and investigations of the studio, including a class-action lawsuit. CD Projekt Red has since been working on an expansion for the game, called Phantom Liberty, that’s set to release in 2023 that might solve some of the launch’s main issues.
1/10 Sonic Boom: Rise Of Lyric Became Famous For Its Exploitable Bugs And Hilarious Glitches
Across the board, from gameplay to graphics, performance, and story, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is considered a critical failure and one of Sonic the Hedgehog’s worst games since Sonic ’06. It was rushed for a holiday release and launched with game-breaking, hilarious glitches that players quickly exploited.
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was largely frustrating, with monotonous gameplay, repetitive level design, and a shallow story. The visual glitches and gameplay bugs were just icing on the cake, and the game became famous for its untested and unfinished presentation. The game’s studio, Big Red Button, even considered shutting down as a result of the backlash.