Failed to deliver: 6 game releases that bombed harder than Mighty No. 9

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After a protracted battle against both time and angry backers who raised $4 million to see it created, the Mega Man spiritual successor Mighty No. 9 finally arrived... to less than triumphant fanfare.

Reviews are consistently coming in on on the low side, and people are so upset by what was created with all that money that some are wondering if it means the death of crowd funded video games.

For all the shade being cast at No. 9 though -- gamers seem to have forgotten we've had significantly worse (and less playable) games thrown our way in the past.

From big budget movie tie-in games that ended up in the bargain bin within months of release, to titles that so drastically changed style they were unrecognizable, there have been some mighty flops in gaming history. 

Here were going to look at six of the worst offenders that caused no shortage of headaches (and monetary loss) for publishers and developers alike. These half-dozen titles are all nothing short of a slap in the face to the gaming populace, and probably never should have been released.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

I remember when that supposedly “in-game” trailer dropped back in 2012 and had everyone absolutely stoked. It seemed like we would get a proper horror experience that really took the feel and tone of the classic '86 flick Aliens and translated it into a gaming setting.

We were, of course, all horribly duped. The game looked and played nothing like what was shown. Not only was there none of the tension hinted at there, the game was overall average-to-bad shooter fare where the aliens didn't even play a huge role. The people who paid full price for this got straight up robbed.

What's even more sad is that this is what was actually released after Obsidian Entertainment's Alien RPG was canceled mid-development. While we never did get that proper space marines title to evoke the feel of the movie, a legitimately worthy title did arrive in the form of Alien: Isolation, which took some major cues from horror classics like Outlast and Amnesia.

 

Shadowrun

Much like with Colonial Marines, the Xbox 360 edition of Shadowrun was an object lesson in what not to do with a long running and beloved license.

Of all the games to make into a multiplayer death match, this is the one that makes the least sense. Multiplayer, squad-based stealth missions for Mr. Johnson? Sure, absolutely. But mindless capture the flag or death match? There's just simply no correlation there to the Shadowrun universe other than the inclusion of orcs and elves.

What really killed the game was the total lack of a single player campaign at a time when Vista was the most hated OS and not everyone was online gaming on the 360 to begin with. Good luck finding a big enough group of people to actually play a match on this game today if you find it in the bargain bin at GameStop.

Thankfully, Harebrained Schemes stepped in and crowd funded Shadowrun Returns, eventually leading to the two superior and modern day classic sequels Dragonfall and Hong Kong. There's a pretty good chance a genre redefining fourth entry will arrive after Harebrained Schemes wraps up their Battletech reboot as well.

Sadly, history repeated itself with Shadowrun: Online (later changing names to Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown), which bombed with fans and critics, especially after the home run of Shadowrun Returns.

Final Fantasy XIV

After the relative success of Final Fantasy IX, I'd have to imagine the franchise's second major attempt at an MMO was more than a little disappointing for the execs at SquareEnix.

A (very) short lived MMORPG world, FF XIV was only live for a little over two years before the servers were shuttered and the game world came to a close.

This entry in the long-running series was so bad that subscription fees were nixed and then the game had to be entirely shut down and relaunched later under a different name after undergoing some serious fixes.

FF XIV: A Realm Reborn has certainly redeemed the game, however, and is still going strong today. If only something similar could happen with Aliens: Colonial Marines!

Sonic The Hedgehog

The blazing blue hedgehog has been on the decline for decades now and has never really managed to capture the wonder of those old Sega Genesis titles in the modern day.

What really took the cake though was 2006's Sonic The Hedgehog. It featured bad controls, bad camera, and was just an all around bad interpretation of the Sonic experience.

Trying to out glitch all other games, the title has become notorious for its buggy nature. It was bad enough that Sega publicly apologized both for this steaming pile, and for the lackluster entries that preceded it. Will the series ever redeem itself, or are we doomed to replay the original games for eternity?

Afro Samurai 2

A true lesson in what sort of state you should NOT release a game in, Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma received relentlessly negative reviews (including some calling it the “worst game of the year”).

How bad was this game? Well, it wasn't the notorious Atari E.T. experience, but it is notable in video game history for what may be a first. Realizing how badly they'd screwed up, the developers actually yanked the game from Steam and the PlayStation store.

They even went a step further then, offering refunds to absolutely everyone who made the mistake of buying the game. Obviously the next two planned segments of the series were entirely scrapped.

The whole situation was so bizarre that Afro Samurai 2's doomed existence made our list of the biggest gaming scandals of 2015.

Assassin's Creed Unity

Another game that prompted an actual apology from someone high up (how often does that happen?). In this case, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat took the heat for this criminally untested game.

“Buggy” doesn't even begin to describe what happened here, with NPCs behaving in extremely bizarre ways, invisible walls appearing out of nowhere, and characters frequently hanging several feet away from where ledges where actually positioned. Needless to say, it made the bottom of our ranking of the entire AC series from best to worst.

Perhaps the most immersion-breaking (and terrifying) bugs involved missing textures, where half of a character's face would disappear mid-conversation.

Not only was there complimentary DLC handed out to smooth things over, but Ubisoft actually decided to break the 1-a-year cycle. Maybe Infinite Warfare will bomb hard enough to convince the Call Of Duty franchise to do the same?

Superman 64

Kids today have no idea how utterly vicious the console wars used to be. Forget Xbox One vs. PS4 – the real war was the N64 versus the original PlayStation, and it was fierce.

While Nintendo's console from that generation had ground breaking entries that are still loved today, like Super Mario 64, it also had some true stinkers, like Superman 64.

Words can't fully encapsulate the disappointment of this game, which mostly had you flying through blocky rings and then restarting the level endless times.

There's conflicting reports of why the game is so awful – the developers have since come out and claimed the license holder refused to let them make the game they wanted to – but no matter who is responsible, it was the gamers who set down money on this nonsense who really lost out.

Obviously there are many more awful games out there, but these six are among the most legendary for how badly they bombed upon release.

What did you think of our picks, and do you agree they were all worse than Mighty No. 9? What titles do you think should have made the list of biggest bombs in gaming history? Let us know in the comments below!

Published Jun. 30th 2016

Featured Contributor

Ty splits his time between writing horror fiction and writing about video games. After 25 years of gaming, Ty can firmly say that gaming peaked with Planescape Torment, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a soft spot for games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout: New Vegas, Bioshock Infinite, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. He has previously written for GamerU and MetalUnderground. He also writes for PortalMonkey covering gaming laptops and peripherals.

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