Top Six Launch Day Failures

1 of 7

Zero Time Dilemma marks another time a game's launch hurt its chances at success. The much-anticipated and well-reviewed game stumbled on the first day, after the preorder bonus was damaged in transit and Amazon failed to send out physical copies on time.  Not only that, but fans are having a hard time finding physical copies anywhere -- to the point where only those who cancelled their preorders and went digital were able to play the game at launch.

But Zero Time Dilemma is far from the worst launch of all time, as those who could get their hands on it could at least play the game.  Here's a look at ten games that launched in a much sorrier state.

Half-Life 2

Despite the game's status as one of the greatest PC FPS games of all time, a lot of fans forget how infamously terrible the Half Life 2 launch was.

Despite being preloaded onto most buyers' computers long before launch day, and only needing a code from Valve's brand new Steam service, fans were unable to play the game on demand as it crashed the servers.  Even those with retail boxed copies were left out -- something almost unheard of for an entirely single player game.  

While Half-Life 2 is still considered a classic and Steam is one of the most popular gaming platforms available, first impressions weren't kind.

Diablo III

Another example of a predominately single player game being hurt by forced online connectivity, Diablo III was unplayable on day one when fans overloaded the servers.

Within less than a day, Error 37 -- the message that player saw when the game failed to connect to servers -- became a meme among the Blizzard community.  Fortunately, the game was patched very early on, and fans weren't forced to wait too long to play the third installment in the series.

World of Warcraft

As it's currently, the most popular MMO available, and has been for over a decade, it's easy to forget how disastrous the first month of World of Warcraft was.  

Like Diablo III, WOW's servers weren't ready for the number of players they saw on day one.  A lot of fans found themselves unable to play, and those that did got a slow, unresponsive mess that barely resembles that expansive, open world of Azeroth we know today.

Batman: Arkham Knight

The grand finale of Rocksteady's phenomenal Arkham trilogy lost a lot of potential buyers due to the horrible launch of its PC port.  The port was not only capped at thirty frames per second but had incredibly stripped-down graphical options and more bugs than the infamously buggy Batman: Arkham Origin.  

Warner Brothers, the game's publisher, pulled the game and offered refunds to anyone who bought it, but later put it back up with minimal fixes.  At this point, it's unlikely that fans of the series will ever get a playable version of Batman's swan song on PC, and that's a shame.

The WarZ

Released late 2012, The WarZ managed to feel more incomplete than the game it so blatantly copied, DayZ, which at that stage was still a free mod.

On top of the game-breaking bugs, which would have been bad enough, the game was loaded with microtransactions, including a charge for respawning. If you didn't pay after every death, you would have to wait several hours -- a practice common in free-to-play games but unheard of in full retail releases.  

The WarZ was pulled from Steam just days after its release due to copyright issues with the film World War Z, and quietly rereleased a few moths later as Infestation: Survivor Stories -- though reviews indicate that it's still not much better.  If you've got a morbid fascination for train wrecks, it's currently on sale.

Final Fantasy XIV

The venerable Final Fantasy series is no stranger to the MMO genre, so a new MMO available for PC sounded like an excellent idea. Unfortunately for players, what they got was the worst reviewed game in the main Final Fantasy series.

Critics and fans alike trashed the game for being broken and unfinished. Beyond graphical bugs, unplayable levels of lag, and other technical issues, the game's interface, and systems were nearly incomprehensible -- a death blow for the legendarily complex MMO genre.  Making this even worse, the development team's promises to fix the game rang hollow: the game's basic engine and gameplay were too broken to fix, leading to a server shutdown less than two years later.  It returned in 2013, new and improved, as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and was much better received by fans and critics alike.

What other games didn't make the best first impressions? Let us know in the comments!

Published Jun. 30th 2016

Correspondent


New Cache - article_comments_article_42105
Related