5 Games That Failed But Earned A Second Chance

These iconic games failed at first but learned from their mistakes.

The path to success is always met with a series of failures, and the gaming world is no exception. Not every game series started with a major hit, as several iconic titles had a rocky start.

The following are examples of five major games that failed at first but the creators worked to learn from their mistakes.   

5. Driver 

The series started as an icon during the days of the PlayStation but became a joke when Driv3r failed to redefine the genre. A follow-up, Driver: Parallel Lines, was also met with modest reviews by critics and failed to reignite gamers' interest. By the time gaming entered the Seventh Generation, the series was almost forgotten.

After Ubisoft acquired the rights to the series, they aimed to redeem it for the fans. Driver: San Francisco abandoned the GTA-style elements and returned the series to its roots while introducing new gameplay content. This paid off, as Driver: San Francisco was highly praised by critics and became a hit among gamers.

4. Just Cause

This was one of those games that had a good concept but terrible execution. Just Cause has Rico Rodriguez working to overthrow a South American dictator by waging a guerrilla war alongside rebel factions. 

However, its clunky function along with poor control setup earned it mediocre reviews from critics and gamers. It also failed to standout from games like Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

All the game needed was a little polishing, and it paid off with an iconic sequel. Just Cause 2 kept the premise of the original, but had smoother controls and gave players a more reliable gaming experience.

Gamers fell in love with Just Cause 2 so much that a group of dedicated fans created a multiplayer function that received the blessing of the game's developers. Meanwhile, Just Cause 3 is in the works and is set to be released sometime in 2015.

3. Hitman

Mr. 47's introduction to the gaming community didn't go as Eidos and IO Interactive planned. Despite its unique premise, Hitman: Codename 47 suffered from poor controls and clunky gameplay. Critics were not impressed, but it did develop a small cult following.  

One thing gamers had to admire about Eidos was their ability to learn from their mistakes and apply that knowledge to sequels. Hitman 2: Silent Assassins fixed the clunky gameplay and presented a polished second chance for Mr. 47.

The sequel was highly praised by critics and fans. Its success was followed by Hitman: Contracts, a retelling of the first game by recreating several of the original missions. 

2. Killzone

The series has become staple for PlayStation gamers, but many forget the game failed to be a classic when it was first released. The original game for the PS2, a fast-paced action shooter set in a futuristic conflict zone, was marketed as Sony's grittier rival to the Halo series.

However, the game was met with mediocre reviews and was mocked by gamers for failing to live up to the hype. This could have been the end of the Second Extrasolar War.

The series earned a little redemption thanks to Killzone: Liberation for the PSP. But more needed to be done save the series. Lessons were learned in time for the Seventh Generation consoles, and the result was Killzone 2.

The sequel was a hit among gamers and was praised by critics as one of the best shooters for the PS3. Its follow-up, Killzone 3 improved an already successful setup and avoided being branded as a Call of Duty knockoff.

1. Grand Theft Auto

A game series doesn't become a cultural landmark without going through some trial and error. The series started as an innocent racing game titled Race'n'Chase, before a glitch convinced DMA to create what is known as Grand Theft Auto.

The game was a success on the PC, but failed to gain the attention of console gamers and received mediocre ratings. Grand Theft Auto 2 did no better. This would have been the end of the series unless real changes were made.

Grand Theft Auto III took the concept of its predecessors and incorporated it into a 3D environment. The result transformed the video game world, moving it from being a niche culture toward becoming part of popular culture.

Its success was followed with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City  along with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which broke its predecessors' records and raised the bar for the gaming industry. At the same time, the concept of open world-gaming became of the most popular genres.

The legacy of the series has not ended, as the 2013 release of Grand Theft Auto V sold over $1 billion in three days, making it the fastest-selling title of all time. The PS4 and Xbox One ports were released in late 2014, but gamers are still anticipating the PC version.

The moral of the story is that everyone will fail, but a successful person or company can and will learn from their mistakes.

Featured Contributor

Stan Rezaee is a gamer from the Bay Area who has been writing about the medium for over five years. He is an old school gamer who still plays with his N64, PlayStation 2 and GameCube. When on his PC, he could still be found playing classic Counter-Strike with friends.

Published Jan. 4th 2015
  • ReadFat
    Killzone "was marketed as Sony's grittier rival to the Halo series." - well actually it was marketed more as the "Halo Killer" which really did a lot more to the punch in the face it took when it didn't live up to marketed hype. Otherwise it would have likely been better received if not for said hype.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    An excellent read Stan, on a topic rarely given such tentative detail! I hope some of the curious misfires of this gen get another shot, whether through spiritual successor or direct sequel. Granted, TBH, Syndicate kind of did get that through Wolfenstein: The New Order already, but I'd love for a next-gen Dark Void successor...

    Flights of fantasy aside, a tip of the hat good sir. Cheers.
  • Jiminy_Jillikers
    Inspiring words!

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