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Four games of the 2010s that promised more than they delivered

With over 3.24 billion active gamers worldwide, the demand for new video games is constantly on the rise. Steam, a video game distribution service, released 8,033 games in 2019 and 10,263 in 2020, displaying an evident upwards trend in the number of games released each year.

With video game design companies releasing an increasing number of fresh virtual content, gamers have the chance to experience incredible graphics, complex storylines, and the overall excitement of expecting the launch of a new game.

On some occasions, the hype doesn’t live up to the reality, though- the previously heavily advertised games end up containing an endless amount of glitches, leaving the fanbase disappointed. The immense ambition of gaming development companies is entirely overrun by poor execution, impairing the reputation of the video game and the company itself. Below, we have composed a list of games that just didn’t live up to their hype.

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  • 1. Aliens:

With six movies released over 38 years, the Alien franchise has indisputably earned a prominent position within the sci-fi cinema genre. The widely popular series of films that tell the story of the unearthly creatures that haunt the crewmates of a lonely spaceship expanded into the video game universe in 1982, when Fox Video Games designed a maze video game for the Atari 2600 based on the 1972 release of Alien.

With multiple Alien games developed over the years, there is one that took a toll on the franchise’s reputation- Aliens: Colonial Marines. Before its release in 2013, the game developing company, Gearbox Software, did not go easy on marketing. Impressive game trailers were released during the years leading up to the final launch, preparing fans for a frightening adventure on alien-infested spaceships.

When released, the game suffered many adverse reviews from fans and critics, mainly due to its low-quality graphics, poor enemy AI, and multiple technical problems. The disappointing delivery led to players filing a lawsuit, which cost Gearbox Software and Sega, the publisher of Aliens: Colonial Marines, $1.25 million to settle.

  • 2. Duke Nukem Forever

With the development taking over 15 years between 1996 and 2011, the creation of Duke Nukem Forever really did take forever. Originally planned as a sequel to the highly popular 1996 game Duke Nukem 3D, the game was intended to continue the footsteps of its previous release and attract an even larger crowd of players. However, the development of the game spiraled into utter chaos- the release date was postponed multiple times, it suffered organizational problems and numerous other obstacles, resulting in the game ultimately being launched in 2011.

The 15 years of development built mountains of anticipation around Duke Nukem Forever– fans were expecting a groundbreaking game but were offered quite the opposite. Filled with outdated and borderline offensive humor, controversial themes, and mediocre gameplay, the initial excitement of the fanbase was destroyed after the release. A truly infamous case within the gaming industry, Duke Nukem Forever is a reminder of why the delivery of a game must match the years of hype built around it.

  • 3. No Man’s Sky

A brilliant example of marketing, but a disaster in actuality, the story of No Man’s Sky is undoubtedly a turbulent one. After the release of the first trailers, No Man’s Sky was expected to be one of the most innovative additions to the gaming world. The developing team at Hello Games originally suggested that the video game would be set in a gorgeous futuristic sci-fi world, consisting of billions of unique planets that players can freely explore.

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Along with many other exciting promises, gamers were thrilled to get their hands on this heavily-advertised video game but, unfortunately, were greatly disappointed after its release in 2016. The game had low-quality graphic capabilities, players were unable to launch the game, and many of its initially promised features, such as multiplayer elements, were absent. Although No Man’s Sky received immense criticism, it was later boosted to its promised level of quality and currently includes even more impressive features than initially planned.

  • 4. Cyberpunk 2077

In a world where the terrifying reality of futuristic technology meets the aesthetics of a city dazzling in neon lights, the gaming community could not wait to immerse itself in the universe of Cyberpunk 2077 since its announcement in 2012. Gamers were teased with multiple stunning trailers that revealed video game characters that resembled celebrities such as Keanu Reeves and Grimes and introduced the intricate complexities of the Cyberpunk world.

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When finally released in March of 2021 after multiple delays, the video game contained numerous bugs and crashes, severely declining the gameplay experience. These glitches were a substantial problem, especially for players on last-generation consoles (PS4, Xbox One), even resulting in PlayStation removing the game from their online store. The game has experienced several improvements since its initial release but still holds the reputation of one of the biggest flops in gaming history.

  • Final words

Faced with harsh consequences after their release, these video games serve as a reminder of why marketing and PR should always be in balance with the actual game development process. It is never a bad idea to underpromise and over-deliver.