Broken Game LaunchesMarch 30, 2018
Games take a lot of time, effort and money to make, with development times often settling at around 1-3 years when you include pre-production. But despite all these resources, sometimes games launch in what could politely be called “not the best” of states. Broken controls, unfinished art and abrupt jettisoning of plotlines can be common in these games, and because I like to celebrate the worst of the games industry alongside the best, here are a few highlights of games that were broken at launch.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Despite a 5-year long development period, and the massive success of parent studio BioWare and owner EA, BioWare Montreal released Mass Effect: Andromeda in 2017 to scathing reviews. While some of the most publicised issues were with animations and presentation, Mass Effect: Andromeda was also broken on a fundamental level, with problems abound in the level designs, narrative and progression systems. The failed launch of Mass Effect: Andromeda resulted in BioWare Montreal scaling back its staff significantly, and EA deciding to shelf the Mass Effect series for the foreseeable future. Yikes!
This dragon riding game for the PS3 had built up quite a significant level of hype in the lead up to its release because of its developers’ pedigree as the studio behind the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series. Unfortunately, a mix of executive meddling and poor management resulted in a game that did not function as intended in a wide variety of ways. Paired with a failed attempt to use the Sixaxis motion controls for movement, this resulted in a game that as somewhere between unplayable and deeply frustrating at launch.
The relaunch of a gaming classic might have seemed like a sure thing, but the release of SimCity in 2013 was a failure of massive proportions. Under EA’s aggressive DRM policies, SimCity released with the requirement that it was always online, despite the fact that it was a singleplayer only game. While this might have been frustrating in the best of circumstances, the launch was marred further by severely overloaded servers, resulting in a game that was unplayable for many. The failed launch of SimCity directly resulted in the closure of Maxis soon after.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky has become a sort of meme for overblown hype and failed launches, after its catastrophic release in 2017. After a long promotional campaign (that had been disproportionately driven by Sony), No Man’s Sky had no hope in hell of meeting up to the expectations of players and the promises that had been made by developers, Hello Games. Of all the games on this list though, No Man’s Sky is probably the closest we’ll get to a success story. Hello Games are still around and have continued to support No Man’s Sky heavily post-release, adding promised features and expanding the game into one of the better space sims out there.