Top 10 Worst Video Game Launches
It seems it’s becoming more of a practice nowadays for games to release in an awful, unfinished state, and being fixed in the coming months with hundreds of patches and updates flooding in. Unstable servers, often glitches, and terrible optimization are just a part of the countless things that could go wrong with a game on launch day, as we will soon discover on this list. I’m looking at you, Ubisoft. These are the Top 10 Worst Video Game Launches.
10. ArcheAge (2014)
ArcheAge was one of the most anticipated MMOs of 2014, without a doubt. There was a huge hype surrounding the game, along with its sandbox-like gameplay, extensive character customization, and naval battles. Some even claimed it was going to be the WoW-killer everyone had been waiting for.
With all that being said, Trion Worlds probably should’ve been able to predict the disaster the game was going to have to suffer through upon launching.
When ArcheAge was unleashed on September 16, 2014, so were the absolutely massive queues the players had to wait through. Some servers had wait times of over 5 hours, before they even gave the eagerly anticipating fans of the game a chance to play it. Only to have it crash a few minutes later on, and having to sit through the entire process all over again.
The brutal queues continued on for weeks after the game’s official premiere, with Trion Worlds being forced to create more servers to spread over the population of the game. Eventually, logging into the game became so problematic, it led to the creation of the Twitter hashtag ‘#QueueAge’.
As for the game itself – it didn’t manage to live up to people’s expectations.
9. H1Z1 (2015)
H1Z1 was another pretty ambitious MMO, developed by Sony Online Entertainment (now known as Daybreak Game Company), aiming to be a competitor for DayZ.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be just as broken.
Not only did players who were eagerly awaiting it had to pay $20 dollars for an early access of a game which was supposedly going to become free-to-play on its official launch, but they also faced numerous connection issues, preventing them from logging in, often crashes and freezes, as well as the developers not delivering on their original promise regarding their business model and microtransactions.
Many players also complained of cheaters already ruining the experience of what is an overall ‘Okay’ game.
Speaking of zombie-survival MMOs…
8. Infestation: Survivor Stories/The WarZ (2012)
The WarZ, as it was originally called, and now renamed to ‘Infestation: Survivor Stories’, sure got through one hell of a launch.
The game recieved quite a bit of backlash even before its initial release, for being a DayZ clone, attempting to cash-in on the extremely popular ARMA II total-conversion mod.
And when it was finally released on Steam, players found out they were not only disappointed, but also scammed.
Upon launch, the game was plagued by bugs and glitches, framerate issues, often server crashes, terrible balance, some odd design decisions, and an in-game premium shop filled with microtransactions in what was already a $20 dollars game. All of this earned the game incredibly unfavorable reviews both by critics and the playerbase, often being called one of the worst MMOs ever released.
But this was not all. It was found out that the Steam Store page of the game published false information regarding the features of WarZ, which were advertised, but were not in the actual game. Among which were the inclusion of private servers, larger maps, 150-player games, the inclusion of a skill-tree and more. Some players even spotted that the contents of the Terms and Conditions were copy/pasted word-for-word from the game ‘League of Legends’. This even led to the developers banning and blackmailing people’s forum accounts for criticizing the game.
I guess MMOs and Zombie games just don’t go together, hm?
7. Assassin’s Creed: Unity (2014)
Assassin’s Creed: Unity is often regarded to as one of the most disasterous launches of an AAA game in recent memory. And rightfully so.
Upon release, people criticized the need of UPlay to run the game, which has had its own share of instabillity in the past. A shining example of this would be 2009’s Assassin’s Creed 2, where fans of the game couldn’t even get the game to start for more than a week after the premiere.
Unity’s launch was varied with all sorts of glitches – some annoying, others hilarious and creepy. People popping out of the ground, the main character getting stuck on many, many places, as well as the infamous faceless glitch all found their way into the game. To add insult to injury, the PC version of the game will be remembered as one of the most horribly optimized games of all time, capable of brining even an nVidia Titan GPU to its knees.
Freezes, texture pop-ins, and sub-20 framerate were common in the console versions as well. All these probles overshadowed what was an overal pleasant game, and prevented Unity from fully realizing its potential, and worst of all, turning away even the most hardcore fans of the franchise (myself included).
Fortunately, Ubisoft compensated by giving away their Dead Kings DLC for free, as well as offering a free game to anyone who bought the Season Pass.
6. World of Warcraft (2004)
Back in 2004, the concept of an MMO was new to many, and World of Warcraft was the first game of its kind to feature huge areas, populated with thousands of real players, each of them having their own unique character, set of skills, and adventures. Given that, Blizzard were completely clueless as to what they were about to unleash upon the world of gaming.
Like ArcheAge, World of Warcraft faced brutal waiting times and queues consisting of over 8000 people per server. Unlike ArcheAge, this was on a much, much more massive scale, with Blizzard constantly adding more and more servers to the table, but even that didn’t help the situation. In panic, Blizzard completely stopped shipping the game to stores, fearing that it might cause an even larger server clog-up.
Players who did find themselves lucky enough to play it found the game slow and extremely buggy.
5. Battlefield 4 (2013)
You could say that Battlefield 4 started the whole ‘trend’ with unfinished games at launch.
When the game released in 2013, it was nothing more than an unplayable, buggy, unoptimized mess. Hell, if you managed to stay connected to the servers for more than 10 minutes, you were pretty much a badass. It was painfully obvious the game was rushed out before DICE had the chance to finish it.
Worst thing is, the game is still very unstable even to this day. Even though not as bad as it was before, crashes are still prominent. As a AAA game which relies so heavily on the Multiplayer aspect, this was pretty much unacceptable.
Let’s hope Battlefield: Hardline won’t face any similar issues at launch.
4. Diablo III (2012)
Diablo III was one of those games which were pretty much considered vaporware. Delay after delay, Diablo III’s release date was among the most anticipated launches for the past 3 or so years. And what a launch it was…
Even before release, fans criticized the need of a constant internet connection in order to even play the game, even in offline mode. They were afraid this would case a lot of issues for both sides, and they were absolutely right.
Upon signing in (or trying to, atleast), gamers were faced with the now infamous ‘Error 37’ message, preventing them from continuing futher from the login screen. In a matter of hours, the forums of the game exploded, with hundreds of angry players yet again criticizing the decision of having an “always-online” experience.
Unfortunately, it seems some developers didn’t get the warning, because a year later…
3. SimCity (2013)
Speaking of always-online…
EA Games tried the same DRM policy in an attempt to banish pirates from lurking around the newest installment of the SimCity franchise, which also happened to be a reboot of the series.
Well, this tactic did seem to work, as pirates never even touched the game… But neither did the ones who actually bought it.
Fans protested againgt SimCity’s DRM policy for months prior and after release, but EA were completely clear when they responded, saying that this is the way the game was developed, and that there literally is no way to remove the always-online features.
That is, until they actually removed it, and players were finally able to create their widespreading metropolises of their dreams without any fear of disconnection issues.
2. Final Fantasy XIV (2010)
This one was so bad, it actually forced Square Enix to completely pull the game from shelves, work on it a little bit more, and re-release it again the following year with under a brand new engine.
Terrible interface, hideous framerate, and horrendous glitches were just the icing of the cake when in 2010, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIV. The developers released patch after patch, but this was not enough to fix the damage, and eventually the game was completely shut, remade almost completely, and released again in 2013 with a completely new engine, and a new name: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
1. All Points Bulletin (2010)
And the number #1 spot is “awarded” to All Points Bulletin!
The reason this is number one is that it’s the only game on this list (and perhaps in existence), whose launch was so disasterous, it actually caused the bankruptcy of its developers, Realtime Worlds.
APB originally launched as a subscription-based MMO, which put together criminals and cops in intense and action-packed shootings and duels both on-foot and in-vehicle, all taking place in a pretty large open-world city. Sounds fun, right? Well, things didn’t exactly go to plan.
As with every other game on this list, bugs were not uncommon. Insane lag was present at all times, crashing and disconnections all contributed to the failure of All Points Bulletin and the studio behind it.
Eventually, Realtime Worlds filed for bankruptcy and shut down the game’s servers just a few weeks after launch. Thankfully, though, the game was picked back up by GamersFirst, where it was re-released the following year, only this time as a free-to-play game under the name APB: Reloaded.
Let’s hope none of those things ever happen to any other game ever.