We are featuring an interesting list of 10 games that sank their Companies. We are not here to mock these studios, but providing an insight to these failures so that others can learn from these. While these games may have been critical flops, a number of other factors were also in play causing companies to go bankrupt.
10 Games that Sank their Companies:
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Atari, 1982)
First game we have is “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”, developed by Atari and released in 1982. Widely regarded as one of the worst games ever made, the game was developed in just 5 weeks by Howard Scott, the same person who was behind other successful Atari games like Raiders of the Lost Ark. However, E.T. was rushed to market to coincide with the release of the movie and was released with many many bugs and glitches. The gameplay was very confusing, and players had to navigate a maze-like environment to find the parts of phone that would call E.T.’s spaceship. The game’s failure was so massive that it left Atari with millions of unsold copies which were eventually buried in a landfill to get rid of.
Daikatana (Ion Storm, 2000)
Next on our list is “Daikatana”, released in 2000 by the studio “Ion Storm”. It was a highly anticipated game that was supposed to be the next big thing from John Romero, one of the designers of the hugely successful game Doom. But the game suffered from a troubled development cycle that lasted for more than four years, with multiple delays and changes in direction. The final product was a very mediocre game that was plagued with bugs and million of bugs, also the game received negative reviews from players, who criticized its outdated graphics, uninspired level design, and weak story. The game’s commercial failure was so massive that the studio “Ion Storm” had to close down.
Too Human (Silicon Knights, 2008)
Next title we have is, “Too Human”, developed by Silicon Knights and released in 2008. It it an action role-playing game that was in development for over a decade. It was originally intended to be released on the PlayStation, but after numerous delays, it was finally released on the Xbox 360, completely changing platform. The game had mix of Norse mythology and science fiction, but it suffered from repetitive gameplay, poor camera angles, and unresponsive controls. The game received mixed reviews from critics and was a commercial failure, selling only about 700,000 copies. As you might have guessed, all of this contributed to the eventual closure of Silicon Knights.
APB: All Points Bulletin (Realtime Worlds, 2010)
Next game we have is, “APB: All Points Bulletin”. Created by studio named “Realtime Worlds” and released in 2010, it was a massively multiplayer online game that was supposed to revolutionize police-themed games. It was the same game studio, which was behind the popular game Crackdown, but this time it suffered from poor design choices and numerous technical issues. The game’s world was highly detailed but it lacked content, and players quickly grew bored of the game’s repetitive gameplay, just like “Forspoken” released last month. Anyway, the game’s subscription model also turned off many players making it a commercial failure which led to closure of Realtime Worlds Studio.
Final Fantasy XIV (Square Enix, 2010)
Next is “Final Fantasy 14” from Square Enix, released in 2010. It is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game or in simple terms, a MMORPG. The game was released to critical and commercial disappointment, with reviewers citing numerous bugs and a confusing user interface. The game’s development team tried to fix the issues with a series of patches, but the damage was done. The game’s lackluster sales contributed to the company’s financial losses, and Square Enix eventually had to take the game offline and redevelop it from scratch. The relaunched game, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, was much more successful and which helped to restore the company’s reputation.
Duke Nukem Forever (3D Realms, 2011)
Next game on our list is “Duke Nukem Forever” of 2011, developed by 3D Realms. Holding the Guinness world record for the longest development for a game, the game’s development continued for over a decade, 14 years to be precise. It was supposed to be the next big thing in first-person shooter games, However, the game suffered from numerous delays, changes in development teams, and legal issues. When the game was finally released, it was widely criticized for its dated graphics, juvenile humor, repetitive gameplay and bad performance. It was a commercial failure, and the negative reviews from critics and players contributed to the eventual closure of 3D Realms.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (BioWare Austin, 2011)
Next we have is, “Star Wars: The Old Republic” from Bioware Austin. Released in 2011, it was another very hyped MMORPG. The game had a massive budget and was highly anticipated, as it was the first MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe. However, the game suffered from many gameplay issues at launch and it quickly became apparent that the game’s subscription model was also unsustainable. As result, game failed to make the profits from its sales, and the cost of running the game became too high for studio to sustain. Bioware Austin suffered serious downsizing, jobs were lost and company’s stocks were reduced, But hang on, they did not stopped just here.
LawBreakers (Boss Key Productions, 2017)
Next game we have is, “LawBreakers” from Boss Key Productions, released in 2017. It was a first-person shooter game, somewhat similar to overwatch and valorant. The game was highly anticipated due to its unique gameplay mechanics and the reputation of its lead developer, Cliff Bleszinski. But the game’s launch was marred by numerous issues, including bugs, poor matchmaking, and a ofcouse lack of content to keep players glued to itself. The game’s player base quickly fell apart and there was no one playing it, the servers were all empty and also the game failed to even sustain itself. Boss Key Productions was completely ruined from its financial losses and studio had to shut down.
Anthem (BioWare, 2019)
Next game on our list is, “Anthem”, which released in 2019, another big blunder from Bioware. It is an online multiplayer action role-playing game published by Electronic Arts. This very hyped game was supposed to be a new IP that would rival games like Destiny and The Division. But, the game suffered from numerous issues, including bugs, a lack of content, and a convoluted storyline. The Number of players quickly dwindled to just handful and company had to divert resources away from other projects to try and fix the issues with the game, but it was ultimately unable to bring back the player and finally pulled the plug. Anthem’s failure contributed to the major decline of Bioware.
Marvel’s Avengers (Crystal Dynamics, 2020)
Finally we have, “Marvel’s Avengers”, Released in 2020. It is an action-adventure game developed by Crystal Dynamics, The game was highly anticipated due to its association with the popular Marvel Comics franchise. However, the game suffered from numerous issues, including bugs, poor gameplay mechanics, and ofcourse, extreme lack of content. The game’s player base quickly dwindled, and the game failed to meet its sales targets. The Studio tried to assemble developers from other its projects to try fixing the problems and get players back, but in the end, it all totaled up to nothing. It was all due to this title’s failure, which led to serious downsizing of Crystal Dynamics.
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