Sometimes, the hype we feel before the release of a game turns out to be more fun than the game itself.
Trailers, interviews, and online discussion build excitement for a triple-A experience that will surely redefine gaming… and then the reviews come out. Or we play the game. And the hype dies.
Weeks later, the game is in the bargain bin. It’s a flop. A bomb.
It’s not always the same story. Yes, bad games flop because they’re bad, but other times, great games flop because they just didn’t find an audience. Nobody appreciated their greatness.
Sometimes, no matter what hype the publishers try to build for a game, you just know it's a guaranteed fail.
Here’s our list of what we think the biggest flops of 2016 are, plus the upcoming games that are sure to bomb hard.
2016’s biggest flops so far
Street Fighter V (PS4, PC)
It was a major coup for PlayStation; the next instalment of the world’s favourite fighting series would be console exclusive to PS4.
Sony helped fund development, but maybe they didn’t put up enough cash because when SF5 launched in February, it was extremely light on content and characters. The game was riddled with bugs, had no single-player mode, and there were online issues too.
So it’s no wonder that by May, the game had sold just over a million units across both PS4 and PC. We’re really sad to say it, but Street Fighter V is a flop.
The Division (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
The Division looked great and sold well when it released in March. But a month later, the game was looking pretty different in the eyes of players.
The online-only shooter was full of game-breaking bugs and exploits that allowed cheaters to thrive. A free DLC update also changed The Division’s game system… for the worse. We hope The Division improves over time but right now, from a gaming perspective, it’s a flop. Maybe less time should be spent on the movie and more on the game.
Quantum Break (Xbox One, PC)
It was supposed to be a valuable exclusive for Xbox One. But given developer Remedy’s track record, Quantum Break was never going to be a major hit. The game sold only 146,000 physical copies in the US in its first week.
Mediocre reviews didn’t help sales, but Quantum Break probably deserved them – it’s just not the full package. Ignoring the performance issues, of which there were many, it just turns out that a game that incorporates TV elements does not work. Kudos to Remedy for trying though.
Star Fox Zero (Wii U)
Game-starved Wii U owners, many of whom remember early Star Fox (or Starwing) games with affection, were pinning their hopes on Star Fox Zero. But with its peculiar GamePad control system that requires players to follow two different screens and its barebones content, Star Fox Zero was a sure-fire flop.
We don’t know how many copies Star Fox Zero has sold, but it entered the UK chart at #6 and disappeared soon after. Sorry, Nintendo but fans deserved better.
TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360, PC)
After the fun of Transformers: Devastation and a promising trailer, TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan had us a bit excited. It had a cool art style, all the right bosses, and with Platinum Games at the helm what could go wrong? As it turns out, almost everything.
Reviews say the game is a chore that can be completed in three hours, and players suckered into buying TMNT seem to agree. Maybe it’ll still sell well thanks to the Turtles’ enduring popularity, but we doubt it - even the latest movie is a bomb (thank you Michael Bay and Megan Fox).
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
The first Mirror’s Edge was a sales flop that gained traction over time. But it was still a flawed game. The idea of parkour running in a game is full of potential, but difficult to pull off. No wonder EA held off on a sequel for eight years.
Reviews suggest Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is more of the same. It looks great, plays great in places, but has a terrible story and inconsistent gameplay. Will it sell better than the first? Maybe, but it won’t be a hit.
2016’s upcoming gaming flops
No Man’s Sky (PS4, PC)
There’s a lot of hype around No Man’s Sky. Some fans even think it’s worth making death threats over (it's not). But despite its beautiful visuals and amazing scope, we’re still not sure what the game’s really about (editor note: a lost in space simulator perhaps?).
Will it actually be fun? Or will it be much more limited than the developers are letting on, like Spore? Honestly, we see disappointment ahead.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS)
Wii U owners wanted a new Metroid game, but they’ll probably never get one now. Did 3DS players want a new Metroid? One with CBeebies graphics and a multiplayer focus? Judging by the online reaction to Metroid Prime: Federation Force, they did not.
Nintendo is on a bit of a losing streak at the moment, with games like Star Fox Zero, amiibo Festival, and Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. falling short of their usual quality. Federation Force looks like a bomb.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (PS4, XBO, PC)
Nothing lasts forever. Call of Duty has been top of the tree since Modern Warfare came out in 2007. But going by the Infinite Warfare trailer, which now has almost 3 million dislikes on YouTube, the series has run its course.
The new game now has a heavy space influence… because apparently the series needed something new (editor note: fortunately Battlefield producers EA DICE actually listen to their fan base). The problem is, it doesn’t feel like Call of Duty anymore and most fans were clamouring for a return to the World War eras or Modern Warfare. With pre-orders apparently low, this could be the year CoD loses its crown.
The Last Guardian (PS4)
On the Internet, gamers can form very vocal minorities. The Last Guardian’s fans might be one such group. The game has always looked charming, and it comes from the team who made the brilliant Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
But those games weren’t hits. TLG has been in development since 2007 – that’s nine years, a worrying sign. And despite its beautiful graphics, we’re not sure it actually looks fun to play. Sorry, but The Last Guardian looks like a very likely flop.