15 Worst Gaming Reveals of the 2010s: The Bad, Embarrassing and Infamous

It's difficult to discuss the "worst" in the internet age of hyperbole, in which minor dissatisfaction often results in disproportionate responses with everything from review bombing to death threats. 

The thing is, most of the vitriol comes after the game's release, after players hyped themselves into delusional fanaticism and were then disappointed when reality did not meet their inflated expectations. Rarer is it that games are abhorred by players before release, generally because publishers are smart enough to know to show only the best of their titles and let consumer excitement do the rest. 

Thus is stands out when developers and publishers, most of whom really should know better, fall  flat on their face. This list serves to remember when the drool soaked the welcome mat, for those special games that managed to draw ire from before they ever launched solely through a thoroughly misguided marketing move. 

Given that this list comprises of the the most ignominious events of the 2010s, expect to see a lot of big names. While the indie scene has no shortage of humiliatingly oblivious announcements, it's the multi-million dollar corporations at the top who serve as trendsetters that are most deserving of this particular scarlet letter. 

So let's commence with the commemoration of the most egregious examples in which what should have been and quite clearly was intended as a triumphant unveiling of a new product, but instead became the gaming equivalent of renting out Madison Square Garden and lifting the curtain to reveal a monkey banging on an out-of-tune xylophone. 

15. Beyond Good and Evil 2

Speaking of monkeys, the list kicks off with Ubisoft's sequel to the 2003 Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good and Evil 2 makes the list not through any exceptional blunder but more a general confusion. 

The original BG&E was notably fun and cartoony that, while capable of treating its subject matter seriously, was more intended as a fit-for-all-ages experience. So the semi-realistic 2017 E3 trailer that takes more than a little grimy inspiration from Blade Runner would be off-putting enough. The odd juxtaposition between the cartoony pig and monkey side-by-side with the jiggling cleavage and excessive swearing only heightens the odd surrealism of simultaneously mature and immature. 

Some games are meant to grow up with their audiences. Beyond Good & Evil was not one of them. 

14. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

There's jumping the shark, and then there's strapping your semi-realistic military shooter to a spaceship and launching into space. Maybe there's an alternate universe in which Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's shift to science fiction doesn't alienate its long-time fans, but that would've required more effort than slapping Kit Harrington's marketable face on the villain and a by-the-book uninspired plot. 

Further compounding issues was the reveal that Infinite Warfare would be shipped alongside the remastered version of beloved classic Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare... and incidentally would be the only way to get Modern Warfare Remastered. The blatant marketing exercise only served as a further kick to the already-smarting gonads of fans and would ultimately win Infinite Warfare a drubbing in both sales and YouTube dislikes. 

13. Quake Champions

Irritating long-time fans by taking beloved brands and removing their unique draw for the sake of broad appeal is a trend in many of these games who were disliked from their announcement, let alone their proper release. 

Quake Champions should have been the warning letter to Bethesda: appealing to the ultra-hardcore fanatics of the Quake community specifically means not lowering Quake's notoriously high barrier to entry. Focusing on the introduction of playable characters with unique abilities is a further blotch when it simultaneously offends the fans who've kept the brand alive all these years and brings only dismissal from the unfamiliar who saw a copy of Blizzard's Overwatch. 

12. Fallout 76

Ignoring the well-documented train wreck of the actual release, and the endless scorn it earned Bethesda, Fallout 76was an ill-conceived venture from the start. Not only did it appear to be a barely-reskinned Fallout 4, but Fallout 76 was clearly crimping off the already passé trend of multiplayer crafting-survival games popularized by Minecraft and DayZ and codified by Ark: Survival Evolved and Rust. 

In a year in which consumer dissatisfaction with brand exploitation was reaching boiling point, the crude transformation of Fallout's identity as a story-deep role-playing game into generic, cobbled-together belated derivative dug Fallout 76 into a hole before it ever launched. As history can attest, the launch itself was less a rope ladder and more a power drill to the center of the Earth. 

11. Life of Black Tiger

In the above cases, it generally involves the misuse of existing brand identity to further a new entry. Sometimes, though, a completely new and unassuming property can paint a target on its forehead simply by having a big enough name hold the paintbrush. 

Such is the case for the Life of Black Tiger, an unimportant title that would have been forgotten to the annals of the bargain bin were it not for one simple factor: the unnecessary and excessive marketing conducted by Sony and PlayStation's media channels for a game that clearly didn't warrant such attention. Its trailer was thoroughly derided, and tellingly that trailer is the most important thing the Life of Black Tiger ended up contributing to gaming history. 

10. Shenmue III

Shenmue III is the still unreleased continuation of the cliffhanger ending of the much-loved Shenmue II. The first two games had been released in 1999 and 2001, respectively, but the third game languished in development hell for over a decade. 

That all changed when at E3 2015, director Yu Suzuki finally announced that with the help of publisher Deep Silver, they were finally announcing that Shenmue III... would be launching a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund its development. 

The Kickstarter made a total of $7.1 million of its target $2 million, because of course it did with its massive nostalgic fanbase, but it earns a place on this list for the bluntly pathetic exposure. Had this announcement be done through a social media campaign teasing the return to the project, then maybe the Kickstarter would have been appreciated. 

Instead, at the biggest gaming conference, in association with a Sega license and Deep Silver backing, the announcement was a crowd-funder. Not that the game was being made, not that it was being released, but that they were considering developing it if all the fans would open their wallets for a project in which corporations wanted to be involved but weren't confident enough to commit their own funding. 

Shenmue III earns from me the same reaction as the ketchup on my baseball stadium fries: that's some weak sauce.

9. Hatred

In gaming history, every now and then whenever people start accepting that video game violence and real life violence have about as much in common as rampant Athenian incest after a showing of Oedipus Rex, another game pops out of the woodwork that exists solely to garner attention for bringing up that worn-out argument. It was called Postal, then Manhunt, and now Hatred

Hatred earns this position for its ridiculously over-the-top trailer that tried to bait reactions from moral guardians who'd see this as symptomatic of greater video game prompted violence, instead of a mediocre-to-bad isometric shooter with clumsy AI that evokes human empathy and horror about as well as driving a soapbox car over a collection red-paint-filled balloons with smiley faces drawn on them. 

8. Metroid: Other M

What else is there to say about Metroid: Other M? A game that had a decent starting kernel of an idea (Give the largely characterless Samus Aran a voice and backstory) that then proceed to misstep every following development phase that it eventually looked like it was playing Twister.

With its starting premise of recasting stoic badass bounty hunter Samus Aran as emotionally scarred woman struggling with depression, anxiety, and a psychiatric ward's worth of various complexes, Metroid: Other M earns uncertain optimism as its best-case reaction from an exceptionally accepting minority. Any optimism quickly squashed post-release by the flailing limbs of a panicking, poorly-voiced Samus. 

7. Metal Gear Survive

As this list attests, fans are reliable moneymakers so long as the brand avoids the most excessive of insults (and even then, some fans are masochistic enough in their devotion they'll still stick it out). 

Excessive insult might be the only way to describe Metal Gear Survive. Konami Digital Entertainment removed Metal Gear creator and director Hideo Kojima in a public falling out and before the wound had even scabbed immediately took the Metal Gear property, a franchise known for its stealth gameplay and heavy narrative, and slapped it on (say it with me) a generic survival multiplayer shooter. 

Metal Gear Survive and Fallout 76 commit the same sin. While Fallout 76 on-launch deserves more flak for its poor state symptomatic of greater Bethesda problems, Metal Gear Survive wins the gold in this comparison if only because while Bethesda are struggling, at least they're putting in more effort than Konami, which largely seems content to sit and wring out every last cent from Metal Gear with no further ambitions. 

6. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure

Bear with me, because this one's technically cheating since it was originally released in 2007, but this list is overwhelmingly filled with negative vitriol so some positivity is necessary to provide different perspective.

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure was a fun romp that hearkened back to old-school point-and-click adventure games. Unfortunately, pairing a nostalgic genre with the Wii, a console that focused on young audiences or casual gamers without that longing for a bygone style meant that the game suffered from an overly-narrow target audience without managing to capture the attention of either. 

The lesson here is that no matter how good your actual product, it's all for naught if you don't market it appropriately, and the oxymoronic approach of a seemingly childish game aimed at an older demographic meant Zack and Wiki would quest only to retailers' bottom shelves.

5. Hitman: Absolution

Embarrassing visually, tone deaf, tasteless, dissonant soundtrack... maybe if it was possible to attach a motion-feedback vest to the computer then the trailer for Hitman: Absolution could be offensive to all five senses. 

The trailer, titled "Attack of the Saints", was released in May 2012 and quickly sparked controversy. The stealth-based assassination-focused gameplay of the Hitman series had always kept a veneer of seriousness even in its silliest moments, but the image of rocket-launcher-wielding assassins dressed in skintight leather nun fetish outfits while generic tense action music played would earn mockery on its own. Combined with Agent 47 solemnly closing the eyes of one of the dead assassins, and the trailer crosses straight into demeaning machismo painted over with painful pretensions to profundity. 

4. Xbox One

Most of this list is games, given they make up the majority of the industry, so it would've taken a phenomenal blunder for one of the few consoles to make this list. 

Eschewing backwards compatibility, selling itself as a multimedia device instead of gaming platform, forcing customer-unfriendly DRM, an always-online mandatory unpopular add-on with microphone and camera functions, and a non-intuitive name all rolled into one definitely qualifies as a phenomenal blunder. 

The Xbox One flopped hugely at its E3 introduction; customers hated its advertised features, news outlets unanimously labelled the reveal a failure, and Sony was quick to point and laugh with mocking shots like a video lambasting the Xbox One's aversion to pre-owned games

Within days, Microsoft reversed most of its most unpopular policies, which further posed the question of why make the console to begin with if its removal was that simple. That the Kinect and motion control sensory technology of its ilk proved  irrelevant in the current generation of gaming consoles only further serves to damn the concepts behind the Xbox One's debut.

3. Mighty No. 9

Imagine this: you're a Japanese developer who has levied the good will from his previous involvement in Mega Man into a massively successful Kickstarter campaign. 

After initial enthusiasm, multiple incidents such as delays, social media manager controversy, and the suspicious launching of a second Kickstarter before releasing the game funded by the first campaign, have long since soured many fans. Initial screenshots only darkened the mood as the poor graphical quality poured more kerosene on the fans' thinning patience.


You decide the most appropriate response is to release a trailer insulting your fans and their love for the entire media genre that birthed Astro Boy, the spiritual ancestor to your game.

If this all strikes you as a supremely dumb idea, then congratulations, you're smarter than the entire marketing team of Mighty No. 9, who catapulted into memetic legend with their infamous trailer and whose game would become the apotheosis of Kickstarter mismanagement and shady business practice. 

2. Hunt Down the Freeman

On its own, Hunt Down the Freeman is unremarkable: a poorly-made fan-game that exists mostly as its own punchline to the joke of Half-Life 3. 

But when a shoddy game using Valve's assets, branding and franchise is sold for real money on Valve's own digital distribution platform (a platform long lambasted for its poor quality control), then suddenly Hunt Down the Freeman becomes much worse. 

The mere existence of Hunt Down the Freeman is an indictment on the state of Steam and the precedent it sets for PC gaming when the industry leader merely waves it on as it cannibalizes Valve's own intellectual property. 

1. Diablo Immortal - "Do You Guys Not Have Phones?"

Despite being unveiled at Blizzcon in front of a crowd who by virtue of paying for entry are Blizzard and Diablo fans who have waited since 2012 for a new Diablo game, this game became universally reviled within minutes of its reveal. 

The clincher is the now-infamous response from Wyatt Cheng in one of the most unbelievable misreadings of a crowd atmosphere in gaming history. Explain that Diablo 4 is still in production. Express regret that projects such as future Diablo 3 expansions couldn't be realized. Thank the audience for their dedicated support to a game that hasn't seen significant updates since 2014. 

What absolutely must not be done is to try play off attendee disappointment with a joke in which the punchline is that their love of PC gaming, the foundation of your company, is now irrelevant in the age of smart phones. 

This reveal was dumb. That is empirically inarguable. And for anyone who tries to call and say otherwise, just hang up the definitely existing, 100 percent real, cellular mobile phone.