5 Video Games That Made Promises They Didn’t Keep

5 Video Games That Made Promises They Didn't Keep

Mass Effect‘s Commander Shepherd and his crew stand ready for a fight. | Source: Electronic Arts

Hype is alive and well in the realm of video games. Next to the games themselves, hype is the lifeblood of the industry. Everyone looks forward to the next big game; the next entry in their favorite series; the big, bold, new thing we all buy and talk about on social media until hype for the next big thing overtakes it.

But for all the hype and bluster, plenty of video games don’t live up to what the marketers promised. Whether they’re missing modes or features, or parts of them are just plain bad, these five video games did not live up to the hype.

1. Mass Effect 3

The Mass Effect series is epic in every sense of the word. The developers at Bioware managed to create a galaxy filled with exciting things to do and populated with a variety of alien species, backed up by a staggering amount of history and lore. It’s an outstanding achievement in world building, and it still manages to tell a ripping yarn along the way.

For all the great things this series did, the ending got fans all riled up. One of the main draws of Mass Effect was that you could make important choices that would resonate from game to game. What it all came down to in the end — what all those decisions added up to — was a choice that effectively determined the color of an explosion.

Bioware later made it up to disappointed fans with a downloadable expansion, but for many it was too late.

2. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5

How the mighty have fallen. The first four Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games are some of the best skating video games ever made. Each one layered interesting new ideas onto a solid core of great skating gameplay. But after Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 came out in 2002, Activision ditched the Pro Skater label, and the quality of the games went downhill.

Over a decade later, Activision announced a new installment in the beloved Pro Skater franchise; one that promised to deliver the kind of streamlined skating experience fans craved. Unfortunately, the finished product failed to deliver on that promise. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is a glitchy, embarrassingly bad game that’s nowhere near as brilliant as the rest of the Pro Skater series.

3. Godus

Really, this whole list could be populated with nothing but Peter Molyneux games, but we thought it would be best to pick just one. The reason Molyneux is so infamous for breaking promises is because he hypes his video games to high heaven.

Each upcoming game will be the best thing ever, packed full of features and brilliant concepts the likes of which no one has ever seen… except that the video games consistently fail to deliver on those promises. Take Godus, a game Kickstarted by Molyneux’s development team 22cans.

The game promised to deliver a “reinvention” of the god simulation genre for a new generation of gamers. Each player is a god who can sculpt the environment to his or her liking, collecting followers who worship their almighty lord. Unfortunately, the game was a dud; a free-to-play waste of time that seemed designed to part people from their money, thanks to a cynical payment model.

Making matters worse, Molyneux promised that one lucky player would become the “God of gods” and would get a cut of the game’s proceeds as well as help shape the development of the game. A God of gods was chosen, but he never received any money or had any input in the game. To cut to the chase, Godus failed to deliver.

4. The Order: 1886

The trailers and previews for this game looked so good that they inspired many people to purchase a PlayStation 4 over an Xbox One just so they could play it. Imagine their surprise, then, when the game that came out was a sleep-inducing bore.

What went wrong? For one thing, it was extremely short for a $60 game, ringing in at about eight hours. That would be acceptable for something like Call of Duty that features an endlessly re-playable online mode, but The Order had nothing of the sort. After completing the campaign — much of which consists of cut scenes — you’re done.

Worse, the game squandered its compelling fictional world. Its mix between steampunk and werewolves looked fantastic, but it was ruined by a story that could put an insomniac to sleep. Anyone taken in by this game’s promises was left disappointed.

5. Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem is a flat-topped, gun-toting hero straight out of an ’80s action movie. In 1996, his game franchise was on top of the world, thanks to the ground-breaking shooter Duke Nukem 3D, a game that featured all the cheesy one-liners, explosive action, and scantily-clad women gamers wanted back in those days.

Developer 3D Realms set out to make a follow-up soon after launching the game. They promised the sequel would be a top-of-the-line shooter that would make everything else look prehistoric by comparison. Years went by, and as new computer technology kept coming out, the developers kept having to scrap what they’d already made because it was already outdated.

It wasn’t until 15 years after the launch of Duke Nukem 3D that the sequel arrived, well past it’s “best by” date. Nothing in the finished product was cool or shocking or boundary-pushing in terms of shooters. The game, Duke Nukem Forever, is a sprawling mess, developed over too many years by too many people. It goes to show: Be careful what you promise, because you might fail to deliver.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed

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