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The 14 Biggest Flops In Video Game History

Updated December 26, 2019 4.3k votes 1.5k voters 65.4k views14 items

List RulesVote up the video game flops that you were disappointed in.

The video game industry is one of the most profitable fields in the world, with franchises like all the Mario games and Grand Theft Auto. But even the best farms tend to yield bad crops once in a while, and the game industry is no exception. Now, these aren't just video games with terrible endings - these are the games that were devastatingly disastrous from the get-go.

Some titles on this list cost developers and publishers hundreds of thousands of dollars (only to sell a handful of copies), while others had excessive hype that gave way to piss-poor reviews. Even worse, a few of these games came out so glitchy and technically flawed that they should never have left the public beta stage. This list of video games contains the worst failures the industry has seen, including one that was such a debacle it resulted in destroying a console manufacturer. Check out the biggest video game flops of all time. 

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    John Romero was kind of a big deal in the '90s. He was the head of id Software and designer of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. So when he announced Daikatana, people were understandably very excited. But then, things took a bad turn when an ad campaign launched, stating, "John Romero's About to Make You His B*tch." The horizon looked even bleaker when the developing studio, Ion Storm, tried (and failed) to quickly switch engines before the scheduled 1999 release. 

    Thus, not only were the fans mad about the ads, but the game was released late and had terrible gameplay mechanics. Ion Storm's parent company, Eidos, dumped nearly $40 million into the game before deciding to call time of death. 

    • Release: 2000
    • Developer: Kemco, Ion Storm
  • Photo: IGN / YouTube

    Okay, so Def Jam Rapstar wasn't a terrible game. It was basically the same game as Singstar, but with rap and hip-hop tracks. The only problem was that the producers didn't do their homework. They released the game featuring 54 songs that they had not claimed the rights to, so record label and publisher EMI sued the company for upwards of $8 million, bankrupting the studio and forcing them to shut down their online community site, which basically left Def Jam Rapstar dead in the water. 

    • Release: 2010
    • Developer: 4mm Games
  • APB had a lot of hype behind it, and for good reason. It was designed by David Jones, creator of GTA, and was marketed as being the next GTA Online. With over $100 million spent on producing the game, expectations were high.

    However, the publisher made a strange move and chose to bar sites from reviewing the game until a week after its launch, which severely affected pre-orders and first-week sales. In addition, unpolished gameplay contributed to the game just falling off the radar. 

    • Release: 2008
    • Developer: Realtime Worlds
  • The original Driver for PC in 1998 was wildly successful, as was it's successor Driver 2, so Atari and Reflections Interactive thought they had this one in the bag. As always, the hype machine was rolling right along for this title, as Driver 2 had made some serious improvements to the franchise.

    Unfortunately, Driver 3 was basically Driver 2 with a coat of polish, and was almost immediately universally rejected. In addition to terrible controls, the game only provided 3 hours of single player content. But the biggest scandal was the fact that, despite being a terrible game, Driver 3 received overwhelmingly positive game reviews from different review sites.

    This led to the famous incident dubbed "Driv3rgate," where people were generally turned off by the dishonest practices of both publishers and journalists. 

    • Release: 2004
    • Developer: Ubisoft Reflections