Button Mash

14 Formerly Great Gaming Franchises That Are Terrible Now 

Robert Carnevale
Updated June 11, 2018 51.1k votes 8k voters 257.7k views 14 items

List Rules Vote up the most stale franchise on this list.

There comes a point where even the very best video game franchises need to be put out of their misery. Whether it be the publishers just not caring anymore, the developers not having any artistic integrity left, or any cruelly-corporate combination of the two, the fact of the matter is that every gaming franchise on this list is utterly and absolutely devoid of ingenuity or merit at this point. If it has reached this list, the franchise has gone on at least one installment too long for its own good.

That's not to say that these franchises are without merit. Some helped spawn entire genres, while others kept those same genres alive. Heck, two or three series on this list contain some of the best games of the past few generations - uncontested golden trophies of gaming accomplishment. Yet even the mighty will fall when developers and publishers get greedy and pump out titles for quick cash grabs. So, check out this list below and vote up the most worthless franchises that may have been amazing at one point, but are now just plain terrible. 

Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page.
Call of Duty is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 14 Formerly Great Gaming Franchises That Are Terrible Now
Photo:  Activision

Where does one even begin when discussing the living corpse of a franchise that is Call of Duty? Widely known as the most stale, casual shooter on the market, scores of tweens line up each holiday season to snag the next low-ambition sci-fi shooter from Activision that, once in a blue moon, remembers its historic roots and decides to be a World War shooter.

And yet, whether you're shooting Nazis or futuristic robots, the guns and physics all feel ridiculously cheap and weak. That's because Activision is putting different animal pelts on top of the same dead carcass every year, and the largely adolescent gaming market doesn't know any better than to gobble it up. Four-hour campaigns which are glorified hallway simulators and a multiplayer mode devoid of any room for actual skill have come to define this franchise. 

More Call of Duty 

#388 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #152 of 275 The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

Destiny is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 14 Formerly Great Gaming Franchises That Are Terrible Now
Photo:  Bungie

After Halo: Reach, Bungie said enough was enough and quit producing Halo games, a series about hardcore space marines shooting funny-looking aliens into mush on obscure planets. To celebrate their newfound freedom and artistic liberty, they launched a brand new franchise about hardcore space marines who shoot funny-looking aliens into mush on obscure planets.

The difference? Destiny was controlled by Activision's greedy corporate structure, meaning fans came back biannually to get their wallets abused for more DLC that was just cut content from the creatively devoid base game. Again and again, the storyless, contentless game received updates with a single new gun or half a mission, and fans came flocking back to it, just like they will for Destiny 2. Keep throwing millions at Activision, guys. Reward that kind of behavior. 

More Destiny 

#366 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #291 of 523 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time #41 of 168 The Best Video Games Of The 2010s, Ranked

Street Fighter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 14 Formerly Great Gaming Franchises That Are Terrible Now
Photo:  Capcom

Street Fighter 4 got four different editions over the course of its lifespan. That means Capcom sold you the same game with a few new fighters four separate times. Then they had the gall to follow up that fiasco with Street Fighter V, a game featuring half the content of the original SF4, with no story mode and broken online play.

All those crimes and still, Capcom makes just enough profit to stay afloat. Here's the reality, people: Capcom doesn't have the integrity or the money to produce quality Street Fighter titles anymore. So please, stop drip-feeding them and let Ryu find peace in a dignified death. 

More Street Fighter 

#16 of 178 The Best Video Game Franchises of All Time #207 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fanslisted on List of Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Games

4
Halo: Combat Evolved is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 14 Formerly Great Gaming Franchises That Are Terrible Now
Photo:  Microsoft

While the original four titles produced by Bungie were phenomenal, the Halo franchise has taken a downward spiral ever since Microsoft took direct control of the games. The deep lore and complex storytelling that Bungie prided itself on has since been destroyed by 343 Industries over the course of Halo 4 and 5's awful narratives, yet fans keep lining up for more. Couple that with stale gameplay that is aggressively trying to copy the dwindling Call of Duty franchise, and you've got a fool-proof recipe for series degradation. 

And in case none of that rustled your jimmies, 343 has also taken away split-screen co-op, a staple of the early Halo brand. Tell Microsoft that it's time to stop by not buying any more of their titles - after all, you're just giving them money with which they will slap you in the face. 

More Halo: Combat Evolved 

#10 of 1,588 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #228 of 523 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Timelisted on List of Space Marine Games