Top 10 ''What were they thinking?!?!'' moments in gaming

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Posted by robertcain (290 posts) -

In the realm of video games, there’s often a moment or two that makes you scratch your head; whether it’s a developer making a not-so-brilliant decision or watching a game series or company hit rock-bottom, these moments beg the question ‘’what were they thinking?’’. The games in this list aren’t all necessarily bad but they all had me pondering this very question based on personal experience. Here are the top ten ‘’what were they thinking moments’’ mainly from the seventh generation of consoles from my perspective.

10. InFamous 2 being just plain lazy as a sequel

The original InFamous arrived in the second wave of the PS3’s exclusive line-up in 2009 and marked Sucker Punch’s (The team behind the Sly trilogy on PS2) debut on the platform. It was a huge hit, being a superhero game which offered something that no other game of its kind had done before; the choice to be a super-hero or super-villain. The story was highly engaging, and the combat was responsive and action packed. So what was Sucker Punch thinking with InFamous 2? The game was still fairly enjoyable and fun but just about everything had taken a step back from its superb predecessor. Cole wasn’t making his own choices anymore; he was just going along with whatever character he liked the most and on top of that, his choices in the original game had no weight whatsoever in the sequel. The design of the game was such a lazy effort; some of the main missions, yes, the MAIN STORY MISSIONS took about five minutes to complete while the side missions used the same scenarios over and over again. It’s as if Sucker Punch couldn’t be bothered to make some decent missions so they put in a level creator to have the community do it for them. InFamous 2 was a bad effort from Sucker Punch but hopefully with InFamous Second Son coming out for PS4, they can bring themselves back up to speed.

9. Bionic Commando’s disappointing 2009 outing

Bionic Commando looked awesome from the moment I saw the initial trailer and the series was looking to make a comeback with two new titles. I bought the first on PlayStation Network in 2008 (which was a fun and quirky 2D remake of the original game), beat it 100% and waited patiently for the 3D sequel the following year. So what was the game like? Bad, that’s how I describe it. Well, it wasn’t an awful game. It was fun to swing around and execute some attacks on enemies but it stumbled in so many areas including having a dull and clichéd plot, basic multiplayer and, awkward combat and gameplay that was far too linear. But the nail in the coffin was the horrible checkpoint system which made Bionic Commando one of the most frustrating games I’ve ever played; whether it was plunging into deep water with no hope of escape or jumping into an irradiated area you would get sent back to a far off checkpoint with all the enemies respawned and all the collectables back in place. In the end, I was glad that they cancelled the 3D sequels and went back to 2D; from my experience with the game, the character belongs in that genre and should stay there.

8. Call of Juarez: The Cartel being a huge step back from Bound in Blood

One of the few games I rented from the local Blockbuster (before they shut down for good) was Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and it was a pleasant surprise, boasting a deep story and action packed Wild West gameplay. There were a few things the game desperately needed though, such as cooperative play and more multiplayer support which I hoped Techland would introduce in a sequel. A sequel did eventually come, and it was horrible; Call of Juarez: The Cartel was a fantastic flop, removing all that was good with its predecessor and replacing it with faults of all shapes and sizes. The biggest flaw though was leaving the Old West behind, which not only spoiled the potential for a good story but also made the game blend in with most of the other modern shooters. What was Techland thinking? They were doing so well with Bound in Blood and then they put out a game which was worse in every way. It’s as if they didn’t learn from what they did with Bound in Blood and instead wanted to appeal to what the masses were buying the most. While Techland did make a comeback with Call of Juarez: The Gunslinger, a game as good as Bound in Blood has yet to make an appearance; quite a shame seeing as BIB was arguably their best title to date.

7. Sony’s once maddeningly arrogant plans for PlayStation 3

The PlayStation may now be a brilliant system with some of the best exclusives around but back in 2006 and 2007 it was a laughing stock with hardly any exclusive games to its name. No one wanted to embrace the system’s Blu-Ray capabilities, the online service paled in comparison to Xbox Live and worst of all; the PS3 was outrageously overpriced causing many gamers, even long term fans of Sony to abandon the system from the get-go. It was a rough start for Sony which begs the question ‘’what were they thinking?’’ Of course at the time Sony was on top of the gaming world with the PlayStation 2 being the best-selling system so perhaps they thought they could get away with anything, given how high their profits were. Thankfully in 2008 the PS3 bounced back and earned its place amongst its competitors and Sony have now learned from their mistakes and have worked to make the new PS4 a success from the beginning.

Does this look like survival horror to you?

6. Resident Evil’s descent into action-focused stupidity

Resident Evil is an enduring series but there was something off about its latest offering, Resident Evil 6; it’s just not scary, in fact there’s nothing in the game that comes close to resembling the survival horror the series was famous for. Capcom struck gold with Resident Evil 4 in 2005; the game really did revolutionise the survival horror genre and indeed gaming in general with its innovative over-the-shoulder viewpoint and deadly foes to face. Resident Evil 5 wasn’t as ground-breaking but it was still undeniably fun, especially with a coop partner. But with Resident Evil 6 the series degenerated into Michael Bay territory without a hint of what made the series so memorable to begin with. What was Capcom thinking? Were they thinking that everyone would get bored with a slower paced survival horror design? The answer most likely lies in how RE6 attempted to satisfy everyone by going full-on action but unfortunately it only served to dig the series a deeper grave. Resident Evil may return but judging from the latest main entry in the series and the spin-off Operation Racoon City it’s difficult to see this franchise going back to what made it great.

5. Microsoft’s attempt to control the gaming masses

Gaming history seems to have repeated itself in 2013; just as Sony’s PS3 was a much disliked system at first, nowadays it is Microsoft who is on the receiving end of a great of hatred and joking. The reveal for Xbox One was quite simply a disaster; first they focused too much on television over gaming, then they fell on their faces again at E3 with a high price tag of $500. But it was the DRM policies and required Kinect sensor that really sent gamers into a frenzy; a feature that was made worse by Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s spying programme. Many lost faith is Microsoft completely, believing them to be out for controlling the consumer and snapping up their money whenever possible and while Microsoft did reverse the controversial policies and take out the Kinect requirement this has undoubtedly kept the Xbox One from keeping the same pace as PlayStation 4 in the worldwide market since its launch last year. What was Microsoft thinking? Even now their focus is muddled, pushing gaming off to the side in favour of being an all in one system and some are still wary and refuse to trust them. Maybe the Xbox One will rise up again just like the PS3 did but right now that time seems a little ways off.

4. Crytek’s downward spiral from the original Crysis through to Ryse

Crytek was once a household name in the industry in the way in which they made technically stunning pieces of work that also boasted some decent gameplay. But an interesting thing seems to have happened to them in the years following the original Crysis in 2007; while the graphics and production values of their products have remained top notch, the gameplay has slowly gone downhill. Crysis 2 was solid but some thought it was too linear for its own good, Crysis 3 didn’t improve things very much and with the release of Ryse with the launch of the Xbox One the company Crytek has now fallen into the trap of graphics over gameplay. Ryse certainly looked the part but its graphics didn’t mean much when the gameplay was just endless monotonous ‘’press this button to execute’’ based combat. What was Crytek thinking? They had the chance to do for the Xbox One what Bungie did for the original Xbox with the original Halo but then they took the easy route and put out a lacklustre title that doesn’t do justice to their pedigree. It’s hard to say where Crytek will go next but Ryse will still stand as their first dud in all their years in the industry.

3. The obnoxious ‘’Jarhead’’ soldiers in Haze

Haze should have been the PS3’s killer app back in early 2008 but it was a miserable failure, sporting underwhelming gameplay and mediocre graphics; a huge shame considering how it was developed by some of the minds behind Goldeneye on the N64. But the biggest sin committed by Free Radical was the ridiculous, distasteful and utterly unlikeable Mantel Soldiers who single-handedly ruined what would have been an interesting concept for a story. These horrid characters bantered back and forth with terrible fist-pumping dialogue that made it impossible to care about either side of the conflict portrayed in the game, splashing more mud on an already lacklustre product. What was Free Radical thinking? Were they aiming to make players hate the troopers so much that they want to go against them with the Rebel side? That may be so, but it’s still inexcusable that Free Radical thought that this sort of character design would bode well for the fans.

What happened to this awesome coop mode?

2. Stripping back the multiplayer for Resistance 3

To see this happen was probably one of the most frustrating moments I’ve experienced in gaming. Resistance 2 was an incredible title that went bigger and better than the original in every way, boasting a lag-free online multiplayer mode for up to 60 players and best of all, a unique and chaotic coop for 8 players, something that had never been done before on a console. And what happened then? The 8 player coop was dropped in favour of a two player campaign coop from the original Resistance and the multiplayer fell from manic 60 player matches to 16 player run and gun fests trying to be like Call of Duty. What was Insomniac Games thinking? They once did what few dared to do on a console game and then they ditched it because they were afraid that Resistance 3 wouldn’t be able stand up on its own unless it blended in with what was popular at the time. Insomniac is still a great developer; still putting out Ratchet and Clank games and now the upcoming Sunset Overdrive for Xbox One but that one decision will always irk me as one of several reasons why Resistance 3 was a huge disappointment.

1. EA (JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING THEY’VE BEEN DOING UP TO NOW!)

With the dubious honour of ‘’Worst Company in America’’ two times in a row, and hordes of angry gamers berating them endlessly, Electronic Arts name has been tarnished in recent years. But it wasn’t always like this; back in the days of PlayStation 2, Xbox and Gamecube and even the early years of PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii EA was acting like a proper gaming company that cared for its fans and put out it’s titles purely for the enjoyment factor. But that focus has been thrown out the window in favour of horrendous scheming. The publisher has done some truly remarkable things recently that have led to become easily the most hated company in the gaming industry; whether it was ruining Mass Effect 3’s ending, butchering Dead Space 3 into an action game, forcing micro transactions down our throats or releasing games in poor conditions. What was EA thinking? When did these practices designed to grab as much money as possible while putting in a reduced amount of effort? These days it always seems to be about money above all other things and if EA doesn’t change its ways soon, it could be facing be facing heavy reductions in profits in a year or two. The burning question is why should we pay a company that doesn’t care about its customers? If that’s what it takes for EA to realise what an awful decision they’ve made then perhaps that’s the best way to proceed.

#1 Edited by TwistedShade (3165 posts) -

No offense but this list isn't very good. You threw a bunch of really bad games on here when instead you could have focused on other more WTF?! moments.

#2 Edited by Ish_basic (4029 posts) -

how bout Yamauchi saying online gaming is a fad. That was probably the biggest wtf moment in gaming for me.

Also, when they stayed cartridge with the N64 even though the advantages of the disc format were obvious and developers/publishers really wanted to move in that direction.

And how about every Nintendo controller post-SNES.

You know what? You can just title this list "How Nintendo Became Irrelevant to Me."

#3 Posted by huerito323 (1377 posts) -

Nintendo and its Wii U is not mentioned here, so your list fails.

#4 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (13685 posts) -

I'm sorry but how the is President Evil 4 survival horror explain it to me because I'm sure I did more dominating than surviving.

#5 Edited by EnoshimaJunko (212 posts) -

@Ish_basic said:

And how about every Nintendo controller post-SNES.

I thought the Gamecube controller was good. The N64 controller was terrible, and the Wii/WiiU controller(s) are questionable. IMO.

@Lulu_Lulu said:

I'm sorry but how the is President Evil 4 survival horror explain it to me because I'm sure I did more dominating than surviving.

Resident Evil isn't survival horror. It's more like a 3rd person shooter with a really creepy atmosphere and enemies. I think the point the TC was trying to make is that Resident Evil lost all its creepy factor (something good about the series) in 6.

Anyway, one wtf moment I can think of off the top of my head is....you all remember that one kid in LoZ: Wind Waker on the starting island (Outset Island, or whatever its called)? Ya know, the one with that huge booger hanging off his nose? I'm sure you do. To this day, I still have no idea why the hell they put that kid in the game. Nintendo, kids with giant loogeys hanging off their faces isn't remotely cute or anything. Why the fuck would anyone do that?

#6 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (13685 posts) -

@ EnoshimaJunko

Well in that case then President Evil 6 is plenty creepy. Honestly President Evil Die Hard fans are the worst. They just want Shinji.

#7 Posted by RageQuitter69 (1297 posts) -

To save time, I will only do a top 5:

5. Changing Resident Evil from a Great Survival Horror Game into a Bad Action Game

I haven't played Resident Evil 6 so that game will not be mentioned here, just the awful Resident Evil 5. Once upon a time, Resident Evil was about large creepy environments, solving puzzles and survival horror, and it was great, yeah sure, the controls were odd, but they just added tension when a zombie came out. Nowadays, it is an action game, if that sounds bad enough, it is also a bad action game, gone are the large creepy environments as they have been replaced by smaller environments in a daytime setting, puzzles?, yep they are gone, instead we have quick time events and survival horror?, haha, survival horror in Resident Evil, funny joke. The only thing remaining from the good old days is that awful control scheme, which once upon a time, added tension when the game was legitimately creepy, but now, all it does is frustrate. The only thin scary about Resident Evil now is how bad it is.

4. Sacrificing Gameplay for Storytelling,

Forget online passes on DLC, this one is the worst thing about the 7th generation of gaming. Gameplay is the most important aspect of a game (hence the reason why the word 'game' is in the word 'gameplay'. People say that the growing focus on character development and narrative is the gaming industry growing up, but if sitting through 90 minute cutscenes when you just want to play the game and going through repetitive levels full of chest-high walls while shooting weapons that feel like pea shooters and super soakers is growing up, then stuff growing up. I play games to escape reality in immersive environments and have fun with engaging gameplay. Don't get me wrong, I love a great story just as much as the next person, but when gameplay is sacrificed, I might as well go and buy a movie for a much cheaper price rather than paying full price for a four hour game.

3. Original Plans for the Xbox One

This one (no pun intended) speaks for itself, what the hell were they thinking? You can put in all these restrictions that will give you more money, but that requires people to actually buy your console first. The biggest original problem with the Xbox One was the need to be connected to the internet once a day, so what do you do if you are without the internet for a month because you moved house? be bored sh*tless, that's what. Than there was also the fact that you could only trade a game once, could not buy used games and someone had to be on your friend list for a month before you could give them the game. And last but no least, they spent most of the time during the console reveal talking about how you could watch TV on the console rather than talking about games, that's great, I will put it on the cover of Big Whoop Magazine because the console is plugged into a TV regardless.

2. Nintendo 64 Controller

I know that game developers worked around this oddly designed game controller so that people with only two arms were able to play the games, but that doesn't make the design okay. Containing three handles, it appears that the Nintendo 64 controller was designed for some three armed mutant, it will never be known why the controller was designed this way. There isn't much more to say about it really, apart from the fact that it is the worst designed game controller ever.

1. Big Rigs Over the Road Racing

Or my like 'Big Rigs Through Anything while going at Infinite Speed in Reverse Racing'. Released in 2003, Big Rigs is widely known as the worst game of all time. The game had only 5 tracks, or more like 4 as one of them caused the game to crash and 4 Big Rigs, which all handled the same and went a infinite speed while going in reverse. If you think that is bad enough, Big Rigs is the prime example of incomplete games as it lacked any form of audio what so ever as well as an absents of any form of collision detection (apart from the terrain), meaning that you could drive through buildings, bridges, and anything you wish. If you think you can ignore all of those issues and just have fun racing the other truck, think again, as your opponent never actually moves as there is no A.I. in this game at all, so you will always win the race and receive the infamous 'You're Winner' trophy. How this game got the green light to be allowed to be sold in shops will forever one of life's biggest mysteries.

#8 Edited by JustPlainLucas (74221 posts) -

Curious list... that you would be more frustrated over the dumbing down of a multiplayer mode than the douchebaggery that was MS and its Xbox One... And as someone mentioned earlier, that Wii U was not mentioned in any shape, form or fashion? Curious list indeed.

#9 Edited by Planeforger (15797 posts) -

@RageQuitter69 said:

5. Changing Resident Evil from a Great Survival Horror Game into a Bad Action Game

I haven't played Resident Evil 6 so that game will not be mentioned here, just the awful Resident Evil 5. Once upon a time, Resident Evil was about large creepy environments, solving puzzles and survival horror, and it was great, yeah sure, the controls were odd, but they just added tension when a zombie came out. Nowadays, it is an action game, if that sounds bad enough, it is also a bad action game, gone are the large creepy environments as they have been replaced by smaller environments in a daytime setting, puzzles?, yep they are gone, instead we have quick time events and survival horror?, haha, survival horror in Resident Evil, funny joke. The only thing remaining from the good old days is that awful control scheme, which once upon a time, added tension when the game was legitimately creepy, but now, all it does is frustrate. The only thin scary about Resident Evil now is how bad it is.

A few things...

  • The series has always had strong action elements compared to other survival horror games of the mid-90s. I mean, in the very first game you played an elite special forces commando team who took out gigantic bioweapons with massive handguns, acid-hurling grenade launchers and even a rocket launcher. All of the numbered games from 3-6 featured very prominent shooting elements, so it isn't necessarily a problem with 5 and 6 alone.
  • Resident Evil 4 also featured small environments in (sometimes) daytime settings, and people loved it. I don't think that's a problem either.
  • QTEs have been in the series since RE3, as far as I'm aware, and were featured very prominently in RE4 (but nobody complained back then, even with the constant BS instant-death bits). RE4's knife-fight alone is probably the longest and most punishing QTE sequence in the entire series.
  • The controls in the recent games have been *vastly* improved from the older games. RE4 was awkard, sure, but RE5 improved on that by allowing you to move and shoot, while RE6 minimised the need for context-sensitive dodging by allowing players to actively dodge and dive.
  • Outside of the horror elements, the last three games in the series have been great shooters. They're loaded with content, they've got top-notch production values, they've got great boss battles, and they are highly replayable as well.
#10 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (13685 posts) -

@ Planeforger

"b b b-But the horror......" as a Die Hard President Evil fan would say.

And what was up with the QTE's on No Hope Difficulty ? And the one hit incapacitations in both President Evil 5 and 6.

#11 Posted by stizzal13 (602 posts) -

@robertcain I would only say "WTF!?!" about number 1. Other than that, your list is horrible. You should feel bad.,. (slightly joking)

#12 Edited by Grenadeh (103 posts) -

@robertcain: I take it you haven't played some of the games or systems you mention. Planeforger too. You couldn't move and shoot in RE5. You could in RE6 - not in any other game in the franchise except ORC. And no, RE3 did not feature QTEs. It featured choices where you had an onscreen dialog asking what path you wanted to take when confronted with Nemesis.

And as far as action, not really. The point of the RE games was to beat them without killing things whenever possible, because you need all that ammo to beat the last boss or the bosses. Yes you played special forces or cops with guns - not massive guns - and also no ammo, very little ability to aim, versus enemies that took entire magazines to kill. That's no where remotely near as actioney as RE4, 5, 6, or ORC, or revelations.

As far as your opinion on 4 - 6, you're entirely wrong. They aren't great 3ps shooters. Gears, Spec Ops, Uncharted, and so many other games are better shooters. Chris's campaign in 6 was the most solid part of the game - and it was the entirely third person shooter part - but the game was not great in any aspect whatsoever, especially not boss battles. The bosses were stupid and ridiculous, and boring at the same time. Especially Simmons, all 3 or 4 times you have to kill him.

What's with the one-hit incapacitations? Huh? Everything kills you in one hit on Professional/Super ultra hard mode. Like chainsaw guys, that should instakill you. In RE3 hunters could decapitate or swallow you. In fact, most BOWs in RE3 had one hit kill moves. I believe the same happened in Outbreak and even RE1, maybe not RE2.

#13 Posted by osan0 (12749 posts) -

oh lets see here (no particular oder)

1) nintendo primarily promoting the gamecube in purple. why!? there was always a black gamecube also which was a nice looking console. no nintendo chose purple. look at this cool purple box with star wars. is purple a cool colour in japan?

2) nintendos decisions with the wiiu hardware. the wii hardware mande sense..i could see exactly what they were doing and they executed it well (hence muchos moolah). but very little of the wiiu makes sense. no HDD (something nintendo acknowledged was a problem with the wii). a controller where there own developers dont seem to have any good ideas on how to use it, a processor where they would have actually had to make an effort to make it that bad and absolutely no clear objective or target.

3) nintendos wiiu unveiling. is it a new controller for the wii? is ti a self contained unit? that was really WTF (i will stop with nintendo now)

4) (ok one more nintendo) 3D for the 3DS. by the time the 3DS was unveiled it was becoming quite clear that 3D wasn't going to be big. perhaps nintendo thought that by removing the glasses they would hit gold (which, in fairness was not that unreasonable to think at the time). but the technology is still not that well suited to a handheld. its not compatible with the motion sensor so games should not use both and the tech was not really ready.

5) in the theme of not learning from history MSs attempt to bring always online DRM to the xbox 1. the idea was rejected twice on the PC. did MS think console gamers would just roll over and take a beating?

6) the PS3 hardware...all of it. its a dreadful console. a 600 quid console at lauch that, for a long time, offered inferior versions of games to the cheaper console. the only developers that could make it behave were the ones that were working exclusively on it from day one...and even then the diffeence is not that big. thankfully sony learnt for that screw up, the PS4 has well chosen and thought out hardware. talk about scoring an own goal though.

7) capcom/nintendo not making online available for the 3DS version of monster hunter. why? i dont know who is responsible for this but someone, somewhere thought it would be a good idea to not bother with online on the 3DS. its not like the handheld cant do it..MH4 has/will have online play. the 3DSs online systems are also better than the wiis.

8) always online requirement and the AH for diablo 3 on the PC. again talk about scoring an own goal. then they go ahead and make a console version with no always online DRM. good thing there is torchlight and torchlight 2 on the PC...itch scratched.

#14 Edited by Ish_basic (4029 posts) -

@Planeforger: QTEs have been in the series since RE3, as far as I'm aware, and were featured very prominently in RE4 (but nobody complained back then, even with the constant BS instant-death bits). RE4's knife-fight alone is probably the longest and most punishing QTE sequence in the entire series.

The QTEs in RE5 were terrible and worthy of a calling out. Problem is Capcom didn't figure latency into their QTE timing and so the events that were pretty strict but doable became insanely difficult when I was playing online with a friend. We had to repeatedly attempt QTE sections even though both of us were very familiar with the game (to the point of having unlocked just about everything by then). There's one sequence in particular with Wesker above the volcano...yeah, that took awhile.

#15 Posted by platinumking320 (667 posts) -

1. Final Fantasy X cutscene

Tidus: "HAWH-HAWH-HAWH-HAWH!"

you know what I'm talking about....

2. EA Dead Space 2 and Dante's Inferno Marketing campaigns


3. MGS Sons of Liberty: Raiden & Rosemary codec soap opera

(Jesus H. Christ!)

Some bad decisions deserve a pimp slap.

#16 Edited by Business_Fun (2282 posts) -

Giving Captain MacTavish a mohawk in Modern Warfare 2. I mean come on.

#17 Posted by insanegame377 (332 posts) -

Surprised nobody had mentioned the Mass Effect 3 ending.

#18 Posted by nicecall (428 posts) -

i agree with the xbox one DRM thing. I couldn't believe it when I heard some mouthy microsoft employee in a blog telling everyone to deal with it.... deal with the fact that it will have drm, deal with it that you have to be online to play a game. and on top of that, microsoft had this crap in their system even at launch day. its funny how they canned him, even though he was just saying the truth about their true schemes.

Damage is done and they probably lost millions of hardcore xbox360 fans that decided to go with sony for this gen. its a lesson to corporations, take away customers rights and they will rebel against you.

#19 Posted by MirkoS77 (7626 posts) -

Whenever Iwata speaks I'm left shaking my head going, "WTF?..."