Why have there been so many flops/troubled development this gen?

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Avatar image for XVision84
#1 Edited by XVision84 (15783 posts) -

Anthem. Mass effect andromeda. Fallout 76. Watch Dogs. Dragon Age 4 also seems to be going quite poorly. Crackdown. Artifact. Scalebound. No Mans Sky. Etc.

This gen has had a lot of games that didn't ship as advertised and/or had a disastrous launch. I can't seem to recall a time where there were so many flops one after the other.

Why do you think we're seeing so many lately and do you believe this is as uncommon as I think it is?

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#2 Posted by robert_sparkes (2910 posts) -

I was thinking this the other day I can't put my finger on it. Maybe the devs are under so much pressure and trying to cater to both crowds. Crackdown is a different story altogether we all know that.

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#3 Posted by Son-Goku7523 (534 posts) -

Mostly greedy publishers with unrealistic expectations on devs.

Some of it due to the devs themselves but most of it is due to the publishers forcing devs to create games that appeal to too many demographics that end up failing.

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#4 Edited by Sevenizz (3593 posts) -

Games get cancelled all the time. Last gen (including all previous generations) have had less staff and leaks therefore we’re not aware what gets shelved, but it’s quite common. Social media has also exploded this gen so news is easier and wider spread.

Flops are common in every industry. Any assumptions that this gen has more or less is ridiculous. Especially given we know little about digital sales.

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#5 Posted by Valgaav_219 (2301 posts) -

Lack of creativity due to high development costs. Everyone wants to copy what already did well to try to guarantee good returns on their investments. Also this GaaS crap in damn near each and every game as a fail safe to make sure they make that money back and continue to make money. No one takes risks anymore.

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#6 Posted by Archangel3371 (27556 posts) -

I think it’s a number of factors really. First off I think there are just more games in general that are coming out so while it may seem that there are more games coming out with problems I think in terms of ratios it’s probably not really all that different then before. Secondly developing games just keeps getting more difficult and time consuming each gen and publishers try to push these games out on a fiscal schedule rather then if the game is actually ready or not. Then you have some that just advertise too soon instead of showing it when it’s more ready and in a state that better reflects how it’ll truly be when it launches.

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#7 Posted by DaVillain- (35997 posts) -

Let's see:

  • Rushing development meeting the deadline with no to little testing out bugs/glitches.
  • Not meeting gamers expectations.
  • Shoehorn DLC/Microtransactions during game development.
  • Mismanagement can lead to disappointing and totally effect the game itself.
  • Publishers forcing developers rushing the project no breaks and never give developers enough time making a good game.
  • Developers often don't have a vision for the game.

If all the above were to be address, this wouldn't be such a hot mess and the game itself wouldn't flop in the first place. These game developers need to look at Nintendo and see why they take their sweet ass time making a good game! It should be noted I personally like and enjoy Mass Effect: Andromeda and it met my expectations, sad it didn't meet others expectations.

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#8 Posted by VagrantSnow (267 posts) -

Publishers trying to push games they want players to want instead of games that players actually want.

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#9 Edited by getyeryayasout (12255 posts) -

Open-world over saturation.

They are being designed as games secondarily and a platform for selling digital baubles primarily.

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#10 Posted by AJStyles (735 posts) -

Developers are lazy.

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#11 Posted by joebones5000 (2094 posts) -

Budgets are too big and quality control too little.

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#12 Posted by Ant_17 (12089 posts) -

It's mostly the west that has been shitting the bed. Japanese devs seem to be making games you can finish and enjoy without issues from day 1,or day minus 40 in yakuza 6 case.

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#13 Posted by Ovirew (8852 posts) -

I think, too, there's gotta be some uncertainty about what's up with consumers. We're not really getting along in society that well these days, or at least it seems that way. From their standpoint maybe it's hard to tell what people want since we have so many opinions as gamers now. They aren't quite sure what to focus on in development and promotion.

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#14 Edited by mrbojangles25 (43759 posts) -

Purely speculation on my part, but it seems like a combination of:

  • Mis- or under-managed developers
  • Completely misguided executives that listen too much to sales and marketing, and not enough to gamers
  • A general lack of maturity when it comes to work ethic.

Just to use the most deserving whipping boy of late, Electronic Arts, I think if you just look at this publisher and Bioware you can see the above traits have led to a series of poor games.

I feel like the days of Will Wright, John Carmack, Warren Spector, and other notable developers are over, and now we getting games from people that grew up playing games from the pioneers. So instead of getting fresh concepts and original games, we get games from people who are simply trying to be like their hero without doing their own thing. It's why we get so many reboots, spinoffs, and 7th, 8th, 20th installments in a series that should have ended after the third game.

Instead of saying "You know what, Mass Effect 1-3 did really well. I am happy how those games turned out. Let's move on to the next thing" we get "What do you guys want to make? No ideas? Well shit, I guess we will make another Mass Effect *shrug*"

I truly think that, deep down, most gamers don't really care about huge development budgets, celebrity voice actors, and cool-looking shit. We all just want great gameplay and to have fun. Sick of "games as a service", sick of always-online, sick of there always having to be a multiplayer, tired of them always going for the "epic fantasy" or "space opera" or some other crazy concept.

Just give us some down-to-earth games. Make some good sandbox games we can play for hundreds of hours. Make some single-player games with good production values, but are over in 20-30 hours and only cost 30 bucks. Take more risks.

@joebones5000 said:

Budgets are too big and quality control too little.

Yup

@ajstyles said:

Developers are lazy.

Yeah, I think they got into the business to be a rockstar or because they love gaming, not realizing the hard work it takes.

@vagrantsnow said:

Publishers trying to push games they want players to want instead of games that players actually want.

Well said!

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#15 Posted by Ghosts4ever (9578 posts) -

because games taking so much time to develop now and every game is going open world are the major factor.

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#16 Posted by sealionact (3790 posts) -

If you think troubled development in games is exclusive to current gen consoles, you need to reread The last guardian saga again...

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#17 Posted by dimebag667 (1203 posts) -

@Sevenizz: You might be totally correct, but to say it's always been this way seems off.

Based on the games mentioned (which I would include Battlefield 5, Battlefront 2, Destiny), I would agree that I can't remember a time when this many heavy hitters stumbled; if not out right failed. And even that feels weird to say, seeing how these games all sold millions of copies.

In some ways it seems like the gaming industry has built itself into a corner. They want to make a good game, but they try to cater to as broad an audience as possible, and alienate their diehards. They push for better and better graphics, which drives up cost of development, which then requires more copies to be sold to make up the difference. They have investors and publishers breathing down their necks to increase revenue year after year, which turns the game into a GaS trash pile, or forces them to release early and hope people stick around long enough for them to fix it. It's basically a blueprint of how to ruin a creativity and joy.

Another thing you're right about is the role social media plays. Without people banding together to rage against "a sense of pride and accomplishment" on Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, etc., I might have never known. But they can also be sespools as well, so I'll move on.

In the past I would frequent these forums everyday (basically still do, but there was a hiatus), and I'm sure I didn't see every flop, but it was hard to miss them when they were the ammunition for System Wars. Being a PS3 supporter was nothing to be proud of the day Lair came out :) But again, Lair doesn't get to swim in the same pool as Fallout, Mass Effect, or Battlefield.

Maybe you're right and I'm just ignorant of the facts or misremembering, but I don't remember this many Titans falling in such rapid succession.

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#18 Posted by BenjaminBanklin (4334 posts) -
@Ovirew said:

I think, too, there's gotta be some uncertainty about what's up with consumers. We're not really getting along in society that well these days, or at least it seems that way. From their standpoint maybe it's hard to tell what people want since we have so many opinions as gamers now. They aren't quite sure what to focus on in development and promotion.

Why do I have this feeling you're on to something? As gamers become more polarized and western civilization threatens to eat itself alive, games aren't the escapism they once used to be. Hard to keep an angry and more splintered public happy. It seems like certain sections of gamers only want certain games to cater to them only, with no breathing room for anything different. Some games are always dependable, like a Rockstar tltle, some are not.

The future of gaming may come down to the ultra casual titles like the Fortnites and what not, because F2P games are their own caste system in a way. You have those who want to play for free, and you have those with the means to pay into it. One day it could possibly supplant the traditional retail game among major pubs. Because it sucks to make a 100 million dollar title only for gamers to balk at it because it stars a girl, or something else really trite.

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#19 Posted by djoffer (1214 posts) -

To much focus on graphic and to little on gameplay... hard to really blame the devs/publishers when games cost 100’s of millions they want something that is easy to advertise/make good trailers!

That being said, we have a booming indie/AA markets that spits out one gem after another so could care less if mass effect 4 or battlefield 27 flops.. plenty of gems out there

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#20 Edited by uninspiredcup (32742 posts) -

Lot's of games through history have troubled development, we just have greater access to information and more awareness now.

Which is a good thing, it makes us aware of politically insane activists under the guise of journalists and shows just how evil a company EA are when they are willing to give employees gulf war syndrome for shitty games they probably didn't want to make in the first place.

The first step to recovery is the acknowledge the problem, which is literally, all of gaming.

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#21 Posted by AJStyles (735 posts) -

EA’s games are bad because they use Frostbite Engine and no one can code/developers are lazy.

Activision is just greedy so they cut everything. Less work, more money.

Ubisoft is a bit better than these too but they still just cut and paste everything.

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#22 Edited by IMAHAPYHIPPO (3393 posts) -

@XVision84: Games cost 4x more to produce than they did last gen, and every developer has been forced to try and find ways to make more money on their games, as gamers would riot in the streets if they had to pay more than $60 for a new release.

Simply put, not all of those ideas worked.

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#23 Posted by enzyme36 (4151 posts) -

High Fidelity.... budget... deadlines... while trying to maintain QoL for the workers.

I'm ok with some clipping and minor bugs at launch if it means people got to go home to their families during development

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#24 Posted by Eikichi-Onizuka (9191 posts) -

It's not really anything new.

Last gen had Aliens: Colonial Marines, Duke Nukem Forever, Too Human, Fable 3, Rage, Two Worlds, Haze, Brutal Legend, Kane & Lynch, Ninja Gaiden 3, Sonic 06.

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#25 Edited by PAL360 (29537 posts) -

There haven't. A better question would be why do people always pretend that the games they buy are the only ones available? Of course those who keep supporting the same greedy companies, will be disappointed over and over.

I already played over 350 games in PS4, and to be honest many of them are the best i have ever played in their genres. Then again, there are so many options available, that i even forget that greedy companies like EA, Ubisoft or Activision exist.

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#26 Posted by pdogg93 (1526 posts) -

Gross mismanagement of projects. Refer to most of Microsoft’s games.

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#27 Posted by sleepnsurf (3151 posts) -
@Ant_17 said:

It's mostly the west that has been shitting the bed. Japanese devs seem to be making games you can finish and enjoy without issues from day 1,or day minus 40 in yakuza 6 case.

Yeah unfortunately most people don't like what Japan games have to offfer like myself. Pikachu, big eyed characters jumping in flower patches is for kids.

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#28 Posted by Gatygun (1428 posts) -

Because consumers allow it.

You keep buying the games no matter what even if its unfinished. Even test phases get completely skipped and sold as alpha so instead of spending money they actually gain it while delivering it completely bugged etc.

Players do it to themselves. nothing else towards it.

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#29 Posted by adsparky (1301 posts) -

Because companies try to sell you hype instead of products, they announce games when they're nothing more than a vague idea and get lazy while developing because it can be patched later.

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#30 Posted by StrongDeadlift (5586 posts) -

This is nothing compared to early last gen, in terms of once revered developers flopping, many of those flops taking the entire studio down.

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#31 Edited by 2Chalupas (7039 posts) -

@IMAHAPYHIPPO said:

@XVision84: Games cost 4x more to produce than they did last gen, and every developer has been forced to try and find ways to make more money on their games, as gamers would riot in the streets if they had to pay more than $60 for a new release.

Simply put, not all of those ideas worked.

Doesn't really make sense as it's not like production values have increased THAT much from last gen, and many developers have been shortening or streamlining games from one gen to the next. So where is all this "development" money going?

I mean you can see it in something like Rockstar open world games. You see where all the development dollars went in something like Red Dead. But that is really not the case in most other genres of games (FPS, racing games, adventure games, etc).

I think broken games has more to do with cuts and forced deadlines, the big publishers are basically destroyers of talent. Last gen they started to no longer care about quality control because they think it can be patched in later. This gen it seems like it's not even about "quality control" in the sense of ironing out the bugs, the big publishers have just gone all in on "revenue maximization" and throw the gaming experience out the window. Mobile games have taught them none of this matters, it's all about trying to create an addictive experience. It's just straight up pushing out broken slot machines. But it is a good question as to why these broken slot machines seem to take just as much or more time to produce.

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#32 Edited by pmanden (585 posts) -

@mrbojangles25: Great post. You are absolutely right. We are tired of all that complicated always-online, necessary-multiplayer, Hollywood sh☆☆. Just give us a fun basic game.

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#33 Edited by IMAHAPYHIPPO (3393 posts) -

@2Chalupas: They Have.

They're Actually Really F*cking Expensive

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#34 Posted by watercrack445 (1435 posts) -

-Bobby Kotick is a fat walrus that sucks money like how a walrus sucks fish.

-Todd Howard is a two-headed snake that says one thing and does another thing that opposite of what he said.

-Phil Spencer is a clown king with the backing of his cult.

- Andrew Wilson is capitalist greedy king who levies taxes on taxes. The only the way to get ahead is to pay his "government" where the person gets some benefits but still in the mass system of grinding to to get ahead in life only to go in full circle.

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#35 Posted by speedytimsi (925 posts) -

I think the word "flop" has been changed throughout the gaming era. A flop to me is defined as a total failure( like ET in Atari). But nowadays a game that made like $100 million in digital sales and people called it a "flop"?

Damn I would like to do that anytime like Anthem.

Avatar image for Ant_17
#36 Posted by Ant_17 (12089 posts) -

@sleepnsurf: that's your problem.

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#38 Edited by dzimm (5343 posts) -

Gaming is big business now. It's like Hollywood. All you need are a handful of blockbusters to make up for all the turds that get released, so it becomes a matter of quantity over quality. Release as much product as you can, and as long as a few rake in the money, you're golden. Case in point: Bethesda isn't crying about Fallout 76 because they know that Rage 2 and DOOM Eternal are likely to rake in the bucks and keep the company profitable as a whole.

You'll need to look to the indie scene if you want to find the games that are still developed with love and passion.

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#39 Edited by Jag85 (13335 posts) -

@Ant_17: It's the opposite of last gen, when Japanese games were struggling and Western games were doing very well. This gen, it's Western games that are struggling and Japanese games that are doing well.

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#40 Posted by StormyJoe (7762 posts) -

@XVision84: Publishers wanting to maximize profits and hit release dates that correspond to quarterly revenue schedules. At least, that was the problem with Andromeda, Fallout 76, and Anthem.

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#41 Edited by jaydan (2201 posts) -

Uhhhhhh. I don't see much of a difference. Every gen has its share of flops, delays and troubled-development.

Perhaps it has more to do with you making poor judgement on the games you choose to hype; and with that said, you should enhance your tastes in gaming so you can avoid these problems.

It's consumer's like you that continually supplement companies like Bethesda with money to keep making broken and half-assed games when they've been doing it all along. It's really no surprise we have a Fallout 76 crash every so often when gamer's seldom criticize and punish these developers and then their ego's get entirely to their heads thinking they can keep taking advantage of their consumers.

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#42 Edited by Raining51 (804 posts) -

Perception more than fact IMO.

Game standards are getting higher quicker than the development can reach those standards.

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#43 Posted by Ant_17 (12089 posts) -

@Jag85: they are consistent. Only competent western dev I can think of is the Mortal Kombat dev.

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#44 Edited by warmblur (2131 posts) -

I been gaming since the late 80's and this is easily the most greedy and dishonest generation I ever experience from graphical downgrades to microstractions.

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#45 Posted by evilross (1974 posts) -

Japanese Developers have been on an absolute winning streak this gen with one great release after another.

The stagnation has been mostly been among the big western publishers and the literal hundreds of budget indie studios that churn out the same thing over and over.

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#46 Posted by GarGx1 (10928 posts) -
@davillain- said:

Let's see:

  • Rushing development meeting the deadline with no to little testing out bugs/glitches.
  • Not meeting gamers expectations.
  • Shoehorn DLC/Microtransactions during game development.
  • Mismanagement can lead to disappointing and totally effect the game itself.
  • Publishers forcing developers rushing the project no breaks and never give developers enough time making a good game.
  • Developers often don't have a vision for the game.

If all the above were to be address, this wouldn't be such a hot mess and the game itself wouldn't flop in the first place. These game developers need to look at Nintendo and see why they take their sweet ass time making a good game! It should be noted I personally like and enjoy Mass Effect: Andromeda and it met my expectations, sad it didn't meet others expectations.

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#47 Posted by XVision84 (15783 posts) -

@jaydan: What? I haven't bought or hyped even one of the games in the OP 😅

Strange assumptions

Avatar image for XVision84
#48 Posted by XVision84 (15783 posts) -

Interesting responses so far! I don't think developers being lazy is the case though because we hear about the difficult work conditions all the time. Devs put their heart into games which I always appreciate :).

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#49 Edited by jaydan (2201 posts) -
@XVision84 said:

@jaydan: What? I haven't bought or hyped even one of the games in the OP 😅

Strange assumptions

Sorry that was just me being an edgelord.

But for real though, a lot of these flops come from studios with large fanbases despite having glaring faults in their design principles. People always threw money at Bethesda despite glaring faults in their methods of design after all these years. They never addressed or fixed such issues as much as they continued to put out broken games. Things only got worse with their buggy games until it finally caught up to them with 76.

While I wouldn't say Bioware is nearly as bad as Bethesda, but they've had lingering troubles with their design over these years, too. They completely abandoned key draws to their games with a game like Andromeda. Also EA has them pretty much by the nutsack by this point.

I guess Lemmings are slightly more humble because I don't think Lemmings expected much out of Crackdown 3 anyways. Much of its "hype" came out of cows never shutting up about the game.

No Man's Sky was straight up false advertising and I think it became quite clear well before its release that it was not going to be what it was originally promised to be.

At the end of the day much of these problematic games came from problematic developers that fans continually fuel money too. It eventually catches up to them and unfortunately we've gone through a period over recent times where these high-profile devs meet their crash.

I think it happens through most gens though.

Avatar image for XVision84
#50 Posted by XVision84 (15783 posts) -

@jaydan: Pretty much agree with you on all points. It could just be me but I really don't recall last gen having this many issues.

Hopefully Bethesda picks it up after they got their teeth kicked in with 76. I don't trust them enough to preorder elder scrolls but I damn well hope it's good. Mods fix Bethesdas bugs and make the game way better. Couldn't care less about the other devs.