Games That Turned Hype Into Disappointment

by Joe Juba on Apr 05, 2013 at 01:19 PM

Today's cancellation of Aliens: Colonial Marines on Wii U is the final chapter in the long and sad story of the game's development. At one point, Colonial Marines was a highly anticipated title, but fans' excitement and expectations hit rock bottom once they actually played it. This doesn't happen often in the industry, but occasionally we are unpleasantly surprised when the reality of a title falls far short of our high hopes. These are some of this generation's examples of this concept. They aren't all bad games; some of them just couldn't live up to the ridiculous hype surrounding them.


When Will Wright first unveiled Spore, it looked like it had the potential to change video games forever. The idea of guiding an organism through all of the stages of evolution was compelling, but Maxis struggled with crafting gameplay around the heady concept. The end result didn't drastically alter the video game landscape, but at least it was still fun (which is more than can be said for SimCity).

Too Human

Developer Silicon Knights built a reputation with games like Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. That meant that gamers were excited when the studio unveiled its concept for a techno-Norse sci-fi trilogy. However, a full series wasn't in the cards; prolonged development and technical issues caused the project to go sour, and when the finished product hit shelves, gamers found it to be far less than what was promised.


In a market dominated by yearly Call of Duty releases, Homefront promised to offer a fresh, more human look at war. THQ was banking on this shooter's premise of a Korean-occupied USA resonating with its audience, but the by-the-numbers gameplay and lack of polish kept Homefront from hitting the mark. The poor performance of Homefront is one of many factors in THQ's downfall.

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Dragon Age II

Dragon Age: Origins won its fan base by paying tribute to old-school, pause-and-play RPGs on PC. The game was a hit, and EA and BioWare followed up with a hasty sequel. Tailored more to console gamers with a greater focus on real-time action (and repeated dungeons), Dragon Age II has little in common with its predecessor. The game definitely has redeeming qualities, but none of them are what fans expected or wanted from a sequel.

Assassin's Creed III

Ambition is great when everything works out, but Assassin's Creed III may have flown too close to the sun. Many elements of the game were cool, though widespread technical issues prevented many users from fully experiencing them. Connor isn't as magnetic a protagonist as Ezio, either, which left some gamers less than enthralled with the whole adventure. The series is still enjoyable, but the yearly iterations are starting to wear out gamers' goodwill.

Mass Effect 3

Just bringing up Mass Effect 3 among gamers can result in a heated debate. A significant number of gamers were supremely let down by the final installment of Shepard's story. Many felt like BioWare had misrepresented the importance of decisions that players had been making throughout the series, so what should have been a satisfying payoff was more of a betrayal. Not everyone agrees, but the controversy is now inextricably tied to Mass Effect 3's legacy.

Crackdown 2

Storming through an open world with a  super-powered hero seems like a formula that can't miss, but Crackdown 2 didn't hit the mark. Reusing the same city from the first game was probably the biggest mistake, but the repetitive missions and lack of unique agents didn't help. Sequels should give players more of what they love, but Crackdown 2 somehow gave them less. 

BioShock 2

The original BioShock is a tough act to follow, but BioShock 2 did its best with a return to Rapture and plenty of cool story moments. The idea of playing as a Big Daddy got people pumped, but the reality was that Subject Delta didn't feel drastically different from any other FPS protagonist. Also, while Rapture was great the first time, going back to the well for the setting meant that the world didn't feel fresh. Thankfully, we have Columbia now.