The 15 Dumbest Video Game Titles Of 2015
Coming up with a good video game title is hard, but devising a mind-bogglingly stupid title is even harder. Nevertheless, another batch of uniquely talented developers rose to the challenge this year, and their efforts deserve recognition. Here are the 15 dumbest video game titles of 2015.
Episode: Ultra Despair Girls
Japanese developers might not have a monopoly on lousy video game titles, but they certainly are the majority shareholders. The new installment of Danganronpa proves that Spike Chunsoft isn't even trying to come up with sensible titles for the series anymore – which is understandable considering the main star is a murderous robotic bear. This time around, the developer couldn't be bothered to keep track of what numbered sequel they were working on – it's just "Another Episode." Sure, why not? Also, I can't think of a worse group of girls to hang out with than ultra despair girls; sounds like quite the party.
The latest from Nippon Ichi Software adheres to the classic JRPG naming convention of shoving three random words together and praying fans don't realize it has no meaning. Awakened Fate Ultimatum certainly sounds like a JRPG, but what the hell does it actually mean? You can't awaken fate – doing so would mean you actively caused it to happen, which is the exact opposite of a predetermined future. Fate also makes for a crappy ultimatum – how can you leverage fate (awakened or not) as a threat for noncompliance? Here's my best attempt at getting this title to make any sense whatsoever: "You better not think about this title too much, or you'll awaken your fate of having bought a terribly named RPG."
htoL#NiQ: The Firefly
Poke fun at enough Japanese game titles and invariably a JRPG fan will emerge in the comments to chastise you for "unfairly" mocking translated names. This defense assumes two things: one, that the titles actually mean something in their mother language (a bold assumption that gives JRPG developers a lot of credit), and two, that a translator's job is to merely substitute words from one language to another, regardless of whether the final translation is comprehensible. Either way, you can't blame translation for this garbled mess from Nippon Ichi (again?!) – unless they left it to Google Translate, which then broke and spit out a fragment of raw HTML code.
Apparently, htol#NiQ is just "Hotaru no Nikki" run through an idiot machine, which in turn is Japanese for "firefly diary." So Nippon Ichi correctly translated the name of the game, but then slapped a worse (not to mention unpronounceable) translation of the same thing at the beginning of the title. Why? I can only assume it's for s#1t5&GiGs – I'll let you figure out what that translates to.
Under Night In-Birth
Plenty of JRPG titles are quirky for the sake of being quirky, but Under Night In-birth EXE: Late is poised to backfire; anyone who is even remotely familiar with computers knows you never open an email attachment that ends in .EXE – it's probably a virus that will break your computer. Beyond the Exe moniker (which is apparently late?), the rest of this title is pretty horrid as well; I don't know what an "in-birth" is, but it sounds painful, and definitely something you would want to do under the cover of night.
Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation
Fresh-faced gamers might be shaking their heads in disbelief at Idea Factory's stupefying title, but I'm including it on this list for a different reason. The last game in the series was called Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 – same inexplicable misuse of a semicolon, same lack of space before the numeral. Rebirth2 is tame in comparison; not only is it appropriately numbered, the subtitle is downright reasonable! If they keep naming games like this, the norms at Idea Factory will lose their ultra-precious quirk cred...
Coming Up Next: Things get boring with the most obvious titles of 2015...
Fun fact: There have been so many Warhammer games that Warhammer 40K isn't a spinoff – it's just the 39,999th sequel. So, how does Rodeo Games differentiate its latest installment in the never-ending series? By calling it Warhammer Quest... because you go on quests. Yay!
Warhammer Quest is based on the classic tabletop game of the same name, which came out 20 years ago. Maybe back then putting "quest" in your title was a novel naming convention (doubt it), but either way, Rodeo shouldn't feel beholden to such a bland moniker – Warhammer fans obviously aren't that picky.
Legendary designer Sid Meier has never been much of a naming mastermind, with titles like Sid Meier's Civilization, Sid Meier' Pirates!, and Sid Meier's Railroads! (seriously, Sid, we understand the pirates, but do railroads really deserve an exclamation point?)
But even compared to his previous games, Sid Meier's Starships is an unforgivably dull title. Sci-fi games are brimming with exciting and creative fantasy scenarios. Exploring strange new worlds, getting into massive intergalactic dogfights, romancing exotic aliens that may or may not have compatible sex organs – anything goes in space! Yet Meier's title focuses on the most obvious component. That's like calling a racing game "Cars" or a shooter "Gun" – oh, just forget it!
Even Meier has to know Starships is a boring title; when the game was announced, he stated he wanted to create a "universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration." Granted one of those things is super boring, but the other two are awesome and not represented at all in the game's name.
Battlefield Hardline is a major detour from the series' military roots, so naturally EA and Visceral Games would want to choose an exciting title that helps differentiate it. Unfortunately, they went with Hardline instead, which sounds more like a political talk show than a cops-and-robbers action game. I wrote our review for the game and still don't know what Hardline refers to. Is it protagonist Nicholas Mendoza's unwavering opposition to crime? If so, that's every cop game ever – except for Hardline, since Mendoza's motivations (along with everyone else in the groanworthy single-player campaign) are all over the place. Also, the game doesn't have any battlefields in it, so that's strike two – I'm sure I could come up with a third strike, but let's just move on, shall we?
Speaking of video game titles that are never explained – SOMA seems like it should be an acronym of some sort, but it's never actually spelled out in the game. That's a small victory for those of us who hate crap acronyms, but it still doesn't get us any closer to understanding what the hell this game's title means.
If it's just the word "soma," it could mean several things: "Soma" is the Greek word for "body," and is the name for the cell body of a neuron, as well as a ritual drink used by Indo-Iranians – all facts I didn't know until Googling the word five minutes ago.
Unfortunately, Soma is also the name of a store that sells women's panties. Pro tip: If you want your game to be scary, don't name it after a panty store!
Edge of Space
There is no edge of space. Space is infinite. Next!
Coming Up Next: The batsh-- crazy titles of 2015...
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.
Congratulations: You've made it to the part of the list where things get really, really stupid. Despite what the studio's name suggests, Intelligent Systems apparently can't tell the difference between a codename – i.e. the thing you call a project before giving it a proper name – and an actual title that you aren't ashamed to put on the front of your game box. "Steam" isn't even that bad of a codename considering the game's steampunk vibe, but when the developer couldn't come up with a good alternative name, they decided to make Steam an acronym. Unfortunately, they couldn't come up with a good acronym either, and settled for "Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace." Maybe it's time to change the name of the company to Not So Intelligent Systems.
Are we really to the point where hashtags have invaded video game titles? Is nothing safe from Twitter's idiotic reach? #IDARB gets bonus points for being another stupid acronym as well – in this case it stands for It Draws A Red Box, which refers to the game's earliest prototype, and not, you know, the game it actually became. I've always admired indie developers for taking chances on experimental ideas that triple-A studios wouldn't dare touch, but not when it comes to incorporating social media gimmickry into game titles. #fail #tryharder #amidoingthisright
Dragon Quest Heroes:
The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
Oh, for crying out loud! Did everyone just forget how video game titles work? That's not a name, Square Enix, that's a f---ing poem – it even rhymes! Three more syllables and it would be a haiku! If you're going to go with such an unwieldy headline, why not make it honest – something like Dragon Quest Heroes: Even We Can't Stomach Another Dynasty Warriors Game So Here's Some Cute Slime Crap Instead.
The Book of Unwritten
Look, you don't have to be an editor to realize that a book of unwritten tales isn't a book – it's just a bunch of blank pages. What kind of scam is King Arts Games running? It's probably the same grift that Quantic Dream tried when it sent out that blank Beyond Two Souls manuscript, and that game ended up being horrible! Not only has the developer already suckered players once with their nonexistent tales, but they have the audacity to try and sell a sequel? Shameless.
Dr. Mario: Miracle
This list is full of awful video game titles, but this one is downright irresponsible. It's bad enough that Mario has been illegally posing as a doctor for decades, undoubtedly committing countless instances of malpractice and jeopardizing the wellbeing of his naïve patients. Now he's promising a miracle cure?! It's seriously time to jail this quack before he starts preying on gamers with sequels like Dr. Mario: One Bizarre Trick To Enlarging Your Dong.
Want more ridiculous headlines? Check out our round-up of The 15 Dumbest Video Game Titles Of 2014.