10 Video Games That Killed Themselves Trying To Be Popular

It's what's on the inside that counts.

unsuccessful games
Digital Extremes/Epic/IO Interactive

We're at a pretty polarising time in gaming right now. Your average triple-A game budget numbers into the hundreds of thousands, the vast majority of the risqué 'indie scene' is sneered at by those who strive for bigger, more traditional experiences, and somewhere in between are a handful of developers - CD Projekt RED, I'm looking at you - who manage to straddle the line between both.

Bigger project pitches require bigger investments, and bigger investments demand a return on sales. And how to you guarantee sales? Quality gameplay and writing? Of course not, formulas, son. Yes, quality control and beta testing all come later... once you've proven your desired game will make its money back.

It's why the likes of Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed die on the hill of innovation, doomed to established mechanics that tire in the long run. The fans yell for change, yet the publishers need to reign in the majority. That popular vote counts for a lot, and it's why for every Valiant Hearts or Grow Home from Ubisoft, you've got close to TWENTY Assassin's Creed games propping it up.

The sad truth is that truly unique ideas very rarely sell, and when the industry is so predicated on the flow of money greasing the wheels of progression, every idea must be 'bankable' - even if that means killing its soul in the process...

10. Binary Domain

Binary domain
Sega

Just look at that cover art. It didn't stand a chance.

Nobody cared that the venerable devs behind the phenomenal Yakuza series had written a story about the idea of androids infiltrating every level of our global hierarchy, the questions that arise from that and the insane plot twists that come thereafter.

Nope, Sega's marketing chaps realised it predominantly played like a cover shooter, and decided to go with what must be the single-most bland example of box art, ever. Such a plain image has nothing to do with the core themes of Binary Domain or its inherent Japanese-themed manga-weirdness.

Instead, it sold a paltry 20,000 units in its first year, and was resigned to the annals of history as 'just another Gears of War rip-off', when really, it was so much more.

Gaming Editor
Gaming Editor

Gaming Editor at WhatCulture. Wields shovels, rests at bonfires, fights evil clones, brews decoctions. Will have your lunch on Rocket League.