10 Incredible Video Games That Were Awful At Launch

Late bloomers.

No Mans Sky Next
Hello Games

Should the digital age be celebrated, revered even, or reviled, lambasted and ostracized?

Deciding which side of the fence to settle on isn't so black and white, but despite some notable examples making the latter camp look incredibly appealing (the laughable conclusion to Aliens: Colonial Marines troubles, for example), the blasé 'We'll fix it later!' attitude frequently attributed to games development is a misnomer.

After all, were it not for the freedom to patch, update, fix and improve upon a vanilla product in accordance with consumer feedback and desires, some of the most wholesome game experiences of the last decade could never be deemed as such. Take No Man's Sky, for example. Hello Games' ambitious space exploration sim became a victim of its own hype parade on launch in 2016, falling foul of not just false promises, but unreal expectations.

There's always the argument that Hello Games and, indeed, others in a similar situation, should have continued to delay their product until a satisfactory final build had been achieved, but money doesn't grow on trees. Only by pushing out an underwhelming but fully working product to recoup some cash was the Guildford-based indie studio able to realise its true vision for the game two years later.

A satisfying conclusion to a seemingly unsalvageable start, then, but Hello Games' turnaround of No Man's Sky isn't the exception. Far from it.

Everyone's allowed to make mistakes - just as long as they're learned from.

10. For Honor

No Mans Sky Next

For Honor, Ubisoft's hack and slash clash of medieval clans from all corners of the globe piqued the interests of E3 crowds in 2015 with its unique spin on tactical combat, but even with intriguing gameplay at its core, For Honor's surrounding parts weren't up to snuff.

As more details emerged (the dreaded confirmation of peer-to-peer matchmaking and microtransactions), hope turned to concern and, following launch, the latter was realized. Laughably unreliable online play, bugs and aggressive microtransactions saw concurrent player counts drop off a cliff in the days and weeks that followed, exacerbated even further when the horribly inflated playtime and/or real cash required to unlock everything it had to offer was discovered.

Those players that remained in spite of the revelation left Ubisoft with an ultimatum. Either communicate with the player base and address its concerns or face a boycott of its already struggling title.

To its credit, Ubisoft responded prior to the deadline with an admittance of fault in the form of a hotfix that drastically upped the rate of earning in-game currency, as well as a commitment to migrating its matchmaking format to dedicated servers.

The numbers never quite recovered to launch levels, but For Honor now enjoys a healthy engagement rate across all platforms.


Joe is a freelance games journalist who, while not spending every waking minute selling himself to websites around the world, spends his free time writing. Most of it makes no sense, but when it does, he treats each article as if it were his Magnum Opus - with varying results.