Making any piece of art sure is hard, but video games perhaps more than most. Gamers are a fickle bunch after all, and so it can be incredibly difficult for developers to figure out precisely what players actually want, especially given the lengthy development periods of most major AAA games these days.
As such it must prove especially frustrating when publishers release a game that racks up rave reviews from the gaming press, only for general customers to prove utterly indifferent about it.
More to the point, these 10 games all stirred up their fair share of excitement right out of the gate, but struggled to translate all that hype into commercial gravy.
Instead, each underperformed or even flat-out bombed in sales, in turn putting the future of the IP in doubt or perhaps even causing the publisher to take it in a radical new direction.
On paper, each of these games should've been a soaring commercial success, and yet for a multitude of reasons - some of which still aren't totally clear - players weren't enticed to part with their money...
10. Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne
2001's Max Payne was a totally groundbreaking third-person shooter which popularised the use of The Matrix's "bullet time" effect in video games, and in addition to high critical praise it went on to sell four million copies.
The sequel seemed like a total no-brainer, then, yet when Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne released just two years later, it bafflingly cratered at retail.
The sales were poor enough that Take-Two Interactive didn't even report actual figures, simply calling its performance "disappointing," while industry estimates pegged it as selling roughly half of its predecessor.
Given the expectation that sequels - especially superior, highly acclaimed ones such as this - outperform the original, this was a shocking underperformance by a game that deserved so, so much better.
Even today the reasons for its failure aren't totally clear: the marketing was fine and it didn't release alongside any direct competition, yet players were inexplicably uneager to swan-dive back into this gritty, action-packed world.
Thankfully the series soared once again with the success of Max Payne 3 a whole decade later, and with a remake of the first two games currently in development, hopefully players won't sleep on Max Payne 2 again.