10 Video Games Way Weirder Than Advertised

What the hell was Black Ops 3 going for?!

call of duty black ops 3

Making and releasing a great video game is one thing, but just as important as a game's quality - commercially-speaking, at least - is how it's marketed and sold to potential customers.

Even the very best game can immediately flop if it doesn't have a mighty advertising campaign behind it, and similarly, terrible games can post great sales if they're aggressively marketed to appeal to their target demographic.

It's little surprise, then, that most games are advertised on the more conservative side, aiming to appeal to as broad a player-base as possible and sell the story and gameplay elements most popular today.

As such, there isn't much incentive to openly flaunt those weirder and riskier aspects of a game's plot or gameplay, which could immediately turn less open-minded players off.

And so, that's why these 10 video games all decided to play things safe and ensure that their more outlandish, off-the-wall, provocative, and challenging elements were heavily downplayed in the marketing.

In most cases it was a sensible decision that didn't feel overly manipulate, though it's also clear that a few of these games were cynically presented in the most conventional, base terms to avoid risking any precious dollars...

10. Max Payne

call of duty black ops 3

The original Max Payne was basically marketed on one thing - "Do you like John Woo movies and The Matrix?"

In the wake of The Matrix's massive success, Hollywood couldn't resist but tirelessly replicate its ground-breaking bullet time effects with wildly mixed results.

And it wasn't long before the games industry got in on the fun, Max Payne being one of the first major video games to feature slow-motion gunplay.

It was a hell of a hook, though the game's advertising failed to give much of an impression of the game's dark, surreal heart resting beneath its slow-mo heroic bloodshed.

The marketing painted Max Payne's quest for vengeance against those who murdered his family as a fairly by-the-numbers one, conveniently eliding the literally nightmarish manner in which it's presented in-game.

Max is far more of a tortured soul than the action-centric trailers implied, addicted to painkillers and driven by nothing but a desire to murder those who took his wife and child away.

On top of the deeply unsettling - and frustrating! - nightmare sequences, there are bizarre comic strip asides featuring a character known as Captain Baseball Bat Boy, because why not?

Max Payne could've easily succeeded as a purely conventional revenge narrative, but writer Sam Lake had far more cerebral and unnerving concerns on his mind.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.