Expectations are a funny thing, because as much as we all enjoy getting drunk on hype for the biggest upcoming games, it can ultimately end up being to their total detriment.
After spending years waiting for a game to release and being inundated with endless reams of Marketing Content, sometimes the end result is just “pretty good” or perhaps even not good at all.
The hype and marketing cycle for AAA games in particular can be hugely exhausting, and so it’s always refreshing when a game rocks up totally out of nowhere to melt our collective brains.
And that’s absolutely the case with these 10 video games, each of which arrived on the scene with not low expectations but basically no expectations.
From games randomly dumped onto the market without any marketing at all to those releasing from studios with zero clout, these games all had humble origins and yet quickly wound up on everybody’s lips.
The lesson here? While marketing and hype are important to a point, they’re not the be-all and end-all of releasing a successful game - let alone a masterful all-timer…
10. Telltale's The Walking Dead
Telltale Games certainly wasn't an obscure company in 2012, having amassed a cult fanbase for their episodic adventure games based on Sam & Max, Monkey Island, Back to the Future, and Jurassic Park.
Yet cult is the key word here - their titles, though generally well-received, didn't quite reach that upper echelon of quality or success, and so when their new game based on The Walking Dead was announced, the mainstream didn't pay it much attention.
But by the time the first season's five episodes had been released, that all changed, with rave reviews from critics and players alike turning Telltale's The Walking Dead into a pop-culture phenom in its own right.
As a result, it sold more than 8.5 million episodes in its launch year alone alongside numerous Game of the Year awards.
With that, Telltale were elevated to Big Deal status, allowing them to make several additional seasons of The Walking Dead and acquire the rights to numerous other high-profile IP like Borderlands, Game of Thrones, Minecraft, Batman, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Though they ultimately ended up oversaturating their brand with too many titles of varying quality, there's no denying The Walking Dead's role in revitalising the stagnant adventure game genre totally out of nowhere.