8 Video Games That Escaped Development Hell (And Turned Out Terrible)

They escaped... only to be told to go right back.

Duke Hell
Gearbox Software

Despite what asset flip games would have you believe, the process of making a video game is an incredibly lengthy one. From securing funding and designing assets, to managing a team and dealing with publishers, there is so much work that goes into even the smallest of projects that it's no wonder that some titles can take years to even get through to the testing stages.

And as you might expect with so many balls in the air, it becomes very easy for one to drop and take the whole project with it, sending titles tumbling from the ascent and into development hell. Here in this fetid wasteland, projects can languish for years, having assets scraped out to be used for other games, or passed back and forth between publishers who cut and chop so much that the final project ends up looking nothing like the original intention.

And those are the lucky ones, as at least these see the light of day eventually. Well, "lucky" if you define releasing to a chorus of boos and hisses as being fortunate.

I'll give you one guess as to what happened to these eight titles. Yeah. Buckle up.

8. Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Hell
3D Realms

We begin this list with one of the most pathetic video games from a rather pathetic video game hero. Duke Nukem Forever, a title which spent a whopping FIFTEEN YEARS in development, was finally released in 2010 to, let's just call them, less than favourable reviews.

The project was almost doomed from the start when issues acquiring the Quake II engine left the developers scrambling to produce screens of a game they didn't even have the code to make at the time. From there, multiple funding issues saw the dev team expand and shrink along with interest in the game itself from the public. In 2009, 3d Realms announced it was ditching the entire team to move on with other interests, citing Duke Nukem Forever as a money pit of resources.

In stepped Gearbox Software, at the time heralds of the gaming industry thanks to the rampant success of Borderlands, capturing a tonne of positive attention for the title. Randy Pitchford, in a rather cringe-inducing moment, took to the internet to promote how they had saved the game from oblivion and were bringing it to console soon (even jokingly delaying it once more for good measure).

However with this amount of gestation, with this amount of change, Duke was a horrible Frankenstein's monster of outdated ideas and concepts and a whole mess of bugs. As a result, it died a death in the critical eye. Duke had thought himself the s**t, but as the opening moments of this title proved, he'd just spent over a decade with a thumb in his arse.

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Jules Gill hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.