8 Video Games That Wasted Genius Ideas

They shot for the moon, but ultimately misfired.

Shadow Of War Nemesis Patent
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Every now and then, amongst the thin grey gruel of Ubisoft-brand open worlds and barebones survival sims, a game comes along that truly brings something new to the table.

Think Portal's groundbreaking puzzle-solving mechanics, or Death Stranding's absolutely bonkers package delivery systems. In embracing innovation and daring to break the mould, many of these titles have rightly become classics, forever leaving their mark on gaming history.

Sometimes, however, a game will come along boasting astounding new tech, an exciting premise or never-before-seen mechanics, only to totally whiff on the swing. It's disappointing, and sometimes even heartbreaking, when a title promises a rewarding new experience and fails to deliver.

Whether it's down to a poor implementation of its mechanics, the USP being overshadowed by more generic elements or a publisher attempting to squeeze extra money out of an innovation and alienating its core audience, these games all gave players plenty of reason to buy them, but didn't live up to the hype.

Now that's not to say that every game on this list is bad. In fact, some of them are good titles - maybe even great. They're worth a look for their promise alone, but they just could have been so much more.

8. NeverDead

Shadow Of War Nemesis Patent

You can't deny that NeverDead sounds like an absolutely brilliant idea on paper. An immortal demon hunter who hacks and slashes his way through monsters with a gigantic sword and dual-wielded firearms?

Okay, this may all sound suspiciously similar to Devil May Cry, but could Dante pull off his own head and roll it around like a bowling ball in order to navigate tight spaces and solve puzzles? It's not every day you can market a game as Devil May Cry meets Kula World.

The game's dismemberment mechanics are initially very entertaining. Protagonist Bryce can reassemble his body in any order, so the player could potentially navigate the environment as a head hopping along on a single leg, or continuing to roll with two arms flopping about comically by the ears. Couple this with a flamboyant art style and some irreverent humour, and you've got a recipe for a hit.

Unfortunately, the one stumbling block was that NeverDead wasn't actually very good. While Bryce's ability to explode and recoup his body parts was innovative (and admittedly hilarious), the combat and puzzles grew stale very quickly and failed to evolve. Throw in enemies that could consume Bryce's head and instakill the player and it went from "NeverDead" to "InfuriatinglyDeadAlot".


Neo-noir enjoyer, lover of the 1990s Lucasarts adventure games and detractor of just about everything else. An insufferable, over-opinionated pillock.