The Worst Game Releases Of All Time

While most games are memorable for being good or having a great release, a handful are memorable for being the opposite. This list compiles some of the worst game releases in history. Whether they are non-functional on launch or they were overhyped to begin with, they all fall flat for some reason.

20. Balan Wonderworld

Balan Wonderworld clones
Image Credit: Square Enix.

Considering Yuji Naka was on board for this game, it does make me wonder how it ended up being such a failure at launch. Partnering up with Square Enix to make a new platforming franchise should have been exciting news, but instead, it left fans disappointed. 

The gimmick in Balan Wonderworld was incredibly basic and disappointing. While playing fashionista for a minute was fun, swapping between a whopping 80 costumes just for one ability felt a bit excessive.

19. Redfall

Characters in Redfall
Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks

Considering that Arkane Studios has made some truly fantastic games like Prey and Deathloop, the fact that Redfall fell so flat was disappointing. This is one of the most well-known terrible game releases in recent history because it was just abysmal.

Not only was the performance on Xbox terrible, but it was a bug-ridden mess with incompetent AI. It’s a shame. We were hoping for a fantastic vampire game, but Redfall isn’t it. 

18. Fallout: 76

Fallout 76 Wastelanders
Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks

While Fallout 76 has redeemed itself, it has taken a long time to get to that point. Trying to create a live service game in the franchise of some of the buggiest but most loved games proved to be difficult. The previous games had memorable NPCs, great questlines, and devastating consequences… all of the things that didn’t appear in Fallout 76.

Instead, it was monotonous; people were hacking the game immediately, and there were no NPCs with which to interact. It was a full-on circus on release. It has made quite the redemption arc, though. If you ever considered getting into the game, now is the time.

17. Babylon’s Fall

A character in a feathered helmet in Babylon's Fall
Image Credit: Square Enix.

There is no failure quite like the failure of Babylon’s Fall. What was supposed to be Square Enix’s next live service game turned out to be the complete opposite and was dead in the water. Just six months after the game’s release, the servers were shut down completely. 

Babylon’s Fall was quite literally a modern-day tragedy in the gaming world.

16. Aliens: Colonial Marines

Acid burning a locker in Alien: Colonial Marines
Image Credit: SEGA.

I find this game really fun, but I know it is considered one of the worst game releases in recent history. While the gameplay was fine, players noticed that the graphic quality had dropped significantly from the trailer shown at E3.

Not only that, but the AI in the game was god-awful and made getting through the game a bit of a slog. You either love it, or you hate it.

15. Anthem

Anthem header
Image Credit: BioWare.

Everyone was so excited for Anthem, and it turned out to be one of the worst game releases this decade. When it was announced BioWare was making a new IP, there couldn’t have been more excitement and joy, especially with how good their previous games were. 

Unfortunately, the release of the game came with too many issues to be any sort of success. From an engine that couldn’t handle the chaos of a co-op shooter to a narrative that changed a multitude of times, Anthem lies dead in the water.

14. New World

New World characters
Image Credit: Amazon Games.

While New World is a well-loved game by many now, it didn’t have many redeeming factors at the beginning. It was a bug-filled mess and wasn’t the player experience that fans hoped for. The servers were overcrowded, and the wait times were disgustingly long.

Once players could finally get past the excruciating queues, they found that the game was riddled with game-breaking bugs and glitches, making the experience less than perfect. Since the release, Amazon has pushed out many updates that have made the game playable and enjoyable, but it’s a shame it wasn’t that from the start.

13. The Last Of Us Part 1 (PC)

Ellie Williams in The LAst of Us
Image Credit: PlayStation PC LLC.

Although The Last Of Us Remastered Part 1 ran perfectly fine on PlayStation, it wasn’t quite the same for PC. Even on the highest settings, the graphics weren’t quite what we hoped for. On top of that, it was incredibly laggy, with frame spikes everywhere, and it was very intensive on the CPU. 

Luckily, bug fixes and patches were quickly released, but the PC port did not hit the mark on release.

12. No Man’s Sky

No Man's Sky How to Get Exocraft
Image Credit: Hello Games.

No Man’s Sky was once one of gaming’s biggest rejections at the start of its release. Upon release, there was minimal content, bugs, and glitches galore, and it just wasn’t the expansive game people were hoping for. However, Hello Games has pushed the boat out and added many chunky updates to the game for free!

The game is now full of substance, and there is a lot to do, so you’re sure to have a great time exploring all of the different planets.

11. Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 moterbike
Image Credit: CD Projekt Red.

Cyberpunk 2077 had the same redemption arc as No Man’s Sky. On release, the graphics just weren’t there. Instead, it looked like something from a PlayStation One game. On top of that, it was a buggy mess that was pretty much rendered unplayable from the jump. 

However, CD Projekt Red has managed to rectify that and turn it into a solid game with a big fanbase. It even has DLC now!

10. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
Image Credit: Daedalic Entertainment.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was quite the dumpster fire on release. It received a slew of negative reviews from critics and fans alike, and it did Lord of the Rings a huge disservice.

This game attempted to have an original story that took place between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. Instead, it fell flat on its face. From game-breaking bugs to a monotonous story, there were pretty much no redeeming factors for this game.

9. Mortal Kombat 1 (Nintendo Switch)

Mortal Kombat 1 Preview
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Games.

For a game that revolves around graphical fidelity, Mortal Kombat 1 did not have any of it for Nintendo Switch. Not being able to experience the true grotesque aesthetic of this iconic fighting game made it one of the worst recent game releases. Although the fighting game itself isn’t too bad, the graphics are muddied, and there are a plethora of bugs. Let’s not forget the one thing a fighting game shouldn’t have: inconsistent FPS. 

Mortal Kombat 1 was fighting for its life on Nintendo Switch but didn’t fight hard enough. Nintendo Switch players were robbed, to say the least.

8. Life of Black Tiger

Life of Black Tiger - Tiger running through the snow
Image Credit: 1Games.

Life of Black Tiger is a relatively unknown game that was released on PlayStation 4. With promises of exciting gameplay and a unique story, it received a one star on Metacritic instead. While you can also play this game on mobile, for a “premium” experience, you could get it on PlayStation.

However, what you’ll get instead is a game with awful graphics, terrible gameplay, and bugs galore. 

7. Marvel’s Avengers

Marvels Avengers DNA Keys
Image Credit: Crystal Dynamics.

Whenever a game seems to fail, it often seems to be a superhero game. While there are some fantastic ones out there, like the Spider-Man games, Marvel’s Avengers isn’t quite up to that standard. The single-player story mode was relatively short, and those who aren’t fans of live-service games felt slightly robbed.

It was filled to the brim with grind missions, where you’d have to spend hours farming materials and resources with no real resolution.

6. WWE 2K20

Choosing Wrestlemania Wrestlers in WWE 2K20
Image Credit: 2K.

2K dared to do something different with the WWE video games, which certainly showed. Getting rid of the main developer who had been working on them for years meant that the game that was released instead was subpar. It had some ridiculously buggy grapples, and some of them would just render the game completely unplayable.

As a result of this game turning out the way it did, it meant that WWE 2K21 didn’t exist.

5. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition

Tommy Vercetti in GTA Vice City
Image Credit: Rockstar.

Everyone was excited to see the iconic trilogy from Grand Theft Auto being remastered. What was released, though, was beyond disappointment. Once it arrived in November 2021, fans were more than disappointed. What they received was a bug-ridden mess with ugly character models and janky gameplay. 

As a result of this, Rockstar offered players the original trilogy for free on the Rockstar Store as a form of placating them. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.

4. Duke Nukem Forever

Duke can stay in the 90s
Image Credit: Gearbox

While the reboot of Duke Nukem should have been something exciting for die-hard fans, it instead filled them with dread when the game release came. It was nothing like the originals and instead fell flat. What they received was a game with long loading times, offensive and dated humor, and the controls were incredibly janky. 

Even with all the fixes, the game still didn’t improve, as the storyline just didn’t have the impact that the other Duke Nukem games had. 

3. Diablo Immortal

Duelling in Diablo Immortal
Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment.

On a base level, Diablo Immortal is a good game. The story is fine; it’s easy to play on mobile and relatively accessible. However, there is one big problem. The game is riddled with microtransactions and hours of boring grinding. 

If the microtransactions didn’t exist, Diablo Immortal wouldn’t be such a universally hated game by Diablo fans. However, there are microtransactions for almost everything in that game, making it hard to see through them to its redeeming factors.

2. Battlefront Remastered Collection

Battlefront remastered collection
Image Credit:

While the rerelease of the original Battlefront games should have been an exciting time for Star Wars fans, it turned out to be the complete opposite. The games were rendered unplayable with all of the technical bugs, and the developers were utilizing assets from people who had modded the game previously. It wasn’t the remaster that fans were hoping for.

There is nothing in this game that works as it should, which is a huge disappointment to many. The Force is weak with this one.

1. The Day Before

A jeep driving on a muddy road in The Day Before
Image Credit: Mytona.

The Day Before has been a bit of a mystery throughout the years of waiting for it. Gamers were excited but had wrongly put their faith in the developers for this one. What came out was a game so unfinished and unpolished that the game developers now cease to exist. 

Just four days after the game was released, curtains were called on the company, and so many questions were left unanswered. I guess we’ll never know.

That concludes our list of some of the worst game releases of all time. Some of them are just downright tragic. At least a few on this list had a redemption arc, though.

What is the worst game release you’ve experienced?

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Written by Amy Eastland

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