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5 Games That Earned A Second Chance

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They failed at first but grew to become icons

The path to success is always met with a series of failures, and the gaming world is no exception. Not every game series started with a major hit that redefined the industry but instead had a rocky start. However the development team learned from their mistake and followed it with a more successful title.

The following are examples of five major games that failed at first but the creators worked to learn from their mistakes.

5. Driver

The series started as an icon during the days of the PlayStation but became a joke when Driv3r failed to redefine the genre. A follow-up, Driver: Parallel Lines, was also met with mediocre reviews by critics and failed to reignite gamers interest. By the time gaming entered the Seventh Generation, the series was almost forgotten.

After Ubisoft acquired the rights to the series, they aimed to redeem it for the fans. Driver: San Francisco abandoned the GTA-style elements and returned the series to its roots while introducing new gameplay content. This paid off, as Driver: San Francisco was highly praised by critics and became a hit among gamers.

4. Just Cause

This was one of those games that had a good concept but terrible execution. Just Cause has Rico Rodriguez working to overthrow a South American dictator by waging a guerrilla war alongside rebel factions.

However, its clunky function along with poor control setup earned it mediocre reviews from critics and gamers. It also failed to standout from games like Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

All the game needed was a little polishing, and it paid off with an iconic sequel. Just Cause 2 kept the premise of the original, but had smoother controls and gave players a more reliable gaming experience.

Gamers fell in love with Just Cause 2 so much that a group of dedicated fans created a multiplayer function that received the blessing of the game’s developers.  Just Cause 3 was released in 2015 and was just as popular among fans for its mayhem.

3. Hitman

Mr. 47’s introduction to the gaming community didn’t go as Eidos and IO Interactive planned. Despite its unique premise, Hitman: Codename 47 suffered from poor controls and clunky gameplay. Critics were not impressed, but it did develop a small cult following.

One thing gamers had to admire about Eidos was their ability to learn from their mistakes and apply that knowledge to sequels. Hitman 2: Silent Assassins fixed the clunky gameplay and presented a polished second chance for Mr. 47.

The sequel was highly praised by critics and fans. Its success was followed by Hitman: Contracts, a retelling of the first game by recreating several of the original missions. It would be Hitman: Blood Money that set the foundation for the series as demonstrated by the success of the 2016 reboot.

2. Killzone

The series has become staple for PlayStation gamers, but many forget the game failed to be a classic when it was first released. The original game for the PS2, a fast-paced action shooter set in a futuristic conflict zone, was marketed as Sony’s grittier rival to the Halo series.

However, the game was met with mediocre reviews and was mocked by gamers for failing to live up to the hype. This could have been the end of the Second Extrasolar War but Guerrilla Games still saw potential in the series.

The series earned a little redemption thanks to Killzone: Liberation for the PSP, but more needed to be done save it. The lessons were learned just in time for the Seventh Generation consoles, and the result was Killzone 2.

The sequel was a hit among gamers and was praised by critics as one of the best shooters for the PS3. Its follow-up, Killzone 3 improved an already successful setup and avoided being branded as a Call of Duty knockoff.

1. Grand Theft Auto

A game series doesn’t become a cultural landmark without going through some trial and error. The series started as an innocent racing game titled Race’n’Chase, before a glitch convinced DMA to create what is known as Grand Theft Auto.

The game was a success on the PC, but failed to gain the attention of console gamers and received mediocre ratings. Grand Theft Auto 2 did no better. This would have been the end of the series unless real changes were made.

Grand Theft Auto III took the concept of its predecessors and incorporated it into a 3D environment. The result transformed the video game world, moving it from being a niche culture toward becoming part of popular culture.

Its success was followed with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City  along with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which broke its predecessors’ records and raised the bar for the gaming industry. At the same time, the concept of open world-gaming became of the most popular genres.

The legacy of the series has not ended, as the 2013 release of Grand Theft Auto V sold over $1 billion in three days, making it the fastest-selling title of all time. The PS4 and Xbox One ports were released in late 2014, but gamers are still anticipating the PC version.

The moral of the story is that everyone will fail, but a successful person or company can and will learn from their mistakes.

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About Stan Rezaee (457 Articles)

Stan Rezaee is the founder and Editor of 8Bit/Digi. He is a journalist and gamer from the Bay Area who has been writing about the medium for over five years.

4 Comments on 5 Games That Earned A Second Chance

  1. The fact that console gamers could not admire GTA just shows why PC gamers are the master race

  2. Should Driver even be on this list? I ask because the first two were good while the third and fourth were crap but SF was also good which gives it a good track record as a series.

  3. Head-Shot Master // February 22, 2017 at 1:44 PM // Reply

    Killzone is one of those games that should have been discontinued a long time ago but for some reason it keept going longer then it should have. None of the games were any good despite the villians being obvious space Nazi’s. It tried to just rip-off Halo but nobody gave shit about the story or hero

  4. I never knew the original GTA were hated but its amazing how massive the series has grown

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