These are games that followed a title that failed miserably but learned nothing for the mistakes (aka “hold my beer” approach).
When a game studios makes an infamous blunder, it becomes a learning lesson for the industry. Many will learn these lessons and work to do better in the future. Studios will want to avoid these error or risk facing the same shame. Then there will be some that will look at the ordeal and say “hold my beer”.
Major mistakes are not hard to forget and it’s important to learn from them. Yet there will be studios or publishers that will make the same mistake not long after the debacle. This is a look at five games that learned nothing from the mistake of another title.
5. Generation Zero
When an open world game is devoid of any friendly NPC’s or a community and the reason given is to allow players to create their own story, it just means the studio is too lazy to invest in writers.
Back in 2018, Bethesda promoted this idea when they announced Fallout 76. The game would not have any settlements or friendly NPC’s as players had to work to create their own world. The result was a boring wasteland that was devoid of everything that has defined the Fallout series. In response to the backlash, Bethesda worked on a massive update that would add settlements and friendly NPC’s to the world.
That should have been the last time anyone tried that lazy gimmick. Then in 2019, Generation Zero tries the same gimmick only to see the same results. The game is an open world with no NPC community as players had to explore the world learn about the story. The game was panned for its boring and empty open world.
4. Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days
Reservoir Dogs is the iconic neo-noir thriller from Quentin Tarantino that has been hailed as one of the greatest crime films. Despite its influence on pop-culture, it isn’t a movie that could be adapted into a game. Sadly that did not stop the team at Volatile Games from trying and failing miserably back in 2006.
That should have been the last time someone proposed this idea. Then come 2017 and Big Games temporarily unleashes Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days on to the world. The game was panned for its repetitive gameplay, clunky graphics and lack of replay value (almost everything wrong with the last game).
The reason I said “temporarily” was because the game was quickly pulled from digital stores after only six months. Truly a fine example of a title that learned nothing from the failure of another game.
One of the biggest mistakes a studio could make today is develop a hero shooter. Don’t, because Overwatch is still one of the most popular games thanks to its dedicated community and roster of iconic characters. Almost every other title that has tried to dethrone Overwatch has failed.
After the failure of Battleborn, that should have been the end of that debate. Then Cliff Bleszinski new studio releases LawBreakers in 2017. To it’s credit, the game was good and had some interesting features. However it failed to gain any traction as it lacked the charm or memorable characters like Overwatch. The game went free-to-play before the servers were shutdown in late 2018.
2. The Culling 2
The biggest mistake a studio could make today is to develop a Battle Royale title. Don’t, because PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone dominate this genre while every major publisher is shoehorning the idea into their flagship shooter. Every other Battle Royale title that has entered the ring has crashed and burned.
This time I’m not going to bash on Boss Key Studio again but instead focus on The Culling 2. Released a few months after Radical Heights, this was suppose to be the follow up to the game that set the foundation for Battle Royale. Instead it was just a generic copy of every other Battle Royale on the market.
However this cash grab only lasted two weeks before it was pulled from Steam and the servers were shutdown.
1. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
Works of pop-culture are not always treated equally. Some are beloved, others are a source of nostalgia and few are treated like the gospel. Adapting the latter into any medium requires one to take an artistic approach and to show respect towards the lore. Treat it like a cash cow and the fandom will respond with fiery vengeance.
Take for example Electronic Arts treatment of the Star Wars franchise. Fans were furious when it was learned that Battlefront II was bloated with predatory microtransactions and loot boxes. This has been a hot topic debate for years but this was the spark the lit the fuse to end the practices. The game flopped and governments got involved with loot boxes being declared a form of gambling.
Another work of pop-culture that is seen as gospel by the community is the Harry Potter series. The first book was published in 1997 and the series has grown to become one of the most read in history, surpassed only by the Bible and The Red Book. So when Jam City Games was tasked with making an adaptation of the iconic series, they looked at the debacle with Battlefront II and declared “hold my beer“.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery was bloated with microtransactions while taking the sleaziness to a new low. This was done by holding the player character hostage unless they pay real money or wait an hour. To no surprise, there was an intense backlash from the community and the media called out Jam City on its scummy microtransaction setup.
The Overall Lesson
When it comes to games that learned nothing from the mistake or greed of others, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery earns the top spot. To other developers, please don’t take the “hold my beer” approach to making video games.
Was there another game that you felt did not learned from the mistakes of another games failure? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the video game community and industry of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Help Support 8Bit/Digi
We are an indie media outlet that provides an insight into the gaming community and industry of the Bay Area. Please help support independent media by donating today.