Activision Blizzard Games That Totally Flopped Hard


Whether they’re uninspired tie-in games, broken
and buggy original properties, or just genuinely good games that sadly didn’t find their audience,
there are more than a few blemishes on Activision Blizzard’s impressive record. Here are some of those less fortunate titles. 007 Legends had a really intriguing premise:
reimagining classic James Bond adventures like Moonraker and Goldfinger with current
Bond actor Daniel Craig’s likeness and voice. In theory, it doubled as a fun way to adapt
older Bond films for a new audience and as a way of celebrating the film series’ 50th
anniversary. In reality, it spelled the end of Activision’s
007 video games. “So this is it. We’re both played out.” Reviews were critical of the game’s plot inaccuracies
compared to the original films, as well as the generally uninspired gameplay and level
designs. Following 007 Legends’ negative critical reception
and poor commercial performance, nearly the entire development team at Eurocom was laid
off. In early 2013, 007 Legends was removed from
digital retailers such as Steam, along with the rest of Activision’s James Bond library. Activision never made a Bond game again, and
has mostly steered clear of licensed products ever since. The Battleship film was released in the same
summer as the first Avengers film, which doesn’t exactly seem fair for the board game adaptation. It also didn’t help that the movie was savaged
by critics, something the film has in common with its video game adaptation. Though the game had some cool ideas, combining
real-time strategy and first-person shooter elements, the final product was an underwhelming
mess. None of the game’s disparate gameplay elements
are executed to their full potential, disappointing FPS and RTS fans alike. Battleship was also knocked by critics for
its painfully short length, with GameSpot’s review complaining: “There are only seven redundant missions and
no alternate modes available to keep you busy when you’re done with the campaign.” Not only is Blade 2 a bad game, but it has
a sad tale attached to it. According to a member of the team, a string
of flops had left Mucky Foot, the development team behind Blade 2, in dire straits. They took the project to publisher Activision
as a way of keeping Mucky Foot afloat, delivering a game with an intriguingly outside-the-box
control scheme for a movie-tie-in action title. In an attempt to mimic Blade’s free-flowing
combat from the vampiric action films, Blade 2 used the analogue sticks to target enemies
on all sides of him, a decision that didn’t quite end up working in practice. The game’s production was rushed so that its
release could coincide with the DVD release of the film, and arrived to poor sales and
worse reviews. Within the next year, Mucky Foot closed its
doors for good. “You want me to hunt them…for you?” “When they are finished with us, who do you
think they’ll turn on next?” Bizarre Creations’ Blur was a combat racing
game with a gorgeous visual style and gameplay based around arcade-style power ups and controls. It was well liked by critics, but unfortunately,
Blur didn’t meet Activision’s sales expectations. Sadly, Activision closed down Bizarre Creations
in late 2010, listing the failure of Blur as a primary reason. With the closure of Bizarre Creations, the
sequel to Blur, which would have featured new weapons and cool weather effects, was
also canned. This RTS acted as a prequel to the first Dark
Reign and its expansions, which were well liked but didn’t exactly dominate the sales
charts.This lack of audience interest may have spread to the prequel. Whatever the case, Dark Reign 2 followed a
few years later and received decent reviews, with critics praising it for its graphics
and its solid storyline and worldbuilding, as well as its intuitive interface. Despite the positive reviews, Dark Reign 2
was also notable for its shockingly low sales. The game sold less than 10,000 copies within
its first three months of release. This severe underperformance is likely the
reason that the Dark Reign series hasn’t seen another entry in over a decade. The marketing rollout for Prototype 2 was
a pretty significant affair, with a pretty wild live action trailer produced and several
comic books released which expanded the world of the games. Unfortunately, Prototype 2 failed to catch
on with gamers. The reviews were fairly decent, and Prototype
2 was even the top-selling game during the month of its initial release. Ultimately, though, it did not achieve the
sales numbers that Activision hoped to see. Following Prototype 2’s disappointing reception,
it was announced that most of Radical Entertainment’s staff would be laid off, with the remaining
employees being reassigned to other Activision projects. The sequel to True Crime: Streets of LA was
just as much of an unabashedly silly GTA clone as its predecessor. Unfortunately, it was much less playable than
Streets of LA, since New York City was a buggy mess. “Twenty-five square miles of crowds, concrete. Crimes so cold they’d wither the soul and
freeze the blood.” GameSpot’s review of the GameCube release
of the game criticized the nonsensical behavior of NPCs and the clunky combat and controls: “True Crime: New York City is so riddled with
problems that it feels like it was rushed to make it to store shelves in time for the
holidays.” Though Activision said that New York City
sold below expectations, the company did announce a new installment a few years later, True
Crime: Hong Kong, which had more of a classic martial arts movie feel to it. However, possibly due to the lukewarm reception
of the previous game, Activision cancelled Hong Kong during its development. There was a happy ending of sorts to the story,
though: in 2011, Square Enix purchased the rights to the unfinished True Crime: Hong
Kong and gave it a new lease on life, resulting in 2012’s Sleeping Dogs. Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines was a horror-RPG
title from Troika Games that dropped players into a complex world of warring vampire clans. Much like the poor sap who finds themselves
on the wrong end of a vampire’s fangs, however, Bloodlines and its developers both met an
unfortunate end. According to the game’s lead writer, Brian
Mitsoda, Bloodlines was released unfinished and barely marketed. As he told Eurogamer: “It was dumped on the market at the worst
possible time most people didn’t even know we were out.” The creative director of the game, Jason Anderson,
has said that Activision took the game from Troika and released it without proper testing. Whatever the case, the game failed to light
up the charts and ultimately led to Troika’s closure a few months after the release of
Bloodlines. Despite this, Bloodlines has become a cult
classic, respected for its ambition and its writing and mostly forgiven for its many,
many flaws. It even earned a sequel, but more than a decade
later. The premise behind X-Men: Destiny was an intriguing
one. This action-RPG from developers Silicon Knights
put players in the role of original mutant characters, using their powers and making
decisions in ways that affected the outcome of the game, as well as whether or not they
joined the X-Men or Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants. The game was a complete disaster, however. It appears that several internal factors led
to the subpar final product that was X-Men: Destiny. The working conditions at Silicon Knights
were reportedly extremely hostile during development. Team morale was very low and feedback from
Activision was allegedly delayed fairly often, resulting in the game falling behind schedule
and going over budget. Whatever the issues behind the scenes, the
result was that X-Men: Destiny was ultimately a critical and financial failure. An adaptation of the MTV series in which rundown
cars were restored and spruced up with wacky new features, this release attempted to combine
driving game mechanics with the customization seen in the series. That’s a fun idea in concept, but the game
was apparently a nearly unplayable mess. In addition to poor graphics and gameplay,
the game would constantly corrupt or delete your save files on its own, as though it were
begging you to stop playing. “Alright, listen, the people of Pimp City
love their rides. It’s what they live for. A tight whip can mean the difference between
being a real player and being a straight up loser in this city.” Somehow, this universally unloved game received
a sequel in 2009, called Pimp My Ride: Street Racing, also published by Activision. The sequel didn’t fare much better among critics,
and the franchise quietly ended. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is not only a terrible
game, but also the sad final word from the once-proud franchise. The first red flag for fans came when Pro
Skater 5 was released in 2015 with nearly no promotion and without any review copies
provided for critics. One possible explanation for Pro Skater 5
being rushed to market and essentially left to die was that Activision was due to lose
the license at the end of 2015. Whatever the reasoning behind this less-than-enthusiastic
release strategy, the game was still savaged by critics. The game came in an unfinished state with
a day-one patch that was nearly twice the size of the base game file. Essentially, players had to download this
update to make Pro Skater 5 even somewhat playable. The game’s online servers were shut down a
couple of years after release. Since most of the game required an internet
connection to play, it essentially rendered the game entirely unplayable for the few folks
who still wanted it. Strangely enough, this game wasn’t an adaptation
of the reboot film released the same year. Nor was it a sequel to the 2009 game. Instead, it followed yet another new cast
of Ghostbusters as they tried to tackle all of the creepy crawlies in their city. Reviews for this top-down ghostbusting shooter
were pretty harsh. Polygon’s review called the game out for its
paper-thin story and complete lack of personality, as well as its repetitive level design and
awful controls: “Ghostbusters is a deplorable, cynical bit
of licensed drivel that wouldn’t be worth the $50 asking price if the instruction manual
were printed on a $50 bill.” As if the reviews weren’t a clear enough sign
of the game’s failure, the studio that developed it, Fireforge, declared bankruptcy just a
few short days after the game’s release. Much like the many, many cars in the movies,
the Fast and the Furious franchise seems to be in no danger of slowing down anytime soon. Unfortunately for gamers who love the wild
Vin Diesel action series, this adaptation is a total mess. First of all, Vin Diesel’s character Dominic
Toretto isn’t even in the game, despite the fact that the game’s missions re-enact several
action set pieces from the films. Secondly, the game itself is basically broken. Showdown was torn to shreds by critics and
fans alike. IGN said: “Fast & Furious: Showdown fails on practically
every level … This feels like the bare minimum for what it takes to be a racing game.” They particularly took the game to task for
its buggy graphics and poor collision detection, as well as its repetitive missions. The Walking Dead is a multimedia phenomenon
that has not only shambled from comics to television, but also made the jump to video
games more than once. While Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead has
been celebrated, there was another game adaptation that didn’t fare quite so well in the eyes
of critics and fans. That game was The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. Though it notably starred Norman Reedus and
Michael Rooker reprising their roles from the television series, Survival Instinct was
torn apart by critics. In a Reddit AMA, The Walking Dead creator
Robert Kirkman distanced himself from the game. After being asked by a Redditor how he could
have allowed Survival Instinct to be made, Kirkman said: “I’m pretty sure there’s an AMC logo before
the title of that game and not a picture of my face … I can only oversee/be involved
in so much… and my efforts were focused more on the TELLTALE games series.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more SVG videos about game publishers
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