Top 5 successful video games that flopped at launch

Flop game launches that eventually gained success (Image via Epic Games)
Flop game launches that eventually gained success (Image via Epic Games)

Launching games perfectly can be stressful for many gaming studios as sometimes they might not go as planned. Exaggerating presentations from game developers often increases the expectations of fans and critics. This leads to major disappointment when the game is not up to the mark.

Flop game launches are nothing new, and many of the biggest gaming studios have often released games that have had disastrous launches. Be it technical glitches, persistent bugs, or just a boring storyline, there are many cumulative reasons that can add to a game’s failure.

Top 5 successful games that flopped initially

After launching any game, gaming studios mainly focus on pushing new updates and content in order to eradicate critical flaws. While numerous games started rough and stayed that way, many developers successfully revived the disastrous state of their games and made them successful.

Here are the top 5 successful games that flopped at launch:

1) Street Fighter V


Capcom released Street Fighter V back in 2016 as the sixth installment of Capcom’s flagship Street Fighter series. The game was launched in a very bare-bones state, followed by a lot of issues that ruined the Street Fighter experience for players.

Right from the start, it seemed like Capcom had hurriedly put the game together and rushed the launch to make its way into the robust competitive tournament scene. Unlike other Street Fighter games, Street Fighter V featured a much smaller number of fighters, and most of the game modes weren’t available at launch.

However, developers quickly reacted to this rapid downfall and pushed updates that allowed players to fight online. Capcom eventually added a plethora of new characters and a full-fledged story mode, which drastically improved the game's popularity.

Street Fighter V is now the second best-selling Street Fighter game of all time, boasting over 6 million unit sales.

2) Fortnite


It might come as a shock, but yes, Fortnite faced a disastrous launch when it was first released in 2017 by Epic Games. Fortnite came as a co-op sandbox survival game that featured loads of AI enemies attacking players.

This mode was decent but was not enough to revolutionize the gaming industry. Even when Epic Games released a battle royale mode in the game, many players considered the game to be a ripoff of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Eventually, Fortnite started to gain traction when Epic Games dedicated themselves to continuously improving the game in almost every aspect and introduced new content frequently. This resulted in Fortnite being the most successful battle royale game of this generation and attracted over 125 million players in less than a year.

3) No Man’s Sky


Hello entered the survival game genre by releasing No Man’s Sky back in 2016 on PC and PS platforms. Despite the high expectations that were set by the developers, the launch didn’t go much as planned.

One of the main contributing factors to the game’s failure was developer Sean Murray, who exaggerated the features of the game. This ultimately disappointed the gaming community as the game didn’t meet their expectations and failed to showcase the numerous features that were initially promised.

After a considerable amount of time, Hello Games finally released the most significant update for No Man’s Sky, introducing plenty of new content. This drastically improved the game’s state, and players finally returned to No Man’s Sky.

4) Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege


Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is Ubisoft’s online tactical shooter offering released in 2015. Initially, the game looked decent with impressive shooting dynamics and gameplay.

However, the hype quickly faded when players realized there was a lack of content and had very little to explore in the game. Despite a disappointing start, the game's popularity quickly bounced back after Ubisoft continued to add new content to the game.

Ubisoft Montreal placed a dedicated team that monitored player feedback, and the developers quickly resolved the issues, which improved the game significantly.

Rainbow Six Siege is now considered one of the best tactical shooters in the competitive world.

5) Final Fantasy XIV


Final Fantasy XIV was initially released in 2010 by Square Enix as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). The game was plagued with bugs and glitches that ruined the overall experience.

Many players also considered the game unplayable due to its extremely poor server and RPG mechanics. Surprisingly, Square Enix shut down all the servers and recalled the entire game to rebuild it from scratch.

In 2013, Square Enix again released a revamped version of the game known as Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn, which was a massive improvement over the previous game.

It impressed fans and critics alike, and the game is now considered one of the best MMORPGs out there. Square Enix still continues to push for updates to improve the game further.

Note: The article reflects the writer's own views.

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Edited by R. Elahi
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