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The Top 7... PR disasters

3. Daikatana

Will John Romero make you his bitch? Can he? The early magazine ads for Daikatana certainly seemed to think so, loudly touting the Doom co-creator's bitch-making prowess in bold, black letters. Now, if his game-making prowess had been as legendary, Daikatana might not be on this list.

Almost four years and millions of dollars in the making, Daikatana was the game industry's first truly great runaway production. The wildly ambitious flagship project of Ion Storm, a company founded by the then-celebrated Romero under the credo "Design is Law," the game was supposed to usher in a new era of creative freedom and break down any restrictions on designers' visions. Instead, it was a fiasco of epic proportions, due largely to a premature PR blitz (including coverage in TIME magazine and the aforementioned "bitch" ad) that laid the foundation for Daikatana becoming an object of widespread ridicule.



Work on Daikatana began in 1997, and was supposed to have been finished in seven months. As production snowballed, the game was nearly completed, then scrapped and rewritten from scratch. Rivalries and feuds developed within the company, and reports started emerging from disgruntled employees that the development team was unfocused and unable to work together. And whether it was deserved or not, Romero's image became one of an aloof millionaire who partied while his pet project crumbled around him.

By the time Daikatana finally hit stores - in 2000, after numerous well-publicized delays - gamers who'd been fed a steady diet of negative Ion Storm gossip were all too eager to hate it. Not that they really needed prepping; once the game saw the light of day, it became clear that John Romero was maybe - maybe - capable of making you a sandwich and calling it "his bitch." (That would also conveniently explain the ad's "Suck it Down" tagline.) Daikatana was an ugly mess of dated graphics, awkward gameplay and wildly uninteresting enemies. Worse, the game's biggest "innovation" - sidekicks whom you needed to protect - turned out to be its biggest liability, as their computer-controlled brains would diligently do whatever it took to get them killed.

Daikatana could have been just another mediocre shooter that passed silently into obscurity, leaving no imprint except a valuable lesson for Ion Storm's developers and a vague bad taste in the mouths of gamers. Unfortunately, Romero and his big mouth had to go and hype the shit out of it, and as a result Daikatana is blamed not only for sinking Ion Storm, but also for sending Romero's career plummeting from stardom to relative obscurity.

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24 comments

  • ShokuaHyuga - November 19, 2010 4:33 a.m.

    This is a gloriously shining example of why I hate hackers; you can't enjoy the game as it was meant to be enjoyed, can you, you have to pick through all the locks and find everything that was never meant to be found, assholes. P.S. I remember reading the GameInformer article that Ken Kutaragi quote came from.
  • ImAliveOMG - March 14, 2010 5:59 a.m.

    Hmmm... looks like some people need their comments replyed to by a 12 year old dimwit with A.D.D! @SuperBadnik 360 AND Wii? I understand the 360 part but the Wii!? Although you are right when you say the Wii offers a whole new experience. The whole new experience of... WII MUSIC! W00T! Can you feel the sarcasam in the air yet, son? You sure as hell better. @Vader999 It depends on what game you're playing on what console, you ass. @Cwf2008 Yes it was funny, now go outside and play with your friends so the grown-ups can talk. @Trakx Name 10 good E or E10 rated games for the 360, PS3 or both. How many did you come up with? Exactly. Grow some balls.
  • Vader999 - October 28, 2009 9:05 p.m.

    RickyV300 said: "ps3 is better by far the graphics pwn 360 in the ass" My. Balls. The Xbo 360 was more well recieved because aside from the initial red ring problem, which was fixed by the 2007's end, and it had way better games than the PS3. I dare you to bring up a game for the PS3 that is so damn good that I have to buy one just to get it. Most of the best the PS3 has to offer pales in comparison to the Xbox classics that the 360 offers. Aside from some Japanese PS3 only games, there is little that the PS3 has to offer that the 360 cannot......and there is a lot the 360 can offer that the PS3 cannot. To make it easy and simple......360 just PWNED PS3 in the ASS! It did, it will continue to do so, and it will always be that way!!! YEEHAW!!!!!
  • Cwf2008 - December 10, 2008 1:43 a.m.

    "My favorite TV moment was the September 11 attack." - IGN, June 15, 2006 Was that supposed to be funny? "What the hell is a GamesRadar?" - His immediate reaction after he hears about this article Sounds like China's reaction to Mitt Romney when he disapproved of China's decision to refuse a visa to that one Olympic athelete guy Mitt Romney: That was a bad thing to do. China: "What's a Mitt Romney?"
  • MyGameName - December 10, 2008 12:38 a.m.

    The PS3 was named the BEST BluRay player on the market. For the amount of money it costs, it better be!
  • Y2Ken - November 11, 2008 10:49 a.m.

    But in fairness, this was about PR disasters, and around that time, Sony was making quite a mess of things. Especially seeing as the technology they had was actually pretty darn good. The launch was a PR disaster. Since then, it's been constantly improving, and IMO it is the superior console. Sony just didn't put it across properly. And they're more than making up for it now. Oh, and just to clarify, I'm very much a PS3 gamer.
  • Thequestion 121 - December 10, 2008 9:52 p.m.

    Oh man, those were disasters. I didn't fully realize that the PS3 launch went so horribly wrong.
  • oryandymackie - November 13, 2008 9:50 a.m.

    Hey Kids! Do you want to be a spiky blonde prisoner dancing about the joys of PSP on a VGA camera? AND IT'S POSTED ON......YOUTUBE! Yo mon, dat PSP's got next-gen graphics! DA BOMB!
  • RandyChimp - September 11, 2008 6:47 p.m.

    this isnt really fair, i agree with the other things, but whats games radars problem with ps3? its doin okay now, ive owned it since the UK launch (which sucked, yes!) but all these other things are still crap. PS3 is advancing.
  • key0blade - September 10, 2008 2:56 a.m.

    "Yo dogg! Ya heard? Conglomex-brand Corn Snax be tha bomb-diggety, yo! Y'all can just taste the bio-enhanced Cruntulum-60™ flavor colonies in every crunchy bite. Word... izzle." Hilarious
  • Smeggs - September 10, 2008 1:36 a.m.

    I was waiting for the retard in the video to say "Fo-shizzle my N******"...it wouldn't have been to surprising, that ad was already borderline racist and he was humping a ladder with a santa hat that looked like a sex toy.
  • mentalityljs - August 1, 2009 3:40 a.m.

    Fu*k 360. I'd rather pay $600 on a PS3 and NOT have to deal with all the failures and extended-warranty (more$$$) bullshit that 360 owners had to. Plus, yes, you bump a 360 and your game is fu*ked. No warranty on your game for that, is there? Of course not! But Microsoft not taking action and responibility for things they should, and in a timely manner, for there shitty product is no surprise right? Right! And Microsoft, what a bunch of criminals you are! From the original Xbox release, making people pay extra for a remote and dongle to play DVD's, FU*K YOU! And now, what was an extra few hundred bucks for an HD-DVD drive? Fu*k you once more. Not to mention all the other shit you make people pay for that should be included. Sony fu*ked up, but Microsoft is 9 layers of hell further down from Sony!
  • FETALJUICE - July 28, 2009 4:45 a.m.

    I find it hilarious that Daikitana failed epically to the point where Romero is non-exisistant in the video game world anymore. John Romero had to have seen it coming with all of that overhype and arrogance that he would "make you his bitch". He got what he deserved; a healthy dose of reality. Seriously, who in their right mind would tell their own consumers you would make them their bitch? LOL
  • RickyV300 - July 10, 2009 7:01 a.m.

    ps3 is indeed the lowest bought system but by far the most powerful the 360's bland color pallet and ugly problems make it look horrible really? u bump your 360 when your saving a 100% complete gta 4 and you get scratch ring AND loos of data AND you have to buy the game AGAIN ps3 is better by far the graphics pwn 360 in the ass
  • penguinsrule3 - April 3, 2009 9:09 p.m.

    don't trash on the ps3 so hard, i mean what is microsoft doing about the red ring of death? and wtf was up with nintendo basically abandoning its hardcore fans? sony may have screwed up, but so did everyone else.
  • 044magnumx - March 25, 2009 11:47 p.m.

    i hate hackers
  • musashi1596 - January 22, 2009 6:27 p.m.

    It's a bit unfair to take such a dig at sony when you consider the way they apologised for the delayed launch.
  • tofu294 - December 31, 2008 3:04 a.m.

    all I want for christmas is a set of ear-plugs so I don't have to hear his song!
  • Trg564 - September 9, 2009 12:22 p.m.

    When they release the PS4, they really should keep Kutaragi somewhere he can never say anything about stuff by sony
  • killemall - March 27, 2009 8:41 p.m.

    AAaaa, poor sony...you got pwnd. I also weep for Daikatana, why did you remind me?

Showing 1-20 of 24 comments

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