The Top 7... worst release dates EVER

Anyone remember 2000’s “Summer of Adventure,” Square’s season-long deluge of RPGs for the original PlayStation? It housed one of the platforms most beloved titles, Chrono Cross, plus memorable experiments like Vagrant Story and Legend of Mana. Oh and Threads of Fate, some game with two kids on the cover.

Let’s think this through. Cross and Mana were sequels in highly successful franchises. Vagrant Story came from Yasumi Matsuno, the man most known for Final Fantasy Tactics (and later FFXII), so that’s something to work with too. Threads of Fate, on the other hand, had no amazing pedigree to trumpet and launched in the middle of Square’s summer event, when most of us were still playing Vagrant Story, Legend of Mana or hell, Sony’s Legend of Dragoon. Then came Cross in August, right as we finished all the aforementioned games, then Parasite Eve 2, Majora’s Mask and Final Fantasy IX. Threads had no chance at all.

Look at that lineup! Let’s generalize and say these average out to 30 hours a pop. That’s 270 hours of gameplay, most of which comes from franchises you already know – the leftovers get to languish in a creaky old Wal-Mart bin. Despite the middle-child treatment, Threads pulled in decent reviews, including 7.9 from Gamespot, 7.7 from IGN and 9 from the oh-so-important Electric Playground.

Games as kind-of fun as this should have a chance to shine alone, not sandwiched between EIGHT monstrously popular RPGs, five of which were surefire sequel successes. We can only assume this “blast RPGs every month” strategy didn’t work, as Square soon became Square Enix and then a Final Fantasy assembly line.

You’re Sega. You want to bring an ailing franchise back from the brink. How should you do this? First, get some of the key people back together responsible for the much-beloved (and 11-year-old) Saturn original. Second, promise a similar gameplay experience, only now it takes full advantage of Wii’s motion controls, possibly providing the best sense of flight on the platform. Third, make it practically a remake of the game people already love. With all these lofty promises in effect, of course something would go wrong. Guess what it was?

Yep, NiGHTS’s big return was foiled by a baffling release date. It came out on December 18, one week before Christmas, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for parents to swoop in and buy copies as gifts. This date also puts it after the heavily marketed Super Mario Galaxy and Sega’s own Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, both of which target the exact same audience. Galaxy, well, we know how that did (six million sold and counting), and Olympic Games grabbed the numbers we assume were meant for NiGHTS all along (about three and half million).

Above: Not better than Mario

Why would Sega do this to NiGHTS? Did it honestly think he could compete against Mario and Sonic? You don’t revive a dead series by putting it out at the end of the year against two of the world’s most recognizable characters, videogame or otherwise.

The franchise may be dead again, but at least NiGHTS can still be the second or third coolest unlockable character in future Sega games.


Top 7


  • Scaves - December 14, 2010 2:41 a.m.

    Anyone here had Threads of Fate?
  • QuickDEMOL1SHER - October 14, 2009 1:53 a.m.

    Halo 3 vs Blacksite: Area 51 should have been on here. I don't know a single person who even noticed Area 51 before 2008.
  • abzu - November 15, 2008 4:30 a.m.

    I just caught this at 666 diggs! (Incidentally, I was digg #667.) Talk about Digging up the beast... screenshot here:
  • pot - November 15, 2008 12:36 a.m.

    Valkryia Chronicles is a great game, I hope it doesn't get lost in the shuffle too much!
  • mrmugen53 - November 13, 2008 7:26 p.m.

    How about adding Geometry Wars: Galaxies to the list? It was the first time Geometry Wars was available outside of the 360, it was at a cheap price point, had multiplayer for the first time, multiple levels with an upgradable drone ship, and has a respectable gamerankings score of 81%. Then it launched one week after Super Mario Galaxy and no one ever knew it existed. The Wii had been starved for games and Sierra shipped it on the coattails of arguably the biggest Wii release up to that point. Ugh.
  • StupidFaceXD - November 12, 2008 10:35 p.m.

    Eh... Not my favorite Top 7, but it's ok.
  • CAPST3R - November 12, 2008 5:56 p.m.

    resistance 2 kicks gears 2's ass. it's been rated higher. and i never liked the first gears. but i loved resistance
  • pdiddy0819 - November 12, 2008 1:30 p.m.

    these games looks awesome...and i will be able to get if for free just for filling out surveys at-
  • MobstahLobstah - November 11, 2008 11:28 p.m.

    Those Air Traffic CHAOS guys MUST have planned that. No one can be that ignorant.
  • jimsondanet - November 11, 2008 10:30 a.m.

    poor okami i think the word is spreading tho ...slowly and hey, look at all the flops that got a sequal 10 years later amaterasu will live again!
  • TrIp13G - November 11, 2008 2:57 a.m.

    Poor Curse of Darkness. I never played it much, but the people in my CV union at GS opine over it every chance they get.
  • AMayer - November 10, 2008 11:59 p.m.

    Well, "purpleshirt", There is a chance that all of those games are going to do well and you can't predict the future. Good article.
  • garnsr - November 10, 2008 8:26 p.m.

    I've actually played quite a few of these games. The big releases aren't always the most fun, and you can get lots of these cheap after a few months, while the big games still cost full price.
  • CoD_22 - December 3, 2008 6:53 p.m.

    theyve missed the worst possible one! nintendo released the gameboy micro AFTER the ds! idiots! did they really think they could sell a gba in miniture rather than a dual screen touch screen thing?
  • jackf-11 - November 13, 2008 11:04 p.m.

    Sad PS3 fanboys, you only didn't enjoy Gears because you didn't want to. But I figured it out, the Japanese were behind 9/11, even though they have no army other than ours.
  • Smiffy99 - November 13, 2008 12:42 a.m.

    Man, for me, the worst release date was Halo 3...right on the day an aqquaintance had a volleyball game. UNTIL FIVE O' FREAKIN' CLOCK!
  • J1mMy94 - November 12, 2008 5:52 p.m.

    i agree with Eo1 spy. ive been waiting for resistance 2 for ages and they release it about a month ahead in the US hardly fair:(
  • solidsnake_5552000 - November 12, 2008 2:32 a.m.

    Oh my poor dreamcast!! This great console didn't deserve that fate.
  • Spike_the_Dogg - November 12, 2008 12:47 a.m.

    Agreed, Okami is the best game in a looong time. Me. Want. Sequel. NOW!!
  • Corsair89 - November 11, 2008 11:55 p.m.

    Okami is one of the greatest games I've ever played. I want a freaking sequel. I've been talking about how great it is when ever I get the chance.

Showing 1-20 of 50 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000


Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.