The biggest gaming SNAFUs of 2013
Situation normal, all f**ked up
Looking back, 2013 was a pretty freaking huge year in gaming. We saw the launch of a new console generation and the release of several massive, highly anticipated multimillion dollar games in the form of Grand Theft Auto 5 and Bioshock Infinite. And it was good.
However, it wasnt all good news in 2013. There were plenty of unmet expectations, game-breaking glitches, questionable decisions, and other general fuck-ups from across the video games industry. Here are what we believe to be the 10 biggest SNAFUs of 2013.
Double Dragon II on XBLA
The SNAFU: Remakes of old games are big business these days. With the concepting and basic gameplay mechanics already done for them, developers have only to upgrade the graphics and port the games to current systems in order to sell a new and improved version of a game to the eagerly awaiting buyers possessed with nostalgia for the good old days. Sometimes, however, this process can go horribly awry, as was the case with the remake of Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons on XBLA.
The Fallout: Double Dragon II had some serious issues, to say the least. Reviewers decried the game as an untested, boring, glitchy, unfinished mess, and scored it accordingly. With an astoundingly low 17 on Metacritic, Wander of the Dragons is easily one of the worst games of the year. The final nail in the coffin is the terribly beautiful description on XBLA (pictured above), definitely one of the finest examples of Engrish weve seen in a while.
Pokmon X & Ys corrupted save files
The SNAFU: Pokmon X and Y took the 3DS market by storm this fall, selling 4 million copies in a week and becoming the fastest-selling game on the system. X and Y made the biggest changes to the Pokmon franchise since its inception, especially with the jump to full 3D. Unfortunately, the game had the tendency to corrupt your save file irretrievably if you saved your game in the streets of the games largest area, Lumiose City. The glitch was eventually connected to issues in the rendering of the lavish background of the PokWorlds Paris.
The Fallout: Nintendo and Game Freak heard of these issues and issued a patch a few weeks after launch, saving future players from having to restart their Pokmon adventures. However, it was too little, too late to the many gamers who found themselves losing hours upon hours of progress to the insidious glitch.
Tomb Raider fails to meet sales expectations
The SNAFU: Tomb Raider has been a mainstay in 3D gaming since its debut on the PS1, winning fans with its fun gameplay and visually interesting protagonist.The 2013 reboot of the venerable franchise met with much critical and consumer praise. The new interpretation of the main character combined with the modernized gameplay and cutting-edge graphics saw 3.4 million games fly off the shelves. These killer sales just werent enough for publisher Square Enix, however. Shortly after the games release, Square Enix execs stated in a high-level presentation to investors that the well-received game had critically underperformed their expectations.
The Fallout: This announcement led to condemnations of the triple-A gaming industry where budgets became so bloated and executives so greedy that selling 3.5 million units, once considered a massive sales success, could instead be seen as a miserable failure that led to the resignation of a CEO.
Dead Island: Riptide's limited edition statue
The SNAFU: Its become the norm for publishers of big titles to offer special editions of their products, allowing dedicated fans to pay some (sometimes a lot of) extra money in exchange for an artbook and some cheap figurines to put on their mantles. Some of these collector's editions go above and beyond, however, like as Saints Row IV's Super Dangerous Wub-Wub Edition. Deep Silver decided to join this club with an outlandish bonus for Dead Island: Riptide Zombie Bait Edition: a bust of a zombified torso in a bikini. Yeah...
The Fallout: This baffling bonus instantly raised the brows of gamers across the internet. What could possibly have possessed the suits at Deep Silver to okay a figure that simultaneously attempted to be titillating and horror-themed, instead becoming one of the more disgusting bomuses gaming has ever seen? Websites, blogs, and Twitter descended on the figure, decrying it as sexist and objectifying, while also being creepy as hell in a necrophilic kind of way. Deep Silver promptly issued an apology, but still sold the offending special edition anyway outside of the US.
Battlefield 4 gets all the glitches
The SNAFU: Battlefield 4, like many games these days, launched with a fair number of bugs. Unlike many games, though, BF4 has been plagued since launch by serious bigs in its online play (otherwise known as Battlefields life blood). Bugs in the netcode have resulted in players dying after retreating into cover or in just one shot from their opponents as a result of the servers not keeping the players in sync with each other, resulting in a frankly unfun play experience. Other issues crash the game like a GTA protagonist crashes cars, with some gamers claiming that one in three multiplayer matches ends in a fatal crash, if they can even connect at all.
The Fallout: As reports of the modern war juggernauts bugginess spread, some gamers are vowing to not get the game, at least until its fixed, while other players have stopped playing altogether. DICE has said that they will not be working on any expansion packs until all problems are fixed, delaying the release of any new DLC.
Dead Space 3 trades horror for action and online co-op
The SNAFU: For its first two main outings, the Dead Space franchise thrived on its unsettling atmosphere and the superb use of pacing. The dark corridors of a once-thriving ship populated with bizarre, deeply unsettling undead mockeries of life out for your flesh and blood cemented the series as one of the greatest in action horror. You never know whats around the next corner, and what you dont know definitely CAN kill you. Fans were excited for more of this atmosphere from the third installment in the series; what they got, however, was a game divided. The first half? A great Dead Space experience. The second? A generic third-person action co-op game. It was basically Gears of War with less character.
The Fallout: Needless to say, many fans were unhappy with the new direction the series took. The cooperative play and focus on action were derided for breaking the immersion and carefully crafted atmosphere of the first two games. The move away from horror made the game feel less like a Dead Space title. Is it any wonder that Dead Space's future is in question?
GTA Online faces serious issues, pays players for forgiveness
The SNAFU: GTA 5 really needs no introduction: it was the biggest of deals, selling millions of copies and garnering critical praise across the board. One of the most exciting features of was going to be the implementation of many gamers dream: an online open-world GTA experience. However, Rockstar just wasnt quite finished with GTA Online when it came time for the main game to launch, so they postponed the online features until October.
The Fallout: Delaying the launch of the game's online portion was already bad enough, but we gave Rockstar a pass because of the amount of content in the single-player mode to placate us until then. Once the game within a game had launched, though, there were serious issues: peoples game kept crashing, cars randomly went missing, and entire accounts were lost. Rockstar eventually fixed the problem, but not after incurring a the wrath of the player base. As an apology, they credited $500,000 to the accounts of all Online players, but it didn't really make up for the lengthy series of game-breaking, save-erasing problems.
Aliens: Colonial Marines fails to deliver
The SNAFU: When Aliens: Colonial Marine was announced in 2006, fans of the classic sci-fi films rejoiced. The game wasnt seen very often for the next few years as it bounced around development hell between developers Gearbox Software and TimeGate Studios. When it surfaced again at E3 2011 with a great gameplay demo, fans and press alike got majorly hyped for the game. No one could have guessed, however, that the demo shown off in 2011 was far superior than the Aliens: Colonial Marines that was delivered in 2013.
The Fallout: Say what? According to unnamed sources, the demo that was shown off at E3 2011, with the beautiful dynamic lighting and many graphical and gameplay touches that showed a deep respect for the Alien franchise, was too powerful for the consoles, and so had to be reduced on almost all fronts. The game was variously described as ugly, unfun, and unfit for 2013. The failure of Colonial Marine indirectly led to the shutter of TimeGate Studios and much disappointment in the gaming world.
SimCitys failure to launch
The SNAFU: Drawing on a deep well of nostalgia, as well as the incredible power of modern hardware, SimCity launched back in March to much fanfare. However, the launch was severely marred by server issues, as the inability of EAs servers to keep up with the launch crowd led to inexcusably long waits to get into the game, with the occasional loss of entire cities (the few that were able to be built, that is).
The Fallout: That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you completely destroy any interest people may have in your game. The inability to play the game in any sort of offline mode meant that potential players had to wait in 30-minute chunks before they had the chance to try again, a sure way to lose player interest. Things eventually got so bad that EA had to offer free games as an apology. The fiasco also drew a lot of negative attention to always-online gaming. If this was what happened with just one game, what would happen if all games required connection to servers? Who, in their right mind, would even consider that after what happened with SimCity? Well...
#XBONE's always-online flip-flopping nightmare
The SNAFU: It was an exciting time for console gamers: the announcement of a new console generation! Unfortunately for Microsoft, the reveal of its new system didn't really go as planned. The Xbox One's first showing focused more on the ability to watch TV on your TV, and there were mixed signals surrounding nearly every element of the console. Fast forward to E3, when the ill-fated company finally started to focus on the XBones gaming capabilities and the inclusion of strict DRM that would prevent used sales, game lending, and the ability to play single-player games without an internet connection.
The Fallout: As many people reading this article probably recall, these announcements did NOT go over well with the gaming public. Gamers raised a storm of criticism over Microsofts draconian policies to the point where MS eventually removed all of the restrictions theyd spent so long shouting from the rooftops from their system prior to launch. They even took the good parts of the system's online focus away, too, and the stigma remained for many months to come. Some are still stubbornly standing against Microsoft after the strange, scary reveal.
What do you think?
These are definitely some of biggest fuck-ups of 2013, but they certainly arent the only ones. What SNAFUs did you think were particularly fucked up? Tell us all about them in the comments below!
If you want to read more about public reactions to poor business decisions, go check out The Biggest Fan Outrages of the Generation. For more about 2013 in the industry, go check out Gaming Quotes that Defined 2013.