Top 10 Failed Video Game Franchises [Best Recommendations]

INTRODUCTION

Every gaming developer wants their games to do well. Some developers even anticipate that their studio’s games will be such a hit that they will spawn sequels or even beyond. However, despite the strong ambitions and the surefire attitude, some games don’t do well. Plain and simple. Some titles are well recognized as being awesome and fun to play but not in a large spectrum and end up being either niche titles or just flat out don’t sell in comparison to how much cash was put into the game’s creation. Today Honey’s Anime have taken it upon ourselves to find these said games in our Top 10 Failed Video Game Franchises list.

Look it’s important that we give one big disclaimer before we start this list properly. We here at Honey’s Anime have played these games and we’re not saying they are bad games but in terms of sales, these games did poorly. Some of these failed video game franchises were given high remarks by reviewers but just ended up having poor timing or running into financial issues. This failed video game franchises list is more to explain the titles we saw as being the worst flops in terms of sales and popularity. Now, with that out of the way, we hope you enjoy this list and remember the failed video game franchises that could have done so well but unfortunately didn’t.

10. MediEvil

  • System/Platform: PlayStation
  • Developer: SCE Cambridge Studio
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: Oct 1998

Zarok and evil sorcerer had plans to rule over the kingdom of Gallowmere. Leading his undead legion, Zarok seemed to have the means for success. However, the king of Gallowmere sent out his mighty army led by Sir Daniel Fortesque—Dan for short—and it was told that Dan took down Zarok despite dying from his wounds. Though the truth is that Dan died at the very start of the battle and Zarok retreated upon seeing the army he would have to face. 100 years have passed and Zarok has finally begun to make new moves to take over the land but during his undead summoning, Zarok summons Dan back from the dead. Now, Dan plans on showing he can be a hero by taking down the evil sorcerer once and for all.

MediEvil was released on PlayStation back in 1998 and was considered a solid third person hack and slash title. It would release not one but two more games during the years which seems like it was actually a well off franchise right? The reality was that once MediEvil: Resurrection released, the series would find itself finally nearing its end. The biggest issue with MediEvil: Resurrection would be time constraints that would cause SCE Cambridge Studio to rush production within one year. You don’t have to look too far in the annals of time to see how rushing a game causes it to be underdeveloped and received usually poorly. Here’s looking at you ET The Game.


9. Baten Kaitos

  • Developer: tri-Crescendo, Monolith Soft
  • Publisher: Namco
  • Release Date: Dec 5, 2003

Once the world was normal and laid on the land where people lived happily. However, one day an evil god like being known as Malpercio appeared causing the oceans of the world to disappear and the lands on Earth to float in the sky. Luckily Malpercio was taken down by 5 heroes who separated his being into 5 End Magnus items. Many years later humans who lived on the islands began growing wings to allow them to fly from place to place. Our story however starts truly when we enter the world of Kalas who will soon have to rise to become a hero to save the world.

Baten Kaitos was a solid game with a cool gameplay mechanic in the form of using cards to attack enemies. Baten Kaitos was well received by reviewers—though some were mediocre reviews—and with a sequel releasing, it seemed Baten Kaitos should have done well. The issues lies more with the sequel which underperformed due to its release time. In 2006, the GameCube was nearing its end and gamers were moving on with newer systems. That really hurt the sales of the sequel—which, mind you, did better in reviews than the first—causing the inevitable end to this RPG series. Maybe one day we will get a true sequel—Baten Kaitos Origins was a prequel story—but we won’t hold our breaths on that since it’s been so long already.


8. RAGE

  • System/Platform: iOS, PC, PS3, Xbox 360
  • Developer: id Software
  • Publisher: id Software (iOS), Bethesda Softworks, Aspyr Media
  • Release Date: Nov 18, 2011

When a giant asteroid slams into Earth, much of civilization comes to an abrupt end. Those who have survived have begun creating factions and clans to find hospitable land to call home. However, thanks to mutants and constant battles for dominance, this task seems quite difficult. Meanwhile, underground in what was called an Ark, a man by the name of Nicholas Raine awakens from a long slumber in cryo stasis. Now, Raine must venture aboveground to find some semblance of a life in a place that caters to no one.
RAGE, by definition, was a smash hit. Reviews were very positive for this FPS adventure game and it seemed that id Software had a franchise in the making. RAGE won awards for being so much fun and well received, so why is RAGE on this list of failed game franchises? Despite all of its success, id Software basically put an end to their care for RAGE to work on DOOM—another title they are known for—leaving RAGE to basically become the only title of what should have been multiple games. Basically RAGE became a large flame that was extinguished by its own creators.


7. Blaster Master

  • System/Platform: NES
  • Developer: Tokai Engineering
  • Publisher: Sunsoft
  • Release Date: Jun 17, 1988

Blaster Master is what we consider a game that has become a failure as time went on. This top down shooter has an interesting story tied to it. In North America Blaster Master sold very well—heck a Nintendo Switch remake of the game just released recently and sold quite well—but in Japan it sold miserably, this being ironic seeing as this made initially with Japan’s demographic in mind. Despite that, Blaster Master would release multiple sequels and that is where this story of failure begins. Let us delve into a tale of a bright start ending into an unknown fate.

Blaster Master originally released and, as we said, sold poorly in Japan but well in America, and received great reviews. Tokai Engineering would then release follow ups that reviewers noticed were getting worse and worse as they released. Sure, some would claim the sequels were showing improvements in certain areas, but it was always a mixed opinion unlike the original. While the last Master Blaster title—Zero, which is a remake—released on the Nintendo Switch recently, it took this long to re-spark the fire of this long series. Blaster Master isn’t what we considered a huge failure but it also is far from a franchise that is super popular and or well-remembered. Will Blaster Master return? Chances are it’s not impossible but also not too likely.


6. Heavenly Sword

  • System/Platform: PS3
  • Developer: Ninja Theory
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: Sept 12, 2007

Nariko, the current wielder of the Heavenly Sword, seems to be facing her death. As she edges closer to death, Nariko recounts the last several days that led to this fate. Nariko’s clan and home were attacked by King Bohan’s army leaving Nariko with no choice but to retreat with the legendary blade. Now, Nariko must save her father and family from their capture all while keeping the sword safe from those who want its power. Nariko’s hard journey is about to commence.

Ninja Theory is known for producing quality adventure/hack and slash titles and Heavenly Sword was definitely one of them. Garnering great reviews and selling well, you have to wonder what went wrong. Simply put, Heavenly Sword was a title that cost a lot to make and advertise. According to the developers, despite sales being decent, the game didn’t even break even with its revenue. Frankly, that means that Heavenly Sword would not see profit from its game and that’s enough to stop future plans to move forward. There was an animated film released on Sept 2, 2014 but even with that, Nariko’s journey would never see a new title ever now being ten years later.


5. Advent Rising

  • System/Platform: PC, Xbox
  • Developer: GlyphX Games, Demiurge Studios
  • Publisher: Majesco Entertainment
  • Release Date: May 31, 2005

Humanity is about to make a big new leap. Gideon Wyeth is escorting a group of humans who are to be ambassadors for Earth to meet with the Aurelians a peaceful alien race. However, the Aurelians warn humanity that a new threat has arisen called the Seekers who plan on wiping out every single human. As they predicted, during the meeting, the space station is attacked by the seekers causing Gideon to barely escape via an emergency pod. Now Gideon must join in a battle for humanity’s survival in Advent Rising.

Advent Rising was an awesome third person shooter with big dreams. Developer GlyphX Games had planned for Advent Rising to be a trilology spawning over several consoles and even had legendary writer Orson Scott Card helm possible novels. Despite the possible long running plans, poor sales and failed ventures made Advent Rising a standalone title. Honestly, we here at Honey’s Anime loved Advent Rising’s story and gameplay despite the few issues here and there. Though despite our love, Advent Rising would eventually disappear from the public’s eye as the years passed.


4. Daikatana

  • System/Platform: PC, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color
  • Developer: Ion Storm, Will (GBC)
  • Publisher: Eidos Interactive, Kemco
  • Release Date: May 24, 2000

Our story takes place in Japan in the year of 2455 AD however, it truly began long ago. During Feudal Japan, two Clans—Ebihara and Mishima—have been in constant battle for years. Thus the Mishima Clan goes to a swordmaster named Usagi Miyamoto to craft a sword called the Daikatana that could end this battle finally. Digressing, we re-enter the present year. Swordmaster Hiro Miyamoto—descendant to Usagi—is visited by Dr. Toshiro Ebihara who claims the Daikatana was used to alter the timeline. Now it’s up to Hiro to fix the timeline as well as rescue Mikiko—Toshiro’s daughter—from this twisted timeline.

Daikatana seems like an awesome title. Helmed by one of the creators of Quake, this first person title had the means of becoming an awesome video game. The problems though lie in Daikatana’s multiple delays, poor gameplay mechanics and eventual release during a time where better games were being released. In the end, the game sold not only horribly but was poorly received by gamers and critics. Daikatana would end up becoming infamous for being considered one of the worst franchises ever thus why it’s on our Top 10 failed video game franchises list.


3. Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind

  • System/Platform: Sega Genesis, Super NES, PC
  • Developer: Accolade
  • Publisher: Accolade, Retroism
  • Release Date: 1993

Bubsy was, what we consider, an epic fail. This weird cat mascot started first in Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind—hopefully people get the movie reference—and from there, spawned a few more times on various other consoles. Bubsy was to be considered a new mascot for a newer generation but end up falling apart as time went by. This odd cat would jump and say one liners for only so long. Why did Bubsy fail so hard though is the question we plan on answering.

Bubsy’s famous line was always saying “What could go wrong?” and in many ways, we think the developers asked that as well. Bubsy just didn’t transition well in comparison to other mascots like Sonic or Mario. There were TV deals that fell through and several very mediocre games that flopped horribly. Bubsy would find his last game on the PlayStation One and then would fade out of minds everywhere. Bubsy was a mascot that had potential but ultimately couldn’t live up to the heavy hitters who had made their names in the gaming platform.


2. Kane and Lynch

  • System/Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
  • Developer: IO Interactive
  • Publisher: Eidos Interactive
  • Release Date: Nov 13, 2007

Kane is finally heading towards death’s door but it seems fate has worse in store for him. Kane and James Lynch—who just so happens to share Kane’s fate—on board a truck delivering them to another prison ends up being hijacked by mercenaries who claim Kane owes them quite a bit of money. To make matters worse, they have Kane’s family and give him only three weeks to get what them what they are owed. Now these two who should have died find themselves heading towards multiple scenarios of death to hopefully free themselves of their terrible circumstances. Kane and Lynch are about to experience a very troubling three weeks.

On paper, developer IO Interactive seems to have had the makings of a great game series thanks to Kane and Lynch. The whole idea of two guys dealing with guns and money seems on par with movie level material that people love to play. Kane and Lynch even had a sequel made in the form of Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, so what happened? The issues, however, stem from poor sales, mediocre reviews, and an overall large sum of money put into production for the sequel that didn’t earn enough back to warrant anymore releases. Kane and Lynch essentially became ghosts in the world of games and in many ways, warrant the title of dead men in that regard.


1. Too Human

  • System/Platform: Xbox 360
  • Developer: Silicon Knights
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • Release Date: Aug 19, 2008

Humanity found itself facing possible extinction once the war for Earth began. Great robotic machines called the Children of Ymir began attacking causing humans to use weapons of mass destruction to fight back. Unfortunately, these attacks did nothing to the machines and ended up causing the Earth to enter an ice age killing off billions of people. Now with only a few million humans struggling to survive in a sheltered area called Midgard, humanity’s fate lies with cybernetically enhanced warriors like Bauldur who are capable of fighting back.
We end out this Top 10 Failed Video Game Franchises list with Too Human. Too Human was a fun game that had cool game mechanics and slick ideas. Developer Silicon Knights had planned for this series to be several games long. The problems began though when Too Human found itself being delayed for nearly a decade thanks to multiple system changes. Then, Silicon Knights would face an issue with Unreal Engine after breaches of their contract occurred making Too Human—along with other titles from Silicon Knights—to be removed from stores and even online. Too Human reminds us of Icarus; it had bright intentions that soared high but in the end it just got too close to the sun.


Final Thoughts

Video games aren’t an easy thing to make we know this. There are sometimes hundreds of individuals working on these titles above and they pour themselves into their work. Despite the amount of love and craftsmanship put into a game there are too many variables that can lead to a failed video game franchise despite it seeming to be a possible hit. In the end, though, at least the developers can say they made a game that someone out there loved and hopefully that acts as a prize in of itself. Anyways, we here at Honey’s Anime end our failed video game franchises list here and we hope you enjoyed the ride. Leave a comment down below and stay tuned for more articles for your viewing pleasure folks.

Aaron

Writer

Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Aaron


Recommended Post

Top 10 Hilariously Bad Anime [Best Recommendations]