Video game bugs and glitches have been and always will be an issue for gaming, it’s just the way it is. They can come in various forms such as collision issues, texture issues, freezes, crashes, and just general performance issues. However, there are some cases of games that were so broken upon their release, that they have forever cemented themselves in gaming history as disastrous launch titles.
Now to be fair, I’m not saying that all of these games didn’t go on to redeem themselves: some of them worked tirelessly to correct their mistakes and strived to create a genuinely enjoyable experience for players. With that said, that doesn’t change the fact that these games were horrific as a first impression, which let’s face it, are a significant factor in a game’s success and its future.
When it really comes down to it, a game concept can only be as good as its execution, and these 5 are examples of why.
Oh EA, when it comes to controversy, you just can’t help but try and steal the spotlight, can you? Now let me just say this now, I personally love Battlefield 4 and consider it to be my favourite in the series, and it is definitely in a very solid and stable state now, but that wasn’t always the case.
When the game was released a whole eight years ago, there were many performance-related bugs that were quickly addressed by players who had jumped on a server in the hopes of raging full-scale online warfare against other players. Ironically, most of the issues in the game were on the multiplayer side: the mode which most players opt to play and which DICE quite obviously spent the most time working on.
For anyone unaware of the standard online shooter formula, dying is regular for most players. This isn’t really a problem for most games, except in the case of Battlefield 4 in which respawning was a complete gamble half of the time. Would I spawn on a curb next to a skyscraper? Or would I spawn 20 feet under the map? Who’s to say? The problems didn’t stop there, however, as graphical bugs plagued screens with delayed texture pop-in or even see-through environments.
This is all assuming that players could get into a match first, as continuous crashes and connection issues made the game a chore to sit through at times. Accusations were made upon release that EA had rushed the release of the title in order to hit the release of the Xbox One and PS4 consoles, which could be considered a potential reason as to the state of the game at release.
Cyberpunk 2077 had a lot riding on it which is arguably why it has become an even more stand-out disappointment in recent gaming history. After spending nearly a decade in development, and having numerous release date delays, Cyberpunk 2077 was finally released to a disappointing reception from both game critics and players.
The main reason for the game’s poor reception was its astounding number of performance-related issues and bugs. For starters, it was very clear early on that the game was not designed for previous generation consoles, despite the original release date being set for before both the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles had been released.
PS4 and Xbox One consoles struggled to even maintain a framerate of fewer than 30 frames per second which frequently dropped into the low 20s and even mid 10s. Needless to say, this is quite baffling to say that said consoles were the game’s original release platforms.
That isn’t to say that newer generation console owners were in for a delight, however, as even then the game was riddled with horrific bugs and technical issues such as rough texture loading, collision issues, and even some quite humourous bugs that can cause wardrobe malfunctions on the player’s character. For me, vehicle driving segments were particularly painful to sit through, as I was constantly in fear that one accidental crash would lead to me being flung halfway across the map or even under it. CD Projekt Red even issued an apology letter for the game’s horrific state, and the game was quickly removed from the PlayStation 4 store soon after its release.
Like Cyberpunk 2077, this game was notoriously ridiculed upon release for being a broken mess coming from a very well-established developing team: Bethesda Game Studios. To be fair, not much could have been expected from an online games-as-a-service take on the beloved Fallout franchise, although, Fallout 76 really surpassed expectations on how horrific it would be on release.
It was quite sad to see Bethesda Game Studios fall so far from grace. After all, this is the same studio that brought us titles like Oblivion, Skyrim, and Fallout New Vegas. Even The Elder Scrolls Online didn’t have too many issues when it was first released to consoles.
Regular bugs such as invisible enemies, non-interactable objects (which sometimes were for main quests), and buggy animations and textures were just unacceptable for such a titan in the industry. Games would crash regularly and were very common when deploying a nuke, which is a shame as that was arguably one of the more enjoyable things to do during its launch period. Not only this, but the base building mechanic which was expanded upon from Fallout 4 and was even more emphasised in 76 was just riddled with bugs and issues.
The few times that I played this game at launch consisted of very clunky base building, and I would often find my stuff randomly disappearing out of thin air. Ultimately, this was a poor game that was already on thin ice after a controversial beta and worryingly drastic change to the formula, and Bethesda definitely took a big hit in its popularity during the aftermath.
To say that most of the gameplay throughout the WWE 2K franchise remains largely the same each year, albeit with slight improvements, It’s hard to believe, and almost quite impressive that they managed to step backwards in quality from its predecessors. It’s not quite the disaster that is WWE 2K18 on the Nintendo Switch, but it’s definitely a close second.
If you watched/read any reviews for this game upon its release, you’ll no doubt have seen that the biggest issue identified was its vast amount of bugs. The many frame drops were not a pretty sight to behold, especially considering most of what is going on on-screen is chaotic battling between multiple characters at once. Invisible characters and lighting-related issues made cutscenes painful and laughable to watch. Crashes were very regular and texture disfigurements have become some of the most memed in recent gaming.
However, easily the biggest offender was the horrendous collision detection and character animations. In this respect, the gameplay was all over the place. Characters would perform signatures/finishers on an opponent from the other side of the ring, character model disfigurements were common whilst trying to enter and exit the ring, and items getting stuck inside of the ring itself made it shake repeatedly which can be very distracting and even cause some discomfort for players’ eyes.
ASSASSINS CREED UNITY
Oh boy, here we go. Assassins Creed Unity really did set a benchmark for gaming, just not a very good one. It is the perfect example of why games should favour a quality over quantity style approach, something which Ubisoft never really seemed to understand at the time based on their yearly release schedule that had remained since Assassins Creed II.
Eyes were already hard set on Ubisoft after they revealed that they would simultaneously be releasing two games in the franchise, with one being Assassins Creed: Rogue for the previous gen consoles and the other being Unity for the newer gen consoles. This attention and hype didn’t bode too well for the company after Unity was released to a devastating reception from fans and critics, addressing the many horrendous and sometimes even game-breaking bugs and glitches.
Don’t get me wrong, visually, the game was a treat for the eyes, but the praise pretty much stops there. Countless issues such as the game not responding to button prompts led many frustrated gamers to put down their controllers due to their inability to progress.
Other issues involved texture issues, collision issues, crashes, animation issues, and more. I can’t tell you how many times I must have been mid-parkour and then succumbed to an infinite falling loop.
It really is a shame, as some of the gameplay elements like the new customisation options didn’t return in later titles, and so they felt wasted on a game that could not run properly. For a title that was one of the earliest Xbox One/PS4 exclusives, fans deserved a lot better than what they received.
Although there have been many poor games before Unity, I would argue that the game really opened up to a lot of audiences to the fact that not every game from a trusted developer/publisher will be a home run.
Do you agree with this list? Are there any other games that you can think of? Let me know in the comments!