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Top 10 Games That Ruined Their Franchises

VO: Dan Paradis
Good video game franchises generate lots of revenue, but a single game can bring the franchise to its knees. Whether it's trying to change the franchise into something completely different, or releasing the game way too early, the ones we're looking at in particular were so bad that the franchise pretty much died or was suspended, or the series had to be rebooted. Special thanks to our users "TheDanTheManShow" & "NoFriends Inc." for suggesting this topic on our WatchMojo.comsuggest page.

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Top 10 Games that Ruined their franchises

Now they’ve gone and done it. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 games that ruined their franchises.

Not to be confused with our Top 10 Worst sequels list, we’re talking about games that were so bad that they pretty much destroyed any chance of a follow up. I know some of you are thinking: Sonic 2006 … No no no … As bad as that game was the franchise is still going, The same goes for the likes of Mass Effect 3 and Diablo 3. We’re talking about games where its entire final entry was a disaster.

#10: Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts (2008)

After fans of the classic series waited 8 years for a proper sequel to N64 platformers, “not counting the GBA spinoff”, Microsoft looked like they’d finally had given Rare a chance to spread their wings. But much to the shock of fans, what they got wasn’t a next gen 3D platformer, but instead a vehicle building and driving adventure. Even more heartbreaking was that this was Rare’s last game before Microsoft locked them into making Kinect games, talk about a fall from grace.

#9: “SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs” (2011)

This is another game that ruined itself by abandoning what made it fantastic to begin with. With the popularity of Call of Duty, Sony felt the best way to evolve Socom would be to de-evolve it, in other words: Take its smart tactical approach and throw it out the window in favor of guns blazing action, With pathetically easy enemies. It also didn’t help that this game was released when the Playstation Network was compromised, resulting in lackluster sales.

#8: “Guitar Hero” games in 2009

Activision knew they had a solid hit with Guitar Hero in 2006, with a sequel coming out almost immediately after, but then things got out of hand. Though the games were good, there were just too many of them. In 2009 if you include spinoffs there were 7 games released in the series, and Activsion quickly learned that gamers weren’t made out of money especially in a recession era.

#7: "Earthworm Jim 3D" (1999)

Many games that went from 2D to 3D didn’t transition very well. During the SNES and Genesis era Earthworm Jim was one of the most iconic videogame mascots of the time with his 1st and 2nd games being a success. Unfortunately, his 3rd game on the N64 was just dreadful, with a terrible camera and controls that made the game wholly unpleasant to play.

#6: “Command and Conquer 4: Tiberium Twilight” (2010)

How do you conclude a 15 year long saga for a series known for Base building and managing large armies? Take away those 2 features and make something different. EA in their infinite wisdom for some reason decided that the game shouldn’t be a traditional Real Time Strategy, instead focused on preset squads for faster gameplay. Worse still the campaign ended on an anti-climactic wimper. Oh Westwood, we miss you.

#5: “Medal of Honor: Warfighter” (2012)

After a 2010 reboot came off as being … ok, Warfighter hoped to get in on the Modern Military FPS craze. Making use of the Frostbyte engine to show off realistic graphics … only went as far as sugarcoating a generic first person shooter. Obviously rushed out the door to compete with Call of Duty resulting in bugs galore, the game was panned by critics and sold poorly which resulted in EA announcing they’re putting the series on hold.

#4: “Tony Hawk: Ride & Shred” (2009/10)

Activision makes this list once again for ruining another stellar franchise. Tony Hawk: Ride was shipped with skateboard motion control peripheral which, to put it bluntly, didn’t work. But Activision clearly didn’t learn its lesson the first time around, releasing Shred a year later. But gamers weren’t fooled as that game only managed to sell an abysmal 3,000 units in its first week.

#3: “Bubsy 3D” (1996)

Yet another disasterous transition from 2D to 3D, while the original games were average at best, this one is not only bad but also one of the worst games of the 90’s. With incredibly simple level design that wouldn’t pass for a high school project, stiff controls and terrible jumping sections, it doesn’t quite take the top spot though since the series wasn’t all that good to begin with.

#2: Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)

How do you take one of the biggest names in the video game industry and drag it through the mud? Well first of base your box art on the terrible movie tie in, then take out any Tomb Raiding, release the game with many bugs, and have Lara getting stronger by … opening doors? Pretty sure fitness doesn’t work like that. This was Core Design’s last Tomb Raider game and the last in the original series. That’s when you hit the reboot button, and this franchise has had to do that twice.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions.

#1: “Steel Batallion: Heavy Armor” (2012)

To top off our list, we have the mech series that originally shipped with a controller the size of a coffee table. So believe it or not Capcom thought the Kinect and 360 controller together could compensate for that behemoth. The result was an unresponsive mess that made the game completely unplayable. Believe it or not this game was made by “From Software” the team behind Dark Souls. Maybe they’re spiteful and have been designing games to punish their unsatisfied fans ever since?

Do you agree with our list, which abomination destroyed your favorite franchises? For more epic Top 10’s published everyday be sure to subscribe to

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