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Top 10 Video Games That Ruined Their Companies

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Noah Levy Whether they were overambitious, disappointing, or just plain bad, these games were responsible for the end of once proud creators. Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Video Games That Ruined Their Companies. For this list, we’re looking at games that either performed so poorly critically or took such a hit financially or commercially that it left their their publisher and or developer in such a disastrous condition. Special Thanks to our user "JJ" for suggesting this topic on our website WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Noah Levy

Top 10 Video Games That Ruined Their Companies


Whether they were overambitious, disappointing, or just plain bad, these games were responsible for the end of once proud creators. Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Video Games That Ruined Their Companies.

For this list, we’re looking at games that either performed so poorly critically or took such a hit financially or commercially that it left their their publisher and or developer in such a disastrous condition.

#10: “L.A. Noire” (2011)
Team Bondi


First off, this is not a bad game. It presents a stylish, in depth story with cutting edge graphics and animation. But the toll it took on Australian developer Team Bondi can not be overstated. Beginning development in 2004, the neo-noir had its overall style changed several times, along with switching from a PS3 exclusive to multi-platform release. The advanced engine that Team Bondi was responsible for the stunted development time, so publisher Rockstar eventually had to come in to make sure the game would see the light of day. When it did, it was met with strong reviews, but sales weren’t strong enough to recoup the massive debt Team Bondi racked up during development, and ended up being closed shortly after Noire’s release.

#9: “Daikatana” (2000)
Ion Storm


Whoever said there is no such thing as bad publicity obviously never met John Romero. After residing at id Software during development of influential shooters Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake, Romero left to start his own company, Ion Storm. The developer’s first project, an FPS called Daikatana, was nothing short of overambitious, and had a release date set for Christmas 1997. It didn’t make it to shelves until the Summer of 2000, but not after an infamous print ad for thegame that proclaimed that John Romero was “About to make you his bitch.” The delays, the ad, and the fact that Daikatana was total crap led to Romero’s downfall and Ion Storm’s closing in 2001.

#8: “SimCity” (2013)
Maxis Emeryville


Who thought that a city building simulation just had to be connected to the internet at all times? Well, apparently EA and Maxis did when they were developing this new generation of the beloved city builder. Maxis claimed that the online components were essential to the proper functioning of thegame, while in reality, it did little more than act as a form of DRM. Because of this, the servers utterly fell apart when the game launched, leading to a fiasco that Maxis would never recover from. They eventually made the game playable without an Internet connection in 2014, but it couldn’t reverse the damage that the game had caused, resulting in EA closing down their Maxis Everyville studio in 2015.

#7: “Lair” (2007)
Factor 5


Dragons are awesome. This much is clear. German developer Factor 5 perfected the dogfighting genre with the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron games. This much is also clear. And the Playstation 3 had motion sensing technology in its controller that would fit perfectly with this type of game. But whilethe combination of these three sounds like a great gaming experience, Factor 5’s implementation ofthe Sixaxis motion controls left a lot to be desired. As in, you weren’t able to control your dragon properly. While they eventually released a patch that gave analog control, Lair turned out to be the last game Factor 5 would release, shutting down in 2009.

#6: “Haze” (2008)
Free Radical Design


Free Radical Design was a developer made up of staff that split from Rare in 1999. Taking an impressive legacy with them, they went on to develop the Timesplitters series. Then in 2008, when the Playstation 3 was facing a lack of quality original content, Free Radical released Haze for the system. But instead of being the Halo-killer that gamers were hoping it would be, Haze turned out to be mediocre at best, only fun when you are able to use the drug “Nectar”, which is taken away halfway through the game. When Haze crashed hard, Free Radical was absorbed by Crytek, and eventually closed in 2014.

#5: “Project Copernicus”
38 Studios


Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: An MLB pitcher, comic book artist, and fantasy author walk into a game studio. This is the story of 38 Studios, founded by former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling, who released their first game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in 2012 to decent reviews and sales. But it was during the development of their next game, an MMO codenamed Copernicus, that trouble began to brew for them. After failing to repay a $75 million loan given to them by the state of Rhode Island, 38 Studios was sued by the state, and closed before Copernicus could be completed.

#4: “Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness” (2003)
Core Design


The British developer behind one of gaming’s most popular characters sought to bring her into thePS2 era with a complete overhaul. Unfortunately, the choices Core Design made on trying to update Lara Croft ended up leaving her in worse shape than ever, which included unpopular stealth and strength building mechanics. It didn’t help that publisher Eidos was rushing them to release the game essentially unfinished. When The Angel of Darkness bombed, Core Design was closed and its assets given to other studios. While Lara may live on with Crystal Dynamics, Core was sent to the tombs as a relic of a time gone by.

#3: “Duke Nukem Forever” (1997-2009)
3D Realms


When a game takes fourteen years to be released, its basically guaranteed a spot on a list like this. Despite development being started mere months after its predecessor came out, Duke Nukem Forever was scheduled for a 1998 release, before making the first of several engine changes. Three console generations passed, 3D Realms published some other games, and yet Forever remained in development as long as its title suggested. Eventually the developer let the project go, leading it to finally be finished by Gearbox in 2011. While 3D Realms still technically exists, thetime and financial toll the development of Duke took on them ensured they’d never release another game again.

#2: “X-Men: Destiny” (2011)
Silicon Knights


In the early 2000’s, Canadian developer Silicon Knights had everything going for them, following their critically acclaimed Eternal Darkness. Then they decided to use Epic Games’ Unreal Engine on their long in development game Too Human. The legal battle that ensued from Silicon Knights’ engine choice began a chain of events that would result in a court ruling that all of their games that used the Unreal Engine be destroyed. But not before they went out in a blaze of mediocrity with their 2011 X-Men adaptation. Destiny proved to be bland and completely unremarkable, destroying Silicon Knights’ chance to end on a high note. Reports of mismanagement within the company and severe legal troubles resulted in them declaring bankruptcy and closing in 2014.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a couple dishonorable mentions:
-“Medal of Honor: Warfighter” (2012)
Danger Close Games

-“God Hand” (2006)
Clover Studio

-“Prototype 2” (2012)
Radical Entertainment

#1: “ET” (1982)
Atari


Speaking of companies having to destroy their own games, perhaps no games failure is as legendary as the one that destroyed Atari and almost laid waste to a whole industry. The most powerful game company in the world at the time bought the rights to Steven Spielberg’s beloved film and ordered the adaptation to be ready by the Holiday shopping season. AKA, a mere six weeks. Despite this, Atari was adamant in believing the game would be a surefire hit. When the game proved to be one of the worst ever released, Atari ordered unsold copies of the game be buried in the New Mexico desert, thus ending the first Golden Age of Video Games, and its biggest company.

Do you agree with our list? What games do you think ruined their companies? For more top tens posted every day be sure to subscribe watchmojo.com
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