Top 10 Epic Video Game Fails of 2019



Top 10 Epic Video Game Fails of 2019

VOICE OVER: Dave Thibault WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
Written by Ty Richardson

Man, when looking at all these hiccups, 2019 seems like a year of embarrassing mistakes! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today, we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Biggest Video Game Fails of 2019. For this list, we're looking at some of the foul errors done by video game companies within the past year, whether it was from greedy behavior, sheer negligence, or tone-deaf attitudes.

Top 10 Biggest VG Fails of 2019

Man, when looking at all these hiccups, 2019 seems like a year of embarrassing mistakes! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Biggest Video Game Fails of 2019.

For this list, we’re looking at some of the foul errors done by video game companies within the past year, whether it was from greedy behavior, sheer negligence, or tone-deaf attitudes.

#10: Crunch Reports

Throughout the first half of 2019, it felt like there was a company being outed for enforcing crunch every week! Epic was exposed by several employees for having an abusive and manipulative work environment as they churned out “Fortnite” content. NetherRealm Studios came under fire from former staff for treating crunch like a joke. The most notable story, however, was BioWare’s rush to complete “Anthem”, which reportedly caused the studio to suffer from “stress casualties” while relying on “BioWare magic” to get the job done. Luckily, other companies like CD Projekt RED, Respawn Entertainment, and Crystal Dynamics have gone public with how they’re handling development and avoiding crunch, stating that they’re actually telling people to go home early and actively looking out for possible workaholism.

#9: “Mario Kart Tour” (2019)

While Nintendo hasn’t exactly broken the infamously manipulative mold of the mobile games marketplace, they’ve managed to put out a few decent titles like “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” and “Pokemon GO”. “Mario Kart Tour” is not one of those titles, and it's been widely regarded as one of the worst Nintendo games due to its limited content and gacha mechanics, and utilizing nearly every popular smartphone game manipulation tactic in the book. On top of that, the game had the tenacity to charge a lackluster five dollars US (or $6.49 in Canadian dollars) a month subscription service! Wasn’t worst case this year, (we’ll get to that later) but it was still very tone deaf. Do we dare mention the lack of ACTUAL multiplayer at launch? Bots with player usernames don’t count!

#8: “Shenmue III” (2019)

The first two Shenmue games are notorious for being some of the biggest commercial flops in video game history. “Shenmue III” released 18 years after the last entry, was once again a major commercial flop. If this is the first time you’ve heard about “Shenmue III”, there’s a good reason for that. The game received barely any marketing, and was released in the shadows of “Death Stranding” & “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order”. The game didn’t do much better with critics either, as it felt like a title that was made in the early 2000s right down to a fault. Oh and the game ends with a “To Be Continued” screen. Sorry Mr. Suzuki, we’re not holding our breath for “Shenmue IV”.

#7: “Fallout 76’s” Subscription Service

No seriously, what were they thinking? This October; Bethesda announced “Fallout 1st”, a subscription service that allows players to create private servers, a scrap box to store unlimited junk, a monthly allowance in premium currency, and exclusive emotes. All for $100 a year. Though this being a Bethesda game, it didn’t take long for things to fall apart. The service launched with private servers that unwanted players could access, worlds that had already been used by other players, and scrap boxes that would permanently delete the items stored inside. Yes, they want you to pay twelve bucks a month or a hundred bucks per year for this. To top it all off; Those who did take up the subscription service found themselves repeatedly targeted by grievers in the game. Whoops! Pretty sure Bethesda is Vault-Tec at this point.

#6: Bethesda Plagiarizes a Tabletop RPG

For as awful of a screw-up as “Fallout 1st” was, this was far more humiliating for Bethesda. On May 7, 2019, Bethesda had released an “Elder Scrolls” tabletop RPG to promote the Elsweyr expansion in “Elder Scrolls Online”. The very next day, the project was pulled as Bethesda was accused of plagiarizing the campaign from a “Dungeons & Dragons” book published by Wizards of the Coast. The evidence was more than damning, as entire paragraphs were allegedly lifted from the campaign with merely the names of items and locations changed. Bethesda launched their own investigation into the matter sometime later, and there hasn’t been any updates since the PR nightmare began.

#5: Activision Blizzard Lays Off 800 Employees

In February 2019, Activision Blizzard posted its fourth-quarter and 2018 financial results, boasting a record revenue of $7.5 billion dollars and citing massive success with franchises like “Call of Duty”, “Candy Crush”, “Overwatch”, “Hearthstone”, “Crash Bandicoot”, and “Spyro the Dragon”. Despite this celebratory occasion, the news quickly grew sour when the results also stated that Activision Blizzard would be laying off eight hundred employees, igniting the public to tweet the hashtag “#FireBobbyKotick” in reference to the company’s notorious CEO. In July 2019 - just five months after the layoffs, the publishing conglomerate would post job listings for the exact same positions. Yeah, because that boosts employee morale.

#4: The ESA E3 Leak

In August 2019, independent games journalist Sophia Narwitz uploaded YouTube videos informing the public that the ESA had exposed the personal data of over two thousand journalists and influencers who attended E3 2019 as well as other E3’s prior. Despite her attempts to control the leak and inform the ESA, the inevitable happened, and several outlets were doxxed. Whereas some outlets and journalists deemed Narwitz as “irresponsible”, others immediately went after the ESA and criticized the organization’s negligence. Oh, and what did the ESA have to say about all of this? “We regret this happened and are sorry.”

#3: EA Neglects Gambling Laws & Perception of Lootboxes

Ever since the release of “Star Wars Battlefront II”, Electronic Arts has found themselves in hot water with the general public as well as politicians. Most of 2019 would see the publisher fighting governments to keep lootboxes in their games, and most of their efforts would end in failure. In January 2019, EA surrendered their fight with Belgium, having to remove lootboxes from FIFA and other games. When meeting with UK parliament in June 2019, EA attempted to rebrand lootboxes, calling them “surprise mechanics” while claiming they were “quite ethical and fun and enjoyable to people”. Unsurprisingly, nobody bought it, and UK parliament would deem lootboxes as gambling in September 2019.

#2: Everything to Do With “Anthem”

What was supposed to be BioWare’s redemption after the abysmal “Mass Effect: Andromeda” quickly became their biggest blunder ever, and the disappointment has been relentless. “Anthem” released to disappointing reviews, and many players reported that the game was causing PC’s and consoles to crash regularly (including our own). Then, there was the expose on BioWare’s mismanagement during development and reliance on “BioWare magic”. But the biggest kick in the pants came in September 2019 when BioWare announced it was abandoning its roadmap. The game is now poised to receive a major overhaul similar to what happened to "Final Fantasy XIV", though Bioware will have a major uphill battle in order to turn public perception around.

#1: Blitzchung v Blizzard

In early October 2019, Activision Blizzard banned Hearthstone player Ng Wai Chung (aka “Blitzchung”) after he showed support for the Hong Kong democracy movement. And wow did this escalate quickly: As a result of the ban, the hashtag #BoycottBlizzard quickly became trending, fans began making art using Mei from “Overwatch” to support Hong Kong, and Blizzard employees staged a walkout. It wouldn’t be long before Activision Blizzard suspended three more players who voiced their support, too. Even US Senators from both Republican and Democrat parties wrote to CEO Bobby Kotick expressing “deep concern” over the company’s values. Oh, and Nintendo would out Blizzard for cancelling the Overwatch for Switch launch event in New York. The official response from Blizzard’s company President J. Allen Brack only added more fuel to the outrage fire, and even at Blizzcon, he delivered what can only be described as one of the most vague apologies ever spoken in public.