2016 has been one crazy year for video games. We saw new installments to critically acclaimed gaming franchises like Final Fantasy, Dead Rising, Ratchet & Clank, Shadow of the Beast, and Mafia. We saw brand new names in the gaming industry like Overwatch and The Last Guardian make a big, fresh impact in the gaming world. We saw the release of the Playstation VR to open our eyes to the possibilities of a future filled with virtual reality games. We even got ourselves possibly the very first genuinely good big screen video game adaptation in Assassin’s Creed. If you spent 2016 as an avid video game junkie, then there was a lot to love about this year. However, there was also a lot to hate thanks to some atrocious attempts at game developing this year.
Don’t mistake this for another “Worst Games of the Year” list. Let’s face it, we get enough of those around this time of year. Yes, there are plenty of bad games on this list, but when a game is dubbed as a “douchey game,” it has more to due with issues with the developers who made the game rather than the people who play them or even the gameplay itself. In these scenarios, the douchebags are the developers for not putting any effort into making quality games. Many of the games on this list were poorly developed or released for disingenuous reasons. To cash in on the success of another game, to lazily trot out a game as a quick cash grab, wasting their customers time and money, etc. In any of these cases, it has led to the developers falling flat on their face with some awful critical responses. We are here to highly some of 2016 most memorable and pitiful attempts at gaming.
15. Umbrella Corps
Umbrella Corps is the end result of Capcom trying to cash in on the success of the Call of Duty franchise. During a pitch meeting down at Capcom, one of their suits probably thought it would be a great idea to incorporate the CoD-lite first person shooter concept gameplay into a Resident Evil spin-off following the Umbrella Corps unit that plagued the zombie franchise for years. In concept, it’s actually not a bad idea. The problem is that the execution could not be any lazier. The developers thought it would be enough to take the engine system of their competition, CoD, without offering much that is different from their competition. It leaves the end product looking like an ugly, overlong version of CoD‘s much celebrated Zombie Mode. With much more innovative alternatives like the Left 4 Dead franchise and Overwatch, Umbrella Corps didn’t stand a chance on the market. All of this made it a critically panned flop of a CoD ripoff.
14. Modern Warfare: Remastered
When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was originally released in 2007, it received massive critical acclaim and the success of this CoD entry is a major reason why CoD is the juggernaut gaming franchise it is today. When Raven Software and Activision announced they were remastering the game for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, long time fans were ecstatic. Gamers couldn’t be more excited to learn that their favorite old school game was being updated for the next gen console. Except this excitement came with a hefty catch. The only way that fans could buy Modern Warfare: Remastered was by purchasing it as part of a special package alongside the franchise’s latest entry, Infinite Warfare. The company refused to release it singularly and so the only way fans could buy the remastered game was by buying Infinite Warfare with it. It goes without saying that the two games together weren’t cheap at all. It didn’t help that Infinite Warfare itself didn’t receive the best reviews. Fans were still forced to buy it with their updated Modern Warfare. This is a perfect example of corporate greed at its finest.
13. Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival
Sometimes, nostalgia is not always capable of winning audiences over so easily. Sure, marketing something as familiar territory is an easy way to pander to people, but there needs to be more than just nostalgia to win fans over. Nostalgia by itself just makes the latest product look dated. That’s exactly what Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival looks like: dated. Meant as a throwback to the classic football/soccer gaming series that originated in the 80s, the developers must have thought that they could get away with creating old, awful looking visuals just by marketing it as nostalgia. In an age where virtual reality is an actual thing and the presentation of games look more eerily real now than they’ve ever looked, modern gamers can’t be won over as easily. Bad presentation and painfully cheap graphics coupled together by lame gameplay makes this Playstation 4 game look more like a badly made internet game.
This year’s cinematic reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise was critically lambasted as soon as its first trailer hit the internet. It was even more criticized by time it finally hit theaters. Perhaps the only thing that received more criticism than that movie was the tie-in game that came out that same summer. It almost seems pointless calling it a “tie-in” game given that none of the movie characters tie-in to the game. The movie’s team are shipped off to Washington to save the President of the United States from ghost assassins. Meanwhile, players are stuck playing a group of new, unnamed schmucks whom they couldn’t care less about. So if the new characters don’t tie-in to the new movie, what’s the point of shelling out a new game? So the producers can make a load of extra cash, of course! It didn’t work given that the developers, FireForge Games, filed for bankruptcy after this game was released because the game left them $12 million in debt. It’s easy to see why as the game has been maligned for its cheap looking visual style, annoying and repetitive voice acting, and poor, boring gameplay.
Old school gamers remember the Castlevania series from the 80s. Those gaming fans must have been delighted when trailers hit the net for the latest console game to use the classic Castlevania concept visuals and gameplay, Slain! This game had the potential to be just as classic as its predecessor in a way that makes it feel like a fresh throwback. Unfortunately, Slain! turned out to be anything but classic. In fact, in many ways, Slain! is a disgrace to the classic Castlevania name. While it perfectly captures the overall Castlevania look, it fails to capture gameplay and atmosphere of the classic game. Slain! is far too dull in its methodical pace, repetitious levels, and annoying bugs to come anywhere close to matching the greatness of Castlevania, We can give Slain! an E for effort, but an F for failing as an overall game that could have been worth playing as a tribute game.
10. Coffin Dodgers
It’s funny (or downright depressing, call it what you will) to think that a game could be both heavily inspired and completely uninspired. That’s the kind of game you get with Coffin Dodgers. Taking spiritual cues and inspiration (or downright ripping off, again, call it what you will) from the Super Mario Kart series, Coffin Dodgers spits in the face of all of its spiritual predecessors by being an excruciating, sad attempt at copying its success. The developers not only forgot to add anything that made those Super Mario Kart games great into Coffin Dodgers, they also went in the complete opposite direction by making it full of crap features. The tracks are awkwardly designed, the visual representation looks cheap and ugly, and there isn’t much variety to choose from in regards to arenas, characters, and even bonus content. By time you play a good handful of races, you’ll already be bored and sick of the game. It’s a lazy attempt at paying homage to a much better go-kart series.
9. Mighty No. 9
Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, Comcept and Inti Creates could develop and produce Mighty No. 9 on all major gaming consoles for a June 2016 release. However, it was a long, grueling journey to get the game released for those who pledged. There were times where it seemed as if the developers were jerking fans around every chance they could with broken promises. This game was originally slotted to be released way back in 2015, but was delayed. Comcept founder, Keiji Inafune promised gamers following their project that this game would not be delayed again. By January 2016, it was delayed again and wasn’t released until later that summer. Not to mention that after their original Kickstarter campaign raised its $900,000 target goal within two days of launching the campaign, the developers kept asking for money for additional stretch goals to produce English voice dub acting, DLC, and other bonus content. Fans found themselves chipping in over $3,000,000 worth of extra bucks. After all the back peddling and cash hassling, Mighty No. 9 was released to poor reviews. After all the hype and drama surrounding the project, it could not live up to expectations.
8. Homefront: The Revolution
When Dambuster Studios and Deep Silver announced that a sequel to Homefront was in the works, gamers around the world gave a collective shrug. The first Homefront game impressed no one and was nothing to write home about. However, this was the perfect chance to prove critics wrong and bring in new fans by rebooting the franchise with a whole new open world for players to explore. In that regard, Homefront: The Revolution sounds great on paper. Sadly, what we got turned out to be nothing more than a wasted opportunity and confirmation for why gamers went into the game feeling skeptical. There’s almost no use in painting an open world portrait for a clunky narrative story that provides the player with no likable character to root for or even care for. It doesn’t help that the gameplay itself (along with some eyebrow raising technical issues) makes the game a chore to sit through.
This is one of the few occasions where we would have been ok with the developers pushing a release date back a little bit. In fact, Battleborn would have benefited tremendously from being released about a year after it was originally scheduled. When it did come out, the biggest criticisms towards Battleborn was that it reminded players too much of Overwatch, which was released around the same time as Battleborn. It’s not that there is anything particularly wrong with Battleborn. It just suffered from the bad timing of being released around the same time as another game with equal amounts of hype and similar content. Overwatch is a big reason why sales for Battleborn dropped exponentially quickly after its release. Battleborn’s developers could have easily rectified this by choosing to release the game at a later time when Overwatch wasn’t as fresh in fan’s minds, but they chose not to. Battleborn could have been a classic in the making if the developers hadn’t screwed it over by releasing it in the same time frame as Overwatch.
The production for Bombshell was a mess ever since it was in the earliest stages of its development. Interceptor Entertainment was originally planning to include the title character in Bombshell as a supporting character for Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction. Because of a lawsuit against Interceptor from Gearbox Software, production on the Duke Nukem game was put to a halt and production began on giving Bombshell her very own game. Despite changing the protagonist from the much beloved Duke to the completely unknown Bombshell, Duke fans were intrigued. Too bad the game fell flat when it was released. As much as Duke Nukem can be a douchey character, he also happens to be a fun one and his games happen to be fun as well. Bombshell, the character and the game, is the complete opposite. Repetitious gameplay, a bland excuse for a badass character, and enough bugs to irritate the most patient of gamers, Bombshell is a complete bomb. On its own merits, Bombshell is a poor excuse for a game and as a replacement for a new Duke Nukem entry, Bombshell is damn near insulting.
5. Alekhine’s Gun
The only thing more insulting than a bad game is when the developers release a bad game despite multiple signs suggesting otherwise. Haggard Games received several signs telling them they should probably put a halt to the abomination that is Alekhine’s Gun. After the game was originally announced in 2010 under the title Death to Spies 3, 1C Company withdrew from their publishing contract with the game and Haggard Games. Haggard continued developments and even went as far as to launch a crowdfunding campaign in 2013 and then a Kickstarter in 2014 to finish the game. Both projects failed. Haggard pushed on regardless and the final product of Alekhine’s Gun was critically panned as an awful mess that’s too bad to finish. A lot of people may want to commend Haggard Games for sticking to their guns to Alekhine’s Gun until the very end, but when all hope is lost as badly as it was for the fate of this game, sometimes it’s best to just throw in the towel. Better to spare us of a bad game than to push on with it and make us suffer.
4. Battlefield 1
You know what’s douchier than creating a bad game or a game laced with technical issues? Charging $130 for a game without including the actual game disc. That’s exactly what the bright minds behind Battlefield 1 tried to do this year. When EA decided to release a special Collector’s Edition exclusive to Amazon, they released a box set that included a patch, exclusive DLC, a 14 inch statue, a poster, a steelbook, and even a deck of playing cards. But not the game itself. Not even a digital copy of the game is included with all of these swanky features. If gamers wanted an edition with all of the special features and, of course, the actual game, they would have to buy a Deluxe Edition that includes all of the mentioned features and a physical copy of the game for $209. That is a ridiculous price for the special features alone. It just goes to show you what a company of money grubbing douchebags are willing to do to get people to pay ridiculous amounts of money.
3. Harambe Vs Capcom
While technically not a video game given it was made for internet consumption rather than a console, it is a game that attributes to the absurdity surrounding the death of Harambe. It’s ridiculous enough that one gorilla’s death contributed to such a plethora of memes. It’s even more ridiculous to think that Harambe’s afterlife adventures have been eulogized in an internet game highlighting the Street Fighter fighting system. Not only do you get to play the fallen gorilla to fight beloved Street Fighter characters, players can even fight against opponents who can be considered “influential” people in Harambe’s life, like the zoo guard that killed him. Someone really took a gorilla’s death and made it into a game. If that’s not douchey, I don’t know what is. The only thing keeping it from the top spot is the fact it’s not technically a video game like it’s fellow entries. Anyone interested in playing this absurdity can head on down to harambegame.com.
2. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
For casual gamers, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare might be a fun game. For hardcore fans of the Call of Duty series, Infinite Warfare is a disappointing departure from previous games. There’s a reason why Infinite Warfare sales were reported to be 43.6% down from the last Black Ops game. We can easily boil it down to poor marketing, but the flop of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has just as much to do with the fact that the developers were lazy in creating the game and took their fans for granted. They took for granted that CoD fans were willing to eat up anything they’d put out with the CoD name attached. The developers probably figured that as long as they include multiplayer and maybe a Zombie Mode, their audience will be happy. They were wrong. Not only did this sequel receive a big drop in release sales compared to previous games, but there were mixed to poor reviews because of lack of innovation in the latest series entry.
1. No Man’s Sky
A general consensus among the overall gaming community is that No Man’s Sky may very well be the most overhyped game of 2016. When the game first generated buzz during pre-release, the game suffered several delays. That didn’t stop it from snagging a few awards, like Best Original Game and Special Commendation for Innovation, before it even hit the shelves. When it was finally released, while the visual presentation has been praised, critics and gamers alike have criticized No Man’s Sky for its repetitive and lackluster gameplay. The game also received bad press not only for its technical issues, but for failing to include several marketed features from the trailers. Even after an update was made in November to accommodate the game’s biggest issues, fans still weren’t satisfied. The developers essentially screwed over their customers with false advertising and insipid technical issues. In doing so, they treated gamers like douches.