As a premise, playing god sounds mighty enticing. In practice the man behind SimCity Will Wright’s efforts were underwhelming at best. Instead of crafting complex life from nothing to functioning civilizations, the game boiled down to a decent attempt at this, but failed to attain the lofty ambitious it had laid out for itself through marketing pushes and pre-release hype stirring. Many view Spore as a rather tenuously linked set of mini games that felt more restrictive than empowering.
Fable creator Peter Molyneux has a knack for bigging up his own creations to an irrational extent to the point that this bizarre self-aggrandizing proved to be seriously detrimental when it came to the Fable series. Molyneux promised a dynamic world, where the natural world grows and evolves as the game progresses to mimic real life, as well as time being a tangible feature with the characters aging through game play. In addition, we were promised the most compelling personal battle between good and evil ever, a gut-wrenching moral choice at every turn. In reality, Fable is a decent adventure game in a semi-convincing fantasy setting where flatulence based jokes are deemed congruent with such high aims. To make matters worse, Molyneux embarked on a similarly outrageous hype tour for the two subsequent Fable games with very much the same end results.
Haze was going to the game to take on Halo’s dominance with a gripping story of super soldiers with heightened abilities thanks to a revolutionary new drug. For months leading up to release, it was the most anticipated game. When it finally arrived, boy was it a disappointment. Average game play, sketchy AI, a downright awful narrative, and more glitches than a PUBG patch, Haze was serious underwhelming graphically as well.
Though by no means a terrible game, Watch Dogs was out-shined by an orchestrated trailer dripping with CGI wizardry that had everyone going crazy at E3 back in 2012. When the game finally launched, it offered some innovative features, namely the ability to hack technology and control city infrastructure and pry on the private lives of just about anyone, yet somehow felt like a copy of other city-based open-world games (*cough* GTA *cough*). Going from adjectives such as ‘revolutionary’ to ‘average’ best represents Watch Dogs rapid downfall. As they say; under promise, over deliver, never the other way around.
No Man’s Sky
Sean Murray promised us the world – well actually a whole galaxy to explore – and he delivered, but as the saying goes wide as an ocean, deep as a puddle. No Man Sky’s failed to meet the expectations that swirled out of control during a lengthy and sustained hype cycle that saw the game feature prominently on mainstream TV and at successive E3 conferences. Lacking content and at times inexplicably drab, the game felt empty to many. This prompted one of the most severe gamer backlashes ever witnessed.