Launch Failures – Which Games We Abandon and Which We Support

COG Considers: Why Do Some Games Make a Comeback and Others Become “Dead Games”?

If I told you that Cyberpunk 2077 would disappoint you any time between 2012 and 2019, would you believe me? Hell, even for most of 2020, everyone expected Cyberpunk 2077 to be the greatest game of all time, but in a way only 2020 could pull off, our expectations were dashed. While it is the most recent and perhaps biggest examples of launch failures, it is certainly not the first. The talk of the virtual town these days is how CD Projekt RED can possibly turn this around and pull Cyberpunk out of the cyber-gutter. Can they do it? Sometimes, the answer to the future lies in the past, or something.

Video games have shouldered great expectations for a long time now. The first really big game launch that jumps out at me is Halo 3. Halo: Combat Evolved was huge, Halo 2 was huge, and Halo 3 was meant to be the best of them all. And Halo 3 was great, but the hype it had built up on its road to release had reached critical mass even before launch day. It was then I learned that no matter how good a game is, given enough anticipation, there will be greater expectations than what it can deliver. For promotion and advertising, there is no upper bound on how much hype a game can generate, but if Halo 3 came out a year later, would fans have loved it as much as they did? What is the point of this anecdote? Well, that was an example of a game that was highly anticipated and really good at launch.

Snap back to reality, we are a week and a half out from Cyberpunk 2077’s release. That game had been hyped and begged for every year since 2012. All that attention, all that hype, all that anticipation began growing like a cancer. It became more than what the game could offer. Not only that, but Cyberpunk 2077 did not even launch with acceptable quality. And not only did it not deliver what people were hoping for, but it didn’t even work. Now, I’m not here to trash the work that went into it, because successful or not, 8 years of hard work from developers should be admired, but where do we go from here? Though it’s felt like a long time, we’re still early on in Cyberpunk’s release phase, and CDPR is trying their darnedest to fix it. Bless them. We are left to ask ourselves: Will we be there to see the game at its best and become the comeback of the century? Or will we move on to the next big thing and let it die?

No Man's Sky Desolation Update

Speaking of comeback of the century, we kind of already have an example of that in No Man’s Sky. Remember the days when before No Man’s Sky came out and people were expecting it to be the greatest game of all time? Then it launched and it was nothing like we were promised. Sound familiar? Kind of like the Cyberpunk 2077 of today, No Man’s Sky released with very little content and many bugs. It was like a year before players even considered it playable. 4 years after its initial release and No Man’s Sky is a satisfying space exploration, survival, crafting experience. It’s not for everybody, but it made a complete 180. That is the best case scenario for Cyberpunk 2077 at this point.

most disappointing games of 2019

Worst case scenario, but I think pretty unlikely, is Anthem; the great disappointment of BioWare. Cyberpunk 2077 is at a crossroads where CDPR can work their butts off (after working their butts off for the past 8 years and then putting their butts back on again) and fix what is wrong with the game, or they can somehow continue to make mistakes and go down the road of Anthem and fall into obscurity. We are coming up on Anthem’s two year release anniversary, and BioWare and EA are still trying to save the game with this so-called “Anthem 2.0”, but it is very doubtful that they will be able to reach the success that they had initially hoped for.

Fallout 76

Now let’s talk about Fallout 76. Whether or not it has come back from its miserable launch is up for debate. Not only did the game release with bugs out the wazoo (which is sadly pretty typical of a Bethesda game), but its real world promotional items were also super disappointing. The Fallout 76 jackets that look like outdoor tarps and the nylon, not-canvas duffle bags were particularly disastrous. Meanwhile,¬†for a while, in-game patches fixed some bugs, but introduced others. Updates became a revolving door of issues. 2 years after its launch, Fallout 76 has mostly kept out of the video game news, for better or for worse. We don’t hear about issues like we did in its early days, but we don’t really hear about any successes either. Is this the kind of legacy that awaits Cyberpunk 2077?

Marvel's Avengers Cosmetics

Another game near and dear to the heart of your ol’ pal Zane is Marvel’s Avengers. Like Fallout 76, Marvel’s Avengers launched with a ton of bugs. It also lacked in content variation. Still does, admittedly. However, the game is still only a few months old and Crystal Dynamics apparently have plans to release a lot more content down the road, for free no less. Again, the content will probably be more of the same in terms of gameplay, but hardcore fans will welcome the additional characters. Though Marvel’s Avengers also did not meet expectations when it initially launched, only time will tell if it rises up to eventual success or if it will be cemented in “dead game” territory.

This piece is not necessarily about Cyberpunk 2077, but given the timing, it makes a perfect centerpiece. The game is still brand new. It sold enough to be profitable before launch day and broke concurrent player records on Steam, so does this game still have a bright future or will is expire like a recently ripened banana? It is up to players. First impressions are everything and Cyberpunk 2077 did not make a good first impression, but games in similar situations have turned it around. Other games in similar situations have not. When CDPR does fix the game, and I am confident that they will, will the players be there to make it all worth it? Let’s check-in in about a year. And hey, maybe Anthem 2.0 will be out by then, too.

What future do you think awaits Cyberpunk 2077? Or any of these other games for that matter? Let us know in the comments below.