%% NOTE: Real life examples only. In-universe examples go on TroubledProduction/FictionalExamples.
-->''"40% or more of the screen text was nuked...there just wasn’t space in the ROM. That means lots of story elements, nuance, personality, etc. also had to be stripped out. It was hard to do that, especially after I’d finished a translation, and then was told it was way over. ...I loved that game, but am probably most dissatisfied with the final result. Certainly tried my best, but that thing nearly killed me."''\\
--'''[[{{Woolseyism}} Ted Woosley]]''' on [[VideoGame/SecretOfMana cramming a 32-bit DVD into a 16-bit cartridge]]

* Many NintendoSixtyFour games fell under this trope, due to such factors as the restrictions imposed by the system's cartridge format, Nintendo's censorship policies, and the general difficulty in programming N64 games:
** One would think that, as bad as ''VideoGame/{{Superman 64}}'' was, it was solely developer Titus' fault. However, in [[http://www.protonjon.com/blog/?p=48 an interview]] with Eric Caen, one of the founders of Titus, with LetsPlay/ProtonJon, it's revealed that [[{{Misblamed}} it wasn't entirely their fault]]. A lot of the reasons for the game's poorness was [[ExecutiveMeddling politics]] with WarnerBrothers and DCComics towards Titus (the virtual reality world? They didn't want Superman kicking real people). In fact, Caen mentions that the game was only "10% of what they envisioned" and that while it ''was'' a money-maker, it hurt them in the long run because they were forced to cancel the PlayStation version of the game.
** ''MissionImpossible''. The game was originally slated to be released in late-1996. However, constant ExecutiveMeddling (resulting in the game switching development teams mid way through development) and problems fitting such an at-the-time ambitious game onto a small cartridge resulted in the game not seeing release until mid-1998. The final game actually wasn't half bad. However, its long development history definitely showed with its dated (even for 1998) graphics, buggy programming, and somewhat underdeveloped gameplay. The impending release of the competing ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' that same year certainly didn't help matters.
** ''Clayfighter 63 1/3'', as documented in the ExecutiveMeddling page, is another example.
** ''BodyHarvest'' was originally slated to be a launch title for the N64. However, during development, publisher Nintendo took issue with the game's violent themes and thus dropped out of the project altogether. The game was presumed vaporware until a small third party publisher picked it up and released it in October, 1998... more than two years after it was originally slated to be released!
** Believe it or not, a freaking ''baseball game'' fell victim to this trope! ''Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.'', a spiritual successor to ''Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run'' on the Super NES, was supposed to be released in late-1996. However, the game was delayed left and right before finally being released in May of 1998. By which time its graphics and gameplay were ultimately surpassed by Acclaim's ''All Star Baseball 99''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Daikatana}}'', as chronicled in [[http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20000619155817/http://www.gamespot.com/features/btg-daikatana/index.html "Knee Deep in a Dream"]].
** Despite the success he'd enjoyed with ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' and its progeny at id Software, John Romero was unhappy with his job because he felt his vision as a designer took a back seat to the company's technological considerations. When his idea to split the company into separate divisions devoted to design and technology was nixed by the founders, he threatened to leave and start his own company instead, and was eventually let go.
** Carrying out his threat, he and id cofounder Tom Hall started what became Ion Storm at the end of 1996, where "Design is Law." On the strength of their names and accomplishments, the company was able to raise millions. Some of this was spent on high-cost real estate, renting office space in the top floors of a Dallas skyscraper, featuring the Ion Storm logo carved into terrazzo in the lobby because, Romero said, he had always wanted to work in flashier offices at id. But all did not go well from that auspicious start.
** Romero's dream game, Daikatana, would be the sort of FirstPersonShooter he had pioneered, but with two sidekicks and multiple levels in four different time periods across a 4,000-year period. He told the media it would be available within a year, since the plan was to build it on the ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}'' engine. As you might expect, such an optimistic prospect was just asking for trouble.
** First, Ion Storm had some internal warring because the ''Daikatana'' team felt the development of ''Dominion: Storm Over Gift 3'' was stealing resources and staff, which utlimately hurt that game and forced the abandonment of the other early titles Ion Storm meant to bring out.
** Then, they tried to move from the old ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}'' engine to the ''VideoGame/QuakeII'' one, a process [[PortingDisaster much more complicated and time-consuming]] than they thought. In June of 1997, they made it official—''Daikatana'' would not be shipping that year. That didn't stop the company from taking out ads that cheekily promised "[[PreAssKickingOneLiner John Romero's about to make you his bitch]]"-alienating some gamers and ramping up expectations for others. Romero has since apologized for the campaign and tried to distance himself from it; others involved say he was much more enthusiastic at the time.
** Romero's prowess as a designer and programmer, despite his experience at well-managed id, did not transfer to management or leadership skills. His entire development team quit on him en masse to start their own company because they were so fed up with the lack of direction they were getting. To maintain goodwill with potential competitors, Romero avoided hiring away any of their programmers, instead hiring amateur programmers whose homebrewed levels for id's games had been the most downloaded—a fact which, another Ion Storm executive admitted later, told them nothing about what it was like to work with this person or what their work habits were. During the development of the game, the staff changed completely three times.
** This turnover had a chaotic impact on the game code, with fragments inserted here and there by totally different people who had never communicated. Demos made from this increasingly buggy mess failed to impress at industry events. Communications between all the people working on the game did not get any better: one artist submitted the infamous "1,300-pixel arrow", a texture file for a crossbow bolt that was inexplicably 1300 pixels by 960 pixels. For reference, that's about the size of your monitor, twice as large as the game's actual resolution, and a hell of a lot larger than the space a crossbow bolt actually takes up. When Romero hired his then-girlfriend, Stevie Case, to work on level design, he nearly triggered another full-staff walkout.
** The programmers who ''were'' working had some unexpected physical problems with the skyscraper office space. Some of them were under skylights where, around midday in the Texas sun, they would get too hot to work, and even if they didn't the light was too distracting. People were covering their cubicles in blankets to get their work done.
** Ion Storm missed Daikatana's 1997 ship date, and its 1998 ship date, and its 1999 ship date. It became a punchline within the industry, as one webcomic memorably demonstrated. Eidos, Ion Storm's parent company, finally had to step in and straighten things out. And as things were finally turning out, id released the ''Quake III'' game engine. Recalling how much fun they had had three years earlier upgrading to its predecessor, Ion Storm understandably opted ''not'' to do it again, meaning the game they had poured so much design effort into would be [[TechnologyMarchesOn technologically behind]] from the moment it was released.
** The game ended up [[{{Vaporware}} delayed]] so much that, by the time it came out in 2000, it was seriously outclassed by competing games like ''VideoGame/HalfLife'', ''VideoGame/SystemShock2'', and the soon-to-be-released ''VideoGame/DeusEx''. The resulting product ended up being a complete bust and pretty much [[CreatorKiller ended the fame and career]] of Creator/JohnRomero, who, before ''Daikatana'', was a superstar developer on a par with Creator/SidMeier and Creator/TimSchafer thanks to his work on ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}''.
* Almost as high-ranking in gaming disasters is ''Battlecruiser3000AD''. In 1989, Derek Smart had the idea for a grand, sweeping game set on a large ship cruising a realistically large galaxy. Players could choose how they wanted to experience it, from either the strategic level commanding fleets of ships in interstellar campaigns, to just [[FirstPersonShooter shooting it out]] on a planetary surface with a blaster. Three years later it was a gaming magazine's cover story as "the last game you'll ever want."
** Smart posted regular, lengthy updates on multiple online fora. These got him in the first trouble. He claimed at one point that he'd figured out how to make the opposing AIs use neural nets, a potential quantum leap in not only gaming but computing as a whole. Many developers and programmers were skeptical, and Smart's updates soon engendered one of the longest-running flame wars in Usenet history (which some people say might as well have been the real game, since at least most people could play it) due to his penchant for writing lengthy and confrontational replies, then lengthy and confrontational rebuttals to the lengthy and confrontational responses those replies got.
** Offline, his personality was having the same effect on his backers. He went through several before landing at a small, relatively new company called Take Two Interactive. They got tired of his antics and, in 1996, called one of Smart's frequent bluffs by actually releasing the game. The poor-quality, buggy result of seven years of hype, development and online acrimony got the expected horrible reviews.
** Smart immediately went online blaming Take Two. He was just as incorrigible with the company's executives. During one of the fights he had with management there, he started trashing the company's office, reportedly completely destroying a Coke machine at one point (an account he denies).
** Smart has released some later versions as freeware. The flame wars are probably still going on ''somewhere'' on the Internet.
* Similar issues came up as some of the reasons behind ''VideoGame/DukeNukemForever'''s infamous development, and instead of ruining a single man's career, the issues demolished DNF's development staff. The game's development was so troubled, in fact, that ''it has [[DevelopmentHistory/DukeNukemForever its own work page]] on ThisVeryWiki''. The fourteen-year DevelopmentHell that ensued was due to switching engines, 3D Realms founder George Broussard publicly insulting DNF's publisher, tons of changes beyond engine switches that would necessitate restarting the entire project, and more. DNF is truly spectacular, in that its production was so troubled that the staff ''had nothing worth publicly showing aside from a couple of screenshots''. In the end, Gearbox Software took over production, and suddenly revealed the game ''[[SavedFromDevelopmentHell would]]'' come out. Gearbox took the code and levels that 3D Realms had "finished" -- which were largely conceptual and unrelated -- and, in one year, completed the project that 3D Realms couldn't in fourteen.
* ''VideoGame/TattooAssassins'', Creator/DataEast's ''MortalKombat'' [[FollowTheLeader clone]] is definitely this. [[http://gameological.com/2013/04/splattered-ink/ This site]] very much tells the story behind the troubled development of the game.
* ''[[{{Trespasser}} Jurassic Park: Trespasser]]'': As explained in an [[http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3339/postmortem_dreamworks_.php online feature]] or [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6A3SaRr26M this video]] about this [[ObviousBeta infamous botched]] 1996 FPS, ''Trespasser'' had a host of design and logistical problems that caused its design team to severely scale it back from their initial goals. An ambitious plan to have friendly and hostile dinosaurs that reacted to you through a groundbreaking AI system was largely abandoned because the creatures couldn't decide what mood to pick (the AI was set to maximum hostility as a quick fix). The melee weapons didn't work (so they had all their mass removed, making almost all of them useless), textures were largely scaled back because of compatibility issues and there were serious issues with the game's physics system. A botched licensing deal (they couldn't use JohnWilliams' iconic music in the game, so they had to create their own), mismanagement between the game's design team, and a continuously-delayed release caused the game to be dead on arrival, and it was quickly forgotten.
* ''MetroidPrime''. Not counting that producer ShigeruMiyamoto asked to throw out basically everything during early stages, at a certain point, the Japanese crew was spending most of their year in America overseeing the game and RetroStudios' staff was pulling all-nighters, working 80-100 hours a week neglecting family and nourishing on atomic fireball candy ([[http://wii.ign.com/articles/101/1016511p4.html a total of 72 gallons of them among the staff]]).
* ''[[SplinterCell Splinter Cell: Conviction]]'': It took almost four years from the time the game was announced (via an internal leak of images from the game in mid-2006) to its release because of several major gameplay shifts, including a halfway-finished product that was essentially thrown out midway through production. The original game, helmed by Ubisoft Montreal, featured Sam Fisher (now on the run from Third Echelon) as some type of homeless drifter sporting a beard, hoodie and makeshift weapons and devices, and the gameplay was intended to be a sandbox-type shooter where Sam would investigate various locales to get information (and memories) about his daughter. The game was seen as a serious departure from the franchise, and Ubisoft canned it midway through development over negative fan reaction and claims that its gameplay was too similar to the original ''VideoGame/{{Assassins Creed|I}}'' (also made by Ubisoft Montreal). Several features were unceremoniously thrown out (including several abilities that enabled Sam to blend into his environment, move objects around and fight hand-to-hand against enemies), and the game's entire structure was revamped. ''Conviction'' would eventually be released in early 2010.
* ''{{Gex}}'', as discussed by programmer Gregg Tavares [[http://games.greggman.com/game/gex/ here]]. The development team was inexperienced, overworked to the point of doing 12 to 16 hours a day, understaffed and rushed to finish the game for Christmas. A lot of content was cut due to time and manpower constraints, and lead designer Justin Knorr was fired after hiding an insulting message that included Crystal Dynamics co-founder Madeline Canepa's actual phone number.
* The infamous ''VideoGame/ETTheExtraterrestrial'' for the {{Atari 2600}}, which was so [[ChristmasRushed rushed]] that it ended up being made just in six weeks. Considering that it was made basically by a single person, Howard Scott Warsaw, and that programming for 2600 was notoriously idiosyncratic, it's actually a minor miracle that the game is playable at all. The game was enormously hyped by the Atari's marketing department and failed to meet expectations (They made more carts than there were Ataris, expecting the game to be [[KillerApp so popular]] it'd create a console sale boom), with many people calling it one of the worst games ever made, as a result nearly every single one of the sold copies of the game was returned to stores, the game's failure almost singlehandedly caused TheGreatVideoGameCrashOf1983. It led to the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_video_game_burial story that Atari secretly buried literally tons of unsold cartridges in a secure New Mexico landfill]].
* Atari's home port of ''VideoGame/PacMan'' was supposedly the demo version, made with great difficulty over six weeks due to the differences in underlying hardware. When the developer showed it to the suits, they said "OK, we're shipping this." It did well on the strength of the title but took a pounding in the media.
* Creator/ValveSoftware's hit title ''VideoGame/{{Half-Life 2}}'' cruised through a very troubled development when, a good portion into the production, the material was leaked and they had to start from scratch. Crosses over with 'WhatCouldHaveBeen' after you see what they had created [[http://combineoverwiki.net/wiki/Development_of_Half-Life_2 here]].
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog''
** The SegaSaturn game ''Sonic X-treme'' is perhaps the most tragic example of all as, unlike the other examples here, the game was never finished. The problems started when Sega of America demanded the development team start a new engine from scratch to replace the original, when the project had already been worked on for a while. Then, the team failed to show Sega of Japan the original engine, only presenting the new one (which was in a far more primitive and unplayable state), prompting Nakamura to order them to use the boss engine for the whole game. This prompted the team to ask for the ''NiGHTS'' engine (which Yuji Naka would not allow). Finally, the main programmer had a tendency to antagonize the rest of the team with his antisocial attitude. All of this resulted in Chris Senn doing most of the work himself, tirelessly working 20 hours a day until doctors told him he had 6 months to live; he then realized that there was no chance of finishing the game before the holiday season, so there was no choice but to pull the plug on the game.
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' also ended up as a victim of this --- although the game, unlike ''X-treme'', was released, [[ObviousBeta the final product was likewise]] ''[[ObviousBeta far]]'' [[ObviousBeta from finished]]. After Yuji Naka --- one of the founding members of the ''Soni''c franchise --- resigned from Sega and consequently left ongoing development of the game, massive pressure was then put on the shoulders of the game's director Shun Nakamura and the rest of the development team to have the game ([[ToughActToFollow which was supposed to be another great Sonic game that would be used to help re-launch the franchise on next-gen consoles]]) finished in time [[ChristmasRushed for that year's Christmas season]] as well as [[MilestoneCelebration be released before year's end to qualify as the 15th anniversary title]]. The fact that they had to develop two console versions of the game at the same time during the short development process did not help matters.
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2''[='=]s own history can be chronicled by the various Alphas, Betas and Deltas made along the way. Rumor had it that ''2'' was supposed to utilize TimeTravel, but it proved way too complicated for the simplistic Sega Genesis. Many Zones were planned and removed, including a curiously-named stage called Genocide City and the legendary Hidden Palace Zone (which was much later restored as a secret level in the iOS remake). Sega gave Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} a very early version of ''2'' for ''NickArcade''.
** ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic & Hedgehog 3]]'' and ''Sonic & Knuckles'' were once planned to be one big game, just the basic ''Sonic the Hedgehog 3''. However, time restraints forced Sega to split the game in two in time for ''3'''s release, leaving many fans to wonder what these other stages were once they put in the ''insanely difficult'' Stage Select code. When ''Sonic & Knuckles'' was being made, the initial plan was that it could hook up to ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog1'', ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'' and ''Sonic the Hedgehog 3'' for new playing adventures. However, complications with the code in ''Sonic the Hedgehog'' forced them to scrap it and replace it with the Blue Spheres mini game collection. It was initially said that Knuckles gliding onto a treadmill in Scrap Brain Zone caused the game to crash. However, it was revealed later on that it was because most of the game's graphics was [[DarthWiki/IdiotProgramming built around Sonic's color palette]], and introducing Knuckles would end up changing every other graphic in the game. A fan did a hack years later by reducing Knuckles' color scheme to match the games' limited palette. Due to the introduction of Super Sonic in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'', that game did not suffer such problems.
*** And then MichaelJackson's rumored involvement in the game's music is a whole story of its own, which ranges from anonymous credits and dropped finished tracks because of his child molestation allegations, to him being dissatisfied with the Genesis sound hardware.
** ''Sonic Heroes'' was meant to be Xbox and [=GameCube=] only from the beginning, but midway through production, Sony apparantly gave Sega a deal to port to [=PlayStation 2=] or be denied any favors from the company forever. Sonic Team's inexperience with the [=PS2=] engine, as well as eventually being ported onto the PC as well, ended in a highly laggy, even ''boring'' (un)finished product.
* ''VideoGame/LANoire'' competely destroyed Team Bondi due to the lead designer having [[http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/117/1179020p1.html serious rage issues]] and treating it like his MagnumOpus. In order to get the game back on budget, they hired and chewed up nearly every budding game programmer and artist in Sydney and they were so hostile that publisher Rockstar publicly swore off ever working with them again. Said lead designer is now creating another game, titled ''The Whore Of The Orient''. This can't possibly end badly.
** Team Bondi has been since bought out by the company that produced ''Film/MadMax'', ''WesternAnimation/HappyFeet'', and Babe, so there may now be a change in their working conditions...
* [[http://hardcoregaming101.net/lastactionhero/lastactionhero.htm Two]] [[http://www.mobygames.com/game/snes/last-action-hero developers]] claims this happened to the infamous ''VideoGame/LastActionHero'' licensed game. After the planning stage, word from a lawyer came that Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger did not want to be "associated with violence" due to his then-recent involvement in family-friendly comedies, and that the game could not feature him using firearms, completely ruining the original concept. This led to the game being hastily retooled as the deadline was fixed with no chance for extension. Communications with the legal department was exceptionally slow, leading to the developers being clueless on even basic questions such as whether or not Arnold's character could punch, and the development of the PC version ground to an halt after the graphic artist refused to do work because of an unrelated payment issue with the publisher.
* The SegaSaturn game for ''MagicKnightRayearth'' was initially listed as one of the first games for the system. It didn't show up in the U.S. until three years after the Japanese release and ''six months'' after support for the system came to an end, effectively being the last North American Saturn game. What caused this game from WorkingDesigns to fall this far down? Numerous problems, including:
** The usual need to translate and dub the voice bits from Japanese to English.
** The computer holding the data for the game crashing, forcing them to rebuild pieces of it.
** A fight between WD and Sega over what to name the main heroines (Sega had realized ''Rayearth'' was a good enough series to franchise to the States. However, as it was common at the time, [[DubNameChange they wanted to give them English names]]. Both Sega and WD had different names for the girls before they both threw their arms into the air and left them Hikaru, Umi and Fuu.)
** And after it was all done, then-current Sega head honcho Bernie Stolar's draconian policy against third party developers kicked in, leaving them high and dry until the Saturn was dead in the water.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2's'' premium module ''Mysteries of Westgate'' didn't take long to develop. However, Atari wanted the [[DownloadableContent DLC]] shipped with a {{DRM}} scheme. This delayed the release of the game. Adding to this, Obsidian patches constantly broke down the Adventure Pack, pushing the game's release even further, much to gamers frustration.
* ''KingdomsOfAmalurReckoning'' is a particularly extreme example. The game as it was showed great promise, and in fact ended up selling over a million copies, but due to either extreme overconfidence or extreme shortsightedness, developer 38 Studios borrowed money left and right from the state of Rhode Island, ultimately racking up a ''75 million dollar'' debt. They were apparently confident that they would be able to pay back all the loans with the game's sales, as well as the sales of the then-in planning MMO, but it then turned out that the game would have had to sell 3 million just to ''break even''. Long story short, 38's financial situation imploded, they went bankrupt, and all their assets, including the ''Amalur'' IP, were seized by the State of Rhode Island.
** Note also that the head of that company was famous Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who traded heavily on his celebrity in convincing Rhode Island to suspend their own funding rules to loan his company more money. Not that RI necessarily needed convincing; to the state that, at the time (and possibly still today), had one of the five highest unemployment rate in America, the promise of a major high-tech firm bolstering their economy must have been very easy to get excited about. (RI's long rivalry with Massachusetts may also have played a role: here was one of Boston's star sons offering to bring his business to Providence instead.)
** The ''New York Times'' did [[http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/business/curt-schilling-rhode-island-and-the-fall-of-38-studios.html a long story]] about this. In addition to the above points, there's the fact that RI governor Lincoln Chafee had not endeared himself to Schilling when, as a candidate while the state was doing the deal, he dared to repeat insinuations that the Schilling had put red paint on his sock himself rather than actually bleeding during the most famous game of his career. While he tried to make up after he was elected, Schilling still resents that.
** Schilling was probably out of his depth with his ambitious plans for the game. A complex multilevel PVE game is challenging to develop even for an established game maker with a success of exactly that type. He hired R.A. Salvatore to create a 10,000-year backstory for the game, for which Salvatore has yet to get paid any of the $2 million he's owed. One of 38's original executives said he had tried to convince Schilling to develop and release the game in stages, rather than "trying to build a skyscraper on the side and then stand it up."
** Schilling paid very generous salaries ... by his estimate, the average pay at 38 was $86,000. The company went so far as to pick up the mortgage payments on its employees' unsold Boston-area homes if they moved closer to Providence. And since the state had made the investment to create jobs, 38 ultimately hired 400 people—a lot for a new game developer with only one title out.
** In the end, everybody got hurt. Over three hundred people were let go from the jobs Rhode Island wanted so badly. Schilling claims to have lost his entire fortune from his baseball career, and had to auction the bloody sock. Chafee has a very low popularity rating and announced [[http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20130904-r.i.-governor-chafee-will-not-seek-re-election.ece he would not run for another term]]. The state is suing Schilling, claiming he knew the game was unlikely to succeed (not hard to have seen that coming, since he couldn't get financing in Boston, where there are tons of venture capitalists focused on tech companies) and was attempting to defraud the state.
* ''VideoGame/TheTombOfTheTaskMaker'', the sequel to the mid-1990s AppleMacintosh RPG ''VideoGame/TaskMaker'', ended up being the undoing of its publishers, Storm Impact. Although ''[=TaskMaker=]'' was successful, the company's next three products (a skiing sim called ''VideoGame/MacSki'', a debug program called ''Technical Snapshot'', and a space game called ''Asterbamm'') all failed to catch on, they started working on ''Tomb''. A publisher who kept losing money orders didn't help, neither did the rush to get ''Tomb'' out on time — the game has a huge number of cut corners, and version 1.0 just ''barely'' got out before Storm Impact went under. See more information [[http://web.archive.org/web/20040605131022/http://www.btinternet.com/~G.Janacek/Taskmaker.html#News here]] (Wayback Machine archive).
* Except for their {{Amiga}} games and ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid: The Twin Snakes'', '''the entire history''' of game developer SiliconKnights can qualify as troubled, [[http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=503761 as can be attested by the meticulous research of NeoGAF user Mama Robotnik]]. (In particular, note the ratio of released games to canceled games). To summarize on the games that ''were'' released:
** The partnership between Silicon Knights and Crystal Dynamics (with Creator/{{Activision}} involved on Crystal Dynamics' side) on the development of ''[[VideoGame/LegacyOfKain Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain]]'' and a proposed, canceled sequel degenerated into a pileup of legal screwovers and ExecutiveMeddling on ownership and content of the IP --- with Crystal Dynamics winning and bridges burned. [[http://www.gog.com/forum/general/release_legacy_of_kain_blood_omen_2/post24 Because of this, don't expect]] [[ScrewedByTheLawyers to see a re-release of the first Blood Omen for the nearby future]].
** About the partnership with Creator/{{Nintendo}}: ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' started development of the {{Nintendo 64}} --- and neared completion before Silicon Knights were asked to throw away everything and rebuild the game from scratch on the [=GameCube=] for launch[[note]]A situation that isn't unique to just Silicon Knights; see also ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' by Rare, coincidentally another developer that would end up suffering from having their ties to Nintendo cut...[[/note]]. Additionally in its [=GameCube=] incarnation, there were some internal concerns on the Middle Eastern areas [[TooSoon due to 9/11]], causing a delay. Altogether though, the development of the [=GameCube=] version (as well as that of ''The Twin Snakes'') were far less catastrophic due to the constant supervision of none other than Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata (no word if Silicon Knights' workplace conditions under Nintendo were as difficult as those of Retro Studios' concurrently).
** CEO Denis Dyack's pet project and [[MagnumOpusDissonance self-considered magnum opus]] ''VideoGame/TooHuman'' is second place to ''Duke Nukem Forever'' as the king of {{Vaporware}}: announced in 1999 and released in 2008, having effectively existed in three incarnations on three console generations ({{PlayStation}}[=/=]SegaSaturn, [=GameCube=], and the final released product on {{Xbox 360}}). It was cancelled the first time around by the original publishers (a partnership between ElectronicArts and MetroGoldwynMayer) for reasons unknown to even the developers, and sidelined the second time around due to too much workload with Nintendo. The reason why the Xbox 360 was ultimately chosen? Because Dyack, a man of graphics and technology, was utterly disgusted by the {{Wii}} hardware's lack of horsepower and immediately burned bridges with Nintendo.\\
\\
This proved to be a fatal mistake, for without Miyamoto and Iwata to keep watch over him and his work, Dyack's ego [[SmallNameBigEgo spiraled out of control]] and he grew progressively more hostile towards virtually everyone, including his own staff (as will be made clear by the below bullet point). Development on the game suffered dearly for it. This resulted in mediocre sales and reviews, a bunch of projects left in the garbage bin over the next few years and most importantly of all, a disastrous lawsuit against Creator/EpicGames. Silicon Knights paid a license to use the Unreal Engine 3 for ''Too Human'', didn't like it, and began reverse-engineering it until they decided the engine was now 100% Silicon Knights and 0% Epic. They stopped payments to Epic and demanded refunds for the money they already paid to them. Problem was, the "new" engine used in the final product still contained portions of Epic code... Needless to say, Silicon Knights lost big time and paid [[CreatorKiller the ultimate price]] in 2013.
** ...but not before Dyack reached his nadir with the company's last game, ''VideoGame/XMenDestiny'', which (along with the management of Silicon Knights itself before the lawsuit landed the killing blow) was completely destroyed by his final descent into power tripping and corporate mismanagement. [[http://uk.kotaku.com/5955223/what-went-wrong-with-silicon-knights-x+men-destiny This article]] tells the tales of the sheer shenanigans he caused behind the scenes.
* ''VideoGame/AliensColonialMarines'' spent six years in DevelopmentHell, and it shows in the finished product. Reportedly, the game's sorry state involved [[http://kotaku.com/5984068/how-aliens-colonial-marines-fell-apart a clusterfrak]] [[http://kotaku.com/5986694/from-dream-to-disaster-the-story-of-aliens-colonial-marines of epic proportions]] on the part of publisher Creator/{{Sega}} and developer Creator/GearboxSoftware alike.
** 20th Century Fox had tried to get production rolling for many years, beginning with an aborted attempt by Check Six Games (which was intended to be released for the PS2 at one point) in 2001, and culminating in their hiring of Creator/GearboxSoftware in 2006.
** However, production was very slow for the first four years, and there were a lot of "cooks in the kitchen" with different ideas about where to take the franchise. Allegedly, Gearbox was using money Sega paid them to work on other projects, including ''{{VideoGame/Borderlands 2}}'' after the first game became a surprise hit. They eventually farmed out the game to [=TimeGate=] Studios (makers of ''{{VideoGame/Section 8}}'' and the non-canon ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon F.E.A.R.]]'' expansion packs) so that they could meet their obligations to Sega.
** The first indication that something was wrong happened when [=TimeGate=] got their hands on Gearbox's assets for the game. What they found was a hodgepodge of barely functional code that clearly wasn't the result of four years worth of work, forcing [=TimeGate=] to scrap most of it and rebuild the game from scratch. Complicating this was the fact that the script had not been finalized yet, so content was continually being scrapped or changed due to last minute story changes. The creative process was also hampered since [=TimeGate=] had to pass all decisions through both Sega and Gearbox, leading to multiple conflicts. Finally, Gearbox and [=TimeGate=] had wildly different design philosophies, with Gearbox being more content with delaying games to ensure quality, while [=TimeGate=] being more concerned with shipping games as quickly as possible.
** During this time, a teaser reel was released at E3 2011 showcasing sections from the Hadley's Hope stages. This demo was cut together using pre-release code running at a higher framerate than the finished game, polished to a greater extent, and featured gameplay elements and setpieces that were not present in the final product. This trailer was a prelude to another series of delays, as the release was eventually pushed to February 2013.
** By 2012, most of their replacement assets were still incomplete, and Sega was becoming impatient with progress to the point that they could threaten legal action for contract breaching. Gearbox had to step up, try again from an incomplete product, and rush the game out the door despite knowing it was in no condition to hit the market in order to get their contract fulfilled.
** After the game's critical drubbing, a planned [=WiiU=] port was scrapped, and the company was sued in a class action lawsuit for knowingly misrepresenting the levels, graphics and AI in previews and press demos, as well as restricting reviews until after the game's release.
* The {{fighting game}} ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}'' was released in April 2012 to critical and commercial success. There were plans for PC and [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff Japanese]] versions, as well as plenty of DownloadableContent and patches. So the fans waited. [[DevelopmentHell And waited]]. The first patch finally came out in November, but only for the PlayStationNetwork... and by an entirely different developer. It turned out that in May of 2012 Autumn Games and Creator/{{Konami}}, the publishers of ''Skullgirls'', [[http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/the-def-jam-rapstar-curse-konami-autumn-games-accused-of-fraud-by-city-national-bank/ got hit with one heck of a lawsuit]] involving the game ''[[DefJamSeries Def Jam Rapstar]]''. [[https://twitter.com/LabZeroGames/status/299030684591325184 This led to]] ''the entire development staff'' for the game being laid off by the original developer Reverge Labs. The game's development team was able to form a new studio called Lab Zero, and was allowed to maintain the game and release the planned DownloadableContent because Autumn Games owned the ''Skullgirls'' IP. The legal and financial hurdles in the formation of the new team is what caused the six month delay. Unfortunately, XboxLiveArcade size limits prevented the patch from being released on it... and since the lawsuit against Autumn Games is still ongoing the development team has very little funds to make new DLC characters. ([[http://www.giantbomb.com/podcasts/giant-bomb-s-interview-dumptruck-peter-bartholow-0/1600-432/ Apparently they can't even sell the game's IP to another company!]])\\
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Fortunately, things seem to be looking up. The PC version is in development, the game was released in Japan in February 2013 to great success, and the first DLC character was SavedFromDevelopmentHell when the developers [[http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/keep-skullgirls-growing started a crowdsourced fundraiser]] in order to fund the character's release. They said they would release the character if they raised $150,000 in 30 days. ''It only took one day''. Four more DLC characters were funded as well. Ultimately, the fundraiser took in over ''$800,000''. And they ''finally'' released the Xbox patch in May.
** ''Skullgirls'' can't seem to catch a break: After development of the game was back on track, {{Konami}} wouldn't respond to any contact from Lab Zero, meaning the DLC couldn't be released on consoles. Lab Zero decided to cut their ties to Konami and seek publishing from Marvelous AQL, who publishes the PC version. In response, Konami requested the game be delisted from both Xbox Live and PSN in December 2013. Lab Zero was only notified of this ''after'' Microsoft and Sony approved the delisting. Fortunately, thanks to transfer of publishing rights from Konami to Marvelous AQL, the game will be re-released as ''Skullgirls Encore'' in January 2014, and will include the long-awaited console release of DLC character Squigly (for free, no less!).\\
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Unforunately, not long after the announcement of ''Encore'', Cyberfront, the game's Japanese publisher, closed up shop, and the game's future in Japan is now uncertain.
* An odd one - ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAlpha 3'' was actually held back a few months because of a music problem: JAMProject just couldn't hit a specific high note for the game's theme, [=GONG=]. Even now, they'll still sing the song in their shows, but they will not attempt to hit that high note.
* The much anticipated mystery game ''1666'', that was being developed by Patrice Desilets of ''AssassinsCreed'' and ''PrinceOfPersiaSandsOfTime'' fame, has been delayed due to conflicts between Patrice and Ubisoft due to Ubisoft acquiring the rights to the game after THQ's bankruptcy. Since Patrice had left Ubisoft for THQ due to creative differences, Ubisoft wasted no time in firing Patrice over "creative differences". However, as [[ScrewedByTheNetwork one final act of spite]], Ubisoft did not outright cancel ''1666'', since that would revert ownership of the rights back to Patrice. Instead, they put development "on hold" indefinitely just so they can keep the IP out of Patrice's hands. However, to his credit, Patrice is pursuing legal action to force Ubisoft to release the IP.
* The game that became ''VideoGame/TheBureauXCOMDeclassified''. Announced a year before ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' (which was in development at the same time, but was announced a year later), but InternetBacklash, the success of Enemy Unknown, and development delays seem to have resulted in a complete change of genre, from FirstPersonShooter to a more tactical third person shooter.
* ''{{Franchise/Ultima}} IX: Ascension'' spent 5 years in development - and it shows. As noted on [[http://hacki.bootstrike.com/english/articles_orig.htm Hackl's Ultima Page]], "[[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_14/87-The-Conquest-of-Origin.3 The Conquest of Origin]]" and its ExecutiveMeddling entry, the game was fraught with problems behind-the-scenes:
** Lead creator Richard Garriott originally planned to have ''IX'' pick up exactly where the previous game left off (the Avatar confronting the Guardian on the latter's homeworld). However, after realizing that the fanbase likely wanted a return to the series' roots, he scrapped the idea. Shortly afterwards, in 1997, the team came up with a new concept for the game, using an isometric 3D engine. However, this idea was scrapped when the rise of 3D accelerators forced the team to jettison their existing project and begin another new version of the game.
** During this time, Don Mattrick (later of Microsoft's Xbox brand), who was president of EA Worldwide Studios at the time, assumed control of the division. Mattrick pushed the development teams to stick to their schedules, and began cancelling Origin's projects for unexplained reasons (or outright killing in-production titles). As a result, Origin began to move into the online gaming sector.
** Garriot went to EA CEO Lawrence Probst to get funding for ''VideoGame/UltimaOnline'', and it was initially treated as near-irrelevant by the publisher. However, after said game's beta test drew 50,000 volunteers, EA insisted that Garriott shelve ''Ascension'' and work solely on ''Online''...
** ...and that's when everything fell apart. In the rush to finish ''Ascension'' for retail release (after EA set a firm deadline when Garriott wouldn't acquiesce to their original demand), many shortcuts were taken. As a result, the engine was bug-ridden, the team didn't have the time to fully implement the plot from the isometric version of the game into the 3D version, and cutscenes and dialogue were left unfinished.
** Things finally came to a head afterwards, during pre-production on what was to become ''Ultima X: Odyssey''. EA cancelled all of Origin's planned projects (including ''Ultima Online 2'') and forced relocation of ''Odyssey'''s development from Austin, Texas to California, leaving developers who couldn't make the move due to family issues out of work. This subsequently led to the project being scrapped altogether, and Origin eventually being disbanded a short time later.
* This trope can affect gaming hardware as well as software. The best known example goes back to the early days of home video gaming: the Keyboard Component to Creator/{{Mattel}}'s {{Intellivision}}.
** Starting in 1980, the back of the Intellivision box had given a third of its space to a large promotion for the Keyboard Component. The console itself was really the Master Component of what was to be fully-functional home computer with a secondary processor, 64K of RAM, a built-in cassette drive and a connection for a thermal-printer cable ([[TechnologyMarchesOn all of which would have sounded impressive at that time]]). Just buy it, play the games, [[{{Vaporware}} and wait]]. This could have easily justified buying an Intellivision over the cheaper Atari 2600, especially for parents not wanting the expense of buying both a video-game console ''and'' a home computer.
** However, behind the scenes the engineers responsible weren't as confident as the marketing department[[note]]Which of course ''rarely'' happens[[/note]]. Their prototypes were neither reliable nor reasonably cost-efficient to make. The ship date of the KC kept getting pushed back, to the point that a standup comedian named JayLeno got his biggest laugh at the company's 1981 [[ChristmasEpisode Christmas party]] when he said that the three biggest lies were "the check's in the mail, of course I'll respect you in the morning, and the Keyboard will be out in the spring."
** By that time, the executives had grown concerned enough that they secretly established another group of programmers within the company to come up with a more scaled-down version of the KC, perhaps limited to the function of teaching kids BASIC programming. It was codenamed the LUCKI, or Low User-Cost Keyboard Interface, and its creators kept their work a secret out of (justifiable) fear that the main KC group would use their influence in the company to kill the LUCKI project if they learned of its existence.
** Mattel's executives weren't the only ones having concerns, and acting on them. Customers who'd waited almost two years for the KC began to complain to the Federal Trade Commission, accusing Mattel of defrauding them. After enough of these complaints, and further stalling from Mattel, the FTC said that if they didn't make their latest promised ship date with the KC they would be fined $10,000 ''a day'' until they did.
** It was still nowhere near ready. To appease the FTC, the company put about 4,000 of the latest prototype on shelves in selected test markets. Some sold, but the overall results were not encouraging.
** After almost three years, the Keyboard Component was officially cancelled late in 1982. The FTC dropped the mounting fines when Mattel agreed to offer a full refund to anyone who ''had'' purchased one of the limited production runs. Those who wanted to keep them had to sign a full waiver promising not to seek any support or later refund from Mattel (in-house, the KC saw some limited later use when modified versions proved to be ideal development boards). A few are still out there somewhere.
** As a consolation prize, the company brought out LUCKI, now formally named the Entertainment Computer System. While you could write and save programs to its (much-simpler) cassette drive (at a time when floppy disks were displacing tapes as the preferred storage medium), making it technically a computer, it only offered an additional 2K of RAM, putting it ''far'' behind any ''real'' PC on the market at that time. It was further the ECS's bad luck to hit the market in the spring, as the TheGreatVideoGameCrashOf1983 was becoming an undeniable reality. Mattel went from aggressively hiring programmers to laying them off in one two-week period that spring; it further decided to switch its Intellivision focus from hardware to software, leaving the ECS with little marketing push behind it. The entire KC-ECS debacle played no small part in Mattel's decision to [[CreatorKiller discontinue Intellivision]] a year later.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' started out being owned by Perpetual Entertainment and was given a set schedule for launch. However, two years into development, they had ''plenty'' of pretty conception work, but no actual gameplay. Angry, CBS gave the licence to Cryptic and Atari, forcing the developer to rush things out. While the game started out strong, Atari had ''no'' idea how to run an MMO and the game was faltering badly. This lead to what fans call "The Great Content Drought" between February 2011 and December 2011 when the game had no major content outside of new ships until the game was bought by Perfect World Entertainment.
* ''Firefall'', a team-based hybrid of an {{MMORPG}} and a FirstPersonShooter, was announced in 2010 as a potential e-Sports contender with a heavy focus on [=PvP=]. However, as explained in [[http://www.gamefront.com/no-win-situation-the-troubled-history-of-firefall-and-red-5-studios-part-1/ this GameFront article]], over the course of its development things went downhill fast. As of this writing, the game is still in development, but studio Red 5 has laid off a sizable chunk of its workforce, putting its future in doubt.
** Frequent changes in direction from Red 5 studio founder Mark Kern, the studio's horizontal structure making it hard to coordinate efforts, and Kern's hot temper, absenteeism, and attempts to dictate the production all led to wasted work and what former employees described as a once-pleasant, tight-knit work environment slowly turning toxic. The original focus on [=PvP=] also faded as Kern lost interest in e-Sports, culminating in the game's beta dropping [=PvP=] altogether in 2014, despite all the work that had been put into the [=PvP=] side of the game.
** There was also Stage 5 TV, a Website/YouTube channel designed to promote ''Firefall''. Kern and Red 5 spent lavishly on Stage 5, with highly-produced short films and reality-style shows shot with very expensive (over $40,000 each) 4k-resolution video cameras, along with a studio, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, and other equipment.[[note]]For comparison, most professional, high-end Website/YouTube videos are shot with cameras that cost in the low four figures, with budgets typically ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.[[/note]] Kern would greenlight short films left and right, throwing money at projects that often turned out to be either very low quality or having little to do with games at all, and not the sort of thing that Red 5 wanted to showcase. Stage 5 quickly became a money sink that diverted resources away from ''Firefall'', before being scaled back drastically in 2013.
* ''VideoGame/TheTypingOfTheDeadOverkill'' [[http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/203801/How_Typing_of_the_Dead_Overkill_survived_its_studios_apocalypse.php was developed under constant threat of cancellation]]: It began development with a deadline of four months at Blitz Games Studios, which went bankrupt before the game was completed, taking down Sega's original contract from the game with them. Afterwards, the developers negotiated for a new contract to release the game, which they got... with a measly deadline of six weeks. Also, due to not being employed, the staff had no choice but to become bedroom coders in a crowded apartment; fortunately for that one, Sega saw the location situation and granted the staff temporary office space at one of their subsidiaries. That it sold well with this history is a complete miracle.
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