EA is particularly bad about this, so much so that it's generally accepted that once they get their hands on a popular franchise, they will proceed to screw it into oblivion.
After EA bought them, every Origin franchise that wasn't Ultima, and every Ultima game that wasn't Ultima Online. According to Richard Garriott, the many bugs and plot holes in Ultima VIII and IX were due to EA insisting the games be released at the scheduled date. IX was the most egregious because by then EA dropped support for everything but Online, drove out many of the game's developers and still demanded the game be released on time. When IX bombed EA threw Origin under the bus - they canceled all further projects including Ultima Online II, drove out Garriott and laid the groundwork for shutting down Origin in 2004.
Also since the purchase, every BioWare franchise that hadn't already ended.
Not a little of the Internet Backdraft over Mass Effect 3 is due to a perception that EA's business model requires regular releases of easy-to-sell games from franchises such as Madden NFL and FIFA, and therefore that there simply wasn't sufficient time given to BioWare to properly write and develop the storyline for Mass Effect 3.
In regards to BioWare after the EA buyout, Dragon Age II had it worse being completely rushed out the door just so EA could cash in on the hype generated from Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. For BioWare to make a better game than Dragon Age: Origins within a limited 11 month timeframe just wasn't going to happen.
It's believed that the fallout from Dragon Age II's and Mass Effect 3's negative receptions is the reason why Dragon Age: Inquisition was moved from a holiday 2013 release to fall 2014—possibly the only situation in which the fans are happy about being a work's release being delayed, since the extra time has given the devs the ability to include things which wouldn't have been possible to include by the original release date, such as being able to play as a fully-voiced non-human protagonist, addressing one of the major complaints about Dragon Age II (that you can only play as a human instead of being able to choose between human/elf/dwarf like in Origins).
Tim Schafer of Double Finethought Brutal Legend had a safe haven under EA... until they completely and intentionally advertised the game as a single player adventure game, rather than a multiplayer Real Time Strategy game, and forced Double Fine to keep quiet about it against their wishes. Schafer did his best to get the word out on his own, but was essentially drowned out by EA's hype machine. Making it worse was the single player demo. When the RTS mechanics were revealed, players were divided between those few who were informed by Schafer, those who enjoyed the RTS elements, and those experiencing massive Hype Backlash. Though the game's reception was still largely positive, EA was very unhappy with the game's sales (it sold 1.4 million copies a year and four months after release). They refused to release a highly-requested patch for the PS3 that Double Fine had already completed, canceled the sequel, and let Schafer take all the blame for the Misaimed Marketing. The move almost caused Double Fine to go out of business.
EA were also responsible for the PC port coming out nearly four years after the console versions. Even though Schafer intended the game to be console-exclusive, he was considering a PC port because he knew most of his fans were PC gamers, and because RTS games usually work better on computers than consoles, but they had lots of problems with EA, so they weren't able to even start working on the port until EA dropped publishing rights for the title.
Ever since Westwood was bought out by EA, things have been going south for the much-acclaimed Command & Conquer series. This is the series that created the Real Time Strategy Genre as we know it today alongside Warcraft. While EA's creation of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars were good enough to compare to the rest of the franchise, it wouldn't nearly cover Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. The entire plot was abruptly shut down, the entire Construction Yard system was replaced with a tacky point-buy system, complicated base construction was reduced to upgrading one mobile structure, you had to Level Grind your online account to be able to use late-game units and worst of all, they created a freaking web game that claims to be Command & Conquer afterwards.
This has been mixed with the various memes spawned by the series to create the saying "Westwood lives in death".
Then there was the intended sequel to Command & Conquer: Generals - after alpha testing didn't get the sort of feedback they wanted, it was cancelled and the entire team they had behind the C&C series for the previous decade was shut down.
Not even EA's more favored franchise Battlefield 3 is safe from this. In an attempt to compete with Activision's Call of Duty series, EA seems to have put Battlefield on an annual release schedule too by releasing Battlefield 4 shortly after. Not only was BF3 screwed since it will no longer receive further support, but it was obvious that BF4 was rushed out the gate, and it was riddled many game breaking bugs that made it almost unplayable. This is also not addressing the fact that EA and DICE passed over an opportunity to make a followup to Battlefield: Bad Company and Battlefield 2142 to focus on what is essentially a slightly upgraded clone of BF3.
Wondering why the Wii U had a somewhat mediocre library at release? There were more than five planned games from companies under EA to be released on the system, but then Nintendo refused EA's offer to have the system's online run on the Origin system. Feeling snubbed by this, EA cancelled any Wii U ports of games that weren't already out, and threatened any company that goes against their wishes with closure.
Allegiance averted this — the game is so good, that it has lasted for ten years thanks to its fans despite Microsoft dropping all support for it soon after its original commercial release.
When presented with a completely reworked Conker's Quest, now titled Conkers Bad Fur Day, Nintendo of America was reportedly horrified to discover that the formerly aggressively-cute, child-aimed Banjo-Kazooie clone had been replaced by something inspired by South Park, R-rated movies, and the Itchy and Scratchy cartoons from The Simpsons. In response, they gave the game very little advertising (sticking mostly to men's magazines, whose target demographic probably wasn't interested in cartoon talking squirrels), an ugly box with a giant M rating plus a warning stating that it was very clearly "not for anyone under 17", and had Nintendo Power refuse to acknowledge its existence, only doing a story on it two consoles later in July 2008. Rare was understandably upset with this treatment, likely softening the company up for a buyout by Microsoft.
The game got somewhat better treatment in British video game publications, most probably because Rare is a British company and, at the time, most British Nintendo magazines practically worshipped the ground they walked on. The UK magazines seemed more interested in getting Nintendo into the mature gamers spotlight.
Its Xbox remake, Live and Reloaded, not only has a (smaller) warning label, but was also (and ironically) heavily censored, thereby losing much of its appeal. And the shutdown of the original Xbox Live screws the "Live" part of the game over as well.
Fallout may just be the ultimate example of this trope, though screwed by incompetence and not malice. With "Van Buren" (the reputed Fallout 3) nearly completed, Interplay pulled the plug on Black Isle Studios when going bankrupt — but kept the Fallout IP. Two games were released without the input of Black Isle: Fallout Tactics, which was a respectable tactical strategy game but lacked the freedom the series was renowned for, and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel is probably the source of a significant part of the resentment of Fallout fans). There was... more than a little trepidation on the part of many fans now that Bethesda has released Fallout 3 (of course, giving Fallout: New Vegas to Obsidian was pretty much a cause for squee, so perhaps this no longer applies).
Similar to the story of Lorraine Williams in the tabletop games listing, Jack Tramiel's takeover of Atari was seen by many as the beginning of the end for the company. Since he was the creator of and had a controlling stake in Commodore, he pretty much tried to kill off the gaming side of Atari and turn them into a budget computer outfit to complement his maiden company (which explains most of the aborted and/or half-assed attempts at making Commodore 64 clones in the late 1980s). He would sue lesser companies into oblivion, employee turnover became insane because the millions wasted on computer development meant they couldn't keep anyone around, and nepotism was rampant within the company.
Double Fine seems to have bad luck regarding this. Psychonauts was originally going to be a horror-like platformer released early in the Xbox's lifespan, and was to be published by Microsoft. Halfway through development, Double Fine retooled the game into a lighter, humorous platformer (but with some creepy elements). Upon finding this out, Microsoft outright refused to publish the game, because apparently they found its new incarnation too "kiddie" (never mind the fact that they would go on to making Viva Piñata, which also has a "kiddie" appearance), so Double Fine spent a long time trying to find a new publisher. Majesco made a deal with Double Fine that they would be the publishers for the game, but ended up giving the game terrible promotion on par to Earthbound. The TV commercial ended with the scene where Dogen sneezes out his brain, which lead people to believe that it was going to be a grossout platformer, when actually, outside of the brain-sneezing scenes (and the Meat Circus), the game isn't even gross at all. Also, there was a magazine insert that used the slogan "It'll blow your mind...out of your nose". Despite being one of the most critically-acclaimed games of the year, it had awful retail sales, most likely because of the botched advertising.
And twomore. Both had only one game too, before people started hating them. However, a poll in mid-2011 indicated that most fans wish Atari would bring back Humongous's old series.
The Sith Lords, the highly-awaited sequel to the critically acclaimed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, was completely screwed over courtesy of LucasArts pushing its release date to Christmas, giving Obsidian barely a SINGLE YEAR to develop the game after Bioware handed it to them. Or, alternately, Obsidian tried to greatly expand the game after receiving tenative verbal permission from LucasArts, only for higher-ups in the company to later insist on the original release date. As a result, the game was heavily unfinished, suffering from unresolved plotlines to noticeable chunks of the game missing outright. While this may be chalked up to standard Executive Meddling, what happened next was what shot this into here: When Obsidian desired to release a whole patch that would, essentially, finish the game and fill in everything that was missing, LucasArtspromptly denied that notion and, therefore, only fan efforts have been able to attempt to fill in the blanks. Since the original release wasn't Xbox Live-enabled, any patch would have been PC-only. The modding community eventually stepped in and restored most of the cut content; the mod in question is available here.
Activision screwed over True Crime: Hong Kong by cancelling it right when it was nearly complete because in their words "it just wouldn't sell enough copies." The game was since picked up by Square Enix and released as Sleeping Dogs (since Square Enix doesn't have rights to the True Crime IP), and the resulting game has garnered tons of critical praise and been one of the best selling games of 2012.
And in 2010, it happened to Crash Bandicoot. Due to being a platformer, it wasn't quite as big as Call of Duty or other cash cows, but was a fairly popular and well thought of series. In 2010, however, Activision fired half the staff working on the next game and cancelled said new game. The guy in charge has said he loved the series, but the only games that have came out are cellphone/mobile spinoffs.
Call of Duty itself is hit with a form this due to its annual release schedule. Basically, once a game in the series is released, new patches and Downloadable Content come for it all the time over the next year - but once the next game in the series is released, apart from multiplayer servers being left up it's essentially entirely forgotten about so the team behind it can focus on the next one. Found a Game-Breaking Bug in World at War multiplayer after Modern Warfare 2's release? Good for you, because your only options now are to put up with everyone abusing it or stop playing multiplayer for that game entirely.
Capcom keeps cancelling so much Mega Man-related stuff that many fans think they're trying to kill the series:
The Mega Man X Collection had several improvements made to the games in it, such as replacing the atrocious dubbing of X4 and smoothing out the "Blind Idiot" Translation of X6 along with several gameplay changes. They were removed at the very last minute due to planned remakes on the PSP that never panned out.
Mega Man Universe was announced as a celebration of all things Mega Man... then unceremoniously cancelled about a year later. This might have been for the better though, since most who had played the beta version had nothing but negative things to say.
Mega Man Legends 3 was announced in a blaze of publicity with lots of hype about how fans would be able to participate in its development. Then it got cancelled about a year later after Keiji Inafune's departure from Capcom. Which the company had specifically denied. To further pour salt into the wound, Capcom was going to release a demo of the game to gauge fan interest—then canceled the game without even releasing that demo. Only one man outside of Capcom, from Nintendo Power, got to play it.
It also didn't help that Capcom wanted to charge money for the demo, a move that many fans didn't agree with.
With what appears to be Keiji Inafune getting fed up with it, he has gotten a kickstarter project Mighty No. 9 going, now able to work on this new franchise without Capcom overbearing. Intended as a spiritual successor to the Mega Man franchise, it was also funded incredibly quickly, showing that fans want Mega Man back.
Even outside of games, Dr. Wily was slated to make a cameo in Wreck-It Ralph as one of several gaming villains in Ralph's support group. He got cut and replaced with Street Fighter's M. Bison (even though that series was already represented with Zangief, and also having four other characters in quick cameos). Apparently this was Disney's decision, but it still looks bad.
And on Mega Man's 25th anniversary, Capcom releases... Rockman Xover, a social game for the iOS. The western release was actually canceled because of how much anger the game generated in Mega Man fans.
A precursor to the Megaman massacre, Capcom had Megaman Volnutt appear as a playable character in the Japan-only Wii fighter Tatsunoko vs. Capcom which, after much demand, managed to get an international release. The game came out to excellent reviews and positive sales, but a mere three months after release, Capcom unveiled Marvel vs. Capcom 3 which, due to the recognizability of Marvel, essentially killed interest in Tatsunoko vs Capcom. It did enjoy an EVO run, but next year was replaced by MvC3. Capcom then stated that TvC "exceeded sales expectations" but wished it "caught a little more fire." When questioned, Capcom Sales VP Christian Svennson refused to believe that the unveiling of Marvel vs Capcom 3 had any negative impact on sales. Capcom also refused to make a digital or multi-platform release of the game. They later let the rights for the game lapse, meaning they cannot even sell the game in their online store. It is now out of print and Capcom has no plans to produce a sequel or remake, despite it being received better than both Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken.
UMVC 3 has been pulled from both the PSN and Xbox Live, causing the DLC charcters Jill and Shuma-gorath (and to a less competive breaking situation, all the DLC costumes) to be Lost Forever
Viewtiful Joe never got its promised third main-series game due to Clover's liquidation at the hands of Capcom. Fortunately, one of the spinoffs can sort of be levered into the hole this makes, and Joe himself has found a new home in Capcom vs. Whatever.
Killer7, Ōkami, and God Hand, all of which were published by Capcom, did not receive a sliver of marketing in Western territories. None. Non-existent advertising, in addition to poor reception from critics regarding Killer7 and God Hand, were what lead to their demise. Okami only got advertising when it was re-released for Wii, XBLA, and PSN. As for its original PS2 release, nothing. What's also strange is the fact that Okami has received two re-releases (one on Wii, the other on XBLA/PSN), but Killer7 and God Hand have not received a single one, despite huge fan demand to get them re-released, as well as fan demand causing Okami to be re-released in the first place. Making this worse is that Suda51, the creator of Killer7, has said that he is interested in making new games based in the world of that game (if not an outright sequel), but because Capcom owns the rights he'd have to go through them to make it happen, and Capcom's simply not interested in working with Suda again (probably because most his games only ever reach Cult Classic status and never sell really high numbers, which is why Clover was dissolved in the first place.
Suda decided to partner with big name publisher EA to publish the psychological-horror/comedy shooter Shadows Of The Damned worldwide in hopes of making sure the game would be noticed by many. But EA gave the game no marketing whatsoever and it ended up being a flop in EA's eyes. Coincidentally, Shadows of the Damned, like Killer7, also had Shinji Mikami acting as producer. After this, Suda broke off with EA and instead decided to partner with Warner Bros. Games and XSEED when it came to publishing his next big releases (Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer Is Dead respectively).
Square Enix's American branch seems content with giving the Dragon Quest series the shaft, with Nintendo ultimately stepping in to localize the ninth and sixth installments, not to mention DQ Monsters: Joker 2.
It's gotten to the point of absurdity. Some insider info revealed that SE outright blackmailed Nintendo in order to prevent the localization of the 3DS version of Dragon Quest VII by threatening to strip Nintendo of their rights to localize Bravely Default if they decide to localize the DQ7 remake.
Though companies such as XSEED have offered to translate some of the Tales games left in Japan, Bandai Namco adamantly refuses, wishing to be the only company to release games in the franchise. And even if the games do see foreign releases, they tend not to get very good advertisement, and consequentially sell poorly.
Gears of War 3 was ready for an early summer release, but was forced by Microsoft into a September holiday release, putting it into direct competition with the blockbuster releases of Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. While the sales were still strong, the online multiplayer quickly dropped in population due to the competition and hasn't recovered.
Poor Nintendo Puzzle Collection. It was hyped for a few months as receiving an English translation and even received an ESRB rating. Its Western release sat in limbo for a few more months before being mysteriously canceled. No one will ever know why.
We could make a whole page out of Sega's bad decisions their Western divisions have made:
The Sega 32X. Sega wanted this thing to succeed, and according to draft papers for the cancelled Sonic Mars, they thought that "The 32X adapter, along with quality dedicated software, may greatly extend the lifetime of the Genesis."◊ However, they screwed it by releasing it in November 1994 (only six months before their next console, the Saturn), giving it a poor launch, it had no killer apps whatsoever (except for Virtua Fighter), and a lot of the great games that were planned for release were later cancelled. Not to mention, the TV and magazine ads were completely focused on sexual innuendos, which was another cause of its death.
The Sega Saturn got an even worse treatment than the 32X did. Sega was originally going to launch the system on "Saturnday", September 2, 1995, so it would be in direct competition with the PlayStation, but they changed their minds at the last minute and decided to launch it on May 11 instead, a time when most developers didn't have their games finished yet, so only a few games (almost none of them good) existed at launch. Then came the "Theater of the Eye" ads which were largely promoted on FOX and MTV, they were bizarre and surreal ads depicting the human body's reaction to playing the console, and these was meant to catch people's attention and convince them to buy a Saturn, but instead potential customers ended up finding them incredibly frightening instead. Then came Corrupt Corporate Executive Bernie Stolar, whom Sony already fired, and had somehow been accepted into Sega. He refused to let most of the really good games come to Americanote He had a dislike for 2D games, a major dislike of third-party games, thinking that first party games were the superior ones, and he favors sports titles. The most notable game hurt by this was the video game adaptation of Magic Knight Rayearth, which was set to be a release title but didn't show up until six months after support for the system ended., so the American Saturn game selection ended up being average, and most gamers found themselves buying a PlayStation or Nintendo 64 instead. Many great games that were planned for release (like Sonic X-treme and an English version of Hideo Kojima's Policenauts) were soon cancelled, and the console finally gave out in 1998. Many non-import American gamers claim the Saturn to be one of the worst consoles ever because of all these problems, whereas in Japan, Saturn was a success, and has become immensely popular in Japanese culture.
Another great example is Shenmue. The first game reportedly had the biggest budget that any game in existence had at the time, was very ahead of its time, was one of the most impressive games on the console, and got rave reviews from critics and Dreamcast fanatics. However, it failed to be a best-seller since most people knew about the console's lack of copy protection, so most ended up pirating it. Then came its sequel, which was released for Dreamcast in Europe and Japan (The PAL version even had the original Japanese voice tracks rather than the hammy English dubbing), but due to Sega having already pulled the plug on the system in America, they released it as an Xbox-exclusive. Xbox, the console in which mainly FPS and sports games sold well. Because of this, a third Shenmue was never developed, so the series was left unfinished.
Panzer Dragoon. The third game, which changed the series from a rail shooter to an RPG (and with very positive response), was released in America during the time that the Saturn was dying. Then the fourth game, which went back to the rail shooter gameplay, was released as an Xbox-exclusive, and needless to say, the series met the same fate that Shenmue did. It also doesn't help that the series' developer team, Smilebit (formerly known as Team Andromeda) went out of business when Sega merged with Sammy, and later reincarnated into Sega's Sports R&D.
While the original Jet Set Radio got a heavy amount of promotion from Sega, the sequel (or possiblyAlternate Continuity) Jet Set Radio Future hardly got any in the states (at first, anyway, but we'll get to that in a moment). As opposed to the original, which got a commercial, a two-page magazine ad, and a few blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos of Beat in a commercial for the SegaNet service, the only pieces of advertising JSRF got was on an Xbox ad in which it showed beta footage note Notice how Yoyo has a smaller health capacity, and how the spray can icon is not green, meaning that he could originally hold a higher spray can capacity than 30 but didn't mention what the game was, and a commercial for the game itself that got very little air time, because Sega was more focused on advertising the Gamecube port of Sonic Adventure 2 instead. But later, in an example of Network to the Rescue, Sega realized that the game was suffering from poor sales, and decided to put this and Sega GT 2002 on one disc together and package it with Xbox consoles during the Holiday season of 2002. And it worked. Go on eBay and you'll notice that the promotion pack sells for cheap, while buying the game on its own doesn't. Also, Gamestop's website (and the store too, back when they used to carry original Xbox games and accessories) carries used copies of the bundle for 99 cents. Despite their best efforts, the sales were still overall poor, developer Smilebit (listed above with Panzer Dragoon) went defunct, and a third entry was never made.
Sega royally screwed Platinum over during their partnership with them:
Infinite Space got absolutely no advertising outside Japan, and the advertising it got in Japan was very limited. The game was shipped out without prior announcement, and now it has become one of the rarest DS games.
Poor, poor Vanquish fell victim to this at retail release. Outside of Japan and France, Sega chose to advertise Sonic Colors instead, and gave Vanquish zero advertising. None, nada, zip, zilch. The game just showed up on store shelves without any announcement, fanfare, or promotion, so it quickly fell under the radar. Thankfully, it has been doing much better now that it's on PlayStation Store's games on demand (and it's a free purchase for Playstation Plus subscribers).
Anarchy Reigns, which was 100 percent completed, translated, ready to go, came out July 2012 for Japan. Sounds fine for them, right? America and Europe got it in early 2013. Platinum wasn't even informed until as soon as the announcement was made. The hold up was done because they apparently wanted it released alongside some big named games, and released it for $30 (rather than the standard full price of $50/$60), which in effect, effectively killed the chances of the game being noticed, and Gamestops dropped the price by $10 not too long afterwards.
The in-development sequel to the critically-acclaimed Bayonetta was cancelled by Sega before it could get anywhere, mainly because they were experiencing a financial crisis at the time. When Nintendo partnered with Platinum for The Wonderful 101, they came to the rescue by buying the publishing rights from Sega, thus allowing Platinum to finish development so the game could see the light of day, albeit exclusively on the Wii U.
Even Sega'sCash CowSonic franchise is not immune to this, as the much-reviled Sonic '06 is a more visible example of this trope in action. The game, meant to highlight Sonic's fifteenth anniversary, was Christmas Rushed (allegedly due to both Microsoft and Sony pressuring Sega to get the game done by that time), and it shows. Inconsistent camera, long load times, and incomplete game mechanics (to the point where many of the things in the manual are incorrect) were only a few of the problems the game suffered from due to its rushed release.
Disney Interactive Studios, publishers of the racing game Split Second, denied developer Black Rock Studio an opportunity to make a follow up, which ended up pushing the studio into closure. This comes after the game was left on a cliffhanger (which is unusual for a racing game) and on top of that received positive reception to boot.
On August 30th, 2012, the folks at Paragon Studios were working hard and had just solidified plans for content for the next three to five years for their flagship game, City of Heroesnote Which is literally as old as World Of Warcraft itself . On August 31, they came into the office to find an official memo that parent company NC Soft was shutting down the studio and letting everyone go, effective immediately, with the servers getting a final shutdown at the end of November. The official reasons why Paragon was chosen to be the group dropped while NCSoft got their books in order are varied and often self-conflicting, but the fact that they either outright refused offers for purchase of the IP or set exorbitantly high prices (one claim putting the asking price at more than double the total value of NCSoft as a corporate entity) indicates it was more than just financing.
LucasArts ended up on the receiving end of this with Star Wars 1313. After being acquired in the merger with Disney, it was said that upcoming releases such as this game would not be affected. Then came April 2013, where Lucas Arts was shut down completely and said upcoming releases were shelved.
Later, Disney confirmed the game had been cancelled, and to hit the final nail in the coffin, they dropped the trademark in 2014.
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was screwed in every which way; the game was hit with a delay and then rushed out in order to cash in on the Christmas sales. Core Design told their publisher, Eidos, that the game was nowhere near ready, but they were forced to push the game out quickly. After the game did badly in sales and reception, Eidos fired Core Design.
The Hitman series did not see any games for six years after Blood Money. This was because IO Interactive became obsessed with what they thought would be their next Cash Cow Franchise, Kane and Lynch, dedicating themselves to its development. The resulting games received mixed reviews. IO finally took a hint and in 2012 announced and released Hitman: Absolution.