Acclaimed Flop: Despite having relatively mixed, yet leaning into positive reviews across the map, it failed at retail due to not only the controversial (at the time) game design, but also due to Capcom's reputation at the time, as well as delaying the game in the UK as well as releasing close to the time of Mass Effect 3 and not having UK's biggest Gaming retailer, GAME, have the game in stock.
Doing It for the Art: Most definitely, especially when you read A Buddhist's Guide to Asura's Wrath.
In one interview, it was stated that there originally wasn't going to be a dodge button at all (Something that just about all action games use) because the developers felt that it wouldn't make sense, as Asura is hell-bent on revenge, so trying to dodge everything wouldn't help him much. A Dodge button was put in in newer builds for the sake of gameplay, however.
Another example, it's shown in earlier trailers that the game was more than likely going to be much Bloodier and Gorier than the final product to compliment how the story is similar to God of War. However, this was when Keiji Inafune was executive producer for the game before he left capcom, and he had also tried to westernize the game this way. When a game is based on Asian Mythology to begin with.
The trailers also showed the game as a God Hand-esque beat-'em-up with some QTE's for power-ups and special moves, being able to pick up things like giant stone pillars for weapons, and actual blood spurts.
Asura and Yasha's designs underwent some significant changes according to the Preorder Bonus artbook. In fact, one of Asura's older designs was actually used in the final product — as Augus!
The DLC Part IV: Nirvana, was originally supposed to be a part of the original game, according to CyberConnect2 CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama, but Capcom asked for them to take it off after noticing it wasn't quite as epic as they thought, so Capcom took it off for CyberConnect2 to enhance and make it even better then what the initial draft for Part IV: Nirvana was.