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  • Blizzard Entertainment has seen its once-stellar reputation take a nosedive in the late 2010s and early 2020s following several controversial incidents. While there were prior incidents like the botched launch of Diablo IIInote  and negative audience reaction to the announcement of the mobile-exclusive Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2018note , Blizzard became the center of international controversy following the Blitzchung controversy in which Blizzard suspended the Hearthstone e-sports player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung for a year and stripped him of his winnings after he voiced support for the 2019 Hong Kong protests during an interview. This response spurred furious protests from not only Blizzard's audience, but also from fans of other video games, Blizzard's own employees, the general public and even politicians, all accusing the company of engaging in censorship to appease the Chinese government and Blizzard's Chinese investors so their games wouldn't be banned.note  2020 also saw a similar controversy with the one at 2018 with their release of Warcraft III: Reforged, which is considered one of the worst video game remake attempts of all time with unfulfilled promises from the trailers and extremely damaging for Blizzard; since they were known as one of the kings of the Real-Time Strategy genre with Warcraft, their attempt to revive the genre plummeted it deeper into the grave and made it harder for fans to forget their previous two controversies.

    However, the nadir of Blizzard's controversies came in the middle of 2021note  when news reports and lawsuits revealed that Blizzard had terrible working conditions with some employees receiving starvation wages and male employees regularly sexually harassing female employeesnote , with one harassed woman eventually committing suicide. Even worse was that the company's leadership was aware of harassment yet chose to either downplay incidents at best, or to actively defend sexual harassers and retaliate against victims of harassment at worst. These reports lead to Blizzard employees staging strikes, sponsors pulling out from Blizzard's eSports tournaments and both the state of California and federal government investigating Blizzard for workplace violations. Given Blizzard's inclusive image and sterling reputation, as noted by the common quote "Blizzard can do no wrong", the company experienced a greater fall from grace than most game developers who committed similar crimes. This gigantic controversy eventually caused Microsoft to buy out parent company Activision Blizzard to salvage something from there, marking the end of the company as an independent titan of gaming.
  • EA as a whole is well-known for making many controversial business decisions over their history which culminated in them being voted as the No. 1 most hated company in America in 2012 and 2013. In particular, EA became infamous for acquiring and subsequently liquidating well-regarded studios such as Origin Systemsnote , Bullfrog Productionsnote  and Westwood Studiosnote ; acquiring exclusive licenses to FIFA and Madden NFL games that gives them a monopoly in football simulators; their Executive Meddling like mandating the use of the troublesome Frostbite enginenote ; and their inclusion of predatory monetization practices in premium-priced games and memetic attempts to defend such practices ("Pride and accomplishment"note  and "Surprise mechanics"note ). While EA has made several successful titles when EA executives are able to reach a compromise with their developers, EA as a company continues to be widely disliked in the wake of their multiple scandals.
  • Edge Games was a video game developer and publisher founded in 1990, acquiring the IPs of its founder and CEO Tim Langdell's former company Softek Software in the process, which itself was founded in 1980. Edge Games is much more well-known for multiple incidents of Langdell filing Frivolous Lawsuits against gaming-related companies using the word "edge" in their products such as Namco's 1995 arcade game Soul Edge or DICE/EA's Mirror's Edge, (in which Edge Games lost against EA and by extension, had to give up the "Edge" patent, saving Mobigames' "EDGE", a small indie game by a small indie publisher, in the process) than for any of their gamesnote .
  • In the West at least, it is impossible to bring up Konami's video game division without mentioning the bad PR incidents that happened at the company during 2015, most infamously a heated feud with Hideo Kojima (which led to his departure and unpersoning from the company's games after working there for twenty-nine years) and a shift in management that resulted in a focus towards mobile games and pachinko machines with misleading marketing. Even when discussing their ongoing endeavors (the most successful and lucrative being exclusive to their native Japan) or even their past golden age, the controversies surrounding their mishandling of their franchises and incidents surrounding their beleaguered workforce will pop up without fail.
  • Among fans and developers of indie games, NICALiSnote  has become notorious amidst accusations of mistreatment of outside developers and their own employees, including 1) ghosting developers after signing deals to publish their games, 2) allegations that NICALiS shadily tricked Daisuke Amaya a.k.a. Studio Pixel into giving them the IP for Cave Story instead of merely the license to port the game for consoles, which were given increased credibility when Pixel jumped ship to Playism when publishing Kero Blaster and when NICALiS sent DMCA takedowns to fan ports of the original freeware version of Cave Story in November 2020, and 3) a 2019 exposé by Kotaku journalist Jason Schreier of founder and president Tyrone Rodriguez engaging in draconian business practices and actively encouraging a racist atmosphere within the company. After hearing of the ghosting and of Rodriguez's exposé, Edmund McMillennote  announced that he would sever ties with NICALiS after the Repentance DLC for The Binding of Isaac, even going so far as to insert a Take That! towards Rodriguez in the credits.
  • Paradox Interactive is a double-A developer and publisher famous for Construction and Management Games and Grand Strategy Games, but they are best-known to those not familiar with their games for the majority of their post-2010 games being Perpetual Betas with scores of DLCs released over the course of their active lifespans, making the complete experience for each of those games very expensivenote . When Paradox tried announcing price hikes for their games just before Steam's 2017 Summer Sale, they generated such an uproar within the community that they were forced to revert the price hikes.
  • For years, Telltale Games was one of the biggest names in the video game world, with its Signature Style emphasizing complex storytelling and often agonizing moral dilemmas getting a ton of loyal fans. Then they abruptly announced a "majority studio closure" after their last investor had pulled out of funding in September 2018, leaving the finale of its heavily acclaimed The Walking Dead series in question (it was eventually finished by Skybound Studios, Robert Kirkman's company and IP owner), cancelling several other projects in development, and laying off all but 25 of their employees without any prior warning. This has resulted in a massive lawsuit, citing that Telltale violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN Act) and the more stringent requirements set by California of requiring at least 60 days notification before issuing mass layoffs. This led to the revelation that none of Telltale's games outside of The Walking Dead itself and Minecraft: Story Mode were profitable and most were developed under heavy crunch due to the company's founder and former-CEO's draconian management and ill-thought-out plan to make massive cash by churning out several games identical to The Walking Dead.
  • Ubisoft as a whole became this in mid-2020 following reports of widespread sexual misconduct at the company. Not only did senior employees sexually harass employees but leadership was fully aware of such behavior and actively protected the perpetrators. The scandal led to many gamers boycotting Ubisoft's products and demanding that Ubisoft's senior leadership resign due to their complicity in the abuse.

    A-C 
  • Abstractism was an extremely simple platform game by Russian development company Okalo Union that could pretty much be summarized as "black box jumps onto white rectangles". It probably would've completely flown under the radar if it weren't for the fact that the game was part of a scam operation:
    • The controversy started when someone paid $100 for a Strange Professional Killstreak Australium Rocket Launcher, a weapon for Team Fortress 2,note  only for it to turn out to be an identically-named item for Abstractism. Okalo Union tried to cover their tracks by changing the item in question's name and appearance, but the URL for the item's market page still gave the item's true nature away.
    • Some game files were flagged as containing Trojan horse malware. Okalo Union defended themselves by saying that these files were needed for item drops, even though other games with item drops didn't raise similar warnings.
    • The mere fact that Abstractism had in-game items that could be traded over the Steam Market was suspicious in and of itself, since the items had no in-game use and the drop system encouraged players to leave the game running at all times (including the devs' insistence that the game be running at a specific time on Fridays so the player's drop limits could be reset, even though other games don't need to be running for the drops to be reset). This, coupled with the game's unusually high memory usage and antivirus alerts, revealed that the game was actually mining cryptocurrencies and the Trojan virus was sending the coins to the devs each Friday.
    • Okalo Union defended and incriminated themselves within the same statement, first defending themselves from accusations that the game mines bitcoins by outright admitting that the game actually mines Monero coins, and then claiming that it doesn't mine any kind of cryptocurrency. The news post detailing the game's item drop system also insisted that the game was not a crypto miner.
    • Fortunately, Valve took quick action against Okalo Union, by implementing a new feature that warns players before accepting market trades for items for games they never played, deleting Abstractism from Steam and banning Okalo Union, and requiring approval to change the name and icon of a game (some other games that used a similar trick changed their names and icons to that of popular Valve games to make their fake items more convincing). The fraudulent item trades were also reversed.
  • Action 52 is more well known for the over-the-top ambitions of developer Active Enterprises, its Troubled Production, and its reputation as one of the worst games of all time than the fact that it's a game at all.
  • BioWare's Anthem was already considered to be a disappointing game at launch, but soon after it launched, it was revealed in a Kotaku article by Jason Schreier that the game had undergone a very Troubled Production that consisted of years of mismanagement, and its workers were crunched to the point of having mental breakdowns. Not helping was that BioWare's response was to call their workplace environment and work ethic "BioWare Magic", a statement that drew ire, mockery, and heavy criticism from pundits, audiences, and journalists alike. Its scrutiny and subsequent commercial failure meant attempts to revamp the game were abandoned in early 2021, effectively ending intended franchise plans right out of the gate. Anthem is thus less remembered for its merits than, along with the similarly disappointing Mass Effect: Andromeda, tanking the reputation of the once-beloved BioWare.
  • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is an interquel which bridges the story between the first and second Baldur's Gate game. However, to most fans of the franchise (as well as quite a few fans of the genre), it is better known for two specific controversies. The first one was related to a (now removed) throwaway line about "ethics in heroic adventuring" made by Minsc, which referred to another (notorious) controversy. The second (and far bigger) controversy was caused by Mizhena, an NPC vendor, who mentioned through optional dialogue that she was raised as a boy, but changed her gender later in life. This sparked a vocal backlash from some trolls and far-right individuals who characterized it as a blatant attempt at shoehorning in "political correctness" and "social justice" where these things supposedly didn't belong, causing them to review-bomb the game throughout the days after release. It didn't help that Amber Scott, one of the writers for the game, told off this specific subset of the game's detractors in a forum post on the Beamdog forums, adding fuel to the fire. While some might say that the "social justice" controversy was much ado about nothing, it is nevertheless one of those things that's still talked about years later (albeit not as vocally), moreso than whatever merits the game has and other criticisms that have been made of it.
  • Battleborn suffered due to how Gearbox Software horribly mishandled their prior work Aliens: Colonial Marines — which suffered from Development Hell and a horrible case of Never Trust a Trailer — and tried to suicidally compete with Overwatch. The Colonial Marines fiasco gave Battleborn the same negative reputation, which ended up overshadowing the marketing. Not helping matters was that Battleborn's marketing and release schedule turned the game into a competitor with Overwatch, which was released a few weeks later. Unfortunately for Battleborn, Overwatch had industry juggernaut Blizzard behind it and went on to become a smash hit, completely stealing Battleborn's thunder and reducing its playercount to double digits in just a few months, leading to the announcement that the game would be shutting down its servers in January 2021 and being delisted from all storefronts, rendering it completely unplayable. Because of these factors, Battleborn is seen as a cautionary tale on how the negative reputation of one game can carry on to another, and how explicitly trying to compete with another game can backfire.
  • Battlefield V: The initial marketing left a bad first impression by showing how the game deviated from the semi-realism of previous entries. The reveal trailer, in particular, showcased exaggerated character customization options that lets players create soldiers of any gender and color, wield samurai swords and cricket bats, and wear exotic facepaint in a World War II setting. This resulted in a huge outcry from the fanbase. In response to the backlash, an EA executive criticized detractors by daring those who didn't like the direction to not buy the game, which lead to the game underperforming in pre-orders and launch sales. The actual game itself had gameplay problems like Game-Breaking Bugs, the absence of advertised content at launch like the battle royale mode and vehicle customization, and a live service that didn't offer consistent updates, which meant that the game didn't have any good gameplay to distract anyone from the identity politics discourse. Nowadays, most conversations around the game almost inevitably revolve around the reaction to the reveal trailer, the bizarre push for female and POC fighters in places where they weren't allowed to fight in real life WWII (without explicitly taking the Alternate History route), and EA's response to the reaction.
  • The 1980 arcade game Berzerk is less known for being one of the very first games using vocal clips and more for allegations that it was The Most Dangerous Video Game, with two heart attacks and a murder being linked to it through popular urban legends.
  • Initially posited as Konami's second major Bomberman game following their absorption of Hudson Soft, Bombergirl is primarily known in the west for the backlash that ensued over its heavily ecchi-oriented direction in both its content and its marketing, which jarred with the franchise's previous family-friendly and cartoony image (not helped by the fact that the bewildered fan response to Konami's erotic Castlevania pachinko machines was still fresh in public memory at the time). While the hot water eventually cooled slightly, it's still difficult to discuss Bombergirl's actual gameplay in the west without circling back to the heavy (and heavily contested) use of erotic imagery.
  • Brigador came under fire in early/mid 2020 as it turned out that one of the developer brothers had been posting transphobic, antisemitic, and similar hateful comments on a private forum, with many former fans of the game (including community moderators) abandoning it - and a fair deal of the game's content can feel much Harsher in Hindsight. The team is back to working together for the sequel, for better or worse.
  • At one point, it was very difficult to talk about Bully without addressing the controversy of it being a boarding school game being developed by Rockstar Games, the same company behind the Grand Theft Auto series. Many youth groups protested the game, believing it was intended to promote bullying, and regular anti-Rockstar lawyer Jack Thompson infamously labelled the game as a "Columbine simulator". The controversy died down more or less when it was revealed that the game is actually about stopping the bullying in the school, and that the game has no deaths or blood. Even so, as a result of the complaints, the game had its name changed to Canis Canem EditDog Eat Dog in Latin — for its release in certain countries, most notably its native UK.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered was released at launch as an exclusive bundle with Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare, which was generally disliked by much of the community. Activision then added gameplay-altering microtransactions to the game and resold old maps from the original Modern Warfare as a DLC pack with its price bumped up from $10 to $15. These actions infuriated many fans given how publishers have traditionally released remastered games as standalone and complete titles out of goodwill. Then, when they finally released it as a standalone game, they released it at $40 - twice what it technically cost as a bonus for the Legacy Edition of Infinite Warfare. Nowadays, when most fans talk about the Modern Warfare series, they're more likely to bring up the fact its publisher released a remaster of a decade-old fan-favorite game only to hold it for ransom and added pay-to-win elements.
    • Call of Duty: WWII has been Vindicated by History (to an extent) among Call of Duty players after its follow-up Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 went way too far with its monetization, but otherwise it's known for being the game that Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill had an online dispute over the loss of a $1.50 wager, eventually culminating in the 2017 Wichita Swatting and the death of an uninvolved man, Andrew Finch, in a case of extreme Disproportionate Retribution and gaming toxicity. During the dispute, Gaskill was threatened with swatting and in response, intentionally gave Viner the address to the house he'd previously lived in, but where Finch now lived. Viner then recruited a third man, Tyler Barriss, to call the Wichita police using voice over IP and trick them into believing the residence was home to a dangerous criminal. The result was Finch being fatally shot when he paused while putting his hands up out of confusion. Barriss eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while Viner was sentenced to 2 years' community service and Gaskill received a sentence of 2 years' probation. By 2017, the belief that video games are Murder Simulators had largely fallen out of favour, and Barriss was found to have already been a serial swatter for years before Finch's death, so the game itself was not blamed for the swatting, but the incident is still used as an example of toxic gamers taking things too far.
  • CarnEvil is considered a classic of the Rail Shooter genre, but it's also well-known for the fact that one of the bosses in the game is a twenty-foot-tall undead baby. Aware of the possible backlash from shooting a giant dead baby to pieces, the developers included a switch that would change the boss to a teddy bear, but that wasn't enough to stop it from seeing numerous bans from arcades nationwide, and most gamers other than Rail Shooter fans will likely know very little, if anything about CarnEvil other than the controversy surrounding the aforementioned boss.
  • Club Penguin Online, a recreation of Club Penguin, became infamous among Club Penguin fans following a data breach leaking account information, having "mature" servers full of inappropriate content (with no measures to prevent children from actually entering the servers), evidence of a mod being a pedophile, and owners of the site blocking anybody who mentioned these issues or their biggest competitor, Club Penguin Rewritten. The server shut down by the end of May 2020 after a cease and desist from Disney over the inappropriate content, and the arrest of one member (suspected to be the aforementioned mod) for possessing images of child abuse.
  • Command & Conquer: Rivals is infamous for an unfortunate combination of being a mobile game and being unveiled at E3 2018 by EA as one of their most publicized announcements that year, dedicating an eight-minute video showcasing the gameplay before confirming it was a new Command & Conquer game, at the expense of then-anticipated games like Anthem and Battlefield V. The announcement did not go well with Command & Conquer fans, as the franchise had been lying doormant for several years and fans who attended E3 wanted a new mainline entry, not a mobile game. It didn't help that EA had already tried rebooting Dungeon Keeper as a mobile game in 2014, with disastrous results. While Command & Conquer: Rivals received generally So Okay, It's Average reviews—a considerably better reception than that of Dungeon Keeper (2014)—it is still remembered as yet another example of EA focusing on pleasing shareholders over gamers, and it wasn't until they published the well-received Command & Conquer Remastered in 2020 that thoughts about the franchise's future became more hopeful.
  • Cooking Mama Cookstar could have been the modern take on the series fans were looking for, but it became overshadowed by the Troubled Production that came about from publisher Planet Entertainment releasing the game and advertising a PS4 version without license holder Office Create's permission, despite the latter finding the game itself to be of subpar quality and never approving of said PS4 port. This ended up getting the game delisted from the Nintendo eShop mere days after release, and the few who did get their hands on it found it to be worse than earlier entries and made their Switches overheat. Nowadays, people will rarely ever talk about the quality itself (or lack thereof), and instead discuss the bizarre legal dispute around its release that doomed it to being extremely rare, along with the rumors that it was used to illegally mine bitcoin.
  • While Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is widely regarded as a great remake of Crash Team Racing, it's hard to talk about the game without bringing up the infamous microtransactions, which were sneaked in by Activision in an update a month after the game's launch. These were used as a paid alternative for getting the game's currency, Wumpa Coins, which can also be earned by completing races and can be used to unlock characters and custom skins. Fans were, understandably, not happy with this change, especially since the original game, which came out over 20 years ago, didn't have microtransactions. It also didn't help that the prices for the characters and parts have increased tenfold from their pre-microtransaction prices once the update came out, making the process of getting Wumpa Coins either an unnecessary grindfest or a pay-to-win situation. During its first month, the game drew praise from both players and critics for having no microtransactions, but their addition a mere one month after launch was a strong indication that Activision had planned their inclusion all along, and had deliberately withheld them at launch only to avoid bad publicity from the press until the reviews moved on to the next game, thereby persuading more unsuspecting people to buy the game. While this backlash slowly died down with the game receiving more new updates and DLC that were positively received, microtransactions still remain a divisive part of an otherwise great remake of a beloved kart-racer.
  • Cubic Ninja is a simple Nintendo 3DS game where you tilt the 3DS to control the main character. If you've ever heard of it, it's probably because of its involvement in Ninjhax, an exploit in the 3DS hardware that helps it boot up homebrew software, and the rush to buy copies of the game after the reveal of the exploit.
  • It is impossible to bring up Cyberpunk 2077 without mentioning the highly buggy state the game launched in and the nigh-unplayable Porting Disasters on the base PlayStation 4 model and Xbox One, after being massively hyped since its announcement in 2012, as well as higher-ups enforcing months of crunch culture on the developers after promising that they would never do so. While CD Projekt briefly recalled digital releases of the game and started releasing patches to fix the bugs, the matter got big enough to lead to lawsuits from both customers and shareholders accusing the company of lying about the state of the game before its release and for false advertising.
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    D-F 
  • Daikatana, aside from its years spent in Development Hell, picked up controversy over its advertising campaign which advertised John Romero's name more than it did the game itself, most infamously starting with a claim that "John Romero's about to make you his bitch. Suck it down." The game has mostly been forgotten aside from the aforementioned campaign and the negative press that brought Romero's development career down with it.
  • Day One: Garry's Incident was widely considered awful on its own merits, but it wouldn't have gotten nearly as much negative press if not for the developers attempting to strike down Totalbiscuit's scathingly negative review. This quickly backfired on them, and likely contributed to its record low Metacritic userscore of 0.4, which it held until the Warcraft III: Reforged review bombing.
  • The MMO Third-person shooter Defiance is only remembered for being a tie-in game to a TV show of the same name whose producers believed it was going to be the next big franchise, for the promises that the game would affect the storyline of the TV show, for being released broken and incomplete, and for the firing and replacing of its development team.
  • Depression Quest is a small independent text-based game focused on helping the player character deal with their severe depression, based on the real-life experiences of creator Zoë Quinn. However, it's best known for sparking Gamergate, a huge culture war that dominated online discourse throughout 2014 and 2015 after an ex-boyfriend of Quinn's wrote a blog post claiming that they'd engaged in some toxic and manipulative behavior, most notably saying they'd had an affair with Kotaku journalist Nathan Grayson who gave positive coverage to the game, possibly in exchange for said coverage. The online backlash that resulted from this claim — which birthed a huge rift in the gaming community and journalism — led to a massive debate about sexism, gender roles, diversity, and journalistic integrity in the gaming industry and subculture, the ramifications of which are still being felt to this day. The lingering hot-button nature of this incident still seeps into wider pop culture and American politics, and both Depression Quest and Quinn themself continue to see the debate loom over discussions of them.
  • Starting late 2017, Destiny 2 kept drawing fire for a range of things - underhanded tactics such as covertly throttling player experience gains, issues with the Eververse store, part of an armor texture resembling a symbol associated with the alt-right, and Bungie's continued PR disasters. The player count steadily dwindled, while those on the outside who never played the game became more interested in the controversy than the game itself. Fortunately, the game has been able to distance itself from this reputation starting in late 2018 with several well-received changes and the launch of the Forsaken expansion, as well as shedding some of the more controversial microtransaction-related restrictions in the wake of Bungie's departure from Activision Blizzard. Controversy continues to shift back and forth over their handling of seasonal content (the ever-present "fear of missing out" and the whole "sunsetting" gear situation, for instance) but Bungie seem to be managing to slowly stagger towards a happier medium.
  • Starting in late 2019, Devil Engine became the center of a controversy with the publisher Dangen Entertainment, with allegations of abuse on the part of the CEO, Ben Judd and the lead programmer Sinoc being one of his victims. It seemed as if the smoke would clear out in January 2021 with Protoculture finally and peacefully breaking ties with Dangen to self-publish the game, but immediately afterwards, a new scandal broke out revealing that Sinoc was allegedly withholding payment from the Bailey brothers, who had made the art and music assets for the game. Nowadays, Devil Engine is known less for being a love-letter to 90s console shmups and more for being the centerpiece of publisher-developer relations gone wrong and struggles within the development team. Many people who were otherwise interested in the game and were sympathetic for the developers simply don't want to buy it anymore if they don't already have it.
  • Devotion, a horror game by Taiwanese developers Red Candle Games, received massively positive reviews at launch... until it was discovered that the game contained an image of a Fulu talisman (a ritual object roughly analogous to a voodoo doll) with the text "Xi Jinping Winnie-the-Pooh Moron" on it, supposedly a placeholder asset that Red Candle forgot to remove. Winnie the Pooh is used as a mocking nickname for Chinese president Xi Jinping, and political speech critical of the Chinese government is a big deal over there, so its presence led to intense negative review-bombing from Chinese players and the game ultimately being pulled from Steam. This incident is now better-known than the game itself. In 2021, the game became available again through Red Candle Games' new e-store, but is still Banned in China, whose government remains unforgiving despite the provocative text having long been patched out.
  • By all means, Diablo II: Resurrected would have been a pretty good remake of the classic game and unlike Blizzard's previous outing with Warcraft III: Reforged, the game ran well technically, addressed player concerns and gave some nifty quality of life improvements for the game. However, it was developed and released in the middle of 2021, when Blizzard had just had a lawsuit filed against them that exposed a toxic culture within the company that had existed for many years. As a result, Blizzard fell into yet another heavy controversy to the point that it overshadowed Resurrected's accomplishments, which caused the developers to not expect the servers to be so crowded and causing the online servers to often crash, reminding the players of the early days of Diablo III, which in turn caused them to forget all the other improvements the game offered.
  • Although it has ultimately managed to escape this reputation, for a period in the late '90s and early '00s, Doom was inexorably linked to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre who were huge fans of the game. There were even rumors that they rehearsed the massacre by means of a modded Doom map in the shape of the school's floor plan.note  Over the years, the supposed link between violent video games and real violence has been increasingly debunked, advocates of the existence of the link are now largely seen as being behind-the-times, and Doom has been recognized as a classic of the First-Person Shooter genre and spawned an acclaimed franchise that continues to this day.
  • Much uproar arose when Kenji Yamamoto's soundtrack for the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series was replaced for the HD re-release following the discovery of plagiarism in his songs by Toei and Namco Bandai. A Broken Base has emerged as to whether or not Yamamoto was in the wrong, despite the borrowed melodies appearing to be unauthorized.
  • Dragon's Crown gathered some rather heated debates and negative press coverage over the Amazon and Sorceress' character designs, the former being an Amazonian Beauty in a bikini with oversized legs and the latter having breasts the size of her head. This actually led to lots of free advertising in the West, making the game more successful in the process.
  • The Atari 2600 game Dragster was a short, decent game by Activision, the system's biggest third party. It is almost entirely remembered for a 5.51 score being the most infamous of Todd Rogers's now-banned, decades-old records, being the most infamous impossible score among all his highly suspect achievements.
  • The Driver series, formerly one of the most successful video game franchises, has long lived under the infamy of its third game, Driv3r. The game was Christmas Rushed while still in a far-from-complete state in order to beat the then-upcoming Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Atari bribed two British magazines (PSM2 and Xbox World) to give it a suspicious 9/10 score. This incident, which is referred to as "Driv3rgate", gave the series a negative reputation and accusations of being a GTA clone. However, the reputation would die down with the moderate success of Driver: San Francisco, which was praised for ditching the GTA elements to focus on the driving. The scandal faded into obscurity until Guru Larry's webshow "Fact Hunt" covered it in 2016.
  • Drowned God: Conspiracy of the Ages (1996) is a point-and-click adventure game known for its fantastically eerie atmosphere and story... that is also impossible to discuss without mentioning the gruesome deaths of writer Harry Horse and his wife, Amanda by stabbing in 2007, which is still debated as to whether or not it was a murder-suicide. The incident is probably part of the reason why the game has since become Abandonware.
  • Duke Nukem Forever is known primarily for two things. Firstly, being delayed for over a decade, to the point where some people called it "Duke Nukem Forever In Development" or similar nicknames. But when the game did finally come out, controversy arose when it was found to contain very outdated attitudes toward race and gender, much of which was considered extreme even by the series' standards. This included a "capture the flag"-style multiplayer mode based around abducting women, something which probably would've been considered very extreme even back in The '90s. Those who could look past that instead focused on how utterly derivative the entire experience was, which didn't mesh well with its continued attempts at gloating.
  • Dungeon Keeper (2014) was tainted from the start by EA's decision to reboot the long-dormant, PC-based franchise as a mobile game, much to the disappointment of long-time fans who had wanted a new Dungeon Keeper game for PC like its predecessorsnote , but the game became associated with its reputation for being one of the epitomes of Allegedly Free Game, being severely held back by ridiculously long Freemium Timers for basic in-game actions (digging an earth tile in this game took 10 minutes, while this took 5 seconds in the PC games) that made the game all but unplayable without spending real money to extend the Freemium Timers. Not helping matters was EA filtering less-than-five-star reviews of the game by forcing those reviewers to fill in a feedback form (and then never posted those reviews by pretending there was an error), which only served to draw more attention to the game and its shortcomings. Eventually, EA halved the Freemium Timer from 24 hours to 12 hours, but the damage was done, players had lost interest, and Mythic Entertainmentnote  was closed soon afterwards.
  • The Epic Games Store launched in late 2018 as a competitor to Steam with the distinction of giving a larger revenue cut to developers selling their games on the service.note  However, the storefront quickly became more known for the controversies surrounding the early stages of its life:
    • At launch, the store and platform were woefully incomplete, lacking several crucial features that Steam and other platforms had for years, including cloud saves, achievements, a shopping cart in the online store (which is a universal feature in online storefronts), and - perhaps most damningly - the ability for actual users to review games, which was ostensibly to curb the possibility of review-bombing over minor issues, but which was seen as too extreme a response (denying an avenue for users to warn one another about unfinished or microtransaction-heavy games) and ill-timed (coming at a point where the entire concept of professional review platforms and games journalism was coming under fire). Epic announced that it had plans to add some of these features, but many still felt that the pace of this "road map" (as Epic described it) was painfully slow.
    • Epic signing many exclusivity deals with various games, including those that had already promised a Steam release to its customers, was what really set off the controversy. The deals gave developers an up-front payment, regardless of how well the games ended up selling, in return for making the games only available on the Epic Games Store for the first six to twelve months after they come out. This made the PC gaming community, which values consumer choice very highly, extremely angry, accusing Epic of using its vast profits from Fortnite to buy its store an artificial advantage instead of competing with things like compelling prices and features, which benefit customers instead of just companies. This worsened on two separate occasions: once when, in light of summer and the promises of discounts akin to Steam's famous seasonal sales came about, several developers instead outright removed their games from EGS for a few weeks just so they wouldn't be sold at a discount (playing right into the most common criticism that the exclusivity deals were simply to maximize profit by any means), and then again when the developer of indie horror-puzzle game DARQ claimed that Epic was starting to outright blackmail indie developers by threatening to pull their games from the store if they ever sell on Steam, even after the exclusivity deal is up.
  • Erika to Satoru no Yume Bouken is an obscure Japan-exclusive Famicom game. The only reason it is remembered today, even in its home country, is a hidden message where a developer gives a long, angry rant to his colleagues.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is mostly associated with its reputation as "the worst video game of all time", being the Trope Codifier for The Problem with Licensed Games, and for its contribution to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 to the extent that it is frequently Mis-blamed as being single-handedly responsible for the crashnote . Atari, the dominant gaming company at the time, gave programmer Howard Scott Warshaw an impossibly tight schedule to develop the game from start to finish in just six weeks for a Christmas release (most video games back then still took three to six months to develop from scratch). The result was a tedious, repetitive, unenjoyable mess, and Atari's reckless assumption that the game would be a massive hit from the success of the Spielberg movie led to them producing over four million copies, of which only about one and a half million were sold; to make matters worse, most of those were returned for a refund. The disappointing release—exacerbated by the similarly infamous Atari 2600 Porting Disaster of Pac-Man earlier that same year—resulted in Atari losing its reputation, and the rest is history. While the game has been somewhat Vindicated by History from the 2000s onward, with people coming forward to argue that Warshaw did a pretty good job with what little time he had (the game is surprisingly Game-Breaking Bug-free) and that the game is more "extremely disappointing" than "worst video game ever made", any discussion about E.T. is still almost guaranteed to mention its contribution to the 1983 Video Game Crash.
  • Evony, a browser-based, allegedly free strategy game, is more known for its infamous advertising campaign and false promises of sexy women than for anything else. On top of that, the publishers have been accused of plagiarism, spamming, and distributing spyware, and they tried to sue a British blogger for libel for pointing it out (which predictably backfired).
  • Evertale is a monster-collecting gacha game on the App Store. However, it is more known for its Very False Advertising that portrays the game as a horror game take on Pokémon (which the game doesn't resemble at all).
  • The 2008 online flash game Faith Fighter, a Fighting Game developed by Paolo Pedercini and starring religious figures, is best known for the heated backlash it received the following year from Muslims over the fact that it depicted The Prophet Muhammad among its castnote , leading to the game being temporarily withdrawn from its hosting site.
  • The iOS game Fantasy Night of TouHou Project is mostly remembered for being one of the first Touhou Project derivative works to go against ZUN's content distribution guidelines, as well as for using fanart and assets from the official games (mainly Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night) without permission. ZUN had it removed from the App Store for a time, but it later returned to the iTunes store as a free app. It has since been removed again.
  • Fallout 76 is often considered the game that nearly ruined Bethesda's reputation, due to being surrounded by controversy even before its disastrous launch. From changes that ignored the established lore (like in-universe factions somehow existing centuries before they're supposed to), to being released in a near-unplayable state with a lot of broken promises (sixteen times the [graphical] details!) and poor design choices. Add to that a falsely advertised $150 Deluxe Edition that promised a canvas bag among its Feelies, but instead delivered a cheap nylon bag, without telling buyers that the product was being changed (which led to a whole other controversy in itself), and the developers putting more focus on expanding monetization features rather than fixing the game's legions of bugs itself (the Fallout 1st membership being the biggest example), with patches that added more overpriced in-game store items yet continued to break the already-pretty-shaky game by restoring already patched bugs and glitches, and you have one of the most controversial games of 2018 and 2019.
  • The highly-anticipated Fallout: New Vegas Game Mod The Frontier was initially renowned for performing feats thought to be impossible within the game's engine such as good vehicle mechanics. However, the mod faced significant criticism for poor writing before being taken down entirely due to serious controversies surrounding its content and creation such as the ability to gaslight a teenage girl into becoming the player's Sex Slave and allegedly stolen assets. A revised build was published to Nexus several days later, but the team's credibility was destroyed with several contributors refusing to associate with them further.
  • While the indie game Fez is widely regarded as a great game by those who have played it, it has become more well-known for the now-infamous online outbursts of its creator Phil Fish, particularly the outburst that caused him to announce that he was leaving the gaming industry and cancelling work on a sequel.
  • If the original Fighter's History is ever mentioned in casual conversation, it will almost invariably be because the game got its developer sued by Capcom on the ground it was so thoroughly derivative of Street Fighter II as to be plagiarism and the legal precedent the ruling set toward gameplay mechanics, rather than anything to do with the game itself.
  • Final Fantasy XV was already known for its decade-long Troubled Production—announced in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII and released in 2016 as Final Fantasy XV—but ultimately became this when Hajime Tabata resigned from Square Enix in 2018, leading to the cancellation of nearly all of the game's second wave of DLC. The controversy arising from the management shift, on top of the already-infamous Troubled Production, made it difficult for a while to talk positively about the game, and years later it's still difficult to do so without mentioning the DLC cancellations in the wake of Tabata's resignation.
  • The general hype surrounding the release of Fire Emblem Fates has been very hard to come across in light of the massive uproar surrounding its localization. Much of the anger is directed towards the removal of Skinship (a mechanic for support conversations in which players can use the touch screen to stroke the faces of their partner), the exclusion of an optional Japanese vocal track due to copyrights, and shoehorning memes into the game's dialogue. Even before the game's Western release, the Japanese version came under heavy fire for its portrayal of Soleil, a bisexual character whose support conversations supposedly endorse Slipping a Mickey and Cure Your Gaysnote , and there was even a petition to cancel the game's localization. All in all, online discussions on the merits of the game's localization heavily outweigh discussions on the game itself, with detractors of Fates citing it as a microcosm of what they see as an Audience-Alienating Era for Nintendo of America. It's worth noting that the game sold well despite this; however, this almost certainly had as much to do with publicity as it did with the games' distribution method.
  • MECC, the creators of The Oregon Trail, developed and published Freedom!, a game for the Apple ][, in which the player would assume the role of a runaway slave trying to reach the North through the Underground Railroad, in a manner similar to that of The Oregon Trail, while gaining the ability of literacy and the ability to swim. The game was meant to be used in a school curriculum when it was released in late 1992, but most schools simply released the game to students to play without prior lessons. This led to numerous parents complaining to MECC and their schools on what they considered the racially offensive nature of the game, and threatened to sue MECC. Though MECC offered to make changes to alleviate these concerns, the company ultimately pulled the game from sale.

    G-M 
  • G2A.com is a website where people can buy and sell unredeemed Steam game keys, usually at a much lower price than usual, which has been embroiled in controversy following accusations of fraud and incompetence:
    • Despite billing itself as a reliable source for reselling game keys, the company's lack of oversight has turned it into a quasi-black market. The absence of any authentication means that many of the keys sold on G2A were originally pirated or purchased using stolen credit cards, forcing developers to shoulder the burden of refunding customers. The company's impact has become so detrimental that many indie developers would rather see their games be pirated rather than purchased through G2A. The site still manages to attract many customers thanks to its low prices, but in most gaming communities, mentioning that you bought a game on G2A is practically begging for people to call you out.
    • G2A is also infamous for its many poorly-disclosed extra fees. Many people have reported buying a few games on the site, only to be charged some monthly fees later on without knowing how to cancel them, or being flat-out unable to cancel due to accidentally locking themselves out of their account. Specific examples include G2A Shield, a premium subscription providing faster customer support if you buy a non-functional key, which is easy to accidentally subscribe to and was notoriously tricky to cancel, and an inactivity fee deducted from your site funds if you spend too long without logging in (supposedly to cover the costs of keeping your account on their servers, even though the 1€ per month they charge is several orders of magnitude more than it would cost to just keep the inactive account in their database).
  • Gacha Life would've remained a relatively standard, if popular Virtual Paper Doll game if not for the fact that many of its (mostly underage) users have been discovered making softcore pornographic content (which often gained millions of views on YouTube from other minors) using the game's Studio function. As such, almost all discussion of the game focuses on the inappropriate content its users generate rather than any of its actual merits. It got to the point where Lunime, the game's development team, issued an update removing certain props from the game in order to curb the issue.
  • The Gizmondo was the second-worst selling game console of all time. However, just as notorious as the reasons for its failure is the fact that its manufacturer, Tiger Telematics, had links to Swedish organized crime groups.
  • The Grand Theft Auto games have suffered from this through the years. Whether it's about beating up sex workers, being a scapegoat for criminals to blame their wrongdoings on, accusations of promoting various forms of bigotry, or depictions of Cold-Blooded Torture, every game in the series has had their own share of controversy:
    • While it has since moved on from the controversy, Vice City had to deal with racism accusations from Haitian-American groups due to a mission sidequest that revolves around dealing with a Cuban-Haitian gang war, with the Haitians primarily being the villains. It didn't help that the game's instructions referred to the Haitian mobsters as "dickheads". In response, future releases of the game eliminated references to the gang members' nationality.
    • San Andreas, while being one of the best-selling games of all time, is also the most infamous of the series, being the Trope Namer for the Hot Coffee Minigame. When hackers managed to unearth the Dummied Out Hot Coffee minigame files from the game and published them online, it caused outrage among Moral Guardians, resulting in Rockstar Games being entangled in several lawsuits and forcing them to re-release the game with all traces of the minigame deleted. Some commented on the irony that, of all the terrible things GTA protagonists have done, what drew the most ire was one of them having consensual sex.
    • Grand Theft Auto V is among one of the best selling games ever, but is primarily remembered amongst non-fans for an infamous interrogation scene where the player must control Trevor as he brutally tortures a man for information about a suspected terrorist. The scene was intended to be a political commentary on the use of "enhanced interrogation" by intelligence agencies, but many called hypocrisy due to the gratuitous violence and overly disturbing nature.
  • The Great Giana Sisters is mostly known for being a very blatant rip-off of Super Mario Bros. (down to nearly-identical level design), which led to the game being pulled off store shelves to avoid legal trouble. Fortunately, the game has been Vindicated by History in modern times, even getting sequels that differentiate themselves from their inspiration, but good luck finding anyone who knows the game as anything other than "that game that plagiarized Super Mario Bros.".
  • Guild Wars 2 is a well-respected Massively Multiplayer Action RPG, but for those who don't play MMOs, they will recognize it thanks to the incident that started when writer Jessica Price started a fight on Twitter with various followers and a company-sponsored streamer known as Deroir after he politely wanted to refute her claims that writing for MMO player characters was harder than in a standard RPG. When the conversation spiraled out of control, writer Peter Fries chimed in and attempted to defend her and her aggressive responses, only leading to more debate and fighting. Eventually, the controversy was heard by ArenaNet CEO Mike O'Brien who immediately fired both of them with him claiming that they had violated company policy regarding how to communicate with fans. This led to Jessica denouncing her firing by claiming that her firing set a precedent that if Reddit wanted a female developer fired, companies would comply, thus making the industry more female-hostile than it already is currently.
  • The Guy Game is an obscure erotic video game that rewards you for completing various puzzles with FMV clips of girls taking their clothes off. Even among porn games, it would likely not have been a blip on the radar... if it didn't hold the dubious honor of being the one and only game to receive a nationwide ban in the United States, after it was discovered that one of the aforementioned girls was underage at the time the clip was filmed, leading the game to be declared child pornography and ergo not protected by the First Amendment. The controversy led to its publisher, Topheavy Gaming, falling apart just a few years after its release.
  • Outside of the Harry Potter fandom, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is best known for a scene early on where the player's avatar (then a first-year student, so 11 years old) is caught in Devil's Snare and has to escape by spending Energy. The scene is intentionally designed so you'll run out of Energy, forcing the player to either wait several minutes, knowing that a child character is being choked to death all the while, or spend real money to skip the wait. When the game released, the Devil's Snare scene quickly became the most infamous example of a mobile game using emotional manipulation to pressure its players into buying microtransactions.
  • Hatred is notorious for having a premise about massacring innocent people for no reason other than indulgence in the Villain Protagonist's hatred for humanity, the controversy its trailer caused, the major outrage that occurred when Valve attempted to pull the game off of Steam, and one of the lead developers being discovered to have "liked" the Facebook page of an alt-right group. This has all vastly overshadowed the actual gameplay merits.
  • Heartbeat is nowadays known much more for the extremely transphobic beliefs of its lead developer Shepple and her girlfriend Nikotine (which many found to be incredibly hypocritical due to one of the main themes of the game being overcoming and moving past prejudice and hatred) than anything pertaining to the game itself, in spite of the rest of the development team thoroughly denouncing and distancing themselves from the lead developer after her transphobic beliefs were revealed.
  • Homefront is better known for its taboo subject matter involving the United States being taken over by a unified Korea and the ensuing controversy from it, and a botched marketing campaign that involved dumping ten-thousand balloons in the San Francisco Bay, all of which overshadowed the actual gameplay merits.
  • Hunt Down the Freeman, a commercially released mod for Half-Life 2, which, while still criticized for the broken and incomplete state it was released in, is likely more well-known for the large amount of stolen assets, Royal Rudius Entertainment taking to banning critics of the game from discussions, making use of Youtubers to voice act and the rumors that the game passed Steam Greenlight due to the developer using bots rather than the gameplay or story.
  • Ion Fury, an otherwise well-received 3D Realms game that was a throwback to older Build Engine shooters like Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, and the original Shadow Warrior, is mostly remembered for two things amongst the general public:
    1. The band Iron Maiden suing the renamed game due to its former title of Ion Maiden. On the surface, it's a perfectly logical lawsuit, because of the extreme similarity of their names, and even if they'd argued solely on that point they probably still would have won. However, several of the other claims put forward by Iron Maiden's lawyers dipped into Frivolous Lawsuit territory — among other things, they claimed that the protagonist is a gender-swap of Iron Maiden's leader Steve Harris (she was originally conceived as a Distaff Counterpart to Duke Nukem), that the skull bomb logo resembles Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie (the logo is much less detailed than Eddie, certainly not enough to be a ripoff), and that the gameplay is a copy of their Legacy of the Beast mobile game (Legacy of the Beast is a role-playing game, not an FPS). Even fans of the game are not willing to let this lawsuit go, mostly due to the absurdity of it and to just make fun of Iron Maiden and their lawyers.
    2. The use of homophobic humor. With the reveal that the game had some rather insulting content towards LGBTQIA+ groups (specifically, a sprite of depicting Olay soap as Ogay brand soap, and actual gay slurs hidden away as an Easter Egg), the developers responded by quickly patching out the offending bits from the game and releasing a statement declaring that such "jokes" had no place in this game or games published by 3D Realms going forward. This, naturally, didn't sit well with those who found the jokes inoffensive, calling the removal of the content censorship. The fact that 3D Realms decided to reinforce how wrong they saw the original content as by donating ten grand to a suicide prevention group added some anger to the response. That a lead developer for the game was caught making comments that could be construed as anti-transgender on Discord at the same time certainly added to the controversy. The whole debacle was magnified when the game was review-bombed on Steam by anti-censorship players who had logged very little playing time in an attempt to pressure the developers into reversing their decision and restoring the offensive content. This in turn drew criticism from those who thought removing the homophobic humor was the right thing to do, and claimed that if 3D Realms considered the homophobic humor an Old Shame and removed it of their own choice, then it technically wasn't censorship but editing.
  • Indivisible is an indie game that is fully completed, but initially promised a myriad of DLC characters to be added post-launch, including crossovers with Shovel Knight and Shantae. Fans were eagerly awaiting for the rollouts to begin after the game's release in October of 2019... when things stalled out for a year with little progress, and then half the game's team suddenly left Lab Zero (the developer). It turned out the owner of Lab Zero, Mike Zaimont, had been accused of sexually harassing his staff by making suggestive comments and bringing up inappropriate conversations that made much of the staff uncomfortable. When his Board of Directors requested his resignation, he refused to do so and made numerous demands (including some that were referred to as being "potentially illegal"). This resulted in him firing his board, all the employees leaving the company in retaliation, and the publisher stopping all interaction with what was left of Lab Zero. With no funding or team to complete the game, Zaimont scrapped all future development for Indivisible, and the publisher stated they would perform no further updates on the game. Although the game's story and gameplay are fully finished, the game still includes various pieces of NPC dialogue and locked locations that tease potential new content and characters that will never be added to the game. While many fans still look upon the game's story positively, any discussion of its developer or someone asking what happened to the DLC will almost inevitably turn into a huge rant on Zaimont's (alleged) actions.
  • Kakuto Chojin was a 2002 fighting game for Xbox developed by Dream Publishing, which got negative reviews due to its weak Story Mode and shallow gameplay, and because it was a ripoff of Tekken.note  But that's not all: within months of release, the game was pulled from the store shelves not because it was a Tekken rip-off, but because of the main protagonist Asad, whose theme of Islamic religion and chants of the Quran versesnote  and ethnicity were widely considered to be insensitive due to the game being released over a year after 9/11. Although Asad's theme was modified to tone down the insensitivity, many copies of the game still made it to retailers in their uncensored format and eventually shipped to Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, where violent protests erupted against the game for Asad's theme that finally did the game in when it was pulled from worldwide stores.
  • The Kane & Lynch games are chiefly remembered for the controversy over Jeff Gerstmann (later of Giant Bomb) being fired from GameSpot for giving the first game, Dead Men, a 6 out of 10 review score despite its very heavy advertising on the site.
  • The game Kanye Quest, a fairly decent RPG made in RPG Maker, is more well known nowadays for a downright bizarre secret, where telling an NPC that you want to ascend would put you in a room filled with terminals. Said room was connected to another room with an image of a (now defunct) QR code that would track your IP address, and completing all the terminals would place you in a room that would ask for your full name and address. Several theories try to explain why this secret exists in the first place, with the most popular being that the game was created by a cult named "Ascensionism", and that it would send your IP address along with your name and address to the cult so they could recruit you. A similarly popular but more mundane theory states that this was made for a now-discontinued ARG. Whatever the case, this is the most well-known aspect of the game, and has overshadowed literally everything else about it.
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning would be better known for its financial shenanigans that shuttered developer 38 Studios, bankrupted former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (who was the then-head of the studio) and derailed the political career of Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chaffee. Despite selling 1 million copies, the Kingdoms of Amalur was deemed a financial failure as it had to sell 3 million just to break even. As for why the game had an inflated budget, much of it could be chalked to the Rhode Island government giving Schilling a $75 million loan in exchange for relocating 38 Studio to the state despite the studio never having released a single title. Despite hopes of recuperating losses with sequels and an upcoming MMO, all employees of 38 Studios were laid off, future installments were cancelled and Schilling was forced to sell his entire fortune from his baseball career. The game's failure also ended governor Chaffee's reelection prospects with many blaming him for the job losses despite his original opposition to the loan.
  • King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human was known for being very deviant compared to the first two games when it was first released. Instead of Graham, you play the (allegedly) unrelated Gwydion, a slave to the sorcerer Manannan, causing a controversy in which many longtime fans outright refused to play the game. (Until they learned that Gwydion is really Prince Alexander, son of King Graham, so there really was a connection all along). The game was also much Darker and Edgier compared to the first two, and has Gwydion dabbling with black magic spells, upsetting some family and Christian groups, since the anti-Satanism moral panic was still ongoing at the time of the game's release. Some feminists were also angered at the game when they noted that the main plot involved Gwydion, after the revelation that he was a prince, saving his sister Rosella from a dragon, which they claimed was the game suggesting that "boys go on adventures, girls get to be damsels in distress". It was because of these controversies that the fourth game became what it is: Graham's family is introduced at the start; the standard fairytale tropes made a return; and Rosella became the playable protagonist. Thankfully, the game was eventually Vindicated by History, with its Darker and Edgier plotline paving the way for more intricate plotlines not just in adventure games, but video games as a whole.
  • LawBreakers was Cliff Bleszinski's passion project and an attempt to create a new game that would epitomize skill-based gameplay. However, the game suffered due to oversaturation in the Hero Shooter genre and a stubborn refusal to allow it to go free-to-play to gain more players in the crowded market. As a result, the game quickly lost all of its players as Blezinski was forced to close down Boss Key Studios and the game's servers were shut down on September 14, 2018.
  • While it has since largely been Vindicated by History and is widely considered one of the more beloved entries in the series, it's still hard to discuss The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker without mentioning the tremendous and still-unmatched fan backlash that ensued in the West over its light-hearted cartoon art style, which heavily clashed with the increasingly mature, realistic-looking direction that the video game industry as a whole was taking at the time. This wasn't helped by the game's reveal being preceded a year prior by a GameCube tech demo showing a more Ocarina of Time-esque art style, which Western fans had instantly taken to. The backlash was so huge that Nintendo scrapped plans for a direct Wind Waker sequel (at least on the GameCube) in favor of the grittier, Real Is Brown The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess out of concern that they may have inadvertently created a Franchise Killer, as the Legend of Zelda games are generally more popular in the West than in Japan, making Western opinions very important. Later "Toon Link" games would be relegated mostly to handheld titles and spinoffs (one of which, incidentally, wound up being a Wind Waker sequel), Nintendo became distrustful of Western gamers in general for several years following the debacle, and to this day the Zelda fanbase still struggles with shaking off the embarrassing stain of the Wind Waker backlash.
  • Lethal Enforcers was known for its realistic graphics and violent content, leading to Moral Guardians to question the game. However, it's not as extreme as the controversies over other games released around the time, such as Mortal Kombat and Doom.
  • Limbo of the Lost became infamous for being stuck in development since 1994. When it was finally released in 2007, it was generally considered a mediocre game at best. What the game is far more infamous for, however, was the discovery a year later that much of its assets were blatantly plagiarised from other games and assorted media without permission or credit, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, World of Warcraft and Thief: Deadly Shadows being just a few examples of many. Because of this, the game was permanently withdrawn from distribution, dooming it to collector status.
  • Ask someone about Love Plus, and they'd probably bring up the fact that it caused one Loony Fan to wind up marrying one of the fictional love interests. It also doesn't help that the debacle got media attention and was globally broadcasted by CNN.
  • Major League Baseball on the Nintendo Entertainment System is better known for a lawsuit in early 1990 by a nine-year-old boy because the game did not include his favorite players and claimed the game box was being misleading about managerial decisions.
  • The Manhunt series is best known for its premise of being about a convict being forced to take part in snuff films (the gameplay was mostly stealth based, with elements of Survival Horror). The first game was given mixed reviews, with some marking it down for the gorn and others praising it for its atmosphere, the sequel received average reviews across the board and the series was mostly forgotten. The franchise is also overshadowed by claims that the first game inspired a series of killings in the UK which led to it being temporarily pulled from several chains (claims which were ultimately proven unfounded); while the sequel was actually banned outright in several countries, unlike the first game.
  • The first Mario Party is fondly remembered by those that have played it, but it's more often associated with the rampant control-stick spinning minigames, in particular Tug o' War and Pedal Power. The most efficient way to win at these minigames was to use the palm of your hand rather than your thumb, but this technique applied a dangerous amount of friction to the players' skin, which led to several players contracting blisters while playing. Nintendo was eventually forced to offer free protective gloves to any player who had injured themselves while playing the game. Later installments would remove these types of minigames, and the whole controversy is believed to be the main reason why the game has yet to see a re-release on the Virtual Console. Tug o' War eventually saw rerelease on Mario Party Superstars for the Switch, albeit with a warning about certain techniques.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite could almost be seen as a step-by-step set of instructions on how not to release a video game. When it was first announced it generated massive hype, not just for being the first installment in the wildly popular Marvel vs. Capcom series in six years, but because the announcement trailer featured fan-favorite Mega Man X. However, a number of controversies damaged the game's reputation until it was mostly forgotten:
    • The game was clearly intended to ride on the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and ended up suffering greatly for it: the more realistic art style caused several Capcom characters (most prominently Chun-Li, Morrigan, and Dante, who all reused their more cartoony MvC3 models) to fall hard into the Uncanny Valley, the iconic character themes from past games were replaced with generic movie-style music, and, most damning of all, the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters were cut entirely from the roster due to Marvel CEO Ike Purlmetter's infamous petty feud with 20th Century Fox over the film rights over the aforementioned characters.note 
    • Things only got worse when an infamous pre-release interview came out where community manager Pete "Combofiend" Rosas breezily dismissed the absence of any X-Men characters by saying, "If you were to actually think about it, these characters are just functions". He claims during the interview that fans only cared about how characters fight, not who they are, and that a character's moves are why people choose characters to play in fighting games, not their looks or backstorynote , which might be true for some of the hardcore competitive players, but these are just a small fraction of the game's playerbase. To more casual players, the appeal of a Crossover Licensed Game mostly comes from the characters themselves and the ability to have them fight in the first place.
    • After a year of lackluster sales, Capcom quietly abandoned the game, and while some kept calling it "Functions vs. Functions Infinite" and bring up Chun-Li's butterface as a punchline (which was corrected quickly after the initial controversy), the game still has a small but passionate player base that values the gameplay that was ignored in all the chaos caused by the aforementioned controversies. A few anonymous Capcom employees later revealed that the game was made on a dime and was given little time for development with higher ups forcing them to reuse assets from MvC3 to save money and time, leading to the aforementioned Uncanny Valley on the Capcom characters.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The first Mass Effect was known by those who hadn't played it (due to being released only on Xbox 360 and a year later PC) as that sci-fi game that has an explicit sex scene and allowed a lesbian romance between a Female PC and a blue alien chick, thanks to a very misinformed and reactionary segment on Fox News.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda already had to contend with EA's distinct lack of goodwill from players, but when the game launched with a plethora of bugs, broken facial animations, and poorly-handled LGBT romance options, any hopes it had of succeeding or failing on its own merits were sunk. After a series of patches to fix the worst issues, the general consensus was that the game was merely mediocre, but the damage had already been done; players were no longer interested, and EA decided to put the series on hiatus for a few years, until they announced the release of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, a remaster of the first three games for newer systems.
  • Medal of Honor (2010) and its sequel Medal of Honor: Warfighter would've been effectively forgotten as run-of-the-mill military shooters. However, the first game experienced some political backlash for having the Taliban as a playable faction in multiplayer, which lead to Danger Close studio renaming the faction to "Opposing Force". The sequel Warfighter is better known for killing the franchise and having US Navy SEALs consultants who worked on the game without permission from the Pentagon.
  • Metal Gear:
  • For those who have played Metal Slug 4, it's remembered less for the content than for the fact that Lee Sang Min, the president of Mega Enterprise (a South Korean developer who made this game instead of SNK because they have the license), went to China after the South Korean police attempted to arrest him on a misdemeanor charge, causing Mega Enterprise to go bankrupt.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Other M: If you only judged it based on its gameplay, you'd find a middling action game that fans are split on thanks to its sheer linearity and control scheme. Unfortunately, Other M has a mountain of issues that make it the most-hated entry in the entire franchise. The game is infamous for having terrible writing (plot holes, poor pacing, failure to follow Show, Don't Tell, etc.), poor voice direction (producer Yoshio Sakamoto insisted on managing the English dub, despite not being a fluent English speaker), everything about Adam Malkovich (whose cold and dismissive characterization is nothing like what fans expected coming off of Metroid Fusion), and series protagonist Samus Aran going through severe Badass Decay and frequently being the victim of gratuitous Male Gaze. This is to say nothing of major moments that sparked incredulous reactions, such as the attempted justification for the series' usual Bag of Spilling — Samus does have all her upgrades from the start, but Adam orders her to not use her most destructive weaponry — understandable, given they're on a search-and-rescue mission. For some stupid reason, Samus refuses to use any upgrades until she is granted permission, leading to what fans call the "Hell Run", wherein the player was forced to explore a lava-filled area without using the heat shielding of the Varia Suit.
    • Other M even wound up overshadowing the next game in the series, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, a multiplayer co-op game featuring Federation soldiers instead of a Metroidvania starring Samus. At the time of its announcement, the last Metroid game fans generally agreed was good was Metroid Prime 3: Corruption eight years prior, so fans were begging for a new entry to correct Other M's sins and put the series back on track. A spin-off was the last thing they wanted, and the game, its producers, and its development team were the target of immense hate and vitriol for several months after its announcement. Even defenders who were against the overwhelming hate campaign admitted that the timing for Federation Force wasn't good in the slightest. Things were made worse a couple weeks before Federation Force came out, as a Fan Remake of Metroid II called Another Metroid 2 Remake was released; this was exactly the style of game that Metroid fans wanted, but Nintendo shut it down within a few days, riling everyone up again. It would turn out that this was because Nintendo was in the middle of developing their own remake, which would be announced alongside a much-desired Metroid Prime 4 the following year, but at the time, the fanbase felt like Nintendo was deliberately mocking them and trying to sabotage the future of the series.
  • Mighty No. 9, for the majority of its developmental cycle, was extremely hyped and awaited due to it looking like a worthy successor to Mega Man. The project was headed by series co-creator Keiji Inafune, and was held up as a sign of what crowdfunding could achieve. However, as time when on, the game's reputation got increasingly bogged down by further crowdfunding attempts for extra features, as well as a series of delays.note  The nail in the coffin was the Red Ash Kickstarter, which started before Mighty No. 9 was even released and had some shady practices involved, and a Totally Radical ad for Mighty No. 9 containing the phrase "make the bad guys cry like an anime fan on prom night", which insulted most of the game's fanbase. In particular, it was revealed that the game was already funded, and the Kickstarter was merely to increase its scope; it failed by a decent amount. By the time the game was finally released, to negative reviews, a good chunk of backers wanted their money back and were more interested in the Troubled Production than the game itself, and it became a symbol of how not to make a game via crowdfunding.
  • Mobile games as a whole are difficult to discuss in Western cultures without mentioning predatory monetization business practices that have left curious gamers frustrated when their ability to progress is tied to how much money they are willing to spend instead of how skilled they are. In their defense, mobile games are generally intended for audiences who don't think of video games as Serious Business and are willing to spend money to get ahead, Eastern cultures are used to this business model and see it as acceptable, and these kinds of predatory practices date all the way back to not-so-classic arcade games in the 1970s and 1980s; but mobile games ultimately fell victim to this trope in the West when the amount of money they make from the casual crowd and/or those who struggle with impulse spending caught the attention of big AAA publishers in the 2010snote , who began implementing Microtransactions and Loot Boxes in premium-priced $60–70 games—the latter of which has been linked to gambling by several sources—that sometimes affect gameplay, and making major announcements of mobile games at their fan conventions, even though convention attendees aren't the target audience for mobile games.
  • Game designer Peter Molyneux, and the games he has created including Black & White, Dungeon Keeper, and the Fable series, are known best for his habit of promising outlandish or ambitious features that end up nowhere to be seen when the final game releases. As a result, the actual quality of his games is rarely discussed, only their failure to live up to his overpromising.
  • The 2007 brain-training game Mind Quiz would probably have flown completely under the radar if not for an unfortunate word choice. The lowest "brain awareness" ranking was called "Super Spastic", and the word "spastic" is considered an ableist slur in Great Britain and Ireland. When the game's use of the word was discovered, it caused a major outcry in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, forcing Ubisoft to pull the game in both countries.
  • Mortal Kombat helped lead to the creation of the ESRB through its fatality mechanic, which allows players to kill their defeated opponents in a gruesome and graphic way. Amusingly, the Sega versions of the game were rated, while the Nintendo ports were censored.note  Decades later, outside of dedicated Fighting Game fans, the series is still mostly known for its extreme graphic violence rather than its story or gameplay (although this isn't always a bad thing).

    N-R 
  • Night Trap was one of the video games that contributed to the creation of the ESRB in the United States. An infamous bathroom scenenote  in particular was what led to intense Senate hearings with proponents of the ban saying it glorified violence against women, while many of them admitted they hadn't played the game. Although by today's standards, the game seems pretty harmless and many people nowadays are surprised or even laugh when they find out this game was controversial in the first place. The game's rerelease in 2018 even leaned into and played up the controversy, with the Switch version's trailer even making a joke of then Nintendo of America President Howard Lincoln's assertion that Night Trap "will never appear on a Nintendo system". Cue the Nintendo Switch Logo.
  • No Man's Sky, which was riding a wave of extreme speculation since its initial reveal at the 2013 Spike Video Game Awards, has been caught in a lot of controversy prior to and after its release. Internet Historian details the controversy from the perspective of both the fans and Hello Games in this video.
    • The game gained a Vocal Minority of absurdly zealous fans well over a year before it even came out, to the extent that they ended up sending death threats to both the developers of the game and a Kotaku reporter as a consequence of a short release date delay, tainting the perception of its fanbase before it came out. The actual release didn't improve the situation — the game got disappointing So Okay, It's Average reviews on the PlayStation 4 and was an Obvious Beta on PC, to which the most devoted fans reacted by lashing out at anyone who had anything bad to say about the game, to the extent that reviewer Jim Sterling's website got what is believed to be a distributed denial-of-service for their slightly negative review. Meanwhile, another group of Fan Haters were happy to see the game "fail" and decided to attack anyone who had anything good to say about the game.
    • To make matters worse, the game became embroiled in a debate over whether Hello Games was guilty of false advertising; various interviews and promotional materials had promised a number of features that didn't make it into the game at launch. Most notably, it was mentioned that players could interact with each other, but the game was strictly single player at launch, which Hello Games tried to justify by claiming that since the game's universe is so large, the odds of two players running into each other were nearly impossible (two players promptly proved that claim wrong by finding the same planet in-game and standing in the same spot at the same time without seeing each other). This raised the question of whether the developers were snake-oil salesmen willing to say anything to make a profit, or if they had just bitten off more than they could chew. It didn't take long after its launch for No Man's Sky to gain comparisons to other games that promised more than they eventually delivered like Spore and Fable. Even though Hello Games did manage to eventually Win Back the Crowd with various updates to fix the game's many issues and add promised features in, heated debates still pop up (mostly whenever a new update comes out) over whether lead developer Sean Murray is a liar who shouldn't be forgiven, or if the post-release patches have successfully redeemed him and Hello Games. This has led No Man's Sky to be seen by some as a cautionary tale of everything wrong with hype culture in AAA video games.
  • The Super Mario World ROM Hack Notte Luminosa is best known for the fact that its creator, Yanama, lied on SMW Central about having terminal leukemia, leading people like raocow and ProtonJon to Let's Play the hack (the latter even going back on his promise not to play any more SMW hacks) before his ruse was discovered.
  • The Oculus Quest 2 VR Headset is generally considered pretty good from a technical perspective, but it has been heavily criticized for its Facebook integration: the headset cannot be used unless you log in with a valid Facebook account. If you have been banned from Facebook for any reason, don't want to create an account due to privacy concerns, or are too young to have an account (and Facebook has measures to prevent people from creating an account with false information, so using a Sock Puppet is not possible), the headset is completely useless. While the headset still managed to become a best-seller, it's hard to find any discussion of it that doesn't mention the Facebook requirement as a major issue.
  • The Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man is known for being the Trope Codifier for Porting Disaster due to being very rushed, with its flickering ghosts being its most common complaint, but it's also infamous for Atari manufacturing more cartridges than there were Atari 2600s on the market at the timenote , believing that—since the original Arcade Game was (and still is) a huge critical and commercial success—people would order more Atari 2600s just to play Pac-Man at home. While the game was initially a commercial success, selling 7 million copies, word quickly got out that it was a terrible port of the original arcade game. Very soon, many copies were refunded, and Atari became distrusted by gamers. In short, Atari's botched port and the backlash that ensued was a significant contributor to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, which the port has become forever associated with.
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash was hit with controversy before it was even released, due to being a sequel (gameplay-wise) to the universally disliked Paper Mario: Sticker Star. While many of the developers attempted to assure fans that it would address the shortcomings of Sticker Star, unfortunately for them, an interview with one of its producers, Risa Tabata, gave the impression that the heads of the creative team saw the Mario & Luigi franchise as the premier "Mario RPG franchise" (that also happens to diverge from its RPG roots in favor of gimmicks and setpieces as of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam) and that the Paper Mario franchise would instead focus more on humor and puzzles. All this ended up overshadowing the game itself, where it was released to reception better than Sticker Star but still otherwise divisive.
  • Most people who have heard about the historical Edutainment Game Playing History 2: Slave Trade likely did so due to its "Slave Tetris" minigame, which tasks the player with fitting as many slaves (who are shaped like Tetris pieces) as possible aboard a slave ship. The purpose of this minigame was to illustrate the extremely cramped conditions slaves were transported in, but critics slammed it for being insensitive and making light of a serious topic, which led to the developers patching out the minigame. That, in turn, led to more controversy from people who were upset that a feature was being removed from a game they had already paid for.
  • The Postal series is well-known for being a common target for Moral Guardians to campaign against video game violence in its heyday, more so than any quality of gameplay, as opposed to other common targets like Doom or Grand Theft Auto.
  • Prius Online, a now-discontinued South Korean Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game, is only known for an incident in which a neglected baby starved to death after her parents preoccupied themselves with raising their in-game Anima companion. This incident became the subject of a documentary titled Love Child, and this has been consistently listed as one of the most unfortunate cases of video game addiction.
  • More people know about Revolution 60 from its creator, Brianna Wu. Two statements of note that were made by her were that video games are demeaning toward women and are lacking in inclusiveness, which people found ironic given her game's cast is all white women with impossible proportions. She has acknowledged the issue, defending the game for its lack of sexualizing camera angles, but changing the character models for the PC port and promising to add more characters of color in the sequel.
  • Rise of the Robots is generally considered a terrible game, but that's not the reason for its infamy (although it does tie into it). For all its failings, the game had spectacular graphics for 1993, which meant that hype was high, and magazines in Britain covering it sold like hotcakes (this was before the internet went mainstream, so gaming magazines were the only source of information on upcoming video games). Preview articles sent the game's Hype Train into overdrive, with claims that it would be a Genre Turning Point for Fighting Games and that it could even dethrone Street Fighter II. After being in development for a long time, Rise finally came out in 1994, and magazines gave it glowing reviews, which led to high sales... and that led to tons of people finding out that the game's quality did not match the magazines' reviews at all. In exchange for review copies, British game journalists promised to give positive reviews, but Rise's flaws were so severe that good graphics and tons of hype couldn't save it (this was avoided in America, where GamePro and EGM, who were known for being against this kind of behavior, gave the game negative reviews). Nowadays, it's hard to talk about the game without bringing up the fact that it was singlehandedly responsible for destroying public trust in British gaming magazines, putting many of them out of business.
  • Ronde for the Sega Saturn is the last game in the Majin Tensei branch of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, and is considered a fun game by those who have played it. Unfortunately, it's better known for having some of the worst graphics of the 32-bit era, which resulted in a preview event that garnered such negative reception that Japanese gamers cancelled their preorders for the game on a scale that was virtually unprecedented for the Japanese game industry at the time. The game's failure would make the SMT series abandon the Strategy RPG genre for 12 years, until 2009's Devil Survivor.

    S-Z 
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game is still mostly known for its unavailability after being delisted from digital storefronts in 2014, after Universal didn't renew the licensenote . The game is often used as the poster child for the negatives of digital-only games. It was eventually re-released with both DLC packs included in January 2021, but its spending over six years in digital limbo is unlikely to be forgotten, especially because it is generally agreed to avert The Problem with Licensed Games.
  • The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom actually fixed many of the complaints people have had over the last games and is as a result often considered the best Settlers game in almost a decade. Unfortunately though, the game's problematic, always-online DRM and infamously bad North American box art meant most people didn't bother to find out.
  • The first thing people tend to remember about SimCity (2013) is its utterly disastrous launch. The game was intended to be a reboot for the eponymous franchise, but those who bought it on launch-day discovered that its servers were so overloaded that the game was next to impossible to start playing, and since the game requires an always-online connection to the servers to run at all, it was essentially unplayable; gaming journalists explicitly said they couldn't review it. Then, when the server issues were resolved, the game was generally agreed to be average at best, with smaller maps compared to previous entries, as well as features missing from previous entries, being cited as causes for complaint. In 2015, Paradox Interactive published Cities: Skylines, a Spiritual Successor made in direct response to the miserable launch of SimCity (2013), which has been acclaimed by SimCity fans as the superior game. In contrast, the SimCity franchise has yet to recover from the controversies of its 2013 instalment and languishes in obscurity, though many older entries continue to be played and remembered fondly by fans.
  • Try mentioning SimCopter to anyone without someone bringing up the infamous "himbo" Easter Egg. Just try. When the game initially released, one of the developers snuck in this gag without Maxis's permission, where on certain days of the year note , male citizens dressed in nothing but speedos would show up in ridiculous numbers and start making out with one another. This Easter Egg wasn't caught until long after several tens of thousands of copies had shipped, leading to a massive recall and the oddity getting patched out of future releases. If you find yourself telling someone you bought a used copy, expect them to ask if you're going to see if it has this in it.
  • The Slaughtering Grounds was a cheaply made, asset-flip ridden first-person shooter game done by two people that seemed to have only made the game for a quick buck. Jim Sterling of Jimquisition fame tore the game a new one by heavily criticizing the game's broken mechanics, boring gameplay, and heavy use of purchased stock assets that did not fit the theme of the game and clashed with every other asset. The developers tried to silence Sterling with a copyright takedown, and when the takedown failed (along with other attempts to discredit Sterling), the duo then outright sued Sterling for defamation and other damages, to the tune of 10 million dollars. The moment the lawsuit happened, the game quickly became known for two people that couldn't take criticism over a crappy and broken game, and caused whole internet communities to spring up solely dedicated to scrutinizing and mocking the duo's previous work. Their reputation would only plummet even further when the duo tried suing Steam users for leaving negative reviews of their games—a move that led to Valve swiftly pulling all of the duo's games from the service in response. This reputation has followed these developers to every new online storefront they join since being booted from Steam, in spite of them assuming new aliases and trying to stay under the radar.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the long-awaited fourth game of the Sly Cooper franchise, became infamous shortly after release for having Penelope Mouse, a Nice Girl and loyal friend to the Cooper Gang in the previous game, pull a Face–Heel Turn and become a greedy Yandere, which even the twist's defenders bemoaned as underdeveloped and done just for shock value. Thus despite the gameplay and rest of the story being well received, this twist dominated fan perception and discussion and was seen as the developer Sanzaru Games not caring about the game, making them pariahs to all video game fandom. By the time Thieves in Time retroactively got an Audience-Alienating Ending once it was announced there would be no sequel thus ending the franchise on a cliffhanger, the fanbase had by and large already disowned the game.
  • SNK All Stars is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of SNK's various franchises. Among the general public, however, the game is almost entirely known for an infamous ad made by a (currently unknown) advertising partner where an extremely Out of Character Terry Bogard gropes Mai Shiranui, Blue Mary, and Kula Diamond while riding a bike. If the disgusting premise wasn't enough to sway public knowledge of the game, then the heavy amount of news coverage and Kula being underage sure did the job. To make matters even worse, the ad became the center of a debate over mobile game ads and their abuse of the Sex Sells trope, ensuring that the ad will forever live in infamy.
  • The fangame Sonic Gather Battle, otherwise a solidly-developed Beat 'em Up fangame of Sonic the Hedgehog, quickly became engulfed by controversy entirely over the fact that the creator, growing ridiculously overprotective of his derivative work (even though, by its nature as a fangame, the game uses characters, assets, and music that he does not own), implemented an overly intrusive form of DRM—again, in a fangame—that automatically closes the player's web browser without warning if any web search for "cheat" or "hack" is performed while the game is open, and turns the game into something out of a creepypastanote , logs the user's IP address, and sends it to the creator if it deems that the player is trying to hack into the game. It got to the point that most discussions about it treat it as a straight-up virus or malware.
  • Soul Series:
    • Soulcalibur III is still a popular game in the series, thanks in part to the large amount of single-player content offered in the game. However, this tends to be overshadowed by the outcry that rose from the decision to release the game exclusively on the PlayStation 2, which angered fans who bought the previous game for the GameCube or Xbox. This is especially the case concerning the GameCube version since it was actually the most popular version because of the inclusion of Link.
    • Soulcalibur II HD Remix received a lot of flack for not being released on a Nintendo console. The reason is that the original release had Version-Exclusive Content with a different Guest Fighter on each console, and HD Remix was intended to have the multiple guests in a single game. But the GameCube guest was Link from The Legend of Zelda and Nintendo understandably did not want their character on a rival console, so the developers decided to forego the Wii U release in order to keep the rosters the same on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
    • Soulcalibur V will be remembered as the game that killed the franchise stone dead for six years because of the fandom's anger over the following: a Time Skip that tried to justify the removals and/or replacements of popular characters like Taki, Talim, and Xianghua, with most of the characters outright replaced being women while most similarly aged male characters stayed in the cast regardless, and others arbitrarily given various excuses for not aging at all; the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the new protagonist Patroklos; and the fact that 3/4 of the planned story was left on the cutting room floor... with the remaining 25% focusing exclusively on Patroklos and his sister Pyrrha, leaving the rest of the cast with no Story Mode of their own. All of these issues led to the next entry in the series being made a Continuity Reboot so the creators could wash their hands of the game. The sixth game's lore also made the events of the fifth game a horrific Bad Future that had to be averted at all costs, with the original timeline's Cassandra warning her new version about it.
  • Articles on Star Citizen are much more likely to discuss its constant delays, its massive nine-digit cost overruns, its buggy pre-alpha state after years of work, a cash shop that encourages players to spend money on content that has yet to be implemented, and the question of whether the development team is merely incompetent or actively trying to scam the community, long before they discuss the game itself.
  • The Star Control Origins' release has been marred by a legal battle between the original creators of the Star Control IP, who wanted to publish their own sequel, and Stardock, the publishers of Origins. Fans of Star Control are heavily split between those who support the original creators' project, those who want Origins to succeed, and those who feel like both versions of the franchise have merit. Fortunately, the legal dispute was resolved in such a way as to let both game projects continue, but it has left a bitter taste in many fans' mouths.
  • Star Fox Adventures is primarily remembered for the bizarre Troubled Production it faced throughout its development, having started life as a Diddy Kong Racing sequel before being retooled into the original IP Dinosaur Planet, and then retooled again into a Star Fox game after Shigeru Miyamoto commented on the similar appearances of the games' leads to Fox McCloud. This leftfield cycling of properties, combined with a buyout from Xbox Game Studios that forced Rare to rush the game out before the change of hands went into effect (leading to many important aspects of the game's story and characters being axed or shuffled around), ensured that Star Fox Adventures would be permanently defined by its hectic development cycle rather than by any of its own merits.
  • Imagos Softworks' Starr Mazer: DSP is best known for the bizarre, sustained contract and copyright dispute that occurred in 2017 between composer Alex Mauer and Imagos, which saw Mauer successfully and frequently filing fraudulent DMCA claims against YouTube videos of the game in retaliation against Imagos, attracting massive backlash and drawing attention to how easily the site's DMCA report system could be abused.
  • Any and all discussion of Star Wars Battlefront II was swallowed up by the backlash against its microtransaction system, which was implemented in a way that many felt tread dangerously close to outright pay-to-win gambling, especially since, being a Star Wars game, it was guaranteed to be played by children despite the T (13+) rating. The game had Loot Boxes, purchased either with Credits (earned by playing matches) or Crystals (earned by paying real money), that gave a random selection of Star Cards that could be used to upgrade the abilities of your characters. The game also had Heroes (playable characters, including iconic Star Wars characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader) that required an absurd amount of Credits to unlock, so trying to unlock one would require you to abstain from buying lootboxes (and thus eschew the upgrades they contained, playing at a disadvantage) or only buy lootboxes with Crystals. It was calculated that it would take approximately forty hours of gameplay to unlock just one of the top-tier Heroes with Credits. The microtransaction/lootbox system gave it such a bad reputation that multiple governments labeled it as gambling and worked to regulate lootboxes and microtransactions in general, if not outright ban them. Furthermore, it scared off other publishers and developers enough that microtransactions in full price games afterwards trended downward sharply out of fear of similar negative press. Even after multiple changes (including the removal of all non-cosmetic lootbox drops), the game has never fully escaped its terrible first impression. This incident left enough of an impact that some later console-based Star Wars games published by Electronic Arts explicitly mentioned not having microtransations when they were first announced, which included the single-player game Jedi: Fallen Order.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken was highly anticipated upon release, being the crossover of two fighting game giants. The original plan was to have two games: Street Fighter X Tekken was made by Capcom and drew most of its gameplay inspiration from Street Fighter, while a planned follow-up titled Tekken X Street Fighter, developed by Namco, would play more like Tekken. Then, a series of controversies ruined the game's reputation and condemned Namco's half of the duology to Development Hell, the closest thing to it being Street Fighter's Akuma making an appearance as a Guest Fighter in Tekken 7. The most infamous issues were:
  • The English localisation of Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia—a book containing information on the Super Mario Bros. games from the original on the NES all the way to Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U, that was officially licensed by Nintendo—became embroiled in controversy just over one week after its release when it was discovered that one of the translators on the team, Zack Davisson, had decided to cut corners with some of the more obscure character names across the franchise in an unethical way. Instead of doing careful research and contacting Nintendo like the German and French localisation teams had, Davisson plagiarised from the Super Mario Wiki and Mario Fandom, without giving credit or citing their sources. This left a sour taste in many readers' mouths, and both Dark Horse Comics and Nintendo received fan backlash for proof-reading neglection. Nintendo also received flak for their neglection being seen as incredibly hypocritical, given their notorious litigation against fan games. This incident has made it very difficult for Super Mario fans to recommend buying the English version of the book, with most urging against doing so or at least telling people to buy a second-hand copy so as not to give financial support to Davisson's unethical behavior.
  • Tales of Zestiria is mostly remembered for the controversy revolving the characters of Alisha and Rose. The marketing of the game implied Alisha would the game's main heroine, but she ended up only being a Guest-Star Party Member that leaves quite early in the game only to be replaced with Rose who has become one of the most hated characters in the series due a myriad of issues (an unlikeable personality, a backstory that made no sense, and constantly being shilled by the narrative chief among them), and it doesn't help that it's apparent in the game that she was added in at the last minute. This also applies to longtime director Hideo Baba himself as rumors circulated in the Japanese Tales fandom that he had the original story draft changed a lot so that Rose would be included so he could flirt with her voice actress. The game left a black mark on his career and it's unlikely he'll recover from the fallout of Zestiria. One example was the Sakura Wars mobile game tanking, and its failure was speculated to be because of the rumors that Hideo Baba worked on it.
  • TERA tried to market itself as a new breed of action MMO, but most people who know of it know of it because of the controversy over the Elin, a One-Gender Race of flat-chested Older Than They Look Lolicon-like Little Bit Beastly girls who, like all the women in the game, dress in an incredibly skimpy fashion. Even with the American publishing company (shoddily) making the clothes more modest, this reputation has never particularly died down. As you can guess, Western fans of the game actually developed uncensored patches because they in turn feel betrayed by their publishers, making this a double case of this.
  • Thrill Kill is a case where the controversy was enough for the game to never get released (it was so violent the ESRB gave it an Adults-Only rating, and thus Electronic Arts pulled the plug despite it being basically finished).
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE was originally announced as a straightfoward serious Fire Emblem and Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei crossover Role-Playing Game on 2013, but became this upon its gameplay reveal in 2015 as a Lighter and Softer Idol Singer-themed SMT Spin-Off RPG more in-line with the popular Persona series, with an original cast of protagonists that uses Fire Emblem characters as the companion monsters and enemies of the game. The ensuing backlash led to Nintendo of America giving the game a non-existent advertising campaign and little-to-no fanfare during its release. The game's Western release (and the Japanese version of the Nintendo Switch Updated Re-releasenote ) was also significantly censored in some parts, mostly regarding the more mature sexual content and humor, causing even fans of Japanese media who would otherwise be interested in the game to boycott it out of principle. The combination of all these factors lead to the game bombing in sales and killing plans for a proposed series of Shin Megami Tensei crossover spin-offs. It did manage to get a small following however, with multiple players noting that even with the unexpected tone, themes and notable censorship for the western Wii U release, the gameplay was solid and those not even fans of the idol genre could see the game crafting its own identity. Thus, the Switch rerelease was made and sold better than the Wii U version, but the presence of censorship on both regions this time resulted in yet another controversy that proceeded to undermine potential sales once more.
  • TRON: RUN/r got negative reception from fans for being short, for being released instead of a third film that was cancelled due to Tomorrowland's failure at the box office, and for being made by Sanzaru Games, still reeling from the Sly Cooper controversy.
  • Vs Sky, a Game Mod for Friday Night Funkin', was hugely popular, but nowadays it is overshadowed by creator bbpanzu's negative reaction to people making pornographic images of Sky, due to considering her to be underaged (not helped by the artist denying this and claiming she's an adult). The breaking point was when people started sending these images to bfswifeforever (the inspiration behind Sky, who was 12 years old as of the controversy), which led to bbpanzu delisting the mod from Gamebanana in April 2021, wiping its page on the FnF mod wiki, and generally trying to have its presence deleted from the internet (which worked as well as you'd expect). The lack of any legitimate sources to obtain the mod from makes it inevitable that anyone interested in playing it will hear about the drama it caused.
  • Any discussions of Warcraft III: Reforged (2020) inevitably begin to revolve around its disastrous launch and questionable actions that further damaged Blizzard's reputation since their former parent company Vivendi Games merged with Activision in 2008. Announced as an Updated Re-release to the much-loved Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002), Blizzard promised to align its lore with World of Warcraft while remaining faithful to what made the original game great and co-existing alongside it in the Battle.net client, which generated a lot of excited anticipation from fans. It was released to complete derision for being an Obvious Beta and completely failing to deliver on its promises. The cinematic cutscenes from the trailer were unexpectedly removed, several promised new features were cut, several features found in the original game were missing, and it was riddled with Game-Breaking Bugs including disconnection problems. What solidified its infamy was that 1) the original game was removed from the Battle.net client and merged with Reforged, forcing everybody who wants to play Warcraft III to contend with the broken remaster's problems, even those who already owned the original, 2) the remaster's EULA grants Blizzard exclusive ownership over any and all user-created content note , and 3) Blizzard's official response to the intense backlash included the words "We're sorry to those of you who didn't have the experience you wanted", which was seen as Blizzard blaming their own Warcraft fans for having their expectations too high, even though those high expectations were set by Blizzard themselves with their trailer for the game in 2018. In July 2021, it was confirmed that Reforged had suffered from a Troubled Production marred by mismanagement and a cripplingly low budget provided by the publisher out of the belief that a RTS game in 2020 wouldn't sell, much to Warcraft fans' lack of surprise.
  • The tie-in game for Westworld got Warner Brothers sued just one day after its release. The game was a ripoff of Fallout Shelter to start with, and then the Fallout Shelter developers noticed that the Westworld game suffered from the exact same bug that the Fallout game had upon release which they had later patched, which prompted them to accuse the Westworld developer of having used the exact same code which was their property. This pretty much led the game to eventually be shut down in January 2019. Funnily enough, just a month earlier the show itself had an episode revealing that the various parks sometimes copy storylines wholesale between each other.
  • We Dare is mostly known for its provocative advertising campaign, which implied that playing the game involved players engaging in all sorts of risqué behavior in real life, including spanking each other and stripping naked. The game itself is a mini-game collection/party game widely considered So Okay, It's Average, and contains only mildly suggestive content at worst, but ironically said lack of objectionable content resulted in a low age rating, which critics argued was at odds with the game's marketing. As a result of the controversy, Ubisoft cancelled its North American release, and it faced scrutiny in the regions it did come out in such as the UK and Australia.
  • Wii Music probably would have been forgotten shortly after its release if it wasn't for Nintendo pushing the game as the Wii's "killer app" at the E3 2008 press conference. The move alienated fans who were hoping to see a new The Legend of Zelda or Super Mario Bros. game, and were instead given a mediocre rhythm game. It got to the point that Satoru Iwata issued a public apology days after the conference, explaining that the company was trying to experiment with their press conference presentations.
  • WWE 2K16 is best remembered for the controversy that erupted when it was revealed the "Four Horsewomen of NXT" (Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Bayley) would not be included in the game despite most of the male NXT names making it in, not even as DLC. Not even the WWE video game debut of Samoa Joe that year (who debuted just that May) was able to calm down the fans' anger.
  • The Xbox One was defined by the massive outcry over Microsoft's (ultimately scrapped) plans to give the console DRM that would require it to connect to Xbox Live at least once every 24 hours and place heavy restrictions on used games. Also controversial was the bundling of the Kinect with every console and requiring it be plugged into the system for the Xbox One to function, which (a) increased the system's price note  and (b) upset people who either didn't care for the Kinect or were worried about privacynote . Worse was Don Mattrick's initial response essentially telling users that they would have to accept this or be stuck in the past. The backlash was so swift and intense that Microsoft reversed both their DRM plans and the requirement that Kinect be plugged in at all times a week after E3, replaced Xbox division head Don Mattrick with Phil Spencer, and later cut the Kinect entirely to drop the system's price. While these actions have redeemed the brand in the eyes of most consumers, the Xbox One was never able to gain enough momentum to challenge PlayStation 4's sales numbers, in no small part due to the self-inflicted wounds from its pre-release.
  • Once a heavily anticipated indie title whose demos gained it a wide fandom overnight, Yandere Simulator is better-known nowadays for the heavy amounts of drama surrounding its lead developer, YandereDev. Most notorious is the fact that the game has been in an alpha state since 2014, which resulted in many accusing him of milking Development Hell for profit, and the demos' poor coding resulted in widespread ridicule that only corroborated the controversy surrounding his apparent approach to game development. As a result, any attempts at discussing Yandere Simulator today will inevitably circle around to YandereDev himself and especially his treatment of the game.
  • YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG is plagued with its own issues like story pacing and sluggish gameplay, but what really brought the game into the spotlight were both the revelation that its main developer, Brian Allanson, plagiarized a few paragraphs from Haruki Murakami's novels as a poor attempt at a Shout-Out and his confirmation on Twitter that the game's premise is based on the shadowy real life death of Elisa Lam, the latter of which was condemned by many as disrespectful. Allanson's subsequent tantrums (where he accused gamers of not being able to handle complex subjects or unlikable protagonists) finished sinking the game's reputation, and now any mention you see of YIIK online will almost always be about its controversies.

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