Follow TV Tropes


Overshadowed By Controversy / Video Games

Go To

    open/close all folders 

  • Action 52 is more well known for the over-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.
  • Battleborn suffered due to how Gearbox Software horribly mishandled Aliens: Colonial Marines, which gave it the same negative reputation. Not helping matters was a suicidally overconfident marketing campaign attempting to create a Fandom Rivalry 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, stealing Battleborn's thunder. Because of these factors, Battleborn is seen as a cautionary tale on how the negative reputation of one game can carry on to another.
  • Battlefield V was hit hard when it was officially revealed with a trailer that focused more on crazy and frenetic action and exaggerated character customization that allowed players to create soldiers of any gender and color in World War II. When some accused the game of being too politically correct, the developers and producers responded by daring those who didn't like those additions and changes to not buy the game. Two months before its release, it was stated by analysts that the game was miles behind Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption II in pre-orders, leading to many internet personalities, bloggers and journalists debating and blaming each other and the fanbase for its low pre-orders with one side blaming the perceived inclusive political agenda of developer DICE, while the other putting the blame on its release date and weak advertising. Even putting aside the complaints about "historical accuracy", the initial game was considered an unfinished mess that had multiple bugs and was missing much advertised features like the much-touted battle royale mode.
  • 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 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.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Surprisingly enough, Modern Warfare 2 managed to subvert being hit with this. Despite the initial uproar over the "No Russian" level,note  Modern Warfare 2 managed to outsell its predecessor and is still one of the most highly regarded games in the Call of Duty series.
    • This is played straight with Modern Warfare Remastered. The game 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.
  • CarnEvil is considered a classic of the rail shooter genre, but its 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, 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.
  • Civilization VI:
    • Civilization VI is a difficult game to discuss without covering the allegations of Eurocentrism and Creator Provincialism surrounding it. Its stable of playable empires was the most European-dominated since the first game, and included several European and European colonial civilizations not typically in the base game, most notably Brazil. There were no pre-Colonial empires from the Americas included in the game at launch, save for the Aztecs (included in the base game for every installment until this one), who were a pre-order bonus and only released for everyone ninety days later. The first two DLC civilizations were Poland and (post-colonial) Australia, which along with Brazil comprise three of the biggest overseas markets for the series, leading to allegations of putting profits before sense on the part of the developers. The sole Sub-Saharan African empire in the game at launch, Kongo, has an ability that defines it by how other civilizations affect it, is the only one to be locked out of a victory condition (Religious), and its Civilopedia entry and India's describe them rather condescendingly. Finally, Alexander the Great was given his own playable empire, Macedon, independent from Greece (which he usually leads), while non-European series standbys such as the Inca, the Mongols, and the Zulu have yet to appear.
    • To a lesser, but still noticeable extent, the use of more female leaders than any game before (such as the replacement of Ensemble Dark Horse Napoleon with Queen Catherine as the leader of France, or the choice to use Gorgo as the representative of Sparta over her vastly more well-known husband, Leonides) has resulted a lot of negative backlash based on sexism (generally wrapped up in an argument that the female leader was chosen over more "deserving" historical figures simply to pander to SJ Ws and feminists), which naturally dragged in some places into flame wars from which neither side came out looking civilized.
  • Custer's Revenge was an unlicensed third-party game for the Atari 2600 in 1982. It gathered quite a bit of negative attention, particularly from feminist and Native American groups, as the objective involved raping an Indian woman. From the next generation of consoles onward, manufacturers require approval for games to be released on their machines.

  • Daikatana, aside from its years spent in Development Hell, picked up controversy over its advertising campaign, which stated 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.
  • Dead Cells was the victim of a controversy that the game itself had nothing to do with. The review of Dead Cells by IGN's Filip Miucin was revealed to be almost entirely plagiarized from YouTuber Boomstick Gaming. Boomstick immediately called Miucun out on his plagiarism, leading to Miucin trying to weasel out of it by saying it was just a coincidence, despite several instances of uncannily similar quotes having been pointed out. Miucun then tempted fate by challenging the Internet to find more cases of him stealing other reviews; they did, and the resulting Internet Backdraft made IGN take down the review, completely destroyed Miucin's reputation, and ensured that no reputable review site will ever hire him again.
  • Depression Quest is a small independent text-based game focused on helping the player character deal with her severe depression, based on the real-life experiences of its creator Zoe Quinn. But you probably don't remember that. You do probably remember the allegation, later proven false, made by Quinn's ex-boyfriend that she had slept with a critic in exchange for a positive review, the online Slut-Shaming campaign against her that resulted from that, and the massive debate about sexism and gender roles in the gaming industry that resulted from that.
  • Starting late 2017, Destiny 2 kept getting caught in underhanded tactics such as covertly throttling player experience gains, issues with the Eververse, removing an armor said to resemble a symbol of 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.
  • Played straight and then ultimately subverted with Doom. For a period in the late '90s and early '00s, the game was inexorably linked to the fact that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, perpetrators of the infamous Columbine High School massacre, were huge fans of the game. There were even rumors, though no hard evidence, that they rehearsed the massacre by means of a modded Doom map in the shape of the school's floor plan (Harris and Klebold did in fact make Doom mods, but this one, if it existed at all, has never been found. It is also extremely dubious simply because the shooting spree was not the actual plan, it was what they resorted to on the spot when their bombs didn't work). Over the years, however, 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 behind-the-times idiots, 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 around the Internet over the Amazon and Sorceress' character designs. This actually led to lot 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 one truly impossible score among his highly suspect scores.
  • The Driver series has long lived under the infamy of Driver 3. 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 was forgotten until Guru Larry's webshow "Fact Hunt" covered it in 2016.
  • Duke Nukem Forever is known primarily for two things: being delayed for over a decade, and the fact that when it did finally come out it was found to contain extremely outdated attitudes toward race and gender (much of which was extreme even for The '90s, Duke Nukem's golden age), most infamously a "capture the flag"-style minigame based around abducting women.
  • Erika to Satoru no Yume Bouken is an obscure Japan-exclusive Famicom game. The only reason it is remembered today, even in Japan? A hidden message where a developer gives a long, angry "The Reason You Suck" Speech to his colleagues.
  • Evony, a browser-based, allegedly free strategy game, is more known for its infamous advertising campaign and false promises of boobs 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 backfired predictably).
  • Fallout 76:
    • The game is considered a trainwreck of many, many successive failures by Bethesda Softworks, being heavily panned by critics, players and fans alike. It was launched with many glitches, bad graphics and poor optimization. Many players have pinned this on the engine for the game, which dates back to 1997 and is hardly meant to be used for a 2018 triple-A title. On top of all this, a significant amount of content in the game is recycled from both Fallout 4 and Skyrim - up to and including multiple bugs, because the devs are apparently used to letting the fans fix them - and messes with the series' established lore. Fans also argue that the game was doomed from the start, since the Fallout series is meant to be a single-player focused experience about the journey of your main character. At best, the survival-focused MMO style is awkward for the series, and at worst, it's trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
    • The canvas bag deserves a bullet point of its own. Bethesda promised fans an impressive military-style canvas bag as part of its $200 special edition, only to run out of materials and substitute the canvas with nylon. Their apology over it when fans started complaining just fanned the flames further, as Bethesda had known about the issue in advance but stayed silent about it and let numerous people keep buying something they wouldn't be getting, while also having the chutzpah to say they still consider this one of the greatest bonus materials they've ever had and that they had no plans to do anything about the deception. To really rub salt in the wound, their initial compensation for irritated customers is 500 Atoms, or five dollars worth of in-game currency for microtransactions - which isn't even enough to buy anything on its own in-game (and, if you figured that was the best they were going to offer and accepted, it left you ineligible for later, larger compensations that would at least let you actually buy something from the atom shop). While Bethesda acquiesced and said it would be sending people replacement canvas bags, it got even worse when a bug in the company's website made it so people submitting tickets for a replacement bag were accidentally allowed access to the personal information of everyone else doing the same. The company responded with a pithy "Hi guys, we've resolved this issue," which naturally not many people were happy with.
  • Far Cry 5 saw a good deal of turbulent publicity in the time prior to its release thanks to its use of Christian fundamentalists and extreme American conservatives as its villains, owing to the game coming out amidst resurgent liberal-conservative tensions in the US. Once the game was actually released, however, that controversy was swallowed up by one still larger, namely the game's overwhelmingly panned endings, in which either the player leaves the Big Bad; Joseph Seed, alive, only to later reveal that the player character was brainwashed during the story, leading to them murdering their fellow Deputies in a mad rage. Or arrests him, where he is proven correct in his delusions of a nuclear apocalypse, with nuclear bombs destroying the world as we know it. As result, many who have played the game told those who hadn't to not bother with it at all, resulting in a noticeable sales drop from its very popular predecessor.
  • Fear Effect 2: Double Helix was known for having the first lesbian couple in video game history.
  • The indie game Fez 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.
  • Final Fantasy XV, previously known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, had controversy due to its numerous developmental issues and its unfinished state at launch, both of which were caused by years of Executive Meddling due to the VsXIII/FFXV team constantly being pulled by Square Enix management to assist with the developmental troubles of the FFXIII trilogy and FFXIV 1.0. After those were taken care of, Nomura (the original director) was reassigned to direct Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy VII Remake while Tabata took over FFXV. Under tight time constraintsnote  and one delay of the release date, Tabata managed to released the game on November 30, 2016 and the game recouped its development costs on day one. Tabata took note of the fan feedback on sections such as the infamous Chapter 13, Ravus's incoherent and inconsistent story that was told mostly offscreen, and the general Obvious Beta status of the second half of the game, and pledged to fans that there would be free updates throughout 2017, which eventually ceased after the release of the Royal Pack/Windows Edition in early March 2018. Square Enix was seemingly okay with FFXV's financial performance, and awarded Tabata with his own studio, Luminous Productions. Shortly afterwards, Tabata announced a second season pass for the game based on fan feedback that consisted of four DLC character episodes featuring fan favorites Ardyn, Lunafreya, Aranea, and Noctis; more content for the online multiplayer DLC Comrades that would be arriving in Summer 2018; and mod tools for the Windows Edition. Months of silence on these updates from Square Enix followed, including not acknowledging a missed deadline on the delivery of the Comrades content, but on November 8, 2018, Square Enix held a stream for the fans ahead of the second anniversary of the game. In this fan stream, it was announced that Director Tabata had left Square Enix and Luminous Productions as of October 31st,note  all the DLC character episodes besides Ardyn's were cancelled; the Comrades multiplayer DLC was now a standalone title exclusive to consoles; and the plan to release the mod tools for the Windows Edition has seemingly been abandoned. Needless to say, this fan stream of terrible news did not go over well with the fanbase.
  • 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,Explanation  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 Soleil, a bisexual character's support conversation due to its supposed endorsement of Slipping a Mickey and Cure Your Gays, 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 a Dork Age 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.
  • Fortnite was sued by Alfonso Ribiero for ripping off his "Carlton dance" from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air among the dances players can program their avatars with. While it was eventually dropped, it has been regarded as the first high profile lawsuit to deal with the issue, with dance having only first been made legally copyrightable in the 1970s and few cases having been made until this one, meaning there's basically no legal precedent to fall back on and the outcome will create the baseline for all future cases like it.

  • The Grand Theft Auto games have suffered from this through the years. Whether it is about beating up prostitutes, a scapegoat for criminals to blame their wrongdoings on, accusations of misogyny, or 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 of 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 due to a mod that allowed access to a Dummied Out Hot Coffee Minigame. This caused much outrage among Moral Guardians, ensuing in the game having to be re-released with all traces of the minigame's code deleted and costing Rockstar Games millions from lawsuits.
  • Two Guild Wars 2 designers were fired in July 2018, after 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, 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 that it already is currently.
  • The Guy Game is an obscure erotic video game that rewards you for completing various puzzles with FMV clips of lovely gals 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 lovely gals 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.
  • Hatred is notorious for its Audience-Alienating Premise, 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 a hate group. This has all vastly 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, and the rumors that the game passed Steam Greenlight due to the developer using bots rather than the gameplay or story.
  • Jimi-Kare, an otherwise ordinary and completely family-friendly Free To Play otome-focused mobile game, is mostly known for its Bad Ending where it's heavily implied that Haru (the male lead) sexually assaults the player character.
  • 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 pointed out 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 and 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.
  • Konami as a video game developer; since their shift to Pachinko gaming, many other controversies overshadow the memories of the classic games that they have made in the past, the Konami Code or how they were actually doing a consumer-based approach on Super Bomberman R, which was highly praised at how attentive they were for those who played the game.
  • 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 and a stubborn refusal to allow it to go Free to Play to gain more players in the 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.
  • 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.
  • While still a popular game (albeit being a Contested Sequel in the Mafia franchise's fandom), it is difficult to bring up Mafia III without addressing the fact that it uses The Klan, confederate apologists, Dixies, and Southern racists as Acceptable Targets, which led to said groups trolling the Steam forums when the game was initially released.
  • 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.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect 3 quickly became notorious for its anticlimactic ending, which provoked an Internet Backdraft so vehement that BioWare was forced to release an "Extended Cut" DLC in a desperate attempt to calm the fans. Expect any discussion of the game as a whole to gravitate towards the ending and/or the reaction to it.
    • 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 ice for the foreseeable future.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is considered a crossfire victim within the Konami / Hideo Kojima controversy resulting with Kojima's departure from the company and the cancellation of Silent Hills. And that's just the tip of the iceberg...
    • Metal Gear Survive is inseparable from the "ex-Kons" controversy that occurred between Kojima's departure/firing from Konami and the game's release. Expect any criticism about the game to be based more on the controversy rather than any shortcomings of the game itself. The game's reputation was further tarnished after its use of microtransactions was outed, including charging extra for additional save slots.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Other M is mainly known for putting series protagonist Samus Aran through severe Badass Decay, thanks to a combination of Character Shilling of Adam Malkovich (who himself acts nothing like the strict yet respectful military genius he is stated to be in Metroid Fusion), Values Dissonance, and just plain Bad Writing. It's made all the worse since Samus is one of the medium's first and most well-known female protagonists and therefore something of a feminist gaming icon, which means gender politics get brought into play (and Other M's gratuitous Male Gaze at inappropriate moments doesn't help either). In second place is the attempted justification for the series' usual Bag of Spilling that ends up absurd (particularly, not using available heat shielding in a lava-filled area).
    • Other M even wound up overshadowing the next game in the series, Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Fans had been desperate for a new entry to correct Other M's sins and put the series back on track, but Federation Force is a multiplayer co-op game featuring Federation soldiers instead of a Metroidvania starring Samus, adding up to an immediate Audience-Alienating Premise. From its announcement, it was received with bile from fans for not being what they wanted in the slightest. Even its defenders admitted that Nintendo really misread the timing and the audience here. Even worse, a couple weeks before Federation Force came out, the Fan Remake 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.note  Thankfully, nearly a year later Nintendo announced a new Metroid Prime title and their own Metroid II remake, Samus Returns, helping to satisfy the fans upset by Other M and Federation Force and partially explaining the AM2R takedown.
    • Samus Returns itself managed to escape this issue, despite everything it had going against it. For Nintendo to announce a remake of the same game that devoted fans had spent the course of an entire decade recreating for no financial gain, only to have the fruit of efforts taken offline mere hours after its release, so soon after the C&D went out took some serious chutzpah and could easily have garnered no end of negative press and fan backlash. Upon the release of the game, however, fans and critics generally came to agree that Samus Returns and AM2R are both very good games in their own right, with both games merely doing certain things better than the other. Despite this, you'll still run into the occasional Metroid superfan who picks every aspect of the official remake apart for reasons that amount to "it's not AM2R so it's bad."
  • 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 the the game 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.
  • Game designer Peter Molyneux, and the games he has created including Black & White, Dungeon Keeper, and the Fable series, are better known 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.
  • Mortal Kombat led to the creation of the ESRB through its fatality system. Amusingly, the Sega versions of the game were rated, while the Nintendo ports were censored.note 

  • 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 toward women, while many of them admitted they hadn't played the game.
  • No Man's Sky, which was riding a wave of extreme speculation since its initial reveal at the 2013 Spike Video Game Awards, gained a Vocal Minority of increasingly absurdly zealous fans well over a year before it 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. Not that the actual release ended up improving 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 his 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, raising 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 games like Spore and Fable. While Hello Games did manage to Win Back the Crowd with various updates to fix its many issues, the game is still 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 Nintendo Switch port of Overcooked is less known for its poor quality and more known for kicking off the chain of events that led to Nick Robinson's harrassment allegations.
  • Paper Mario:
    • Paper Mario: Sticker Star was generally regarded as a So Okay, It's Average game, with its biggest flaw being an extreme amount of unnecessary changes. What pushed it to become an extremely disliked game was the Executive Meddling during development; the drastic changes were caused by Shigeru Miyamoto thinking the initial plan would've been too much like Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, and the infamous restriction of only using pre-established Mario characters also stemmed from this. This only got worse when it became clear that Nintendo was really proud of the game, and stated that they planned to keep Sticker Star's formula for future Paper Mario games. In the end, fans are much more likely to talk about how Sticker Star affected the franchise than they are to talk about its plot, gameplay, or anything else.
    • Paper Mario: Color Splash was wrecked by the fanbase upon its announcement due to being a sequel (gameplay-wise) to 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 gave the impression that Nintendo saw the Mario & Luigi franchise as their 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.
  • Pokémon:
    • Jynx is known more for the controversy surrounding its appearance than anything else. It's not really useful in battle and very few like its design, partially because no one knows what it's supposed to be.note  Regardless, its old design was very controversial because it looked like a racial stereotype of black people. As a result, its design was changed to have purple skin, anime episodes featuring Jynx were either edited or withheld from airing in the West, and its sprite was edited to have purple skin in the international versions of Pokémon Gold and Silver and in the Virtual Console release of Pokémon Yellow.
    • Kadabra is mostly known for the controversy generated when supposed psychic Uri Geller sued Nintendo, claiming it was based off of him without his approval (Uri was famous for his ability to bend spoons using psychokinesis, while Kadabra can do the same. In addition, Kadabra's Japanese name -Yungerer- is spelled with only one characters' difference to "Uri Geller" in katakana) and was claimed to anti-Semitic due to the SS markings on its forehead. The Pokémon hasn't appeared in any anime episodes since 2005, and no Kadabra cards in the card game have been printed since 2003 (with Abra's evolution skipping over to Alakazam).
    • Porygon is normally a well-liked Pokémon, but it's mostly known for being the star character in "Electric Solider Porygon", an episode of the anime that was the source of an incident where it causes seizures in a number of children who were watching the episode. The episode itself features flashing red and blue lights that are caused by Pikachu using Thunderbolt on an oncoming missile. Due to the pandemonium and public outcry it caused (the anime was almost cancelled), the episode never aired again and all elements were exiled from the anime's continuity, including Porygon itself. None of its evolutions (Porygon 2 and Porygon-Z) make an appearance in any episode except for blink-and-you-miss-it moments at the introduction of certain Pokémon movies. This is still a sore spot for many fans of the anime.
    • Pokémon GO has had controversy from day one. While still a popular game, its infamy arises from the game's concept of walking around in the real world to find Pokémon, which has resulted in one too many incidents of people being mugged, hurt, distracted or killed while playing the game. As a result, it is banned in many areas or countries for safety reasons. There was also a highly unfortunate coincidence where a Koffing, which is a Poison-type, appeared at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, though the player who reported it also came in for their own heavy share of criticism for having the incredibly bad taste to be playing the game there in the first place. The game's reputation is far more infamous in Russia, during a widely publicized incident where a vlogger was caught playing the game during an Orthodox church service. This incident not only lead the man to be jailed, but any references to the game were edited out of the media during this time period. Ironically though, the game or series has not been banned in Russia.
  • The Postal series is well-known for being a common target for Moral Guardians to campaign against video game violence, more so than any quality of gameplay, as opposed to other common targets like Doom or Grand Theft Auto.
  • 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's 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.

  • The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom actually fixed many of the complains 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.
  • Shadow of the Eternals, the Spiritual Successor of Eternal Darkness, was engulfed in controversy ever since its announcement, and it seemed to swell up more with each bit of progress made. First, fans were skeptical of Precursor Games accepting PayPal for donations instead of using a reputable site like Kickstarter, and Kotaku published an article shortly before which focused on Silicon Knights and its alleged shady business practices. After Kickstarter was finally secured as the primary funding platform, skeptics accused the development team of double-dipping. Finally, co-founder Ken McCulloch was arrested and sentenced for possession of child pornography.
  • The Slaughtering Grounds was a cheaply made, asset flipped ridden 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 assets that did not fit the theme of the game. The developers tried to silence Sterling with a copyright takedown, when the takedown failed, the duo then outright sued Sterling for defamation and other damages. The moment the lawsuit happened, the game quickly became known for two people that couldn't take criticism over a crappy and broken game. 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.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog fangame Sonic Gather Battle quickly became engulfed by controversy entirely over the fact that the creator, growing ridiculously overprotective of his work (which, by its nature as a fangame, uses characters, assets, and music that he does not own), implemented an overly intrusive form of DRM—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; tints the backgrounds red while causing yellow glowing eyes to appear at random, replaces the music with the US Sonic CD boss theme, and starts spawning enormous One-Hit Kill ghosts if it detects a cheat engine; and most damningly, 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 over 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; since the developers obviously weren't allowed to put Link on a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, they decided to forego the Wii U release in order to keep the rosters the same.
    • Soulcalibur V will be remembered as the game that killed the franchise dead for six years because of anger over the Time Skip, the removals or replacements of popular characters like Taki, Talim, and Xianghua; the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the new protagonist Patroklos, and the fact that 90% of the planned story was left on the cutting room floor.
  • 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 in the previous game, pull a Face–Heel Turn and become a greedy Yandere without reason for a cheap Plot Twist, and for ending the game on a cliffhanger. While fans were all right with the Sequel Hook, thinking that the franchise would have another major trilogy in the works similar to the Ratchet & Clank Future trilogy, no fifth game was ever announced, and within a year, Sanzaru Games, who developed Thieves in Time, confirmed that they weren't making a sequel. Fans were so angry with the Downer Ending and Penelope's poorly-written Face–Heel Turn that they've disowned the game, and Sanzaru was declared a pariah of video games.
  • Imagos Softworks' Starr Mazer: DSP is best known for the bizarre 2017 contract and copyright dispute 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 Internet Backdraft and drawing attention to how easily the site's DMCA report system could be abused.
  • Star Control Origins release has been marred by a bitter legal battle between the original creators of the Star Control IP, who wanted to publish their own sequel, and Stardock, the publishers of Origins. As of this writing, the legal dispute is on-going, and 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.
  • 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. It has gotten so bad that multiple governments labeled it as gambling and are working now to regulate lootboxes and microtransactions in general, if not outright ban it.
  • Steam had already gradually come under fire due to its lax quality control policies, the Steam Greenlight system lending itself to more often than not mediocre and/or offensive games, along with the ease of cheating them through, which often buried more honest up-and-coming developers under shovelware. In 2017, Greenlight was retired, but its replacement, Steam Direct, quickly became considered even worse because the system made it easier for shovelware to make it onto Steam, exacerbating the quality control problems even further, which has soured several players and developers on the platform, and has resulted in a number of independent developers deciding to take their chances with consoles or other sites. It didn't help that in June 2018, after backlash toward a seeming crackdown on adult Japanese visual novels for supposedly pornographic content (many of which were already approved and didn't seem to cause problems before) that was quickly dropped, Valve said that they were going to allow anything that isn't "trolling" or "illegal" to be posted on Steam, the vague wording and definition of which was seen by a majority of people as giving up, with the mention of updating the curating tools to filter out content the players don't want to see doing little to dissuade this mindset.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken was highly anticipated upon release, being the crossover of two fighting game giants. Then through a series of controversies (the Gems game mechanic, the addition of "Bad Box Art" Mega Man in the wake of the controversial cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3) culminating in the revelation that all DLC was on disk (and there was a lot of DLC) overshadowed the game's actual quality. To this day, Namco's half of the crossover is still pending and very much in question.
  • Composer Koichi Sugiyama, best known in the video game world for writing the music for the Dragon Quest series, has become infamous for his outspoken political beliefs, which include denial of war crimes committed by Imperial Japan, and opposition to LGBT and women's rights. With regards to the games themselves, he's also been criticized for the iron grip he maintains over the games' music. For instance, he has refused to allow newer games in the series to use orchestral music due to his fear that doing so would lead fewer people to buy his soundtrack albums and concert tickets. It also means that, should Square Enix decide to stop working with him for any of the aforementioned reasons, they would lose the rights to use some of the series' classic music, such as the main overture.
  • 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; 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 and Minecraft: Story Mode were profitable and most were developed under heavy crutch due to the company's founder and former-CEO's draconian and dismisful management.
  • Cartoonist Doug TenNapel gained fame in the 90s and early 2000s for his contributions to the video game industry, with Earthworm Jim and The Neverhood being among his best known and well-liked creations. These days, the only thing people might know about TenNapel anymore is his open transphobia and homophobia.
  • 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 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 final gameplay reveal on 2015 as a Lighter and Softer Pop Idol-themed Shin Megami Tensei Spin-Off RPG 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 fanrare during its release, leading to the game bombing in sales and killing plans for a proposed series of Shin Megami Tensei crossover spin-offs.
  • Tomodachi Life is infamous due to the lack of a Gay Option and Nintendo's initial rationalization about it, which was later retracted in an apology, more so than the game being about interpersonal relationships between Miis. An Urban Legend of Zelda asserting that the Japanese version had a bug allowing same-sex couples that got fixed in the localization didn't help.note 
  • 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.
  • 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 developers noticed that it suffered from the exact same bug that game had upon release which they later patched, to which they accused the developer of using the exact same code which was their property. This pretty much lead 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.
  • Wii Music probably would have been a completely forgotten game 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 Zelda or Mario game, and were instead given a Wii software dry spell for the rest of the year. 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. To this day, the game is seen as what killed the Wii's chance of ever having a main game release.
  • 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.
  • During the run up to its release and its early life, the Xbox One was defined by the massive gamer outcry over its use of always-online DRM and restrictions on used games. Gamers were also upset with the fact Microsoft was bundling Kinect with every console and requiring users to have it plugged into the system, which increased the price of the system and creeped many people out due to its privacy implications. The backlash got so bad that Microsoft reversed the DRM and requirement that Kinect be plugged in at all times; however, the ill-will Microsoft created and the fact that there was initially no option to buy the console without Kinect turned many people off from the machine. By the time Microsoft eliminated the last of these problems by releasing a cheaper Kinect-free version of the One six months after its release, many people had moved on to rival platforms, giving the Xbox One a massive deficit in sales that it has yet to make up.
  • Yandere Simulator is best known for the controversy surrounding its developer "YandereDev", the game being banned from multiple streaming and video sites for the game having panty shots as a feature when the game takes place in a Japanese high school, and how fans aren't happy with the game still in alpha, despite being in development for four years, which often results in people accusing YandereDev of milking Development Hell.
  • In March 2017, Playtonic Games decided to remove JonTron from Yooka-Laylee due to the very controversial remarks he made earlier in the month during a stream with a Twitch streamer known as Destiny. This created a huge split between fans/backers and a huge political flame war in the gaming community.


Example of: