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     A-C 
  • Abstractism was an extremely simple platform game by Russian developers Okalo Union that could be summarized as "black box jumps onto white rectangles". It would have been completely forgotten 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'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 a Trojan horse virus. 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 claiming that the game mines Monero coins (to defend themselves from an accusation that their game mines bitcoins), and then 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 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-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.
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines is more known for its Development Hell, poor quality, and misleading marketing that falsely promised a high-end, triple-A game made by fans for fans of the Alien franchise. When the game was released in 2013, it was panned by gamers and critics for its bugs, downgraded graphics, and terrible AI that resulted in the final game being completely different from the polished trailers and gameplay demos. The game's image would then be further tarnished when it was revealed that developer Gearbox Software used Sega's money and subcontracted the development of the game to Timegate Studios so that Gearbox could work on the development of Borderlands 2 and Battleborn. Likewise, publisher Sega was also revealed to have forced the developers to have human enemies in hopes of winning over Call of Duty fans, instead of the traditionally space alien threats of the franchise, which contributed to its negative reception. The contract disputes between Gearbox and Sega, a misleading marketing lawsuit between the two companies that Sega settled out of court, and the outrage caused by the game's release forever stained the legacy of Gearbox Software, who before the release of the game were seen as the "cool guys" of the gaming industry thanks to Borderlands 2 and have been embroiled in no shortage of controversies afterwards. The cherry on top of this controversy was the fact that five years after its release, modders discovered the source of the Xenomorph's broken AI to be caused by a single typo in the "tether" command (it was misspelled as "teather"), which led to discussions of Gearbox's quality assurance in their games and prompted several software companies to ask developers to spell "tether" in job interviews after the news came out.
  • Battleborn suffered due to how Gearbox Software horribly mishandled the aforementioned Colonial Marines, which gave it the same negative reputation by default. 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, 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 was hit hard thanks to PR gaffes from developer DICE regarding the historical accuracy and quality of the final product. The reveal trailer focused more on crazy and frenetic action with 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, an EA executive responded by daring those who didn't like those additions and changes to not buy the game, which is exactly what happened, with pre-orders trailing significantly behind the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption II. Additional controversies piled on when the launch product was released with multiple bugs, a lack of advertised features like the much touted battle royale mode, and the absence of iconic World War II battles. The game's live service created further discontent owing to its slow drip-fed of content, numerous gameplay changes that the fans hated, and lack of bug fixes. The developers further alienated the fans by throwing a launch party mocking the game's detractors, claiming that they "don't have the tech" to support basic features like double XP events, and comparing data miners to cheaters. The controversies and lack of player enthusiasm lead to DICE ending support in June 2020, just 18 months into the game's lifespan while leaving out the more requested maps and theaters like D-Day and the Eastern Front.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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 of 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.
  • Civilization VI:
    • It is difficult to discuss the game 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 SJWs and feminists), which naturally dragged in some places into flame wars from which neither side came out looking civilized.
  • 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.
  • 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.

     D-F 
  • 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.
  • 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 made by Quinn's ex-boyfriend that she had slept with a critic in exchange for a positive review, the online backlash that resulted from that, and the massive debate about sexism, gender roles, diversity and journalistic integrity in the gaming industry that resulted from that. Even to this day, the topic is extremely controversial. So strong was the controversy (and still is) that the same topic seeped into other media, like comics and sci-fi books.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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 negative review-bombing from Chinese players and the game ultimately being pulled from Steam. This incident is now better-known that the game itself.
  • 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, 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 his highly suspect scores.
  • 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.
  • Duke Nukem Forever is known primarily for two things: firstly, being delayed for over a decade. 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 even for The '90s was very extreme.
  • 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.
  • 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 backfired predictably).
  • The iOS game Fantasy Night of TouHou Project is mostly remembered for being one of the first Touhou derivative works to go against ZUN's content distribution guidelines, as well as for using fanart and assets from the official games (mainly 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, but instead delivered a cheap nylon bag, without telling buyers that the product was being changed (which led to a whole other controversy 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.
  • 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 U.S. 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 the player arrests him, at which point he is proven correct in his delusions of a nuclear apocalypse, with nuclear bombs destroying the world as we know it for no real defined reason. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
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     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:
    • Although the global digital marketplace billed 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 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 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 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 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.
  • 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.".
  • 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 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.
  • Hatred is notorious for involving the massacre of a large amount of innocent people, 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 is 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 & 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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. 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 considered the main reason the game has yet to see a re-release on the Virtual Console.
  • 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.note 
    • Things only got worse when an infamous 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" and claiming that fans only cared about how characters fight, not who they are, completely forgetting that most of the appeal of a Crossover Licensed Game comes from making famous characters fight each other.
    • After a year of lackluster sales, Capcom quietly abandoned the game, and while some still call it "Functions vs. Functions Infinite" and bring up Chun-Li's Butter Face (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:
    • Mass Effect 3 quickly became notorious for its anticlimactic ending, which provoked a backlash 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:
  • 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: Samus does have all her upgrades from the start, but refuses to use them until she is granted permission, even if it means not using heat shielding in a lava-filled area (where Convection Schmonvection is not in effect, so Samus is intentionally letting herself be harmed just because Adam didn't authorize her to use her Varia Suit).
    • 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 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.
  • 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 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 toward women, while many of them admitted they hadn't played the game. Although by today's standards, the game seems pretty harmless and people are surprised or even laugh when knowing 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 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 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 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 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. 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 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 games 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 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.
  • 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.

     S-Z 
  • 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.
  • 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 in nothing but speedos would show up in ridiculous numbers and start making out with one another. The 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 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 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.
  • 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 derivative work (as, 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 dead for six years because of anger over the Time Skip, the removals and/or replacements of popular characters like Taki, Talim, and Xianghua, all of whom women that were the only characters to be outright replaced whereas the aging male characters stayed on the cast regardless; 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... with the remaining 10% focusing exclusively on Patrokolos and his sister Pyhrra, leaving the rest of the cast with no story mode of their own. All of these issues led to the sixth entry in the series to be a Continuity Reboot.
  • 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 sudden 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 initially agreeable to the Sequel Hook (the previous three games had ended with their own sequel hooks), as they thought 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 had developed Thieves in Time, confirmed that they weren't making a sequel in spite of that sequel hook. Fans were so angry with the Downer Ending leaving Sly trapped in ancient Egypt, and Penelope's poorly-written Face–Heel Turn that would never be resolved that they've since disowned the game from annual replays or events, and Sanzaru was declared a pariah of the video game industry.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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. Even after multiple changes (including the removal of all non-cosmetic lootbox drops), the game never fully escaped its terrible first impression.
  • 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. 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:
  • 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 crunch due to the company's founder and former-CEO's draconian and dismisful management.
  • 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 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 fanfare during its release. The game's Western release was also significantly censored in some parts, causing even fans of Japanese media who would otherwise be interested in the game to boycott it out of principle, 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 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.
  • 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 Microsoft's (ultimately scrapped) plans to have always-online DRM and restrictions on used games. Gamers were also upset with the fact Microsoft was bundling a built-in Kinect with every console and requiring users to have it plugged into the system for the Xbox One to function, which increased the price of the system (a hundred dollars more than the PlayStation 4 would sell for at launch) 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 had created by maintaining their position in the first place, along with the fact that there was initially no option to buy the console without a Kinect, turned many people off from the machine, some permanently swearing off Microsoft's products in the future. 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 long since moved on to rival platforms, giving the Xbox One a massive deficit in sales that it has yet to make up.
  • While Yandere Simulator is a popular game in its own right, it is difficult to discuss it without bringing up the infamy of its developer YandereDev, its use of panty shots as a feature when the game takes place in a Japanese high school, the game being banned on Twitch for the aforementioned reason, and how fans aren't happy with the game still in alpha despite being in development since 2014, which has led to YandereDev being accused 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. As a side note, this controversy has followed JonTron wherever he lent his voice to other projects.
  • 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 is the controversy surrounding its main developer Brian Allanson, who plagiarized most of the game's text wholesale from Haruki Murakami's novels, as well as him confirming on Twitter that the game's premise is based on the real life death of Elisa Lamb, which many saw as disrespectful. Things only got worse for the game when the voice actor of the main character, Chris Niosi, was accused of and later admitted to abusive behaviors towards his ex-girlfriend.

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