First impressions can be everything, especially with video games. A botched launch can spell doom for even the most highly anticipated titles. But sometimes, against all odds, games with a terrible launch manage to rise from the ashes of a disastrous debut. On some very rare occasions, the developer teams behind certain games decide not just to sit and watch everything collapse before their eyes.
They roll up their sleeves once again and, slowly but surely, make their way back to the top. Let’s celebrate five video games that initially faced significant backlash upon release but underwent epic redemption arcs thanks to their developers’ dedication and hard work.
Cyberpunk 2077 recently completed their glitches to glory arc with the recent release of 2.0 and Phantom Liberty. It’s even hard to remember what the game used to look like back in 2020. When Cyberpunk 2077 was unleashed upon the gaming world, it was met with a tidal wave of disappointment. After all, this ambitious open-world RPG from CD Projekt Red promised to be a groundbreaking experience. Instead, upon release, players were met with a buggy and glitch-infested Night City, with poor performance on consoles. The game’s overhyped expectations only added to the chaos.
However, CD Projekt Red wasn’t ready to let Cyberpunk 2077 become a footnote in gaming history. They listened to player feedback and embarked on a relentless mission to redeem their creation. Numerous updates poured in, addressing bugs, improving performance, and adding new features.
The game slowly transformed from a disaster into a polished gem. Players returned to Night City, greeted by a more stable and enjoyable experience. The fact that the game’s Metacritic score was just bumped exponentially shows that doing things right, even after a disastrous launch like Cyberpunk 2077’s, really pays off.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Final Fantasy XIV’s initial release was nothing short of a catastrophe. The lack of content, abysmal user interface, sluggish gameplay, broken servers, and overall lack of fun left players disheartened. It seemed like the end of the road for this beloved franchise.
Yet, Square Enix refused to give up on their dream. They took a bold step by relaunching the game as “A Realm Reborn.” This rebirth addressed virtually every issue plaguing the original version. More content, improved user interface, faster gameplay, stable servers, and engaging quests revitalized the world of Eorzea. Final Fantasy XIV transformed from a failure into a phoenix, soaring high as one of the most popular MMOs with a passionate fan base.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky’s launch was a lesson in managing expectations. Players were promised a universe teeming with multiplayer interactions, abundant content, and diverse planets. It was just too good to be true, at least back then. However, upon release, gamers were met with a universe that felt empty, repetitive, and devoid of the promised features.
Hello Games, the indie studio behind the game, could have folded under the weight of disappointment, but they chose a different path. With (lots of) time and dedication, they delivered a series of updates that expanded No Man’s Sky into the game it was meant to be.
Multiplayer capabilities were added, content was injected into the cosmos, and graphics were enhanced. The universe became more diverse and engaging.
After the boom of Diablo II, players demanded even more from the franchise. Four years after the second entry, Diablo III’s release was marred by a punishing progression system, a lack of endgame content, a flawed auction house, and the crushing weight of overhyped expectations. As easy as this horror RPG rose, it hurtled uncontrollably towards the treacherous precipice of impending catastrophe. Players were frustrated, and the future of the franchise seemed uncertain.
Blizzard Entertainment, however, wasn’t ready to let the Lord of Terror’s dominion crumble. They rolled out numerous updates that revamped the progression system, added more endgame content, and removed the controversial auction house. Diablo III evolved from a grim nightmare into a heavenly redemption story.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves set sail with high expectations but encountered rocky waters upon launch. It lacked content, felt unfinished, had a poor progression system, and couldn’t live up to the hype.
Rare, the studio behind the game didn’t abandon ship. They worked tirelessly to breathe life into their pirate adventure. Content updates flooded in, enhancing progression, improving visuals, and introducing emergent gameplay. Recently, they even announced the possibility of launching a Single Player + mode for players interested in playing on their own. Sea of Thieves transformed from a shipwreck into a thriving “game as a service” and the community embraced the game’s changes. It constantly evolves and offers players new adventures on the high seas.