There are few things more frustrating than a game you’re excited about launching in a state that’s less than perfect. Even minor flaws can give haters something to latch onto. However, when the game you’re excited about is released in a state that literally breaks consoles, emotions shift from frustration to heartbreak. Sadly, this has happened far too often over the last few years. This list comprises the ten buggiest games on release that weren’t just bad, they were unplayable.
The 10 Buggiest Games On Release
This list contains what we believe are the ten buggiest games on release. We haven’t ranked them in any particular order, but if they’re here, they were almost completely broken when they launched. While there will definitely be games out there that haven’t made this list, these ten are the ones that affected us the most.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Aliens: Colonial Marines is what happens when companies can’t seem to agree on just what type of game they want to put out. You get one side craving a shoot-em-up and another desperate for a scare-em-up, and the finished product turns out to be nothing more than a big-pile-of-crap-em-up. There is a lot wrong with Aliens: Colonial Marines. From its ridiculous frame rate to characters appearing and disappearing like a cheap magic trick. The worst offender of all though is the Xenomorph’s AI. Here is one of the most intelligent creatures ever created reduced to something with less intelligence than your average sea sponge. Where once it was a genius with exceptional stealth, it now can’t see you even if you’re standing directly in front of it wearing a neon jacket. The game has been the subject of multiple lawsuits over claims of forced changes and many other things. At this point, it feels like the best thing to do is forget it even exists.
Anthem was Bioware’s first foray into creating a shared world shooter. Those who enjoyed it, love it and still play it today, but it definitely left a sour taste in the mouths of thousands of disappointed players. The gameplay was fairly solid after the bugs, such as doors simply not opening and preventing progress during missions, were patched out. However, the real problem with Anthem is that it was made out to be something it’s not. Even after Bioware put in so much work to try to build a game that players could really dig into, EA shut down any future development. This title is a masterclass in publishers overstepping the mark and the product and fans suffering as a result. Last-minute changes forced Bioware to rebuild most of the game, and that’s the core reason, so reports allege, that it launched in such a mess.
Ashes Cricket 2013
Developed by Trickstar Games and published by 505 Games, Ashes Cricket 2013 was so bad that it was pulled from sale just four days after its release. It likely now lies buried in the Nevada desert, right next to the last copies of E.T. It is rightly considered one of the worst games of all time and caused publisher 505 Games to lay the blame firmly at developer Trickstar Games’ doorstep. It had teleporting fielders, disappearing balls, frozen batsmen, and players falling over like they’d spent the morning on the whisky. It also didn’t help that it looked like it had been built on a computer powered by three-quarters of a potato. Trickstar Games went out of business in 2015, and there’s no, doubt in our minds that Ashes Cricket 2013 played a huge part in that happening.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
There’s no forgiving Ubisoft for how broken Assassin’s Creed Unity was on release. Several games later and, thankfully, there hasn’t been a game in the series that was so poorly put together at launch. The most famous example of this game’s issues is an image of protagonist Arno’s father’s eyes and teeth and none of the other features you’d expect on a head. There were several more problems than that in the game at the time that have mostly now been patched out. However, load it up today, and you can still get a good old crash to desktop or soft lock that freezes the game entirely for no reason. This is a great example of poor optimization, but it seems as though even the developer doesn’t know what needs to be fixed at this point.
Battlefield 4 may have been a buggy game at launch, but EA outdid itself with Battlefield 2042. The title was released with all manner of issues, one of the most egregious being that it was nigh on impossible to get into a match and play for a day or so. Issues still persist today, and the player base has dwindled to a handful of people who are spread too thinly across each game mode for a decent match in any of them. The most notable bugs that made headlines at the time included being able to drive vehicles into the air to blow up helicopters and kills not registering, meaning you were then killed by the soldier you just attacked.
While the game is quite playable today, Cyberpunk 2077 was the start of a movement among game developers. When it launched, there were more bugs than there were pixels on the screen. NPCs would spawn out of nowhere, cars would (unintentionally) fly, whole sections of the map simply didn’t load in, and it was considered a good thing if everyone loaded into a scene in T-poses, because at least they were there. This goes without mentioning the issues with Johnny Silverhand, such as his cigarette slowly spawning copies of itself as he moved around the screen. Since this game was released, more developers have delayed their games to ensure they launch in a playable state with very few bugs, if any.
Overall, the game being so bad that it caused several consoles to break was a good thing because it forced developer CD Projekt Red to fix the title under the scrutiny of every eye in the industry. The game was even delisted from the PlayStation store at one point because there were so many refund requests being made. While we don’t know the ins and outs of the marketing for this title, it seems that a lot of wool was pulled over the eyes of fans, and the good grace that the developer had earned from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has most assuredly been lost.
It’s standard Bethesda practice to release a game to the fan base and wait for modders to fix any bugs left in it. However, Fallout 76 was something else. When the game launched, it crashed PCs, consoles, and pretty much anything it even looked at. Twitter timelines were occupied with lists of images of bugs for weeks, many of which didn’t even seem to make sense. From bugged items that slowed players down to a halt, to weapons that healed them continuously, and even shadows for the afternoon appearing in fog in an area on the opposite side of the map. Fallout 76 is a much more stable game these days, but at launch, it was the worst example of the Bethesda release philosophy in history.
Marvel’s Avengers had the potential to be such a fantastic game, and every Marvel fan felt that leading up to launch. However, once the game was in the hands of actual players, it became obvious that something had gone very badly. While you might be able to get on with the moment-to-moment gameplay, there’s no denying the toxicity of the game’s monetization and the amount of grinding required to make any meaningful progress. While it wasn’t and isn’t as broken as some of the games on this list, the way it leeches time and money from players is a sign that at its heart, this game has just as many problems.
No Man’s Sky
We believe that No Man’s Sky is in a good state now. Developer Hello Games has turned things around by updating the title for free over more than six years, and it’s slowly built up a fan base that adores it and eagerly awaits the next Expedition or major patch. However, when it was first released, the game was missing almost everything that fans wanted from it. The visuals were blurry, every planet the same, and there was no multiplayer, at least in the sense of being around other players online. It seems as though some things were hidden from the public, but it may never be clear why that was. No Man’s Sky is definitely the biggest game launch flop in recent memory, but it’s also the greatest comeback story, moving from limited capabilities and gameplay variation to giving players the power to build new games using circuits and go on ten-hour expeditions into the unknown, even on Nintendo Switch.
You may be wondering just how broken WWE 2K20 was, and the answer to that is that it’s so broken that Sony started offering refunds on the game without asking questions. There were so many things wrong with WWE 2K20 that it would be impossible to list them all here. But we’ll give you a tour of the highlights.
- Never-ending loading screens
- Impossible to use CAW’s in-game
- Universe divisions failing to save on Xbox
- The career accelerator locking the game into demo mode with only 6 playable characters
- Double count outs crashing the game.
2K released patch after patch to try to fix the game, but many of those fixes caused yet more inexplicably confusing bugs to appear in other parts of the game. Any content creator trying to cover the game had a hard time with almost everything, most notably the player character’s hair, which would fly around as if a tornado were approaching just off-screen. The series has gotten better since WWE 2K20 was released, but we must never forget just how bad this title was.