E3 always offers up the most important video games – but not all of them end up succeeding.
Some of them even sink companies, destroy brands and kill dreams.
Tonight will see E3 press conferences from Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sony. We’re likely to see some of the biggest games that will rock the market for the year ahead. But which of the titles will quietly fail to deliver?
MCV looks back at the titles that once rocked the Los Angeles Convention Center, but which the industry would now rather forget…
Wii Music (AKA:?The game that Nintendo got wrong)
Release: November 2008
Everything Nintendo touched during the first two years of Wii turned to gold. From Wii Sports to Wii Fit. But then came along Wii Music, and it was awful. The cringeworthy E3 demonstration at Nintendo’s press conference remains one of the worst things Shigeru Miyamoto has ever done.
uDraw (AKA: The one that Killed THQ)
Format: Wii, 360, PS3
Release: November 2010 and 2011
THQ’s actually quite nice drawing tablet was a clever novelty when it launched in 2010 on Wii, and it did rather ok. One year later, THQ went big and relaunched the tablet on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii. The Wii was in decline, PS3 and 360 gamers had no interest in a kids drawing tablet. Over 1.4m uDraw tablets were left unsold after 2011. THQ called it a disaster. The company never recovered.
DJ Hero 2 (AKA:?The game that destroyed a phenomenon)
Format: PS3, Wii, 360
Release: October 2010
In a bid to widen the $1bn Guitar Hero franchise, Activision expanded the series into new genres. Band Hero arrived with a pop-filled soundtrack. But the big bet was the excellent DJ Hero, which targeted hip-hop gamers. But rather than grow the Hero brand, the series went the other way and contracted badly. Poor sales of DJ?Hero 2 proved to be the end for the series. Forever.
Split/Second (AKA:?The game that ended Disney’s Dream)
Format: May 2010
Release: PS3, 360, PC, PSP, iOS
Disney’s bid to become a major games publisher wasn’t going to plan. Big budget games based on Turok and Desperate Housewives had already fallen short of expectations. At E3 2009, it demoed a totally new IP from racing veterans Black Rock, Split/Second. Critics liked it when it arrived a year later, but no one bought it. Disney all but gave up after that and closed Black Rock in the process.
Blur (AKA: the game that murdered a UK legend)
Format: PC, PS3, 360
Release: May 2010
May was a dark day for the UK racing development scene. With Black Rock’s Split/Second already performing badly, Bizarre Creations – the acclaimed developer behind Project Gotham, Geometry Wars and, erm, Fur Fighters – introduced its new racing IP – Blur. Blur was a decent game but a huge commercial flop. Bizarre released one game after that, the dreadful James Bond: Blood Stone. But the writing was already on the wall. And Bizarre was closed by February 2011.
Star Wars 1313 (AKA: the game that never was)
Format: Probably PS4 and Xbox One
Release: We wish
Once burnt twice shy Disney had largely abandoned the games industry following a string of failures. So when it acquired LucasArts, complete with its new Star Wars 1313 game – which excited fanboys at E3 last year – no one was surprised when it killed the entire LucasArts games division, and 1313 with it. One of the most iconic names in games was dead. EA now makes Star Wars games.
Too Human (AKA: the game that destroyed itself)
Format: Xbox 360
Release: August, 2008
As the developer behind Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and Eternal Darkness, Silicon Knights had quite a glowing reputation before this generation. In 2005 it signed a deal with Epic Games to use its Unreal Engine on a string of games including Too Human. The epic sci-fi RPG wasn’t very good. Silicon Knights blamed Unreal and sued Epic. Epic sued them back for unpaid royalties. Epic won, forcing Silicon Knights to pull Too Human from sale, as well as its more recent game, the dreadful X-Men: Destiny. The developer apparently still exists, only it owes a fortune, has just a few members of staff and no actual offices.