Every good game deserves a second chance, but only a few ever get it. This is true for a lot of 2010s games that slipped through the cracks and never managed to make it big in a decade that gave players some of the most popular games ever made.
The 2010s birthed several best-selling games like Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Minecraft, which is why it was so easy for a lot of good games to fade into the background. Some of these low-selling video games suffered premature launches, lost to competition, or had poor marketing choices that ultimately caused them to fail. These commercial flops may do better if they were released today, however, if only they were given another shot.
10 Fallout 76 (2018)
The Fallout franchise by Bethesda Game Studios is known for its immersive and irradiated open world full of mutated enemies and compelling side quests. With its first foray into making a multiplayer version of the game, fans had high hopes that were quickly dashed by bugs, poor design, and overall bad gameplay. A US Gamer article reveals that Fallout 76 sold 1.4 million copies in the first month of its release, which was a whopping 48% lower compared to the more commercially successful Fallout 4.
Since then, the developers have made it a point to beef up the game by addressing players’ concerns and releasing huge patches to fix the major issues it had. With every major update to Fallout 76, the gaming experience greatly improved. The current game is far less buggy, has more NPCs, and has more quests that help create a more cohesive story for fans to enjoy.
9 Torment: Tides Of Numenera (2017)
Developed by inXile Entertainment and released in 2017, Torment: Tides of Numenera is the spiritual successor to the 1999 RPG, Planescape: Torment. After a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, both fans and creators of the game expected more than the reception it got. Although official sales figures were never released, inXile head Brian Fargo said in an interview with PCGamesN that “Torment has been disappointing sales-wise.”
The game’s story-driven approach is not for everyone, as players do have to take time to understand the text on the screen to fully appreciate Torment’s lore. The rich narrative in its science-fantasy world is worth delving into for players that don’t mind poor combat mechanics.
8 Yooka-Laylee (2017)
Yooka-Laylee is a fun, colorful, 3D platformer that serves as the spiritual successor to the iconic Banjo-Kazooie. A year after its initial release, developer Playtonic Games excitedly announced via Twitter that they had sold over a million copies.
The game is undoubtedly one of the most underappreciated Nintendo Switch Games ever made and should have sold more copies than it did. Playtonic did an excellent job in building an impressive world for Yooka to explore. Yooka’s powers and abilities that change across multiple worlds offer more variety than players might expect.
7 Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017)
The fourth main installment of the Star Wars: Battlefront franchise follows the story of Iden Versio, who has defected and joined the New Republic. Star Wars fans can easily recognize some of the game’s locations, which include planets like Endor and Naboo. It wasn’t as successful as publisher EA wanted it to be, with a reporter from The Wall Street Journal revealing that it sold one million copies fewer than original projections.
Where Star Wars: Battlefront II fell short was its microtransactions, as publisher EA decided to include loot boxes that had a significant effect on the gameplay. They did remove this later on, but it was too late, as it had drawn too much flak from the gaming community. The criticism overshadowed the fact that the game has more content than its prequel, as it features both multiplayer and single-player modes and tells an interesting narrative about the Galactic Civil War.
6 Battlefield V (2018)
Battlefield V was a commercially unsuccessful game by EA’s standards. A Variety article details how the 7.3 million copies sold missed EA’s sales projections by a million. The 16th installment in the popular Battlefield series was embroiled in an unfortunate controversy both before and during its launch.
Criticized for historical inaccuracy and a lack of content, it was a flop before it even came out. The actual game wasn’t bad, however, as it had all the best aspects of its FPS predecessor, engaging gameplay, a fleshed-out single-player mode, and exciting battle royale mode.
5 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (2010)
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II follows the story of a clone of Starkiller, who must escape Darth Vader and discover who he is in the process. It takes place six months after the events of the prequel but was unfortunately considered underwhelming compared to the original game. A GameSpot feature reveals that the sequel sold only 500,000 copies within its first two weeks. It was performing much slower than The Forced Unleashed, which IGN notes is considered to be the fastest-selling Star Wars and LucasArts game.
While the sequel doesn’t quite live up to the original’s gameplay and length, it has its own strengths. Players get to explore the protagonist’s struggle for freedom and identity, set against a visually impressive sci-fi backdrop that holds more challenging enemies and a brand new multiplayer mode.
4 Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (2014)
Ubisoft’s seventh major entry into the Assassin’s Creed series provides players with an interesting twist, as fans can now play as a Templar who goes after other members of his brotherhood. Released on the same day as Unity, a GameSpot article highlights how the two sold a combined 10 million units by the end of 2015.
Ubisoft never released just Rogue’s sales figures, and likely for a good reason. The game never really took off and is something fans at the time may have considered the second option to Unity. While it’s not considered the best or the worst among all the Assassin’s Creed games, it does offer a uniquely dark approach to the series that has often been criticized for following the same formula.
3 No Man’s Sky (2016)
Marketed as a survival game with infinite possibilities, No Man’s Sky’s procedurally generated world excited players around the world back in 2016. This is why it was extremely disappointing when a buggy, bland, and repetitive game was released instead. According to Inverse, the game looked like it was going to be a commercial success during its first few days, but after so much backlash, its physical sales dropped by a whopping 81% in its second week.
Developer Hello Games did not do much to address criticism at first, garnering even more backlash because of their silence. However, they have strived to correct their mistakes since then, fixing bugs and adding free additional content like a multiplayer component and VR support. No Man’s Sky still isn’t everything it set out to be, but it’s much more playable and enjoyable today.
2 Titanfall 2 (2016)
Following the success of Titanfall in 2014, Titanfall 2 brought back the beloved sci-fi shooter in 2016, this time with a single-player campaign. Despite its smooth combat mechanics, well-designed mechs, and powerful weapons, it fell short and was a disappointment for EA. According to a GameSpot report of research firm Cowen & Company’s findings, Titanfall 2’s unit sales projections fell to 5 to 6 million from the original 9 million forecast by EA.
The disappointing reception wasn’t because the game was bad, but because Titanfall 2 faced unbeatable competition during its release. Sandwiched between the release of popular games like Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2 faded into the background. It is starting to get its second chance, however, thanks to its 2020 migration to Steam that has boosted its player base and popularity.
1 Alien: Isolation (2014)
Developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega, Alien: Isolation is a survival horror game that takes place 15 years after the events of the iconic 1979 movie, Alien. It takes the player on a gripping adventure that follows Amanda Ripley’s investigation of the disappearance of her mother, Ellen. A Games Industry feature details how the game only sold 2.1 million copies, which is low considering it took more than three years to develop.
Like the film it’s based on, the game has developed a cult following that truly enjoys Isolation’s intense and atmospheric environment. The first-person game successfully translates the film’s most terrifying and tense moments, as players stealthily walk around a space station to piece together what happened to Amanda’s mother.
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