Video games are a tough industry. Staying on top is a constant fight, and you can’t please everyone. Worse yet, if a game starts off the on the wrong foot, its fate might just be sealed. It is not common for games received poorly on launch to stabilize, and find themselves recovered. But some do. Some games persevere, and earn their place in time. And we love them that much more for it.
Here are our favorite survivors: 4 games in recent years that recovered from their rough releases.
Destiny 2 was meant to be the hit sequel to the original Destiny. Expanding the story even further and improving the gameplay, but keeping it familiar to players. It only did one of these things, and it didn’t do it that well.
The main issue was that Bungie was under pressure from Activision to put out a sequel in order to capitalize on the popularity of Destiny. What resulted was an unfinished and mundane romp in familiar reaches of space. The story only expanded by the smallest amounts, and the gameplay was pretty well the same.
That changed when Bungie and Activision split in January of 2019. Many thought it would be another nail in the coffin of Destiny 2 but that was not the case. Bungie went on to improve Destiny 2, and even went free to play for the base game in September 2019. Every update to the game brings new content, and it doesn’t feel as soulless as it once did. The main difference now, is that Bungie can actually listen to players and give them what they want.
Impossible costs of in-game upgrades, connectivity issues, poor balance, and Ubisoft’s penchant for glitches – For Honor’s issues are well documented. One of the biggest things players found grievance with was the amount of “steel” everything costed.
High costs and low gains per match pushed players towards Ubisoft’s micro-transactions, rubbing many players the wrong way. Just two months after release, players had threatened to boycott the game, forcing it into a blackout.
Nowadays, while the general consensus of the game is that it’s unfair, many of the grievances have been settled – for the most part. Players agree that Ubisoft have largely improved For Honor. Characters are more balanced, connection quality improved, and Ubisoft have shown more and more that they are listening to players.
Every new character released draws ire from the community for being “broken”, but this is a common issue in these sorts of games. League of Legends faces this issue after pretty much every new champion release, but Riot and Ubisoft both do what they can to balance their characters according to player feedback.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky came out in 2016 to tons of hype and fanfare. Eager players were left disappointed, as the game couldn’t live up to its own promises. Despite having nearly infinite planets and unlimited chance for exploration, the planets felt empty and lonely. Players were disappointed in the lack of content for the game, as it seemed the devs’ had opted for quantity over quality.
That all changed when No Man’s Sky: Next was released. The update brought multiplayer, new and improved graphics and a whole slew of other big changes to the game. Hello Games also started adding weekly content, as well as community events. This was another gesture showing that they were listening to players.
Yet another Ubisoft game with a disappointing initial release period. A large part of the problem with The Division was Ubisoft famously overpromising and under-delivering. The Division hyped players up with a full world, detailed settings and innovative gameplay. When it came out, it sorely lacked in visuals, and the gameplay was not up to par with what was shown, not to mention the lack of activities in such a sprawling landscape like New York.
The gunplay was strong and the RPG mechanics were pretty decent, however. And the Dark Zone was a big draw for a lot of players. Much of the playerbase didn’t stay for the main game, and Ubisoft worked to release content to keep players interested. The DLCs for The Division were decent, but were nothing super special – until Survival came out.
Survival pulled many players back in, me and my friends included. It had an interesting premise and meshed perfectly with the gameplay of The Division. Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Division, but it really is better with friends.
I appreciate Ubisoft’s attempts to keep players in the game, and I’m glad they made a sequel too. The Division 2 is a great game, and really shows off what Ubisoft learned from their first outing. If one thing is to be taken away from Ubisoft’s past few years, it’s that they’ve learned how to listen to their playerbase.
Honorable Mention: Fallout 76
I’ve talked about Fallout 76 at length, and even gave it its own article, but I think it deserves a spot on this list. It was ridiculed pretty much from the start, and every time it seemed to recover, it hit another bump. I do really think that somewhere in that mess lies a good Fallout title. Bethesda was hit with controversy after controversy over this game. With the Wastelanders DLC, I’m hoping Bethesda starts to repair the damage they’ve done with Fallout 76.
I’ve played a few of these games; and while I liked them, I’m also not incredibly picky. Few things will actually push me away from a game, and I’m usually willing to give them a second chance. I’m hoping that after this article, you would be willing to give these games second chances as well.