10 good games whose sales ended in disaster…

In the case of video games – and many other businesses of popular culture – we can distinguish several factors that ultimately indicate success or failure. This includes critics' reviews, ratings from “regular” audiences, general publicity, and of course sales results. And although you can buy into a romantic vision where honest player reviews are paramount, the reality is unfortunately a little different.

What do I get? Well, we're not naive – when it comes to money, it's usually the most important piece of the puzzle. For this reason, even if the game had a really warm reception and was talked about almost exclusively in superlatives, commercial failure and poor sales results would not only be a setback, but a mere decapitation. Unfortunately, for businesses, the numbers in Excel must match.

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We have seen situations in the history of the industry when productions, despite really good reviews, turned out to be sales flops. This did not always translate into a lack of follow-up, but in some cases it may have influenced plans for further action. So today we have prepared ten really good games whose sales ended – to put it brutally – in disaster.

Beyond good and evil

Even if you've never played it before, there's a good chance you know the game written by Michel Ancel, who created the popular Beyond Good & Evil under the Ubisoft banner. But was it loud enough in 2003, when it first appeared? There are doubts here, because despite the really good reception, praise for the great graphics and interestingly drawn characters, the title was lost somewhere among the many other hits released at the time.

Psychonauts

An excellent title from Double Fine Studios and I will always emphasize this. I have very good memories of him and I will never forget the first hours I spent in this world. Unfortunately, although it was a great project full of great moments in many respects, it turned out to be a failure in terms of sales. So much so that the studio began to suffer from serious financial problems…

Eco

Released in 2001, the title was innovative in many ways. However, this is one example that was appreciated many years later – and today it seems a bit ahead of its time. Although it did receive a positive reception, and there was no shortage of praise for its artistic approach to the visuals, it only sold around 700,000 copies in its first eight years. Well, the possibilities were greater.

Mario and Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

This point is very interesting, although at the same time very new. As you probably remember, at the beginning of 2023, Ubisoft was vocal and consistent about how disappointed it was with the results of several of its games – including Mario and Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. Although sales have accelerated in recent months, and the project has reached nearly 3 million copies, it can be felt that the developers were counting on more.

The evil within 2

If you like horror movies, you've probably already seen this title. After the first part was very well received – both critically and in terms of sales, the second part was not so rosy. And it's not about quality, because in this regard it is difficult to complain. Unfortunately, sales, well…about 200,000 units were sold in the first week, which is only a quarter of the first edition's result.

victim

I think there will be differing opinions on this in many respects, but based on online reviews – as well as my personal experiences – I think 2017's Prayer was actually pretty good. Unfortunately it didn't sell as much as it deserved. A lot of it was due to poor marketing, which presented the title in a different light than it actually should have been shown. It could have been played better.

Enslaved: An Odyssey to the West

Another production I have great regrets about – if you've played it, you'll probably agree that it was a really good production. However, Namco Bandai was aiming to sell at least one million copies. The latest data shows that the score is just above the 700,000 threshold, so… well, we never got a sequel. The developers are still trying to figure out the failure factor.

Sunset Overdrive

A colorful open world, one of the best action systems available in video games, and it is worth noting that the project was created by extremely talented creators from Insomniac Games. So what went wrong? Actually…it's hard to say. Although there are few reports confirming sales, it is possible to find information about one million copies worldwide. I think there was enough time left to continue.

System shock 2

Let's face it, in hindsight, this title turned out to be a model for many representatives of similar genres published later. In many respects, the project was a continuation of the patterns begun in 1994, but… it wasn't enough. And although today we can find a lot of archived reviews that praised EA's approach to this topic, the sales themselves turned out to be unsatisfactory for publishers.

Grim Fandango

And finally, a production that remains very popular to this day. The way LucasArts approached the adventure genre at the time was a huge success, although unfortunately…at first, it was far from attracting the interest of a wide audience. The title received several awards for one of the best projects of the year, but sold worse than Full Throttle – Tim Schafer's previous title.

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