If you look around the gaming landscape these days, you’ll see a plethora of great games created by a small army’s worth of talented developers.
However even the best developers have to take their lumps along the way to learn the tricks of the trade — no one makes games like God of War III or Uncharted 2 on their first try. Two reasons are that A) those games are sequels and, mathematically speaking, can’t be first tries and B) making great games takes practice, just like anything else.
Sometimes bad product is produced out of seemingly nowhere, well after studios have established themselves as a quality workforce. A brainfart, if you will.
Either way, make yourself comfy as we needlessly take some great developers down a peg or two.
Creators of: Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted
Crime against gaming: Way of the Warrior
Ever since Crash Bandicoot graced the original PlayStation back in 1996, Naughty Dog have been pumping out great games and franchises with such ease that you could make the argument that they’re Sony’s best and most consistent first-party developer. No matter when you got your first PlayStation console, there was a damn fine Naughty Dog production waiting to welcome you with their sweet embrace.
That’s why looking back at Way of the Warrior is so damn jarring. Released in 1994 for the oh-so-wonderful 3DO, the game was essentially a Mortal Kombat clone. You know, if MK had been made by seven-year-old me. Not that MK has aged gracefully, but the game looked dated even upon its release. Have a look for yourself:
However, this is the only game on this list that I’ll feel bad for making fun of. See, when ND were developing this fine piece of software they were in dire financial straits. All of the characters in the game were portrayed by friends of the developers to cut costs, and all the video for the game was shot in a small apartment. For whatever odd reason Universal Interactive Studios were pleased with the final product, enough to sign ND to do three more games. Good thing, though, as those ended up being Crash Bandicoot 1-3.
You already know the rest.
Sega Wow Overworks
Creators of: Altered Beast, Golden Axe, The House of the Dead, Phantasy Star, Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Skies of Arcadia, Valkyria Chronicles
Crime against gaming: Project Altered Beast
As you can see, there’s a lot of history here. The result of a merger between Wow Entertainment and Overworks, Sega Wow is responsible for some of the finest games to grace Sega’s consoles over the years across a variety of different genres. From beat ‘em ups like Altered Beast and Streets of Rage to RPGs such as Phantasy Star, Skies of Arcadia and Valkyria Chronicles, this talented bunch have proven to be one of the most versatile studios in gaming over the years.
One of their few missteps was one made by quite a few developers over the last 10+ years – taking a perfectly enjoyable 2D game and tainting it by trying to adapt it to 3D. Thankfully the game never made it to North America, so I didn’t have the misfortune of experiencing the rape of some of my most cherished childhood Genesis memories. Experience some the whimsy and wonder below (just skip ahead a bit to the 0:47 mark):
Tragic. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to break something heavy over my head.