Once a game gets stuck in "development hell"—the form of purgatory that manifests itself through pushed back release dates, spiraling budgets, and wild speculation—anything can happen. The game can disappear entirely, officially joining the realm of vaporware, or it can be released to a hero's welcome, like Diablo III and Fallout 3.
Easily the most disappointing outcome, however, is when a game at last sees the light of day, only to let everyone down. Here are some long-awaited projects that didn't live up to the hype.
Spore is not a bad game; it's on this list not because it's worthless, but because it failed so spectacularly to live up to the hype. Star game designer Will Wright poured countless years of his life into this project, but it had nowhere near the impact of his Sim games.
All in all, Spore is an interesting idea, but it just doesn't quite work. While building your own creatures is a lot of fun, there's not much else to it—the actual game part of Spore seems underdeveloped.
This action-RPG began life as a PSX title, but it didn't emerge until the PS3 era—as an Xbox 360 exclusive. It seemed to have a lot going for it: It had been in the works for ten years, and Silicon Knights, the company behind Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, was handling development duties.
But all that effort was for nothing. The game emerged to mediocre reviews; the main problem is that the combat system doesn't work, even after all these years of refinement.
Myst will always be known as a classic; its influence will be seen in virtually every serious puzzle game. But after its initial successes, the franchise slowly lost its luster. This game, the fourth installment, cost $12 million and five years to produce, and it still failed to carry the torch for the series, introducing countless modernizing features that didn't quite restore Myst to its former glory. The reviews weren't bad, but this is the point at which the Myst fad officially passed.