We’ve all played our fair share of bad video games. No matter how great a game might look pre-release, few developers are above releasing a surprise clunker that falls far short of expectations.
Yet most bad games are quickly vilified by players and press alike and then we all move on with our lives, hopefully seeking out a better game next time.
But there are those rare video games bad enough that an atrocious Metacritic score just isn’t enough – they’re also so embarrassing for the developer and/or publisher that they end up getting delisted from online marketplaces.
Now there are often complex, thorny legal reasons for games being delisted, but in the case of these 10, it’s clear that the publisher was desperate to wash their hands of a dud project as soon as their contractually required support period was over.
As a result, beyond seeking out a second-hand physical copy somewhere, most of these games can only be played by those who already own them.
As awful as all of these games unquestionably are, they do crowbar open an interesting discussion about the need for digital games to be preserved – yes, even the terrible ones…
Overkill’s The Walking Dead-themed FPS was finally released for PC in November 2018 after years in development hell, and unsurprisingly received predominantly negative reviews.
Critics dubbed it a generic survival shooter that felt like a glorified re-skin of Overkilll’s Payday games, and was further undermined by both a litany of bugs and frustrating scarcity of checkpoints.
Sales were resultingly poor, shifting less than 100,000 copies in its first month.
In February 2019, less than four months after release, Skybound Entertainment, the company that owns the rights to The Walking Dead, announced that they had terminated their business partnership with publisher Starbeeze, and The Walking Dead would be delisted imminently.
Skybound held nothing back in making it clear that this was entirely an issue with the game’s quality, saying in a statement to IGN:
“We did our best to work with Starbreeze and resolve many issues that we saw with the game, but ultimately Overkill’s The Walking Dead did not meet our standards nor is it the quality that we were promised. We are exceedingly sorry to our fans and share their disappointment in the game.”
As a result, planned console versions of the game were also cancelled. The Walking Dead’s failure had a significant financial impact on Starbreeze, which was forced to sell off assets and restructure itself to remain afloat.