10 Best Video Games Ruined By Their Popularity

Success can be its own reward, but it can also be a curse. When developers have something to prove, they are more ambitious and eager to prove themselves. However, unchecked success can lead to complacency. There are only a limited number of instances where a winning formula can prove commercially viable.

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Publishers often milk a great series until they’ve used up all their goodwill. Whatever the reason, those titles suffered from their own triumphs. Many of them are still worth playing as long as players don’t let the games’ popularity bother them.

10/10 Assassin’s Creed will never be demanding in pace

Assassin's Creed's Ezio is ready in the official key art.

Originally intended as a Prince of Persia spin off, Assassin’s Creed paved the way for a franchise of its own that spawned countless titles and numerous embedded media. However, longtime fans have criticized Ubisoft for removing the franchises’ unique elements and a gradual drop in quality with countless releases.

What was once a series that encouraged players to be sneaky and crafty has now become a grind-heavy generic open-world sandbox franchise. Additionally, the departure of director Patrice Desilets led to a lack of focus in the games’ convoluted time-travel narrative.

9/10 Tony Hawk’s pro skater was eventually wiped out

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 in action

Many lament the spectacular annihilation of the Tony Hawk professional skater Franchise. The first three entries were standout extreme sports titles that kept adding fun and intuitive mechanics that improved the formula. Unfortunately, Activision’s need to milk the franchise weighed on NeverSoft and resulted in a drop in quality.

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the Underground Games tried to confuse the formula with an open-world structure and a higher emphasis on narrative. Eventually, however, the publishing contract with the bird man ended with the much-maligned professional skater 5. Luckily, Vicarious Visions has Professional skater 1+2 managed to relive those happy memories.

8/10 Overwatch’s heroes don’t always save the day

A selection of Overwatch heroes

Blizzards’ hero PVP shooter over watch became an overnight sensation with its solid shooting mechanics, diverse roster, and vibrant visual art style. Unfortunately, critics found the lore and characters to be lacking compared to Valve’s efforts Team Fortress 2.

In an apparent attempt to quell the uproar over the Hong Kong protesters’ controversy and studio harassment allegations, Blizzard announced a 2019 sequel surveillance 2Upon release in 2022, the game was criticized by critics for not having significant differences from the original title while also changing things for the worse.

7/10 Tomb Raider’s annual installments took the shine off Lara

Tomb Raider Survival Lara ready for adventure

Lara Croft is another gaming icon who has faced sequelitis. core designs Grave robbers brought about the step-platforming formula established in Prince of Persia into the third generation. Despite an unsuccessful attempt to kill the treasure hunter with the fourth part, Eidos demanded constant sequels from the studio.

This gradual decline eventually culminated in the abyss Angel of Darkness, which was published in an apparently unfinished state to meet the publisher’s deadlines. Since then, Crystal Dynamics has held the keys to the franchise and spearheaded two successful iterations.

6/10 Griefer & Hacker made even more Sus among us

One player is selected as a crew member.  However, among the ten residents in Among Us there are three imposters

A mix of cartoons by Agatha Christie, John W. Campbell and Newgrounds, Between us is an online crime PVP that became an internet sensation after its initial release in 2018. The game challenges players to correctly identify the imposters while the others do their best to fend off the crew undetected.

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After the Covid-19 pandemic, the game’s popularity exploded even more, culminating in an even larger player base. Unfortunately, with the increasing number of players came the griefers, the hackers, and the scammers. Savvy users feared YouTuber Eric Lorris far more than any scammer.

5/10 Psychonauts was a critical favorite but a commercial flop

Raz looks around Camp Whispering Rock at night.

The debut track from Double Fine psychonauts was a 3D platformer that featured Tim Schafer’s trademark humor and design. It was originally intended to be released by Microsoft exclusively for the original Xbox. However, following a regime change, publisher Majesco took over the title for a 2005 release. The game was praised by numerous outlets but suffered from poor sales.

However, over time psychonauts gradually gained a cult following and became the poster child for “critical darling, commercial flop”. Unfortunately, the game was also considered overrated by gamers who knew of its reputation but expected more than a solid mid-2000s platformer.

4/10 The League of Legends MOBA nature is both a blessing and a curse

League of Legends

Considered the largest e-sport in the world League of Legends is one of the many MOBA titles that fans will both love and hate about in equal measure. As his many comics, music videos, and other media have shown, his love for this world and its lore knows no bounds.

Unfortunately, it seems that no esports is complete without a rabid player base. Gamers have stated that they enjoy the hugely successful Netflix series arcane after watching the game that spawned it out of curiosity and being disappointed by its MOBA nature.

3/10 Activision has made Call of Duty an annual product

Some Allied soldiers fight off the Nazis

call of Duty is the embodiment of gaming sequelitis. The first few titles were WWII shooters that aimed to seamlessly blend FPS gameplay with storytelling, avoiding intrusive cutscenes or abandoning first-person perspective. The fourth part took on the darker and more modern setting that would be adopted by most subsequent titles.

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However, as Activision kept pumping out entry after entry, fans and critics found the formula tired in the main campaigns. It also didn’t help that Activision had a tendency to convert popular studios like NeverSoft and Toys For Bob into dedicated studios COD Developer.

2/10 Portal’s dubious cake promises have sparked countless memes

A player using the Portal Gun in the Portal game.

portal proved to be the ultimate stocking stuffer when it was included in Valves The orange crate in 2007. This seemingly harmless first-person puzzler surprised players with its pitch-dark comedy, brilliant brain teasers, and unforgettable ending. The game was endlessly quotable, with several lines permeating pop culture in the late 2000s.

Unfortunately, that was her problem too. In what Yahtzee Croshaw dubbed “the knights who say Ni Effect,” the constant pie jokes made by fans online far outlived their welcome. Nevertheless, portal is still a creative and fun title after all these years.

1/10 Expectations grew when Undertale left the underground

Undertale Child / Frisk / Chara with Toriel

Undertale absolutely deserves all the praise it received during its initial release in 2015. The numerous mechanics of Toby Fox’s RPG hybrid combined beautifully with an emotionally resonant story. When a game like this gets that much praise, it predictably falls short of the wild expectations that come with it.

It especially doesn’t help when it’s attracting a fanbase so ardent in their admiration. Although it may not be for everyone, Undertale is still a phenomenal title that shows what the medium can do when it chooses to flout convention.

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