The Biggest Video Game Disappointments Of 2018

2018 was the best of times, and the worst of times. We’re here to talk about that second bit, though we’re keeping things focused on video games. If we went any broader, this would take all day.

As we do every year at Kotaku, it’s time to take a look back on the highs and lows of the last 12 months. Today, we’ll focus on the lows. (See: the biggest disappointments of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.) We posted the best surprises of 2018 yesterday, so now it’s time for failures, mistakes and outright disasters.

The Best Video Game Surprises Of 2018

It’s that time again: time to take stock of the year that was 2018. We’ll start with the nice stuff.

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Screenshot: Kotaku, Fallout 76

Fallout 76 is just a big ol’ mess.

Fans were sceptical when Fallout 76 was announced at this year’s E3, but many were willing to give it a shot. It was a new kind of Fallout, one in a collaborative world, where players would be able to build bases like in Fallout 4, work together, or nuke each other.

It was a risk—and it didn’t pay off. The game launched with extravagant bugs, a lifeless world, and unsatisfying multiplayer. As the bummer cherry on top, the $US200 ($278) Power Armour edition of the game shipped with flimsy nylon bags instead of swagged out canvas ones.

The lowest point, however, was when the support site bugged out and started revealing players’ personal information, including home addresses, to other players. Yikes.

President Trump trots out the “violent video games” canard.

It was like time travelling to 2003: After a deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, Trump met with video game executives and watched a reel of violent video game clips.

While it was amusing that Giant Bomb’s Dan Ryckert somehow ended up on that video, the idea of the President of the United States entertaining the idea that the severity and frequency of mass shootings in this country might be caused by violent video games is ridiculous.

It simply is not true, and only acts to serve as a distraction from the real legislative problems in this country that make such shootings so tragically commonplace.

Photo: Blizzard

The Shanghai Dragons can’t manage a single Overwatch League win.

The point of an underdog story is that they might, at some point, catch a break. Not so for the Shanghai Dragons, who ended the season with 0-40 record. Zero for forty. They played forty games, and did not win a single one of them.

They may hold a special place in my players’ hearts for signing Geguri, the first woman in the Overwatch league, but new signings weren’t enough to turn their luck around.

Fortnite accounts keep getting hacked.

Fortnite is one of the most popular video games in the world at this point, which makes it all the more unfortunate how poor a job Epic has done securing players’ accounts. They get hacked all the time, and some players have had their credit card information compromised as a result. There’s actually a thriving economy based off of hacking and then selling accounts, and one hacker told Kotaku that Epic’s account security is “top kek.”

What has Epic done about this? Not too much, it appears. If your kid is using your credit card to buy a Season Pass for Fortnite, keep an eye out for any weird transactions.

Illustration: Sam Woolley, GMG

Tumblr bans adult content.

Tumblr was a great way to artists who like to draw boobs to keep a portfolio, make announcements to their audience, and engage in a thriving artistic community.

On December 17th, those artists will have to look for a new internet home. After years of problems with pornbots posting spam and other users posting child pornography, Tumblr banned all adult content. While getting rid of the aforementioned issues is good for the site, it’s also a move that people who use Tumblr find way too extreme.

On top of that, Tumblr’s algorithm for finding and flagging adult content is hilariously busted. With competitors like Pillowfort and breathing down Tumblr’s neck, the site may be done for.

Telltale Games abruptly closes up shop.

In 2004 a trio of ex-LucasArts employees banded together to revitalize the adventure game genre. The studio they founded, Telltale Games, spent 14 years creating episodic adventures based on beloved properties like Batman, Sam & Max, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Game of Thrones and in the company’s most popular series, The Walking Dead.

Then, in September of 2018, citing poor game sales, the company laid off all but 25 of its employees and began the process of shutting down. Employees were caught off-guard by the closure, with many hard at work on the ongoing Walking Dead series late into the night prior to layoffs.

Staff was let go with no warning and provided no severance. The entire situation was dreadful. Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment worked out a deal to bring on some former employees to complete the final two episodes of The Walking Dead’s final season, but that does little to soften such a harsh end for a beloved, prolific studio.

Image: Sony

The PlayStation Classic isn’t as classic as we’d all hoped

Following Nintendo’s two successful forays into the retro console market, Sony surprised us all with the announcement of the $149.95 PlayStation Classic. Like Nintendo’s offerings, the PlayStation Classic would be loaded with 20 of the best games the original console had to offer. Unlike Nintendo, however, Sony’s idea of what constitutes the best games their console had to offer differed greatly from what many fans had in mind.

Dreams of a dedicated Suikoden II machine were dashed when Sony revealed the full game list. No Gran Turismo? No Wipeout? No Star Wars: Masters of Teras-Kasi? We were bummed. Bummed enough for a podcast episode about it.

And when it came time to review the finished product, we found it lacked passion. But hey, you know who has passion? The hackers who’ve already got other games running on the PlayStation Classic. It’s a labour of love for them.

Pro gamers and streamers can’t seem to stop saying awful things.

Hey kids, here’s a tip. If you are going to get into a growing, high-profile activity like esports or plan on making your living streaming in public, maybe check the racist, homophobic, transphobic and misogynistic comments at the door. You know, like good people.

If you’re super-popular streamer Ninja, don’t rap the n-word. In fact, don’t use that word at all, no matter who you are. Don’t type “faggot” into your team chat.

While we’re at it, don’t suggest people kill themselves.

See those links? Each one leads to someone being at best thoughtlessly cruel, at worst purposefully so, and we reported on far more similar incidents in 2018. There’s enough of that bullshit in the world at large. We don’t need it in gaming.

Image: Nintendo

Walugi will never, ever be playable in Smash Bros.

Yesterday we celebrated the inclusion of Samus Aran’s archenemy, Ridley, in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Today, we lament the exclusion of Luigi’s archnemesis, Waluigi. Why does Nintendo treat the purple-clad, red-nosed evil version of Mario’s brother so horribly? Why does Wario get on the Smash Bros. roster while showing his arse crack and passing gas, while Waluigi keeps his pants on and gets excluded?

Is it because Waluigi is horrible, or because he’s really fucking horrible? The world may never know.


    I very rarely buy a game without waiting for reviews, so I tend to avoid
    a lot of disappointments. However, my personal disappointments for 2018:

    Mario Tennis Aces: I loved the demo for the game and could not stop playing tournaments that weekend. Unfortunately the balance/trick shot meta absolutely killed my enjoyment for it at release. I tried getting back in to it after it had been patched but by then match making took for ever and other titles had come along.

    The other surprising one was Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. I was really excited for the port, I had heard nothing but amazing things about the game during the wii u and leading up to the switch release. I loved the platforming levels in Mario Odyssey but this just didn't click for me. Not saying its a bad game in anyway, just not for me which is a shame!

    Luckily this year was absurdly good for games & even managed to sell those titles to fund the games I loved; Rdr2, Smash Ultimate, Spiderman, Mario Party, Hollow Knight.

    What about the Diablo Immortal announcement?

      That's not a disappointment. You either care or you don't. Most people don't..

        What you're saying makes no sense. You say that people either care or don't care in relation to Diablo Immortal, which is true. People either care about it or they don't. That's true of everything. But then with your first statement you imply that means the announcement wasn't disappointing, which doesn't fit in with the rest of your post.

        Disappointment only exists because people care about things. People can't be disappointed in something if they don't care. It's a contradiction to separate disappointment from caring. By your own words people care about Diablo Immortal, which means they can be disappointed in Diablo Immortal.

        You finish by saying that most people don't care about Diablo Immortal, which simply isn't true. Diablo is a franchise that has persisted for over 20 years. It's an IP that has sold millions of copies in that time, and Diablo 3 alone has sold over 20 million copies. A lot of people care about it. In fact Blizzcon 2018 was advertised as an event for people who do care about Diablo.

        And since people who care about something can be disappointed by something, a lot of people were disappointed by the Diablo Immortal announcement. We know this from the reactions to the announcement at Blizzcon, from a fan asking the developers if the game was a joke, from the forum posts on Blizzard's official forums from fans expressing disappointment, from the youtube videos made of people expressing disappointment (and the amount of views and likes those videos got), from the game's media covering the announcement and talking about how it was received with disappointment and skepticism.

        The general reaction to the game's announcement has been disappointment. So maybe you don't care, but I think enough people did care, and were disappointed, that it warrants mention in a list of gaming disappointments in 2018.

          I agree, strange logic indeed. I thought the Diablo announcement was probably one of the biggest disappointments for the year. The backlash seemed to ruffle a few feathers at Kotaku US though, so I'm not surprised it wasn't mentioned in the article.

          I mean, you're right. But that is a tl;dr if I ever saw one.

          It's not a disappointment if you don't play it.

          Therefore, you can choose to not care and not be disappointed. Noone is forcing anyone to play it. So as I said, most don't care and won't play it and won't be disappointed.

          You can't be disappointed by an announcement. It's like me announcing, hey I had a tasty bacon burger for breakfast. Noone cares. Noones disappointed. That's why it's not on the list.

    My biggest disappointment was the realisation that Blizzard Activision was not the great and might developer I once thought it was
    Being a nostalgic fanboy, the diablo immortals was a hit, but cancelling the esports league for Heroes of the Storm was a punch in the gut. I can't count how many hours i have played that game, and removing the pro scene is essentially putting the game on life support. i know nothing is sustainable, but placing the value of stockholders over the community sucks and brings the realisation that video games are business when you take away all the glitz and glamour. Stupid capitalism.

      This by far. Blizzard dropping support for HOTS this early in it's life is not what people expect from Blizzard. This is a company that still patches games made last millennium. There has clearly been a large shift in their internal culture to let something like this happen.

    No Waluigi is a good thing, though. Maybe not the biggest game appointment* for the year, but one of them.

    * Whatever the opposite of disappointment is. Shut up.

    I can’t fathom how SD not winning a game is a disappointment. I think it’s great, sort of. They’re like the loveable losers. Once they start winning I’d be less invested in them.

    But yeah Diablo Immortal, Battle For Azeroth and Blizzcon 2018 are 3 suspiciously absent items from this list.
    Blizzcon amazingly so. I’m glad I didn’t buy a ticket this year, I would’ve felt robbed. What the fuck are Blizzard doing?

    Welcome to Hanwell was a big disapointment for me, the trailers, the EA, it all looked like it was coming together but sadly.... No.
    It's not a bad game by any means amd has sone good moments but they hyped us all up for so much more.

    Inquisitor Martyr was the same, its just a slow boring grind fest, with the same textures used over and over again. The worst part is the devs are active in the forum but never act on feedback instead of fixing bugs or glitches they focused on the console release.

    Syndrome, looked good a bit of a dead space vibe. Started off really good like I was hooked but a few hours in stpry progression stopped and it was endless back tracking fetch quests. I shelved it and won't bother finishing it.

    I guess I don't get disappointed with games too much as I am usually fairly cynical about new releases but there were a few this year.

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