Opinion: The Seven Most Controversial Video Game Announcements
Apparently one of the Paper Mario videos was stolen, so I’ve updated it to the latest version. Thanks to the Loney Goomba on Twitter for making the video in question! And to main_gi for reporting it!
Usually, most criticism of a game or show tends to happen after it’s been announced for a while. Like say, when a new trailer shows off a character that everyone immediately dislikes. When the game is released and turns out to be broken to hell and back. Or heck, when the game just turns out to be utter crap and doesn’t live up to early expectations.
But then, you have the times where it all goes pear shaped right off the bat. Where for good or bad, the fanbase/public/internet immediately hates a new game the minute it’s been announced. Maybe it doesn’t look very good and people’s expectations are sent crashing through the floor. Maybe it’s nothing like the original and the fanbase now wants to storm the developer’s office in an angry vigilante mob. Or hell, maybe the reveal was done in such a batshit insane, stupid way that marketing experts worldwide are smashing their heads into the wall at just how poorly thought out the trailer was.
Above: Just your stereotypical angry mob!
And that’s what this is about. Here are the six most controversial video game announcements. The games whose trailers and announcements were so poorly done that the internet collectively lost it minutes afterwards.
So let’s start off with an extremely infamous game. Back in 2007 to 2008, the Wii was on top of the world. Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Kart Wii were doing great, Super Smash Bros Brawl had been released to mass critical acclaim and well, everyone thought E3 2008 was just going to continue the trend. Afterward, we’re on top of the world! What could possibly go wrong?
After one hell of a boring, mostly uninspired E3 presentation, Nintendo announced a mystery game.
Cue Wii Music. Or more accurately, cue a ‘band’ of Nintendo employees badly trying to play the Super Mario Bros theme by waving Wii remotes around on stage:
In one foul swoop, any chance of Nintendo doing well at E3 that year was blown straight out of the water. They’d do better in the next one (thank you Donkey Kong Country Returns!), but in 2008, Nintendo was the laughing stock of E3.
Oh, and what become of Wii Music?
Not much. No one really gave much of a damn about it, it got discontinued really quickly and as of now, even Nintendo has basically forgotten that it even exists.
Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts
Which brings us onto this game. One which a significant portion of the Banjo-Kazooie would prefer to forget. And to be honest, it all came down to one thing:
Basically, trailer 1 for ‘Banjo-Threeie’ promised a normal Banjo-Kazooie game. Okay, we never got to see any real game footage, but it showed Banjo and Kazooie using their special moves to try and break into a locked room and gave glimpses of a HD version of Spiral Mountain:
Unfortunately, that’s not what we got. Instead, we got this:
Oh boy. Suddenly, our (maybe second) favourite platformer star was driving vehicles and doing random missions in strange and somewhat generic worlds, with the actual platforming few and far between.
That didn’t go down well. Why? Well, imagine if you saw a new Metroid game announcement, and then it turned out it was Metroid RC Car Racing. And was an online only, multiplayer focused title.
Above: We’ll get to that.
Of course, the controversy when the game actually came out (hello LOG basically saying old school Banjo was crap and that kids nowadays would never play it) made the trailer controversy look tame, but it wasn’t well received regardless.
That still, it still got better received than…
Two Rare series in a row? Yep, and if you think what Rare did to Banjo was bad enough, just wait till you see what they did to poor old Conker:
Seriously, what the bleeding hell is that thing? It looks like a dehydrated rat in a space suit! That’s not Conker! It’s got the same voice, sure. But the game doesn’t look to play like a Conker game, the characters look horribly off model and absolutely no one thinks it’s a good idea.
And if you think I’m exaggerating here… well, just look at that dislike counter. 1000 or so likes compared to nearly 25,000 dislikes. That’s not so much a vocal hatedom as much as just about everyone’s who watched it thinking it’s terrible! Even die hard Rare fans couldn’t manage to defend this thing!
On a more positive side, some negatively received games can turn out to be really good…
The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker
Like this game. Which to be honest, got as much early hate as it did due to Nintendo pulling the same trick with Zelda as Rare did with Banjo… they show off something amazing that everyone wants, then replace it with something extremely controversial in the next update. In this case, we went from a ‘realistic’ style Ocarina of Time tech demo…
To a cartoon style trailer:
And well, the fanbase reaction was vicious. Right up until the game came out (and people realised it was an amazing game), then were people bashing the art style and design as ‘childish’. There were people calling it ‘Celda’. Fan sites had pages about it that assumed the game would be some sort of super cheery, light hearted kids show thing that would never live up to its predecessors in either feel or quality (see, Odyssey of Hyrule’s ‘Fairy tale of Hyrule’ page).
But as we all know, The Wind Waker was not a bad game. Nor it was quite as cheery and happy seeming as people assumed from the first trailers. Not every game the internet immediately dislikes turns out to be terrible or awkward or broken.
That said, the next one may be a different story…
Metroid Prime Federation Force
Because if there’s one thing you should never do when announcing a new game, it’s announcing something completely unlike the originals after years of nothing going on with the franchise.
That was just the situation Metroid was in before Federation Force. No games since 2010. Said last game being an awkward minefield of morally dubious implications, questionable design decisions and a creator seemingly wanting to retcon the beloved games released just beforehand.
And then, this happens. Nintendo announces a new game, where Samus isn’t playable, where the art style is different, where much of the game is devoted to a weird fictional sport based loosely on football and all of the game has somehow become a linear co-op shooter with a heavy multiplayer focus.
The fanbase (and Nintendo fans in general), did not take it well.
See that likes/dislikes bar?
10,000 people liked it. 90,000 basically said it should burn in hell.
And it didn’t stop there. People petitioned to have the game cancelled outright, the game got bashed to pieces and called a train wreck before it’d even had more a single trailer shown off, and by the time of the sequel Nintendo just flat out disabled ratings and comments and released a long video trying to defend it to the fanbase.
It was a catastrophe. But it might not have been quite as bad as the announcement of…
Paper Mario Colour Splash
Oh good god, this game.
Basically, Paper Mario Sticker Star chucked out everything people liked about the original games. Mario & Luigi Paper Jam had used the same Sticker Star characters and had its story mauled by association.
So Paper Mario fans… they wanted a good game. They wanted a return to the series roots. They wanted something akin to a mission pack sequel for Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door.
Then Nintendo basically announced Sticker Star too, and thoughts quickly went from ‘yay, Paper Mario is coming back’ to ‘Paper Mario is dead!’ pretty much instantly. GameXplain’s trailer got slammed by downvotes:
And well, good luck finding any positive coverage after that.
Because dear god, the fanbase was pissed. Like, wanting to smash Nintendo’s door to pieces kind of annoyed. You had the snarky parody videos:
Paper Mario Color Splash is very wrong. pic.twitter.com/pGq5prXum0
— Lonely Goomba (@LonelyGoomba) March 4, 2016
You had parody interviews:
You had every Youtuber basically tearing the reveal to pieces. You had more thoughtful videos like Arlo’s critique of the series:
And Twitter was quickly flooded with pictures of identical Toads, Paper Mario funerals, Paper Mario on Viking pyres, and the Trump inspired hashtag #MakePaperMarioGreatAgain.
Presumably, Nintendo got wind of all this too, since they decided ‘nope, not gonna continue World War 3 here’ and refused to put up a trailer for the game on any of their official channels. Probably a wise decision really, the dislike bar would be off the scale on any official trailer for this thing.
Above: Might be going a bit far.
And finally, because we don’t always focus on Nintendo games…
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare
I really don’t have to explain this one, do I?
Seriously look at the trailer:
No, actually don’t. Look at the bar below the trailer. That’s right, within about 2 weeks, the game had around 2 MILLION dislikes on Youtube. Apparently, it’s the second most disliked Youtube video in history.
Like, more people hate this than much of Justin Bieber’s music, Rebecca Black’s Friday and the new Ghostbusters official trailer. That’s some serious controversy there.
So that concludes our list. Is it a full list of every controversial game announcement in history? No, not even close. Remember, the internet is like a tinderbox doused with gasoline and rocket fuel that’s also located in the middle of a fireworks factory, it tends to explode into controversy at the slightest provocation. I could find examples of bashed and disliked games all day long, especially in regards to stuff on the app store or Steam Greenlight.
But those are so the most infamous ones overall, especially in regards to being games that people have actually heard of.