Whether the leg-work was completed by the developers themselves, committed fans, or even ex-studio members who felt a certain responsibility to finally put things right, these games confirm just how long a game can sit in the unfinished – yet, infuriatingly, available for sale – ether.
Above all else, they’re proof perfect of the mind-boggling amount of effort that actually goes into delivering a thoroughly polished game on release day without the need for major post-release tweaks…
On paper a video game taking place following the events of James Cameron’s 1986 sci-fi action classic Aliens sounded like a match made in heaven, but when it finally hit stores in early 2013, the game was largely excoriated by both fans and critics.
Oh, Aliens: Colonial Marines.
While the majority of broken games will indeed get fixed up to shape relatively soon after release, sometimes it takes years or even damn decades for the game to end up in fully playable, satisfactory condition.
Whatever the reason and whatever the outcome, these 10 games weren’t in fully working order for far, far too long after the problems were initially flagged.
Beyond the complaints about the low-effort nature of the generic campaign mode, many felt the game was fundamentally broken due to its overabundance of glitches and the non-functional A.I. of the Xenomorphs.
In the months following its release, it became clear that developer Gearbox Software secretly outsourced much of the game’s development without Sega’s knowledge, resulting in the final game looking and playing worse than earlier gameplay footage.
While Colonial Marines remains a colossally disappointing experience today, in 2017 it was effectively “fixed” not by Gearbox but an enterprising modder, who discovered that a typo in the game’s code caused the malfunctioning, janky alien A.I. routines. Fixing the typo caused the Xenomorphs to move and stalk as you’d expect, immediately ensuring the game could be taken more seriously as an intense experience rather than an abject laughing stock.
Still, it took almost four-and-a-half years for someone to do it, and that someone wasn’t even an employee of Gearbox or Sega. Yikes.