Bad Games: Developers talk about the consequences of failure

Bad Games: Developers talk about the consequences of failure

How about working at a company that faces criticism and negative reviews after releasing an expensive, long awaited Triple A game? One user on Reddit has asked the question in the blue and received many answers from anonymous developers.

The fact that the developers remain anonymous has several reasons, including NDAs, which in some areas manageable or well networked industry and the protection of the person from harassment, such as by fans. Therefore, the statements are not easily verifiable, but they are detailed and consistent, which underlines their credibility.

Criticism is not surprising

In all descriptions it is agreed that the quality of a game is known to its fathers in some cases well in advance. There are several reasons. Developers play for themselves and therefore have an eye for quality. Often there is also the possibility to test an always up-to-date version of the game. Larger studios also commission internal pseudo-reviews to gauge the ratings of the trade press.

As developers spend years working on a project, they are able to judge strengths and weaknesses as well as potential problems. Signs of trouble are many. A growing bug or problem tracker announces as difficult a road as the behavior of employees: If problems are ignored and swept aside or a clear red thread is missing, there is no hit in the house.

The fact that a cucumber arises does not have to crystallize in the course of development. If the project is started under unfavorable conditions, studios is clear from the very beginning, what kind of result arises. In one case, an inappropriate engine should produce an open-world game in too short a time. The result, the developer reports, was clear to the team from the start, because it was doomed to fail from the outset.

A negative reception is therefore no surprise for the developers. Unexpected events are merely technical problems that naturally occur when the number of test environments increases considerably.

Publisher not the buzzard

When developers get excited about a project, development issues are often downplayed, creating false hopes, optimism and the desire to somehow still program the best possible game. As a result, studios can become more wishful in thinking and working past reality, which makes it difficult to turn off the difficulties.

Whether a game is good or bad, is therefore vorste in the hands of the developer studios. Bad decisions in the games he created with him were usually taken by the studios, not the publisher, a user writes: “Often the publisher / company does not want to tamper with the team and leaves it alone until it's too late“. While it is also, but not only the employees in management positions blamed.

Disastrous consequences

The consequences are nevertheless disastrous. For some of the employees, the reviews serve as confirmation of their assessments, but overall, the failure of all ambitions and hopes “heartbreaking“And is about by an employee at Turtle Rock (Evolve) with”a bad separation” compared. As a result, frustration and a depressed or irritable mood spread – which is natural when, over the years, passionately working on a product that identifies the workforce.

The concrete consequences of a failure depend on the size of the studio. For small teams, a bad game can be a death sentence because publishers lose confidence and no longer believe that a contract or quality promise can be fulfilled. For larger studios, there will again be a change in senior management and negotiations with publishers on various measures to avoid further flops.

I like being a regular in the IT field because it's more stable and there's less people acting like I murdered their families and ruined their lives.


Layoffs are also threatening developers, especially in small and medium-sized teams. How many employees have to go depends on how big the studio is and how important the project was for its future. Remaining employees, it is reported, felt somewhat responsible for these layoffs, which depresses morale.
Also, this instability and uncertainty is one reason why negative criticism is perceived as a hit in the stomach area.

Evaluation and new beginning

Generally, however, after some time, a process of evaluation starts to find and avoid mistakes. On the one hand, the driving force is the passion of the developers and the associated desire to make things better. And with that, developers note with a pinch of cynicism, start the entire cycle anew.

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