Do you remember Outriders? From the same studio that brought us Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment, this third-person looter-shooter had the backing of Square Enix but still fell short of expectations. There were bugs that wiped all your gear, day-one issues that made it difficult to connect to the always-online servers, glitches that instantly killed players, copious patches that pissed the community off—the list goes on. This is one of those live-service games that never really caught a break. Despite being a success for the developer and publisher, People Can Fly reported in August that it hadn’t received any royalties from Square Enix. It’s a bummer all the way around because, if I’m being honest, I enjoyed my time with Outriders, even if my Kotaku cohort Ari Notis felt pretty “meh” about it six months after launch.
There you have it, Kotaku’s picks for the most busted games of 2021. I thought a lot about adding Cyberpunk 2077 to this list, but it didn’t seem fair for two reasons: 1) it came out a whole year ago, and 2) we know how terrible it was. Look, developing video games isn’t easy. It requires proficiency and skill, attributes that are frequently put through the wringer by this exploitative industry. Publishers and, more specifically, shareholders should hold Shigeru Miyamoto’s words in mind when imposing impossible-to-hit release dates on their teams: “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” Here’s hoping 2022’s titles come out in a much more playable state, with workplaces that respect the will and dignity of those employed there.