The dying of the light - Great Games that got acquired, failed and were left to rot

The gaming industry feels pretty fucked up to me at the moment. I feel like I see the same patterns over and over lately.

Great game is published, publisher/mega corp somehow gains ownership of great game then forces a sequel or another game in the genre with a huge budget. When that fails it either kills the game or is moved to another developer. You know you are reading an article about it when someone refers to the game as “IP” and talks about how much it is worth without talking about what they are doing to make a great game with it. It feels like a white glove and generic word to boil a great game or concept universe to an own-able entity that should be making tons of money or is a failure.


  • Command and Conquer
  • Dead Space
  • Ultima

Great studio is creating good games but someone falls afoul of some bad luck or doesn’t make enough money to pay badk the publisher. Step 2: Publisher either sets them up for failure or moves them to making “Generic War Store and PVP Shooter Sequel #12” and either succeeds a shell of its former self or just rots away and loses their IP to the Publisher.

Recent Examples

  • Sierra Entertainment - Died to the studio acquisition shuffle.
  • Respawn Entertainment - Forced to make Apex legends in titanfall universe after titanfall 2. Apex’s success might save them and fund more games despite being published by EA.
  • Bioware - Maybe? Looking at you Anthem

I can’t control how the game industry is and I know this thread sounds like another “Gamer complaining about something he can’t change” but I have a different idea.

What are some great games that I can check out despite someone owning their IP and sitting on it like the shitty mega publisher they are?

My suggestion for anyone interested

Game: Revenant
Original Studio: Cinematix Studios
Current squatting owner: Square Enix
What I liked:
I thought the magic system and the world was really creative for it’s release time.
It may not hold up over time, especially for gamers used to 3d graphics but I think it plays decently.

  • the original fallouts for sure, and anything by black isle or interplay productions (planescape torment, icewind dale and baldur’s gate, another world, alone in the dark, neuromancer)
  • mega man (despite capcom not moving around the IP)
  • Bayonetta 2 and wonderful 101 (on a dead console, but still sorta counts)
  • kotor 1 and 2 (bioware’s been dead for years, all the original people left after the dragon age shitshow)
  • DK country (rareware is dead)
  • darksiders, destroy all humans, drawn to life, saints row (original thq)
  • lucasarts games hold up fairly well throughout their history
  • system shock, deus ex
  • dungeon keeper
  • burnout
  • NBA street
  • dead space (visceral)
  • PoP sands of time (studio rolled into ubisoft)
  • the original prey, duke nukem, max payne, wolfenstein (old apogee/3d realms/venom)
  • the original SW battlefront (pandemic)
  • gotham racing, blur, geometry wars (bizzare creations)

runescape is dying (rs3) from being bought and sold to china investment firms and micro transaction hell other then the mobile client boost the game is on its way out atm.

after andrew gower sold his shares of jagex it was over and no longer the dream he had it was sold to a american company and went down hill. fukgon interactive entertainment bought up jagex later and the ceo is a dumbass killing off all other projects.
block and load
carnage racing
fun orb

the internal want by the ceo to only use in-house tools and programming languages was a big reason they killed off alot of their projects cause they were not imidate success like runescape all the games made for fun orb are mobile ready but never ported and gone now.

and now fukgon entertainment wants to sell their stake in jagex

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Cave Dog, Total Annihilation was so good

Shiny Entertainment, Earthworm Jim and Wild 9 were great

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this is a noncomprehensive list, but all good games by studios killed by publishers


This is great, I appreciate the list. I gotta toss the lot on my steam/gog wishlists and start working through them when I have down time.

Dungeon Keeper clone.

there’s also one called Dungeons that’s pretty good.

I just have the gog versions of the original because I like actually owning games.


hell yeah

need dosbox to run it tho

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Still got the PC I got it for.

lol fair enough

What about self sabotage like Valve and HL2 series or HL3?

The game series was a massive success and had loyal fans everywhere, they ended the last episode on a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers… then nothing. Not a peep for about a decade.

This can also include many other franchises by Valve since they don’t really release games anymore.