6 Games That Were Saved by Updates & Fixes
From humble beginnings to cutting-edge masterpieces, video games have evolved significantly, with updates, relaunches, and patches becoming an integral part of the gaming industry. These crucial interventions do more than iron out bugs and glitches; they also breathe new life into games by adding fresh features, enhancing graphics, and refining the overall experience.
Sometimes, these fixes have even rescued games from obscurity, catapulting them to widespread acclaim. We'll delve into six remarkable turnaround stories of games that overcame disastrous launches and emerged as beloved favorites for millions of gamers worldwide.
1) Cyberpunk 2077: rising from the ashes
In recent memory, the most high-profile gaming flop was the notorious Cyberpunk 2077 release. CD Projekt Red, riding the wave of acclaim from The Witcher 3, faced immense pressure and sky-high expectations for their ambitious cyberpunk adventure. While the game showed promise, a premature release led to a storm of debilitating glitches and crashes that defined its initial reception.
Despite multiple delays, Cyberpunk 2077 debuted with impressive sales, but the tidal wave of player dissatisfaction was hard to miss. Social media and YouTube were inundated with clips showcasing vehicles defying gravity, vanishing from the world, or behaving erratically. The game was so unstable that Sony pulled it from the PlayStation Store until midway through 2021.
Fast forward to today, and Cyberpunk 2077 has experienced a stunning metamorphosis. The release of the 1.5 patch marked a turning point, addressing numerous issues and setting the stage for the game's redemption on all platforms.
Adding fuel to the revival, the 1.6 Edgerunners update—released in conjunction with the Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Netflix anime series—brought further refinements to the game.
Now, Cyberpunk 2077 stands triumphantly as a testament to its original vision, having emerged from the shadows of its tumultuous past and ascended to its rightful place as a gaming masterpiece.
2) No Man's Sky: a stellar comeback
Few games have experienced the tumultuous release that No Man's Sky endured in 2016. Amidst a whirlwind of anticipation and hype, the game's vast, procedurally generated universe filled with unique planets and lifeforms initially dazzled gamers. However, the excitement quickly evaporated, revealing a repetitive experience far short of its lofty promises.
Undeterred developer Hello Games transformed its ambitious project. With the release of the pivotal Next update in 2018, No Man's Sky began to take shape as the visionary experience initially promised. Subsequent updates further refined the game, delivering breathtaking landscapes, intriguing alien encounters, and even a 2022 debut on the Nintendo Switch.
Once touted as the ultimate science-fiction game, the small team at Hello Games defied the odds and steadily enhanced No Man's Sky through a series of updates that introduced:
- Base-building mechanics
- Character customization
- VR support
- Engaging storylines
Gamers expect games to be updated, patched and improved over their lifetimes. No Man's Sky is a testament to the transformative power of post-launch updates.
Today, No Man's Sky has met and exceeded expectations, earning its place as a premier space sim. The original, underwhelming release now exists only as a distant memory, immortalized in old memes and YouTube videos that scarcely resemble the awe-inspiring game it has become.
3) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege: a tactical turnaround
Rainbow Six Siege is a prime example of how updates can reshape a game's legacy. Now a top eSports title, this tactical shooter had a rocky start. Released in late 2015, the game received a lukewarm response due to its limited content and challenges. According to Steam Charts, Siege didn't have tremendous initial success.
But Rainbow Six Siege's triumph is a story of steady progress rather than a sweeping overhaul. Adopting a "games as a service" approach, Ubisoft ensured long-term support through gameplay overhauls, reworked maps, and a diverse roster of operators.
Adding downloadable content, offering free post-launch maps, and a seasonal release structure helped the game gain momentum. This, combined with anti-cheat measures and a focus on esports potential, transformed Siege into today's highly respected title. Acer is the official PC and monitor partner of Rainbow Six eSports sponsoring tournaments including the Six Invitationals.
4) Street Fighter V: a knockout comeback
When Street Fighter V debuted with bugs, connection issues, and an underwhelming amount of content, fans were understandably disappointed.
Although the initial release featured 16 fighters, it lacked both a story mode and the industry-standard arcade mode—elements integral to the franchise since the days of Street Fighter II.
Recognizing the need for change, Capcom implemented a series of updates that addressed these shortcomings. A cinematic story mode was added just months after launch, followed by the introduction of the arcade mode in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. Subsequent updates expanded the game's content and roster, shaping the title into one of Capcom's most well-rounded fighting games.
The turnaround was cemented with the release of Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, which brought further gameplay enhancements and balance improvements. This evolution transformed Street Fighter V from a mixed-reviewed title into a triumphant success, restoring the franchise's place as a powerhouse in the fighting game world.
5) Diablo III: redemption
In 2012, Blizzard was a fan favorite, but Diablo III's launch threatened that status. Players who pre-ordered the game experienced difficulties accessing it, and when they could, the always-online requirement hampered performance.
The Real Money Auction House (RMAH), where players could buy and sell their in-game items for real-world money, only added to their discontent. The Reaper of Souls expansion catalyzed Diablo III's resurgence by replacing it with the Loot 2.0 system that rebalanced drops to give gamers a more rewarding experience.
Diablo III substantially transformed into the game fans eagerly anticipated with seasonal updates to keep players engaged with fresh content. New classes enriched the original campaign alongside the Reaper of Souls expansion.
As Diablo IV looms on the horizon, Blizzard must remember the lessons from Diablo III's troubled past to ensure a smoother launch and a more satisfying experience.
6) Fortnite: from obscurity to global phenomenon
Few could have predicted its impact when Epic Games first announced Fortnite in 2011. Initially featuring only its "Save the World" component, launched in 2017, Fortnite received a lukewarm reception as a cooperative PvE survival game.
However, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' meteoric rise inspired Epic Games to incorporate a battle royale mode into Fortnite, forever altering its trajectory. The game's unique construction mechanics melded seamlessly with the 100-player battle structure, and consistent updates kept it feeling fresh.
The introduction of battle royale mode catapulted Fortnite to international fame, transforming it into a billion-dollar IP with millions of devoted players worldwide. Today, Fortnite is synonymous with a universe where iconic characters like Street Fighter's Ryu can face off against Spider-Man in intense, large-scale PvP matches.
Fortnite might have remained a niche title without embracing the battle royale scene. Instead, it seized the opportunity to rival PUBG and has since become an unrivaled global phenomenon in gaming.
The power of reinvention in gaming
The ever-evolving gaming landscape has shown that a game's initial failure no longer has to be its ultimate fate. With the widespread adoption of content updates and patches across all platforms, developers can breathe new life into their creations.
These six games exemplify how perseverance, dedication, and continuous improvement can turn a flawed title into a beloved and successful gaming experience.
Studios and gamers can view a game's launch day as merely the beginning, not the end. With this mindset, the possibilities for innovation and redemption are genuinely endless.
Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.