From Star Wars To GTA: 2021’s Biggest Gaming Disappointments

An Ubisoft NFT helmet, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, and a character from Balan Wonderworld appear before a dark gridded background.

Image: Square Enix / Ubisoft / Kotaku / Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

Hell-year 2021 is almost over. It’s been a terrible year for more reasons than I can count. Pondering all the bad, disappointing, or just plain sad news that transpired within the video game industry alone is enough to make you want to jump into bed, hide under the covers, and binge on TikTok, candy, and/or Animal Crossing until you pass out.

But instead of running and hiding, let’s take a moment to look back at just how awful 2021 really was, examining some of the biggest disappointments, worst trends, and just plain not-great news this monster of a year threw at us. If you then wanna crash and sleep until New Year’s Eve, well, no one will blame you. But for now, let us turn and cast our analytical, steely eyed gazes back over the year that was. It was really something else.

Bobby Kotick still has a job

Activision Blizzard’s terrible treatment of women, seemingly endemic problems with sexual harassment, and generally toxic workplace comprised the biggest story of 2021. The year saw multiple ongoing lawsuits, numerous investigations, and a procession of executives leaving, apologizing, or both. And through it all, longtime CEO Bobby Kotick has remained.

Even after it came to light that Kotick was reportedly an active participant in some of the toxic bullshit happening at the Call of Duty mega-publisher, multiple industry leaders spoke against his leadership, and staff walked out in protest, Kotick still remains, like a leech lodged in a hard-to-reach spot. And knowing how the world works, the odious, unfathomably well-compensated executive, who laid off hundreds of employees in 2021, will likely continue to be safely employed next year.

Battlefield 2042 botches its launch

Sure, historically, Battlefield games always launch in rough shape. But that’s not a very good excuse, and this time around folks didn’t seem so keen on paying to beta test EA’s latest big, online shooter. BF2042 suffered through a bad launch, losing a lot of players in the process, and now continues to struggle in finding its place while competing online shooters like Fortnite and the new Halo Infinite prosper and grow. Seems that even a brand as mighty as Battlefield isn’t “too big to fail.”

An example of a bad model from the GTA San Andreas remaster, featuring a character with weird arms and a broken neck.

Screenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku

GTA Trilogy is a buggy meme disaster

On paper, remastering the classic PS2-era Grand Theft Auto games sounds like a great plan. They haven’t aged very well, and could benefit from updated controls, improved visuals, and a bevy of other tweaks. Sadly, the long-rumored GTA The Trilogy: Definitive Edition that landed in November was a terrible mess. Sometimes it managed to look nice, but mostly it was filled with broken features, bugs, terrible-looking rain, and newly ugly character models. Following a rare apology from Rockstar, the collection is in a better place thanks to

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