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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Question: Which games from the last few years do you think really surprised their developers with their success?

So this is something I've been thinking a bit on recently, but I have the feeling that Pokemon Legends Arceus did a lot better than Game Freak expected. For a main series game (which it is), it has a very odd combination of pre launch build up and post launch focus in stuff like the anime and stuff, and I legit think they were expecting something more akin to a Mystery Dungeon than something like what they got. 

Of course I'm a narrowly focused sort of game, and I'm curious about some other hits that came out recently that you think are like that. Let's set recently to...2017-2022 for a five year period of time for reference



The Democratic Nintendo fan....is that a paradox? I'm fond of one of the more conservative companies in the industry, but I vote Liberally and view myself that way 90% of the time?

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I would say Breath of the Wild. I'm sure they expected it to be a success, but I don't think they expected it on that level.

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle. It's not like Rabbids are a selling point, and Mario and cover based srpg was a seemingly bizarre choice.

Clubhouse games. I think this was kind of testing the waters on how such games would be received on Switch, which is why it came out before the more obvious choice of Switch Sports.

Street Fighter V. It got off to such a poor start that it seemed like it would go the way of MVC Infinite. However they were able to correct course. Speaking of which...

Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. In the other direction. With the MCU at its Zenith this seemed like a surefire hit. Unfortunately some bad design choices, especially with the roster, made it dead in the water. A shame because it's really not a bad game.



JWeinCom said:

I would say Breath of the Wild. I'm sure they expected it to be a success, but I don't think they expected it on that level.

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle. It's not like Rabbids are a selling point, and Mario and cover based srpg was a seemingly bizarre choice.

Clubhouse games. I think this was kind of testing the waters on how such games would be received on Switch, which is why it came out before the more obvious choice of Switch Sports.

Street Fighter V. It got off to such a poor start that it seemed like it would go the way of MVC Infinite. However they were able to correct course. Speaking of which...

Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. In the other direction. With the MCU at its Zenith this seemed like a surefire hit. Unfortunately some bad design choices, especially with the roster, made it dead in the water. A shame because it's really not a bad game.

I would honestly say most of Nintendo's IPs would be considered a surprise since a lot of them far surpassed their predecessors (Metroid Dread, Luigi's Mansion, Animal Crossing, etc.) 



axumblade said:
JWeinCom said:

I would say Breath of the Wild. I'm sure they expected it to be a success, but I don't think they expected it on that level.

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle. It's not like Rabbids are a selling point, and Mario and cover based srpg was a seemingly bizarre choice.

Clubhouse games. I think this was kind of testing the waters on how such games would be received on Switch, which is why it came out before the more obvious choice of Switch Sports.

Street Fighter V. It got off to such a poor start that it seemed like it would go the way of MVC Infinite. However they were able to correct course. Speaking of which...

Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. In the other direction. With the MCU at its Zenith this seemed like a surefire hit. Unfortunately some bad design choices, especially with the roster, made it dead in the water. A shame because it's really not a bad game.

I would honestly say most of Nintendo's IPs would be considered a surprise since a lot of them far surpassed their predecessors (Metroid Dread, Luigi's Mansion, Animal Crossing, etc.) 

Sort of. Depends on the frame of reference. I think if we looked at things from our 2017 vantage point, we'd have been very surprised. But, after the sales of BOTW, Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Party, etc, I think we understood the trend. By the time Metroid Dread came out, I think people expected it to be the best selling Metroid game, which I'm pretty sure it is or will be.



I'd say Psychonauts 2 was probably a surprise for Double Fine because they most likely weren't expecting it to be considered a Game of the Year contender.

Days Gone was a surprise for Bend but Playstation didn't acknowledge how big of a success the game actually was for them.

I'd also say Fall Guys and Among Us as well because I'm certain neither expected their games to become as popular are they are/were (I don't follow either so I'm not sure if they are still as big as they were).



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JWeinCom said:
axumblade said:

I would honestly say most of Nintendo's IPs would be considered a surprise since a lot of them far surpassed their predecessors (Metroid Dread, Luigi's Mansion, Animal Crossing, etc.) 

Sort of. Depends on the frame of reference. I think if we looked at things from our 2017 vantage point, we'd have been very surprised. But, after the sales of BOTW, Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Party, etc, I think we understood the trend. By the time Metroid Dread came out, I think people expected it to be the best selling Metroid game, which I'm pretty sure it is or will be.

True. It's probably not a big surprise anymore (just as Kirby and the Forgotten Land possibly becoming the best selling Kirby game won't surprise anybody). Metroid Dread is currently the 3rd best selling Metroid game behind Prime 1 and Prime 3. 



axumblade said:
JWeinCom said:

Sort of. Depends on the frame of reference. I think if we looked at things from our 2017 vantage point, we'd have been very surprised. But, after the sales of BOTW, Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Party, etc, I think we understood the trend. By the time Metroid Dread came out, I think people expected it to be the best selling Metroid game, which I'm pretty sure it is or will be.

True. It's probably not a big surprise anymore (just as Kirby and the Forgotten Land possibly becoming the best selling Kirby game won't surprise anybody). Metroid Dread is currently the 3rd best selling Metroid game behind Prime 1 and Prime 3. 

Dreamland is the only one it may have difficulty passing, but I think it will beat it pretty cleanly.



Persona 5 probably surprised Atlus. They seemed surprised enough about the Steam version of P4G.



Amazon Games with New World. Their first MMO and a successful one at that. Was super popular at launch and for the couple of months despite many set backs and middling reviews. Still has an active community going for it.

Elden Ring by From Software sold 12M in less that a few weeks (and by far their best selling game), got 95+ in OC and MC. They even stopped reviewers like Digital Foundry from posting their review pre patch due to concerns of performance pre launch. Very much doubt that they'd imagine the game blowing up the way it did. Still over 500K concurrent players, peaking at >600K on Steam which is insane.

God of War (2018) by Santa Monica Studio sold over 20 million on PS4. Several times higher than its predecessors and highest reviewed in the series. Coming from the excellent trilogy, and almost re-imagining to the series I don't think SMS expected to be as popular as it is now. Sold over 2M on PC iirc as well.

Last edited by hinch - on 20 March 2022

If I just limit this to Nintendo IP:

BotW
SSBU
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Pokemon Legends Arceus
Super Mario Party
Splatoon 2
Luigi's Mansion 3

I know there are a lot of other Nintendo IP that happen gotten a boost on the Switch, but these are the games that have sold so far beyond their predecessors that they had to have beaten expectations. (Or in the case of Arceus it was a spinoff that has far exceeded the sales of other Pokemon spin-offs.)