Image by Malachi Witt from Pixabay

When you play a bad video game, interact with a poorly made tech product, or tune into a lackluster movie you don't think that much about it.


In fact, that says it all: you quickly move on and never return.

Rarely do we think about the intense amount of work that went into creating that piece of utter mediocrity.

There were several people employed for months, and they put hours into the end product. Massive investments were negotiated and made. Huge arguments took place. A whole office existed, composed of complex hierarchies and lines of communication.

And yet, the thing came out terrible. So we didn't give it a second thought.

But recently someone on the internet stopped to wonder what all that work looks like. Redditor DongLaiCha asked:

"People who have worked on infamously bad products/games/apps/films, did you know it was bad when it was being made? Did the company? What happened?"

Plenty of people shared their experiences helping to develop video games. The organizational culture and funding circumstances were almost always a mess, and the primary root of the problem.

Dingus at the Helm

"We knew in an early meeting about the video game that it was going to be bad because he screamed at us rather than answer a basic question. Months later the guy released a version to the public when it was hastily put together. We were shocked that he would have ever even considered this ready."

"A review ripped it apart so badly that it went viral. We were sure the guy would strongly reconsider blowing his fortune on making a niche game that he was failing so badly at already."

"He responded by putting in charge several people who where completely ill equipped to manage a game into leadership roles and have them micromanage every step. This revolving door of managers got more out of step, and cruel as time went on. This went on for 3 years with investors pulling out, layoffs, and bailouts."

"I was laid off 2 months ago. Since then they have contacted me to get me to give up my software license info that I paid thousands for while working for them. They are being sued and because they came to me aggressively, it gave me a lot of warm feelings to find out how bad off they are. There is just a skeleton crew left and none of them know if it will every get finished."

-- DarrenEdwards

Bizarre Alien Behaviors

"I worked on Aliens : Colonial Marines as a tester. It was great, so much fun playing the Aliens in multiplayer, revisiting the really great looking sets/ levels and enjoying the story, with the understanding that it was all a work in progress."

"One day all of the Aliens started freezing. Then big bits of the levels would disappear."

"Some amazing bugs would start popping up (respawning without a head after getting decapitated by the Aliens). And the cutscenes seemingly never got rendered out properly."

"I have no idea what went wrong but my name is in the credits forever!"

-- lasarus29

Digitized Face Destruction

"My teacher worked on at least one Saw video game. He hated the entire thing and his bosses were very nitpicky about everything. He kinda just accepted the pay and moved on to better things."

"Besides teaching, he now works for a company making VR training simulations for pilots, so he gets to study and create all kinds of planes and machinery."

"We're graduating soon and several people want to buy him a replica of the saw face trap, which is one of the things he created for the game as a goodbye/thank you gift."

-- Arcinbiblo12

Kinda Like That Final Season

"You may remember over a year ago seeing advertisements for "Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming: the officially licensed browser game!"...yeah I worked on that, and it was clear it would be terrible (entertaining overview of the game here: https://youtu.be/m08Z-oDdvlY)"

"Basically, the state of the game when it released and the state of the game a year before release were the same. Somehow, nobody did their jobs, and yet everyone was doing absurd amounts of crunch and overtime."

"There were really obvious things that I would point out and say 'this is a problem we need to fix now, or it will become worse later,' and other people would think I was being picky. Then, sure enough, it would cause a huge problem a couple months later and someone would have to spend several days fixing it."

"That's also separate from the design of the game itself, which I and a few coworkers just watched become worse and worse. There were so many things that we looked at and thought 'that's temporary, right? We're gonna iterate on that feature and improve it, right?' (They weren't temporary, and we didn't iterate or improve on then)."

-- jmarchuk

Others worked on movies that turned out dreadful. It takes a whole lot of people to make a movie, and usually all of them are very aware of how that thing is going to turn out.

Punch In, Punch Out

"I worked on a couple really awful big budget films. Everyone knew they were sh** as we were making them."

"We all were being paid very well. So we didn't really worry about how awful the films were."

-- dogbreathdrummer

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Logistical Nightmare

"I worked on a movie with a really bad script. The company already got the funding and had to make the film and the producers, director and various writers tried for a year constantly rewriting and changing the script to try and make it work, but it didn't."

"It just wasn't a good concept, had to many single-use characters, jumped around between too many locations to quickly... it was the kind of script that you just throw in the fire and forget about."

"But they ended up making it and it didn't turn out good. Technically it is well made but narratively it is a mess and hard to follow."

"All the crew knew we were working on a turkey, but hey... it's a paying job."

-- GilipollasArdiente

Soothsayer-Super Sayan

"I worked on Dragonball:Evolution and I knew it was an impossibly unwatchable turd before any of you even knew there was a trailer."

-- Kooriki

Beef Up That Tomatometer

"I was in a real, real bad horror film. I knew it was bad while we were making it, but hoped it would be edited to at least be palatable. It wasn't."

"It tanked, and the creator paid people to leave good reviews, as well as leaving as many good reviews as he could himself. It was a train wreck."

-- plaidtaco

15 Minutes of *Hulu* Fame

"I worked on terrible indie film, and yes, when I read the script I knew it was going to be terrible. The people making it had no idea. I tried to convince them to let me doctor it, but they refused. It was briefly on Hulu and then gone forever."

-- pbntm2

Ray Was Right

"I've directed voices for cartoons for over twenty years. I've worked on projects I thought were crappy that turned out to be big hits, and projects I thought were brilliant that got zero traction. The key is wrapping your ego in the creative process, not the end product."

"As Ray Charles said, 'Ain't no sonofabi*** nowhere knows what's gonna hit.' "

-- schnitzel_envy

And some shared experiences working to create tech products, be they software or hardware. With so many heads in the room, that can be like herding cats.

Nosedive

"My mother helped build Window's Vista and she actually finds it extremely funny. They had such high hopes and really thought it was revolutionary, only to watch it burn almost immediately."

-- sorrygirl818

A Cocky Start

"My brother in law worked at Microsoft when they released the Windows phone. Apparently management marched through the building with an IPhone in a small casket while announcing the new phones release date."

"While he liked the phone well enough, he was pretty sure that this moment was destined for ridicule."

-- Indpendent_Offer575

Dial It Back, Jeff

"Not my story, but I had a manager who worked on the Fire Phone. Remember the Fire Phone? It was amazon's disastrous foray into the cellphone. Huge rollout. Terrible reviews. Cost about as much as the iPhone but with none of the social or aesthetic credibility."

"Anyway, the way my manager told the story was like this: Originally, the fire phone was supposed to be the anti-iPhone. Super stripped down functionality, basic hardware, easy interface, and very low price point. That was an area in the cell market where they thought they could really dominate."

"Well, when the phone design was in prototyping mode (like halfway through the project or whatever) ol' Uncle Jeff starts coming and sitting in on meetings. And he starts asking questions… Why can't the phone have a better camera? Why can't it have more storage? Why can't it have a better screen?

"On and on and on… and no one wants to say no to him. So they keep 'improving' the phone. The rest is history."

"And by history I mean a huge disaster."

-- paperbackella

Soothsayer

"My dad works at Kodak... Not the camera side but the printing and graphics side.. I remember him saying for years they are going to go bankrupt because they didn't want to get into the digital camera side because film is more profitable.they were wrong"

-- hunkachunk88888

That's Not a Product. That's 120 Products.

"They had 12o or so customers and they "customized" it for them. This meant that there were 120 (or so) different versions of the same product. Everytime a new feature was added it had to be added to ALL of them. Then they'd phone up and want a change... NIGHTMARE!"

-- bobo76565657

Perhaps next time you quickly delete an app or flick off a movie you'll imagine all the bizarre stories that must have gone on as it was being created.

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