Syp has a great post about the personality of games, and I would like to say I agree 100%. My Wildstar title was chosen with great care – “things that turned me off” – and not just off the cuff. I don’t think its a bad game. I’m just a getting a bit of an eyebrow raise at the terms some people are using to describe it – innovative being the main one.
Which leads me to the one way I can see a game as being bad. And that is when it misrepresents itself to the wider audience. SWTOR got absolutely pummeled post launch, and gamewise, mechanically, its not a bad game. Its quite solid. But when it is not playing itself out the way you promised people it would, its gonna take a beating in social media and in sales and subs as well.
By the same token, this has been the concern with TESO as well – you are advertizing Multiplayer Elder Scrolls – that had better be what you deliver!
But if you can show people what your game is in a realistic manner, keep the expectations in check as a result of that, and then launch without too many bumps, things will be just fine for you and your game. And as you might have guessed, the expectations part of that is the difficult one. Games that are greatly hyped had to deal with frothing masses and their exponential growth of expectations (one of the things that makes me worry about Star Citizen). In other words, you have to be careful when you develop a cult of personality around your game. It might not be a bad thing for business. But if the crowds discover upon launch that the personality they have been worshipping is not the one they got, well…