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Executive meddling

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Executive meddling is a developmental procedure in which parts of a game are changed or even removed, from rushed to unfinished games and consoles; and even censoring many scenes or mechanics in the final release, all due to demands from the company's higher-ups. The end result is usually negative reviews from critics and fans alike.

This topic also has pages on Terrible Shows & Episodes Wiki and Awful Movies Wiki.

Why This Move Sucks

  1. To get this straight, even though the developers tend to already have something great intended, executives stick their nose in that development, and they tend to alter anything into something that would work better for them or turn them into something unrecognizable, which usually results in something growing completely underwhelming or not good to that development. The worst part is that it usually causes great damage to the final product.
  2. There have been games and consoles that got cancelled or completely screwed over due to executive meddling.
  3. It always causes several games and consoles to be retooled. Sometimes, retooling a game or a console can be good as long as you don't mess with what you are doing. But other times, this is often done horribly.
  4. It's usually used to expand profits.
  5. It can also get people to blame the writers of something rather than the executives, even for things that are entirely out of the writing team's control.
  6. Sometimes, things have turned out pretty lousy due to executive meddling.
  7. It can happen with games and consoles that some like, but feel they are for much younger audiences or would appeal to absolutely nobody at all.


  • Nintendo was infamous for their meddling right up to the Wii U era, with Nintendo of America having content policies resembling the old Comics Code Authority, while Nintendo of Japan would often order second-party and even third-party developers to make sweeping changes to their products.
    • Dinosaur Planet was originally developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64, where the story was about Krystal and a male wolf named Sabre where the main characters aimed to stop the main antagonist General Scales. However, after Shigeru Miyamoto saw a likeness between Sabre and Fox McCloud, he renamed the title as Star Fox Adventures. Nintendo forced Rare into changing the plot and characters around and turn it into a Star Fox title, despite the game and its gameplay having no relation or similarities with the series beyond that. Sabre was axed, with his role being given to Fox, and Krystal was made into an older vixen and became the damsel in distress. Also, a rushed release date caused what could have been a climactic boss fight with General Scales to be completely cut. Much of Dinosaur Planet's leftovers still remain hidden in the final game's files. After 20 years after the game's cancellation, a development build was leaked online.
    • Mortal Kombat was censored by Nintendo of America. The SNES version of Mortal Kombat had the blood changed to sweat, and the fatalities were severely toned down (for example, Johnny Cage punches his opponent's head off in the original version, and in the SNES version, he simply delivers a hefty kick to their chest). The Sega Genesis port was technically inferior, but ended up being the most popular version because it contained all the violence and gore that made the game popular in the first place. Realizing this, Nintendo of America released Mortal Kombat II on the SNES in all its gory glory.
    • Nintendo's constant meddling also heavily affected the development of Body Harvest, since Nintendo repeatedly tried to force DMA Design to change it from an action-focused third-person shooter into a role-playing game, due to the Nintendo 64 lacking one thanks to limitation issues.
    • Nintendo's content policies were also a constant source of friction with developers right up to the middle of the N64 era: even at this point, Nintendo would still not allow games to show nudity or the use of drugs or alcohol, resulting among other things in covered-up babes and "steroids" becoming "Vitamin X" in Duke Nukem 64, the unused hidden strip club in Perfect Dark's Chicago level and the game's "Adrenaline Pill" item being renamed "Combat Boost," and a Western level in Duke Nukem Zero Hour having graffiti that declared it to be a "Dry town by order of Sheriff Ted Nindo."
    • Their meddling with the content of id Software's port of Wolfenstein 3D for the SNES (no references to Hitler or Nazi iconography, no blood, dogs had to be made into rats, etc) is widely believed to have led to id licensing the engine to the developers of Super 3D Noah's Ark, simply because it would annoy Nintendo.
    • Almost all of the content in Conker's Bad Fur Day reflects a constant uphill battle by Rare against Nintendo's desire to make the game their way.
    • Konami's US division were particularly strict in their interpretation of Nintendo's guidelines, resulting in alterations such as the cross weapon becoming a boomerang in several Castlevania games, and the removal of crucifixes from gravestones.
    • Even in more recent times, Nintendo's insistence that Star Fox Zero have no option for regular joypad control and instead exclusively used a convoluted aiming method involving the Wii U gamepad's tilt functions and second screen has been blamed for ruining what would otherwise have been a perfectly good entry in the series.
  • Rascal: Rascal is commonly regarded as one of the worst games on the Sony PlayStation and is most infamous for its use of Tank controls and the terrible camera. 20 years later the game's director published a video where he explained that the game was planned to have analog control, however the publisher mandated to use Tank controls due to the popularity of Tomb Raider. Switching to Tank controls in turn completely broke the game because the engine and camera were built for analog control and couldn't be adjusted to Tank controls.
  • Superman: The New Superman Adventures: Was originally planned to be more ambitious by being an open world Superman game with destructible physics. Warner Brothers forced Titus to scrap this plan and instead put in anything they wanted and take out anything they didn't like, thus squashing out any creative freedom the team had. This led to Titus focus more on appealing to Warner Brothers demands rather than fixing up the game; resulting in one of the worst games of all time.
  • Konami is a textbook example of executive meddling. There are too many instances to list here on this page, so here's the link to their downfalls.
  • When NiGHTS into Dreams got a sequel, the developers wanted it to be on the Xbox 360, but Sega made them develop it on the Wii instead to take advantage of its motion controls.
  • Both Konami and Capcom refused to have both Solid Snake and Dante's original incarnation to be in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as fighters, so Sony got Raiden and Ninja Theory's incarnation of Dante from DMC: Devil May Cry instead (though his portrayal in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale retains some personality traits from his original incarnation).
  • (Un)surprisingly, Electronic Arts often does this, examples being,
    • After acquiring Virgin Interactive’s North American operations, they quickly canceled their then-upcoming fighting game, Thrill Kill before launch, because according to them they didn't want to publish a "senselessly violent game".
    • Fuse was the first multi-platform title developed by Insomniac Games. Originally, it was known as Overstrike and had a colorful and cartoonish art style (like most of their games), similar to Overwatch before that game came out. EA, however, after focus groups reacted negatively to the game's art style, had Insomniac redesign it to look more "realistic". The end product was generic and almost indistinguishable from other third/first-person shooters of the time. Note that the focus group consisted of 12 to 14-year-olds, who often play games with realistic and gritty art styles like Call of Duty and Battlefield (which have consistently been rated M across the board).
    • While developing Ragtag (a Star Wars game), EA demanded that the game must have a 90% score on Metacritic, forcing LucasArts to approve every single creative decision in the game.
    • They also shoehorned always online connection in the reboot of SimCity against Maxis' wishes.
  • Due to them not owning the film rights to the X-Men franchise at the time, Marvel prevented Capcom from putting X-Men characters in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, despite them being a franchise staple. There were rumors that the X-Men were going to be added later as DLC and this seemed possible after Disney acquired Fox, but after the game suffered bad sales and the lack of main updates, it is very safe to say that the game is now dead.
  • BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Mori Toshimichi admitted that was originally going to add Adam and Penny during 2.0 DLC because of his and crew's favorite characters. but Rooster Teeth pushed one and only character of RWBY side of 2.0: Neo.
  • Brash Entertainment - the whole company downfall was more or less a form of executive meddling as said here.
  • The VR version of Resident Evil 4 had its suggestive dialogue censored due to Facebook demanding the changes for modern audiences such as when Leon flirts with Hannigan and Luis comments on Ashley's figure.
  • Sega has been doing this since the 90s. Examples include (but are not limited to):
    • Executive meddling between the regional divisions. Sega of Japan (up until the Dreamcast) always meddled in Sega of America's business, because the American division always did things that the Japanese division saw as weird or stupid (some things that were actually very beneficial to the company), most likely due to cultural differences. Such examples include:
      • Before the release of the Sega Genesis (their most popular and iconic console), Sega of Japan did not like Sega of America's advertisement for the console (because they were loud and very noticeable, and the Japanese advertisements were calm and mellow) and almost stepped in to take control of the American release. Luckily, the CEO of Sega trusted the American division and let them do what they want, and because of that, the Genesis sold 40 million units, give or take.
      • Sega of Japan also stepped into the North American release of the Sega Saturn, announcing that the console would release four months earlier than the PlayStation. Not only did this leave Sega of America scrambling to create (very poor) advertisements, but also led to several distributors and stores to drop all Sega hardware altogether, and major developers to drop development on the Saturn. Basically, Sega of Japan - vainly believing that it'll do the company good - doomed it.
      • On top of which, Sega of Japan was also the reason why the 32X failed, as they forced Sega of America to slow (and then stop) development and support for the add-on shortly before the Saturn release.
    • Also, their mascot Sonic the Hedgehog has several instances of executive meddling:
      • Sonic X-treme was practically bloated with executive meddling when the game's boss fights and actual gameplay were broken into two and given to two teams, they somehow made two entirely different games, and it snowballed from there, it didn't help that the Sega Saturn's complicated architecture made development significantly harder than needed. When the project's engine developed into a fairly advanced state they tested it on a physical Saturn only to find that the game simply couldn't run on it. Sega (despite it nearing the deadline and for NO reason) told the team to scrap EVERYTHING and start from scratch, when Sega of Japan execs came and checked on the game's progress, they were disgusted by its primitive gameplay, so they demanded that the game must be more advanced, again, despite it being VERY close to its deadline and some of the people in the team arguing over its direction. As a last resort, the team requested to use NiGHTS into Dreams engine for X-treme and Sega said "yes" until a couple of weeks later they took it back when Yuji Naka threatened to quit if they stopped because they didn't ask his permission (It should be noted that Naka WASN'T the owner of the engine, therefore, Sega had full rights to give it to the X-treme team without needing his permission). The breaking point was when an employee got diagnosed with pneumonia, and all of that ultimately led to the game's cancellation.
      • When the Sonic X anime was about to be dubbed in English by 4Kids Entertainment (now known as 4Liscencing Corporation), Sega replaced the upcoming games' voice cast with new ones without telling the old voice cast.
      • During development, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 was going to be ported to the Nintendo Wii, but when Sega learned about the Wii's limitations compared to the other two consoles (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) as well as its control scheme, they instead decided to make an original title for the Wii based on the Wii controller's capabilities. This resulted in Sonic Team being split up into two groups, with the newly formed group starting work on what would become Sonic and the Secret Rings and only a small amount of people continuing work on Sonic 06.
        • Sonic '06 was also heavily rushed to meet a holiday release date and to match with Sonic's 15th anniversary. As a result, the game was nowhere near finished so the team had to take an untested alpha build, said alpha build was flooded with glitches and numerous design issues.
      • The Werehog sections from Sonic Unleashed were part of Yoshihisa Hashimoto's idea and in an interview, he revealed that he knew said sections would be accused of being a rip off of God of War, but he did it anyway. It is well known that the Werehog was only included because Sega was worried that the game would be too short otherwise. While it did make the game longer, fans almost unanimously hated the Werehog because more than half of the game is played as it.
      • Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was rushed to meet the holiday deadline, and so Sega could end the contract with Nintendo that they made in 2013 (said contract stated that they had to make three Nintendo exclusive Sonic games, the other two being Sonic Lost World and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games). This was a terrible idea, because the developers were not told beforehand that the game had to be a Wii U exclusive (which explains the images of the game running on the PS3 and Xbox 360) and the game's engine (Cry Engine 3) did not run well on the Wii U.
      • Sonic Mania: Initially, the developers had planned for every level in the game to be completely original and new, but Takashi Iizuka (Sonic Team's leading member) demanded that most of the levels in the game had to be recycled from previous Sonic games.[1] Even though the game was very well received, the overuse of recycled levels was the most criticized aspect of the game and many players were disappointed that there were so few original levels.
      • Sonic Origins: According to Simon Thomley, AKA Stealth of Headcannon, he and his team were pressured by Sega to crunch on development of the remasters and refused to let the team delay the compilation, forcing them to rush the game out to June 23rd. The team at Headcannon was reportedly treated by Sega as "outsiders creating a separate project that was then wrangled into something entirely different", and they were unhappy with the end result at launch.


  1. Christian Whitehead interview by Glixel (September 7, 2017) Section: Are there any stages from classic Sonic that you wish had made the cut?


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