We now have more ways to play games than ever before. Whether they’re streamed via a subscription service, downloaded from a digital store, or played via ye olde classic physical disc, playing games is a doddle. Unless you’re looking for some delisted PS4 games, that is.
Granted, not every single one of the games that you can’t buy or play on your PlayStation 4 is a doozy; some of them were, in fact, terrible. But it’s a shame when the next Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is yoinked away from us, or a beloved tie-in disappears due to licensing. It’s likely going to be a big problem on the PlayStation 5 over the years, too.
Here’s just a few PS4 games that have been lost over the years, either because they never saw a physical release before digital delisting, they were multiplayer-only games that were taken offline, or something else entirely.
Delisted PS4 Games
1. Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma Volume One
Developer: Redacted Studios Publisher: Versus Evil Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Afro Samurai was a bit of a cult classic on the previous generation, an adaptation of an equally unsung anime that tried its best to emulate the trendsetters of the character action genre. Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma Volume One, on the other hand, managed to emulate the feeling of getting slapped around with a wet fish.
Revenge of Kuma Volume One was so bad, in fact, that subsequent volumes were cancelled and the publisher felt they had to publicly apologise. Not only was the game inherently broken, but it somehow regressed in general gameplay from the first Afro Samurai, itself a rough and ready game that got by on style over much else.
Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma Volume One was so bad, in fact, that it acted as a precursor to Cyberpunk 2077 as a rare example of a game releasing in such a terrible state that Sony gave out refunds; not something they are wont to do often.
Developer: Boss Key Productions Publisher: Nexon Release Date: August 7th, 2017
If LawBreakers released today in an environment where free-to-play shooters are far more common and have figured out the secret to long-term success (read: battle passes and random collaborations), it’d probably thrive.
But it didn’t. Instead, LawBreakers struggled to convince many people to pay a premium price for a multiplayer-only game, and convinced even less of them to stick around. While LawBreakers received good reviews and offered plenty of fun to those who didn’t mind the skill ceiling (or hearing Justin Roiland’s voice constantly), it really couldn’t muster much of a following as it simply didn’t stick out.
With LawBreakers ultimately lacking that secret sauce, its playerbase dwindled and dwindled until September 14th, 2018 when its servers were shut down and its developers, Boss Key, closed their doors.
It deserved better.
3. The Culling 2
Developer: Xaviant Games Publisher: Xaviant Games Release Date: July 10th, 2018
From a game that lacked the secret sauce to one that stole all of its sauce from PUBG, The Culling 2 was a disaster from the get-go. A sequel to a melee-based battle royale game that actually predated PUBG et al, Xaviant got a bit of the green-eyed envy with The Culling 2 and completely stripped the IP of its own identity to try and appeal to as many people as possible.
The fact that it was swiftly delisted from the PlayStation 4 shows that the move had the opposite effect, with The Culling 2 struggling for any kind of playerbase (or even reviews) from day one. To make matters worse, those who did take the plunge to buy this premium battle royale game when Fortnite had long claimed the throne ran into technical issues and just about the most generic military BR going.
Developer: PlatinumGames Publisher: Activision Blizzard Release Date: October 21st, 2014
Few developers have quite the name pedigree of PlatinumGames, especially in recent years. While many believe the Japanese studio can do no wrong, they are sometimes guilty of maybe not laziness, but definitely not putting their all into a project that isn’t their primary focus. That seems to have been the case with 2014’s The Legend of Korra.
An adaptation of the show of the same name, The Legend of Korra is a character action game with very little character to speak of. While fans might enjoy diving into the world of Korra (and, laterally, Avatar), it’s difficult to shake the feeling that Platinum pulled some punches. A 54 on Metacritic with reviews citing humdrum repetition certainly backs that feeling up.
The Legend of Korra certainly had its defenders, though, and those defenders were likely aghast when it was delisted from digital sale in 2017 due to licensing issues. Bizarrely, The Legend of Korra never saw a physical release despite the popularity of the IP, meaning that those who didn’t buy it before are out of luck.
Developer: Wander Publisher: Wander Release Date: June 4th, 2015
You’re probably looking at the above screenshot and thinking “great, another battle royale game”. That almost would have been better than what we got as Wander was, sadly, barely even much of a game to begin with — it’s one game that The Culling 2 can say it has a leg up on.
Developed and published, bizarrely, by a studio with the same name, Wander was exactly what its name suggested, as you simply wandered around an island and did pretty much nothing. While the developers should probably be applauded for not defaulting to violence with PVP or PVE, it ultimately smacked of them just not finishing the game or bothering to add mechanics, rather than making any kind of statement.
Turns out, a game where you just walk around with even less player agency than most walking simulators isn’t a very good game at all. And while it may not have had PVE or PVP, you constantly had to fight with Wander itself to do something simple, like walking up stairs without you clipping through them all, becoming a child of the steps in the process.
Developer: Q-Games Publisher: SIE Release Date: September 6th, 2016
The Tomorrow Children gets more bizarre the longer you think about it, a game with heavy socialist themes that also had free-to-play mechanics and monetisation in the form of “Freeman Dollars”. Oh, and also the characters look like they’re from Coraline.
Developed by the minds behind the excellent PixelJunk series, The Tomorrow Children was nothing if not original, a social experiment in which players had to band together to try and rebuild civilisation while venturing into the Void, a Soviet experiment that combined all of human consciousness into an almost Eldritchian construct.
As you might have been able to guess, this bonkers first-party game didn’t leave much of an impression apart from utter bewilderment for most players, with the game sputtering to a very confused 54 on Metacritic. That said, the game definitely had something about it, whether it was its social aspects or the utterly wacky blending of ideas and ideologies, that helped it to reach a small yet dedicated following.
The Tomorrow Children was sunsetted in late 2017, barely a year after its initial release and is now unplayable.
Turns out that communist Animal Crossing is a hard sell, who knew.
7. Saban’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle
Developer: Bamtang Publisher: Bandai Namco Release Date: January 17th, 2017
While many licensed games can feel like empty cash-grabs that were pushed out of the door for a penny to make a pound, there are also bona fide licensed classics like Escape From Butcher Bay that buck that trend. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle was, sadly, not Butcher Bay, as gripping as a prison break game in the Power Rangers universe may have been.
Instead, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle was capital g Generic, a very ordinary brawler that offered level after level of the same, utterly boring combat. Even playing with friends wouldn’t stave off the tedium, as Mega Battle somehow made the daydreams of most 90s kids who wanted to be a Power Ranger into something truly mundane.
That license is also likely what contributed towards the game getting delisted with the Power Rangers property changing hands to Hasbro in 2018. You can technically still buy digital codes in some marketplaces, but seeing as how it was never released in the traditional physical sense, Mega Battle is mega hard to find.
8. Don’t Even Think
Developer: Dark Horse Game Studio Publisher: Perfect World Release Date: July 10th, 2019
By 2019, just about every big twist on the pretty tired battle royale formula had been done, and done to death. Apart from werewolves. As Resident Evil Village has shown, sometimes werewolves can make the world of difference.
However, even a strong furry following couldn’t save this asymmetric PVP game that felt like a low-budget Evolve from sinking without a trace. Its free-to-play nature wasn’t enough to sway people from other battle royales, with its unique hook of looting up across a huge map before getting ready to take on the big bad fur boys not a miracle worker in terms of making people overlook so much jank.
It also just didn’t have the marketing budget to get streamers to give it a moment’s notice, who tend to have more say on a game’s staying power than any ad campaign. Reviewers had their say as well and they did not like it.
Don’t Even Think huffed and puffed its way into 2020 before it was delisted and closed down as a result of the worldwide pandemic. You could be cynical and say maybe that was just an excuse, but we will give them the benefit of the doubt.
9. Kill Strain
Developer: San Diego Studio Publisher: SIE Release Date: July 12th, 2016
First-party PlayStation games are usually known for being high-quality experiences that really sell players on PlayStation, but Kill Strain certainly doesn’t belong alongside the likes of Uncharted and Horizon. A MOBA-lite that just barely understood what it meant to be a multiplayer game with no option to play with your friends, Kill Strain released in 2016 and was then promptly abandoned by the gaming public.
Critical reception wasn’t great either, with Metacritic straining out a 53 rating.
Even as a free-to-play game with a cool hook of 5v5v2 gameplay that saw mutants trying to turn humans into more mutants, Kill Strain couldn’t muster an audience from almost the second it launched. Sony and San Diego decided to speedrun the game getting delisted, with it being removed from the PlayStation Store barely a year after it first launched.
Developer: Kojima Productions Publisher: Konami Release Date: August 12th, 2016
While, yes, it technically isn’t a game and is more of an extended demo, P.T. is the undisputed posterchild for delisted PS4 games and a sad reminder of what could have been. Well, only if you still have it downloaded on your PS4 or go on YouTube, that is.
A fascinating experience from the manic mind of Hideo Kojima, P.T. was an elaborate (and horrifying) teaser for Silent Hills starring Norman Reedus which would have reinvigorated the flagging Silent Hill franchise in the eyes of fans. Silent Hill was finally back in the hands of a developer who knew what they were doing after years of terrible attempts by Western developers.
Things were looking good for the project, with the new Silent Hill entry having possibly the most hype of any horror game ever up to that point, but, for whatever reason, Konami cancelled the game and removed P.T. from the PlayStation Store shortly after. Weirder still, the decision was taken to make P.T. impossible to download again by those who previously had, a somewhat malicious move that still boggles the mind to this day.
Kojima and Konami were involved in a protracted falling out over the course of the next year, ultimately culminating in Kojima leaving Konami to form his own independent studio. Many speculate that the ugliness of the breakup caused Konami to act spitefully towards Kojima, which is backed up by Kojima’s name being scrubbed from the box art and website for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, as well as him being forbidden from attending an awards show, though the ins and outs of the most famous fallout in gaming history still remain largely under wraps.
Kojima has gone on to bigger and better things than modern Konami over the years, while Konami has just sort of occasionally, begrudgingly done things in general from atop their pachinko goldmine, but P.T. remains the PS4’s most beloved lost game, even all these years later.
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