Please Stop Giving Video Games Such Terrible Names


#1

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This is a short rant, but an important one. Yesterday, Austin was chatting up strategy games in Waypoint’s private Discord, and linked to some footage of an upcoming game that looks really damn cool. The pitch is simple: an RPG with XCOM-like combat. Oh, and one of the characters is a sarcastic duck? Sign me up for whatever the heck this is.

And then I saw the game’s name: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. What are you supposed to parse from that? Why does the game need a colon with a subtitle? The title of a game should communicate something about the experience, even if it’s not descriptive. Maybe it’s evocative, a sense of the world. You don’t get any of that here.

Mutant Year Zero is already rough, but at least the developers have an excuse: the game is based on a Swedish tabletop RPG called Mutant, and when it relaunched a few years back, it was translated into Mutant Year Zero in English. Fine! I’m sure Road to Eden has connections to the story that’ll make sense when you play it, but in the meantime, you’re left with a name whose length is gonna lose anyone not already onboard.

(I’ve worked at a couple different websites, and we often refer to some titles as “headline poison." If you mention the game’s name in the headline, you’re likely to doom the story from getting clicked on by anyone who’s not explicitly familiar with the game itself. Often, there are interesting stories to be told about a game, even if you haven’t played it. When this happens, the name is purposely left out of the headline.)

I had a similar reaction to Horizon Zero Dawn. The subtitle absolutely made sense later, but how much cooler is Horizon? Zero Dawn draws the sci-fi connection a little sharper, but Horizon effectively communicates the game's broader goals and themes.

(As a separate aside, it drives me bonkers when games try to avoid appropriate punctuation in their titles. Horizon Zero Dawn should be Horizon: Zero Dawn, but that's not how Sony spells it. Why? To make me irrationally upset, presumably.)

Anyway, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden looks rad.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/59j93z/bad-names-mutant-year-zero

#2

If you think that bad you should look at some Japanese light novel names (Recommend not looking them up since many are pretty gross).

I think some of the problem comes from 1. avoiding copyright fights & 2. a lack of time really thinking up names.


#3

Oh, I’ve got one: S.C.A.T. from Natsume, which I never played as a kid and realized from a GDQ run that it was actually alright. Yeah, the box art is egregious and doesn’t really convey the pretty fun game that’s inside, but across the top of that horrendous art is the word SCAT. They really had to work hard to make that an acronym, too, and the small lettering made it seem like “This is for kids who love poop, don’t worry about the actual meaning of the acronym!”

Special Cybernetic Attack Team doesn’t explain it much better, either! The Japanese title, Final Mission, would have been fine. And can you believe they swapped out the woman protagonist in the Japanese version for another dude in the NA version? (Well, yeah, I’m sure you can believe it, me too.)


#4

Just to expand in this a bit, I’m curious what’s the best game with the worst title?

Thinking on it for like, two minutes, and embracing recency bias, my money’s on PLAYER UNKOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS


#5

Anytime I see any Kingdom Hearts title, I have a physical reaction.


#6

i liked it a lot but i still hate that Jazzpunk didn’t have any actual jazzpunk in it


#7

Argh, those spinoff KH titles. And also hearing “No, that’s not how you pronounce this ridiculous title with a freaking fraction in it!” from a fan.


#8

I haven’t played Jazzpunk and that’s partly because that title gives me a lofty impression of what atmosphere the game will have, and I don’t want a game with such a solid title to fall short of that atmospherically.

Also bc I’m lazy tbh


#9

Haven’t played this, but I hear about it all the time and think “it must be good (within its field of online multiplayer that I have no interest in) to generate so much hype despite having a title that is genuinely appalling”


#10

Can I be honest? I think Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a fucking great name

It’s cheesy as all hell but evocative of the mood

No Truce With The Furies changed it’s name to Disco Elysium which bummed a lot of people out, myself included. The first name was an obscure literary reference (though far from easy to remember) that immediately intrigues, and the new name just sounds like a tacky ad-lib trying to copy Hotline Miami. Blegh


#11

All games should be named like Chiodos song titles.

Or like… academic papers. Give me a paragraph over a single word or two or three words slammed together.


#12

Best worst title: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2


#13

Here are some upcoming games with names I cannot stand

  • Octopath Traveler
  • Death end re;Quest
  • Red Faction Guerilla: Re-Mars-tered Edition
  • Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram
  • Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  • GTFO
  • Hunt: Showdown
  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Exzore: The Rising
  • ForgottOn Anne
  • Blade Strangers
  • Sinner: Sacrifice of Redemption
  • Claws of Furry
  • Door Kickers 2: Task Force North

#14

Okay, I have to admit that I am a simple being and I am much amused by Claws of Furry.


#15

Steins;Gate is fine. The addition to it wasn’t needed.


#16

If I never heard of the MGS series and saw the title Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, safe to say I think I’d be a little confused.

(Runner up: not a game–but a game console–Who thought “New Nintendo 3DS” was a good idea for a name? I felt like this had to have led to conversations like:
“Do you have a used 3DS for sale? Oh, sorry, I meant a used New 3DS.”
or…
“I’d like to buy a new 3DS. Oh, my bad. Not a new New 3DS, a new–er-- not new 3DS…? What the hell…A new original 3DS!”)


#17

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: Redux


#18

I can’t believe no-one’s brought up ArcSys fighter names

BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend
Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]


#19

I don’t care what kind of subtitle followed “Door Kickers 2” lol. GOTY contender on name alone.


#20

My favorite game series is called Deadly Rooms of Death and I hate it. (So do the developers, it seems, given that they use the acronym almost exclusively.)

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup sounds less like one of the best traditional roguelikes and more like a Google Translate error.

Also, a major AAA game developer released a game called Warface.