There was almost no marketing. Reviewers savaged the game. It sold abysmally. The developers had to cease production, destroy all unsold copies, and delete the code because they lost a lawsuit involving their use of the game engine. X-Men: Destiny failed so hard the world actively tried to erase it from existence. But it was all worth it when that special project Dyack diverted resources to, a demo of Eternal Darkness 2, turned two hard years of work into "one two-level church interior." The first Eternal Darkness was amazing, so at least after the Destiny debacle they were finally free from distractions, allowing Dyack and his team to buckle down and, oh, they went out of business. Never mind, then.
The Ridiculously Ambitious Lies of Halo 2
Halo was one of the greatest alien hallway massacre simulators of all time, so Microsoft naturally demanded a bigger, better, more hallway-packed sequel. But there was a catch -- it absolutely, positively, no-excuses-short-of-an-actual-war-with-space-aliens had to be ready for Christmas 2004. The developer, Bungie, could have just tossed in a few new enemies, guns, and vehicles before calling it a day and retiring to the lounge to do coke with Ubisoft. But, drunk on their own success, they started throwing around terms like "sprawling open-ended levels" and "hundreds of enemies on-screen at once." But they might as well have said, "Your Xbox will sprout wings and fly you to the moon," because the technology available to them was equally incapable of both.
On the plus side, their "introduce a new character no one gives a shit about" technology was groundbreaking.
Now, it's one thing to throw wild ideas around internally -- that's how the creative process works. Master Chief was probably an 8-foot-tall Latina who spin-kicked her enemies to death at one point. But Bungie looked at their titanic ambitions, said: "This seems doable," and further taunted hubris by making a video to show off their wild dreams to the public.
This is the beautiful, sprawling city you approach in the video ...