Sometimes an overabundance of hype is to blame. Other times its a switch in development teams. Sometimes, the prevailing winds are just blowing-off in a different direction.
Here are ten such games which ended their franchises with not so much a bang... as an apologetic shrug of the shoulders...
Also, a kangaroo was available as a playable character, which - frankly - should be a prerequisite for any great game. Seriously now; how much better would the Halo games be if there was a kangaroo in them?
For whatever reason, however, Streets 3 didn't hold together as well as its predecessors, and to date - despite attempts to reboot the franchise for both the Saturn and Dreamcast - remains the final game in the series. One fact which might've impacted on the game's poor reception was Yuzo Koshiro score, which players considered "disappointing" and "not up to his usual standard".
You know: as if John Williams had performed all the music for Return of the Jedi on a slide whistle.
Unfortunately, following one of the best games of all time (and we'll ignore Bioshock 2) - which boasted perhaps the greatest twist in video game history - was too high a hurdle to overcome. The more open locations weren't as enjoyable as the original's claustrophobic setting, and some of it just felt a bit sloppy and thrown-together. It proves that if you're selling a first-person shooter it doesn't matter how involved and smart the story is; you need to get the game right too.
Following the release of the Burial at Sea DLC, the game's producer Ken Levine announced there would be no more Bioshock games, as he found the stress of putting them together too great.
He honked, sadly: "It changed my life in terms of what it did to my health, and what it did to my view of making games, and my relationships with people."
"Ken" you believe it??!?!?!
Frankly, Perfect Dark Zero would've benefitted from having a little longer in development, feeling like the product of a development team getting to grips with new hardware; the graphics all looked as if they'd been laminated, and over-polished. That's not "polished" as in "made to look great", but "polished" as in "everything was really shiny, like it was coated in a slick film of baby oil".
In order to be a launch game - a significant feat for any development team, and a breakdown-inducing effort for the 25-person skeleton crew Rare was woking with - they had to axe a number of features, which might be why the game feels so empty and unfinished. The result wasn't a fundamentally broken game so much as one that was achingly average. And shiny. So shiny.
Though idiot reviewers were fairly kind to it at the time - no doubt excited by the new hardware, and dazzled by the shininess - most true aficionados tend not to mention Zero when discussing the one-two kidney punch of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.
Specifically, this new direction was an isometric one.
The big issue was that Cool Spot as a character wasn't really designed for an isometric view point (indeed, he had been designed as a corporate mascot for 7-Up), and this made him very difficult to control. It also ensured that Spot Goes To Hollywood was unnecessarily tough, and pretty much expelled all the residual goodwill built up over the first game.
And that, you see, is how you burst a (cool) spot.
The truth is, I don't hate Duke Nukem Forever. I mean, it's a terrible game in almost every respect, but it's so terrible, so broken, so misguided, and so lacking in sophistication of any sort, that it's hard not to have a certain begrudging affection for it. It stands apart from everything else, and though its blunt misogyny was about fifteen years too late even in 2011, you've got to admire its shameless, gonzo, conviction.
Begrudging affection aside, it doesn't change the fact that it has, in all likelihood, killed the Duke Nukem series forever.
Therefore, it was a stroke of genius on Capcom's part to mix its survival horror template with dinosaurs. The first two games in Dino Crisis series were well received, and delivered on the promise of this concept.
The third one ruined everything... ditching the dinosaurs for weird mutations which looked more like dragons and that, and spoiling matters even further with a camera system that simply didn't work.
The locations were larger than in its either its predecessors or the Resident Evil games, but the speed of the player's movement was significantly faster. This, coupled to the flip-camera viewpoint, led to a bewildering experience, which left the player continually trying to make sense of switching perspectives, and firing at off-screen enemies.
The response from players was thus: "Please... no more Dino Crises".
Ditching the fairly classic free-roaming 3D platformer gameplay of the originals, it required players to gather up vehicle parts before putting them together and doing races. It disappointed fans, it confused newcomers who didn't understand what the fuss was about, and ultimately... that was the end of Banjo-Kazooie.
We've since had Yooka-Laylee, a sort of spiritual follow-up to the original games from many of the original team members who, like the rest of us, would prefer to pretend that Nuts & Bolts had never existed.
Like many franchise-killers, C&C4 ditched a lot of what players had loved about the originals. Gone was the resource-gathering, and in its place was a game that was pretty much unrecognisable from what came before.
One sure fire way to kill a series is to offer players something completely different to the thing they had previously enjoyed, as if to say "No - you are wrong... this is what it should be like."
A scarcity of ammo, enemies which respawned constantly, clunky controls, and other little niggles all added up to ensure that The Omega Strain wasn't so much a return to form as a full stop.
"Strain" is right. You know: like straining to do a poo.
Alas, perhaps because its basic graphics and strategy were out of step with what most players wanted in an era where nice graphics had become a prerequisite of any game, its sales were sufficiently weak to ensure there has never been a fourth.
In my opinion, they were all simply catching up with what I believed when I played the original Star Control on the Mega Drive: why has this terrible, dated-looking, game been released at all?!