"Apex is a cool word, it's got an X in it."
—Chris Livingston, PC Gamer staff writer
We're loving Apex Legends (opens in new tab), but there are RVs with better names. Prowler. Hitchhiker. Ultimate Advantage. Conquest. You see that RV, read the name, and get a complete picture of the weirdly predatory emotional journey you are meant to experience on the road. Hell, there's this part of I-5 with an RV World and Camper Universe in the same one-mile stretch. Even RV stores do a better job telling the reader what they're about. An entire world of RVs? A universe of campers? Firefly Season 2 was right here all along.
If I knew nothing about Apex Legends but the name and a few pieces of key art, I'd think I was playing an Android store knockoff of Titanfall. We get that these things are tested by focus groups, but Apex Legends tells me approximately nothing about what I'm getting into. And somehow, these bad game names keep happening. Let's look back on a few of the worst offenders in recent memory. Be sure to share any personal picks in the comments.
Immortal: Unchained (opens in new tab)
A undying entity: that is not chained. Immortal is too vague a word and too much of a videogame cliche to be used to describe a sci-fi action RPG that pulls imagery and story beats from Norse mythology. It's also Dark Souls with guns. Thor: Reloaded would do a better job explaining what it's all about (but please never name anything Thor: Reloaded).
Pocket Rumble (opens in new tab)
A thing a phone does. Somewhat suggestive.
Asemblance: Oversight (opens in new tab)
This sounds like a building project that went terribly wrong due to a small mistake or was directed by a very controlling project lead. Truth is, it sort of is about that, but in a much cooler way the lumpy name fails to convey. You're part of a team of scientists and engineers using classified tech to recreate the human mind. Sounds cool, but the name sure isn't.
The Quiet Man (opens in new tab)
It doesn't really leap off the page, and if your eyes do happen to rest on it, a game about a quiet man sounds like a peaceful, contemplative journey and not a surreal, genuinely terrible (opens in new tab) action game.
Idle Bouncer (opens in new tab)
An oxymoron that my brain doesn't really want to resolve.
Gene Rain (opens in new tab)
I just imagined a bunch of DNA strands dripping into my open eyes and mouth, soaking my jacket and shoes, a car driving by and kicking up a wave of the stuff onto my back as I try to turn away in time. It's a sci-fi third person shooter. I'm somewhere else entirely.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (opens in new tab)
It's not out yet, but I'm worried about Sekiro. As FromSoftware's first original game since the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games, a Japanese title that roughly translates to one-armed wolf might not be the eye-catching title that moves copies. Even if the subtitle tells you a bit about how death works in the game, I worry that Sekiro will only stand out to FromSoftware loyalists like myself.
Realm Grinder (opens in new tab)
If the most boring part of RPGs is in your title, I'm out. That said, Realm Grinder is a good time (opens in new tab).
Moot District (opens in new tab)
If the district is moot, then why bother?
Battlefield 1 + Battlefield 5 (opens in new tab)
Sure it's set in WWI, but that doesn't make Battlefield 1 any less stupid. I feel like Battlefield 1 was a joke name that got through too many meetings for being barely clever. Firstly, it's redundant. There's already a first Battlefield game. Second, the "1" addendum doesn't even directly point to the WWI setting. And for Battlefield 5 to return to the traditional numbered naming scheme is title whiplash. Is it set in WWV? Nah, WWII.
Echo of Combats (opens in new tab)
Even after reading the description, the only thing I know we're getting is something clearly designed to be Hearthstone without outright saying so. It's "an online collectible card game in an unusual fantasy setting, that combines classical gameplay with original mechanics, dynamic battles and careful deck-building, which is sure to appeal to all kinds of players." Love me some classic gameplay, especially with original mechanics. It appeals to me, a player, one of many kinds.
Spinnortality (opens in new tab)
It takes the "cyberpunk management sim" addendum to make any sense of this title. Otherwise I think it's a game about spinning and never dying. I've been on a merry-go-round before. Nice try, bub.
Resident Evil 2 (opens in new tab)
Yeah, I'm talking about the recent remake. Try googling anything about the original now. Good luck.
Date Write (opens in new tab)
Almost definitely the product of a rough translation for a very rough game, I would not expect Date Write to be a military FPS about the Republic of Turkey intervening with the Syrian civil war.
Bud Spencer & Terence Hill - Slaps And Beans (opens in new tab)
I simultaneously hate and love this title. It is so completely nonsensical that it almost comes full circle into grabbing enough attention to read on. Bud Spencer and Terence Hill could be anyone, but the construction suggests they're foils to one another. Expect jabs and blathering in both directions. But Slaps and Beans is the keystone. Slaps. Beans. Alright then. Land on a degenerate like me, and I gotta see what's going on here. These are some magic words in combination as this videogame title has just demonstrated to me, a fool. The remaining 99% of the population will have moved on already.
Bleep Bloop (opens in new tab)
While it certainly evokes digital sound, Bleep Bloop calls to mind the entire history of computers rather than any specific imagery or concepts.
Artifact (opens in new tab)
It is not a good idea to name your flashy, incredibly complex new card game after something kept in a museum. Artifact is pretty damn fun (opens in new tab), but there's nothing intriguing or welcoming about its name. Even the typeface and logo are boring, a patterned inverted triangle and a sterile font set below. It looks like something I'd see on a door downtown in a mid-sized city marking the location of a mildly successful web development company. I might expect to see it on the sleeve of some Swedish guy in 50th place on the Tour De France, maybe on an ancient temple in the second act of a Bioware game. Artifact doesn't excite or comfort me like Magic or Hearthstone. It is cold and dead and so, so boring.
Rowrow (opens in new tab)
Were I to purchase this game as a row enthusiast, I might be taken aback that there are, indeed, columns all over what I thought was a row-based puzzle game. Patch out the columns, and I'm back in.
Milky Boobs (opens in new tab)
I mean, yes, sure, there’s no denying the accuracy. But it’s also going to be a big yikes when you family share your library with a new squeeze and this lactate-’em-up is sat in the inventory. The developer probably should have named it ‘tropical shooter’, or something equally bland, like the kind of nondescript name that shady companies use on your credit card bill. Not that I would know.