That Awful King Kong Game Was Made In Just One Year

Everyone’s going wild for Skull Island: Rise of Kong, but not because it’s any good. No, it’s actually quite the opposite – it’s so bad that it’s funny. From its poor-quality visuals to game design that’s at least two decades out of date, it’s a disaster that’s impossible to look away from. And now, we might have a better idea of why it launched in such a state.


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Anonymous developers speaking with The Verge pin the blame on Rise of Kong’s publisher, GameMill. The devs, working for indie studio IguanaBee, say that GameMill gave them just a year of development time, and had them crunching on the game since February. Some devs suggest the team didn’t even want to work on the project, with GameMill only interested in licenced games.

Related: We Shouldn’t Be Surprised The New King Kong Game Is Garbage

“The development process of this game was started in June of last year and it was aimed to end on June 2nd this year. So one-year development process,” says one of the developers. Of course, it ended up launching a little later than intended, but that’s not much time at all for a game, particularly for this generation.

IguanaBee devs also criticize GameMill’s management, laying off experienced staff and not giving the studio enough funding for its games. They say that crunch had to begin in February to get Rise of Kong out the door this year, further straining the partnership.

“It’s a love/hate relationship because they are the ones who accept or give the projects and IguanaBee doesn’t have the means to develop almost anything on its own because well, money,” says one dev. They add that IguanaBee wants to make original games, but can’t because it needs GameMill’s funding.

This is far from the first time GameMill has come under fire for publishing a game released in a poor state. When Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl launched, it lacked voice acting entirely, with character dialogue expressed through basic text boxes. Other than this, GameMill almost exclusively launches licenced games, and if these devs are to be believed, doesn’t give them much development time before forcing them out.

In any case, it’s fair to say that Rise of Kong has netted the spot for the worst game of 2023. Right now, the only review listed on Metacritic is a 3/10 from IGN. This puts it just below The Lord of the Rings – Gollum, another contender for the title, as it sits at 34/100 overall. What a year for licenced games, huh? We’ll have to see if Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 continues the GameMill curse, as that’s set to launch on November 3.

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