- Many popular games in gaming history have come out on the same day, with some interesting cases like Animal Crossing and Doom.
- Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age, Super Mario Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed, Guitar Hero 2, and Gears of War are just some popular examples.
Being one of the most globalized industries on the planet, gaming puts out heaps of content from a variety of genres year-round so fans always have something to enjoy. Just this year alone, multiple AAA games have come out every month, and taking a look at how the rest of 2023 is shaping up, game releases are only going to get more cluttered.
In September alone, the Xbox exclusive Starfield, NetherRealm Studios’ Mortal Kombat, EA Sports FC 24, Payday 3, and the PlayStation 5 version of Baldur’s Gate 3 all hit the stores. In addition, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the first traditional side-scrolling adventure in the Mario franchise since 2012, came out on the same day as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2: October 20.
We also very recently saw the phenomenon in the movie world, with Barbie and Oppenheimer, two of the most anticipated blockbusters coming out this year, releasing on the same day. Just like the war in the movie world, many popular video games in the past have been released either very close to each other or on the same day at the same time.
Let’s go over video game variations of the coincidence at hand that have taken place in the gaming industry, similar to how “Barbenheimer” played out.
Far Cry 4 And Dragon Age: Inquisition
When it comes to genres that are completely opposite to one another, it probably doesn’t get any closer than fantasy and shooting titles. Therefore, Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition coming out on the same day in 2014 were probably gaming’s very own “Barbenheimer.”
Both of these AAA franchises released some iconic titles during the 2000s and cemented themselves as pioneers in their genres. 2009’s Dragon Age: Origins from BioWare was a massive success for Electronic Arts and is considered by many as one of the best games in history.
On the other hand, 2012’s Far Cry 3 is lauded by critics and fans universally as one of the most iconic FPS games ever made, partly due to its villain Vaas. Therefore, Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition were expected to deliver something that could at least be considered worthy when compared to their prequels.
And, both of them were able to do exactly that. Dragon Age: Inquisition received extremely positive reviews from critics and fans alike with specific praise directed towards its combat, gameplay, and character, with its narrative getting some stick. On the other hand, even though Far Cry 4 wasn’t considered as good as its predecessor, it still received rave reviews from the community.
Commercially, both titles were very successful with Dragone Age: Inquisition becoming the most successful game developed by BioWare. However, Far Cry 4 won the sales battle against the RPG as it shipped over 10 million copies according to publisher Ubisoft.
Assassin’s Creed Origins And Super Mario Odyssey
In 2017, Assassin’s Creed Origins and Super Mario Odyssey went toe-to-toe when they hit gaming stores around the globe on October 27. And, the Nintendo IP was a much bigger success than its same-day counterpart.
Like most Mario titles, Odyssey was a simple platform game developed for the Nintendo Switch. On the other hand, Assassin’s Creed Origins was an open-world action RPG built on modern technology and set to release on all current-gen platforms except the Switch.
Therefore, both of these games couldn’t be more different, with one being an ode to the genre that popularised gaming in the first place and belonging to one of its legacy IPs, while the other was a modern depiction of the current gaming industry. Without a doubt, Super Mario Odyssey had the advantage of a much wider fanbase than Assassin’s Creed on its side.
As of May 2020, Assassin’s Creed Origins has sold over 10 million copies worldwide, while on the other hand, Super Mario Odyssey topped a whopping 26 million shipments around the globe. Furthermore, Odyssey also received much more praise than Origins from critics and fans alike. Both of these games got positive scores but the Super Mario title hit it out of the park with an immense 97 Metacritic rating compared to Origins’ 84.
In addition, the Nintendo game got six nominations including Game of the Year at The Game Awards compared to the one nomination the Ubisoft RPG received. Therefore, even though Assassin’s Creed Origins was winning at the start, it’s safe to Super Mario Odyssey won this battle of major AAA video games over the long run.
Gears of War, Call of Duty 3, and Guitar Hero 2
For our first triple-header in this list, we have a lot of variety: A threequel, a sequel, and the start of a legendary IP. On November 7, 2006, the first Gears of War, the second Guitar Hero game, and the third Call of Duty title all hit the stores on the same day.
Guitar Hero 2 was a follow-up to the surprise hit from 2005, Guitar Hero, and had a lot of anticipation ahead of its release after its predecessor became a sleeper success. Boston game developer Harmonix returned to work on the game and produced not only one of the best video games of 2007 but also one of the greatest titles ever made.
In addition, Guitar Hero II also sold over 3 million copies in under a year, making it a massive commercial success with over $200 million in revenue. Hence, it does feel like topping the cultural significance of Guitar Hero 2 isn’t an easy task for the other two games in this three-way tie. But, Epic Games’ Gears of War makes it seem easy.
Launched on the same day, the third-person shooter game featuring Marcus Fenix became one of the biggest hits of 2006 due to its detailed world-building, overarching storyline, brilliant characters, and gameplay that was almost perfect.
Moving on, the last game in this triple-header probably had the least cultural impact, but was the best-selling game out of the three. Call of Duty 3 launched on the PlayStation 2 on November 7, 2006, the same day as Guitar Hero 2 and Gears of War. For sure, it was a commercial success and did sell more than its release-day counterparts with over seven million units shipped as of 2013.
But, even with the largely positive reviews and a brilliant sound design, it was just one of those yearly Call of Duty titles that release and go away in a flash. Hence, when you compare the legacy and cultural significance of Call of Duty 3 to Guitar Hero 2 and Gears of War, it does feel a little stale.
Doom Eternal And Animal Crossing: New Horizons
We can’t complete this ranking without including the most fascinating same-day release in the history of gaming. Launched on March 20, 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal hit stores around the world just as the pandemic started to settle in. However, instead of the viral disease raining on their parade, it actually helped them gain more players globally due to the number of people staying at home.
Developed by id Software, Doom Eternal was an FPS title where you kill demons from hell to take back control of Earth while seeing a lot of gore on screen. On the other hand, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was a family-friendly social simulation game for the Nintendo Switch that lets you develop an island with anthropomorphic animals.
Even though both of these games were highly successful, one blew the other out of the water as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, broke a dozen sales records around the globe from Japan to North America. In its first month, the game became the best-selling digital game in history, selling five million copies worldwide. As of 2023, the Nintendo title has shipped a whopping 42.7 million units and made over $2 billion in revenue.
Now, compared to Animal Crossing: New Horizon’s achievements, Doom Eternal does pale a little in comparison. However, that doesn’t mean it was unsuccessful as the Bethesda FPS title absolutely obliterated the performance of 2016’s Doom, gaining double the Steam concurrent users at launch and also making double the revenue the 2016 title brought in during its first week.
Only Nintendo’s family-oriented social sim was able to keep it off the No.1 spot in the Uk, which does indicate how one was a much bigger hit than the other. However, Doom Eternal did pretty well for itself and as of 2021, has made a whopping $450 million in revenue in addition to garnering critical acclaim and several Game of the Year nominations.
Therefore, even though Animal Crossing: New Horizons did win this head-to-head battle quite comfortably, it’s safe to say both games were smash hits in their own right.
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds And Super Mario 3D World:
Nintendo took an interesting approach in 2013 and shipped both Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds to North America on the same day: November 22, 2013. What makes this encounter truly peculiar is the choice of consoles the Japanese company made for each title.
For some context, Nintendo had two consoles in circulation during 2013, the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS. The Wii U was the notoriously failed home console while the 3DS was the successor to the Nintendo DS. Now, one would expect Nintendo to publish these games on both of these consoles to boost sales. However, the game developer only released each of these titles on one console only.
Super Mario 3D World came out on the Wii U while The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was kept for release on the 3DS. Considering how the Wii U is the biggest flop in history, one would expect A Link Between Worlds to beat the 2013 game in sales. But, the mascot of Nintendo showed it’s pulling power once again selling 5.89 million units on the Wii U, a million copies more than the 4.26 million the Zelda game shipped as of 2022.
Even though the Mario platform game easily beat The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds in sales, the critical side of the coin was pretty level. Both of the Nintendo games received universal critical acclaim from critics, with the two titles getting nominated for dozens of Game of the Year awards. To sum it up, when two of the biggest Nintendo IPs came head-to-head with each other, the winner was not Link, but Mario.
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