Survival game with a 140 million dollar budget becomes a monumental flop – despite Will Smith

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Over 300 developers worked on a zombie survival MMO that even Will Smith couldn’t save

Hollywood superstar Will Smith has made a name for himself in recent years with one action in particular – slapping comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars. Since then, the film industry has been quiet about the Man in Black 

In May 2023, he caused a stir in a completely different area: In the trailer (seen above) for the little-noticed zombie survival RPG Undawn. But this collaboration with the Chinese publishing giant Tencent was not crowned with success.

Almost 140 million dollars lost

What kind of game is this?  Undawn throws you into an open, post-apocalyptic world that relies on Unreal Engine 4. Four years after a global catastrophe, you must survive and fight against the dual threat of the infected and other humans.

Undawn was released in June 2023 simultaneously on Steam and for smartphones.

(Undawn looks much better in screenshots than in gameplay videos.)
(Undawn looks much better in screenshots than in gameplay videos.)

With over two million pre-registrations for the mobile version, interest initially seemed enormous, but the further development was more than sobering. According to reports Tencent’s Undawn failed spectacularly.

With a team of 300 developers and an alleged budget of 140 million dollars, the expectations were huge. But to date, Undawn has grossed just 287,000 dollars and seems to have been ignored by players and the press alike.

On Steam, Undawn only reaches around 1,000 simultaneously active players per day and the reviews are highly expandable with 55 percent positive, on Twitch and YouTube you search in vain for contributions to the game. People criticize the Pay2Win mechanics and the poor PC port in particular

On Metacritic there are only three reviews of the iPhone version in total, which, with an average rating of 60 percentage points, are not exactly exhilarating either.

The release date of June 2023 is also likely to have contributed to the title receiving little attention – after all, the headlines last summer were dominated by Diablo 4, Baldur’s Gate 3 and Starfield. Many people may therefore only have heard of Undawn for the first time now due to its massive failure.