First, You Are Judged Against Your Hype. Doing something modest very well gives you Portal or perhaps Torchlight. Take your pick on “shooting for the stars and not even delivering all the features on the box.”
Second, the example that always comes to mind on “failed to meet explicit promises” is Warhammer Online, as Zoso points out. If you ask me about WAR and I just mutter, “bears bears bears,” that is what I am talking about. Not only did developers explicitly identify a problem, identify a solution, then implement the problem exactly as described, but you were reminded of it constantly. Every time a quest sent you back to where you just came from, “bears bears bears.” Every time you killed a named enemy then got a quest to kill that named enemy, “bears bears bears.” Every time you saw a kill collector, the half-arsed version of the solution, “bears bears bears.” Then later tiers had such content/leveling curve issues that they added a bunch of kill ten rats quests as an improvement, and it was an improvement. Bears bears bears.
I am ambivalent about hype. I am skeptical, but I am gullible enough to take what people say at face value. It is not as though I am hurt if they fail to meet expectations they explicitly set; I just don’t trust the company or anyone who was identifiably a factor in lying to me.
Note that there is a separable issue for just doing badly. Alganon is a game that delivered
everything it promised [Carson says no] badly. Earth Eternal seems to have had a similar problem.