"We couldn't sell it to anyone" -- Bullfrog's famous 1989 game, Populous was a huge hit, but it was a serendipitous one. A tiny business making a game without a clear target idea, Bullfrog hit on success with a combination of luck and plain-old hard work.
"Our royalty cheques were due to be paid one quarter in arrears, and we didn’t expect to get any ... The next cheque was for a quarter of a million. I thought it was a mistake at the time. I actually called EA to tell them."
Edge Online has the fascinating tale of how this hit game came about.