Video game delay announcements. It’s something we, as gamers, all hate hearing about – especially if it’s a game we’re really looking forward too, but I’ve never understood why some people act like it’s the end of the world. A number of people may argue that a delay can be a good thing. If a development team need that extra time to polish and turn a game from a six to a nine, thus creating a more compelling story, smoother game play and a better game in general, then so be it.

Personally, as much as it can be an annoyance at times, I welcome delays with a general understanding and acceptance although many may not. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has seen three delays now, with the most recent postpone coming in order to deliver on the studio’s ambitious vision for the games ending. When Neil Druckmann states that;

This’ll make for a smooth worldwide launch. Thanks for your patience… It’ll be worth it at the end. Promise

When Druckmann makes a promise on behalf of the famous Naughty Dog studio, the ones responsible for bringing us a slew of incredible games in the past, I’m well inclined to believe him and trust his judgement that the game just wasn’t ready and that this delay will invoke a more spectacular finished product.

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is shaping up to be a spectacular finale to the series.

We see a magnitude of games follow the same suit. In relation to the header image, Persona 5 was originally due to be released in 2014 on the PS3, now, after a number of changes and a different platform release we see it’s next upcoming release date to be June of 2016 and it’s radio silent on Atlus’ behalf with only a couple of month to go. This isn’t the end of the world thought, I’d rather they work on the game than focus on PR and marketing. There are many different games and other activities to occupy our time. Although some people happen to think otherwise…

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It’s quite disheartening seeing a vulgar response like this, but sadly these things still happen. I mean, it’s not as if the team at ATLUS want their audience to wait as long as possible to play their games. The amount of pressure the developers already face in the first place is immense, never mind inpatient individuals screaming down their necks about the game not releasing when they want it too.

If a game is held back they aren’t doing it to purposefully annoy people, they’re only harming themselves anyway and not on purpose either, but can some games really recover from development hell or a vast number of delays and setbacks? The Last Guardian has been in development since 2007 and has had it’s fair share of development hell, to the point of where many thought the project had been cancelled all together until it resurfaced in 2015.

Journalists have expressed their concern as to whether the game would even be such a landmark title as initially seen. In many ways, the landscape of gaming has greatly changed since the release of The Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian already has big boots to fill with that in mind. I’d be very much surprised if the game can clinch anything back and if it would well be worth the wait.

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The Last Guardian looks beautiful, but will it be able to hit as hard as SOTC did?

The likes of Final Fantasy XV share a similar story. Originally announced as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a PS3 exclusive spin off, it soon became apparent that the title wasn’t going in the direction that they first hoped. With a transition to the eighth-generation hardware, a change of name, new director, a different story and essentially a totally different change of game. After ten long years of development and more than likely thousands of pounds put into resources, Final Fantasy XV is nearing its release date this year. But will the wait really be worth it?

Why do studios release these dates and then don’t adhere to them without knowing that they’ll definitely meet their deadline? Why do they give a release date in the first place if they just can’t meet it? Well, it’s more than likely pressure from the publishing side of things, the sooner they get a release date out the sooner they can start marketing the game and making money from pre-orders and merchandise. Why not just take a leaf out of Bethesda’s book and release in a similar way Fallout 4 did, with a ton of info, trailers, game play, and a solid release date that was only a number of months away from annoucment, as opposed to years.

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Fallout 4 was released just a few months after it’s announcement.

I think we’d all love to see games released that way. I would love too. I believe it’s the best way for all parties – publishers, studio and consumers. That can’t always be the case thought. Some games just don’t have the stature or an audience as big as Fallout so they aren’t able to draw a big enough audience in a short space of time, they need to build up their public relations over an extended period.

Sometimes delays just can’t be helped and it’s certainly not the end of the world when they happen. I think the overreactions to when these incidents happen needs to stop. No one ever wants a delay. Not the consumers, publishers or studio working on the title. There’s a ton of other games out there and when your favorite game has a setback, just remember – patience is the best policy. If a game is going to fall into development hell then it’s the studio/publisher that is affected and not you. At the end of the day, there’s no point crying over spilt milk.

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19 thoughts on “Delayed Video Games: It’s Not the End of the World

  1. I’m with the mindset that delays are always usually a good thing.
    I have an immense backlog of games – so I’m not too worried if my game doesn’t come out exactly when it’s supposed to. Ridiculous delays like Duke Nukem Forever, Last Guardian, and FF Versus – do start to wear thin though. Only because the games will no longer ever live up to the expectations that they started of as.
    I do love the Bethesda model of showing a game like Fallout 4 and it’s out within 6 months. I hope a lot of developers start doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, we certainly do need to see the Bethesda model of releasing games a lot more. It was perfect. I hate seeing a game announced too early then falling flat on its face later in its life due to running out of momentum.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well put and I wholeheartedly agree. I remember seeing an article about the Witcher 3 and the AC Unity release. CD Project Red was also pushed to release the game earlier than it was finished, but they pointed at Unity and basically said “We can release it, but you will get this.” After that they were given the time they needed and look the beautiful and tightly crafted game we got in the end.
    I can also see that people might be upset that they have to wait a bit longer, but this goes hand in hand with the oversaturated marketing these days. All the blame lies mostly on the publisher’s side.
    Nice read as always.

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    1. Yeah, I love CD Projekt Red they showed everyone how a game should be released. A staggeringly beautiful polished game, that contained a ton of free DLC, a written note thanking the people who bought it and it got GOTY by many gaming outlets. I can not wait to see what they do with Cyberpunk 2077. I think that will appeal to me even more than the Witcher 3 did. You’re totally right though Unity was just rushed out and no doubt by its publishers, which in a way sometimes kill a lot of great games. Thank you and thank for your comment and support!

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  3. I actually appreciate it when a developer takes a little extra time to ensure they release a high quality game, as opposed to rushing out the door ASAP to cash in. I also hate seeing those angry comments. I keep telling myself for every hate spewing idiot I see online, there’s probably hundreds of silent normal people, lol.

    I am a disappointed when games get stuck in a development black hole though. The developers keep promising that they are working on it, yet years continue to fly by. Beyond Good and Evil 2 is an example of this.

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    1. Same here. Well that’s it isn’t it. People that are generally happy or not bothered, in this case, won’t cause any commotion. Yeah, it’s never a good thing. That’s why, where possible, I’d like developers, studios, publishers, whoever it may be, to only announce a release date that they know they can meet. I’d rather not know about the early stages of a game because that then causes impatience in people when things go wrong.

      These studios must know that the game is literally going to take years to finish when they announce it so early, so why bother revealing it so early in the first place? If we didn’t know about it so early on, then we wouldn’t know about any problems it faces, which a lot of the time can hurt a games reputation. If they’d just wait to announce up until at most a year away, then I feel as though it’d be better for everyone, but I’m unaware why games get announced so early in the timeline and can only really pin it on the fact that they want to build public relations.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I must agree with your feelings. After all, while someone’s waiting for a new game in a series to come out, why not play another game or even play through all the games again for fun? Complaining on messageboards isn’t going to magically undo the delay, y’know.

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  5. While I agree with most of what you say – in particular the point regarding developers not wanting to go radio silent and institute delays, since it ultimately only hurts them – I do feel the need to point out that Uncharted 4, at least, has had so many issues, warning signs and altered release dates that it’s becoming very difficult to feel good about it…
    Sony’s already got my money, and I’ll give it a chance, but with the delays, the staff exodus, the (supposedly) almost-entirely-rewritten-after-the-game-was-almost-done script and the (quite honestly) lame “reason” behind the latest delays, it doesn’t look good.

    And funny you cite Fallout 4 as a better way to do it. While it was nice that the time between official announcement and actual release was quite short, Fallout 4 had been known to be in development before New Vegas came out, while they shuffled venues, fought off complainers who wanted to argue about the sensitivity of a possible New York setting (and later, the Boston setting, after the marathon attacks) and other stuff… So the official announcement wasn’t exactly news. Plus, and this is just my opinion, Fallout 4 may have been the biggest disappointment in gaming last year, at least for me… While 3 and New Vegas, despite inmumerable delays and issues post-announcement, remain two of my favorite games ever. So… We’ll see. XD

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    1. It’s certainly understandable and I agree that the more postponed release dates a game has the less excited you feel about it. In reference to U4, the departure of Amy Henning was a huge blow. I do however have a lot of faith in Naughty Dog, whenever they’ve delayed games in the past they have stated after release that those delays were crucial in making the games what they were e.g. The Last of Us. I attended a talk with Arne Meyer at EGX last year and they talked about how the train section in Uncharted 2 took over a year to complete, there were many rewrites and revisions, setbacks and delays and they put a lot of time and effort to perfect that part of the game which in the end has gone down as one of the best parts in the game. ND have never delivered a game that I’ve not liked; I’d be shocked if Uncharted 4 didn’t follow that pattern, even with all of the problems it’s faced. The fact that Fallout 4 was in development for X amount of years is not the point I was getting at. We hear about or see a vertical slice of a game so early in the stage of it’s development and then wait years for it to be released with various trailers and info being given as breadcrumbs along the way, to the point of where the game rarely lives up to the hype. Bethesda was a great example of how a triple A game should be announced, marketed and released. It was a much better experience only having to wait a few month from announcement and not hearing anything about the early development stages than having to wait years for the game like we do with most these days. Even if it didn’t live up to certain peoples expectations it was still a much better format of how a game should release. I’d rather a game be held up a handful of times, if it has to be, to be made better in the end. The main point I was trying to make though, is I’d rather not no anything about a game, until it was near enough ready for release e.g. How Fallout 4 was – regardless of the opinion of the final game.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I wasn’t trying to argue about how Fallout 4 handled things, and sorry if I came off that way. I agree that it was done well, in terms of the period between official news and release and not screwing around and driving the customers nuts in the meantime. Just couldn’t resist making a dig at it being on my “ew” list last year. 😉

        So far as Uncharted goes, as noted, Sony already has my money, and I will be glaring anxiously for the clock to tick midnight on release day so I can dive in… I’m just deeply worried. Like you, Naughty Dog has never really disappointed me, so fingers remain crossed.

        Also, afterthought, there’s one other reason the developers should avoid the frenzy of years of buildup; cancellations. Anyone remember Legacy of Kain 6, Shadow Hearts 4 or Starcraft: Ghost? XD

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      2. I know 🙂 No worries. I would be greatly surprised if Uncharted 4 tanked, although they do have a lot to live up too. Yeah it’s crazy when you have years of build up – Kingdom Hearts too, god know when we’ll see that! haha

        Liked by 1 person

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