Over the past year it seems a new trend has appeared in the development cycle of many new games, my fellow gamers, we are in the Age of The Delay. What do games such as The Order 1886, Destiny, Batman: Arkham Knight, Driveclub, and Watchdogs all have in common? They’ve all been delayed. It seems one big block buster game after another was pushed to or from this year. As disappointing but increasingly unsurprising as these delays are, there is often good reason for them.
There’s not doubt about it, delays suck. It’s never fun when a highly anticipated game gets pushed to the sidelines. So the question needs to be asked, should this happen or not? Well, games are never delayed just for fun. There’s always a reason, most often it’s “we wanted to add an extra layer of polish.” Now I know it’s tempting to just say “screw your extra polish!” but that may not be the best idea. I think Shigeru Miyamoto said it best with this quote: “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” I think Battlefield 4 is probably the best recent example of this. Let’s be honest, BF4’s release was a nightmare. The game barely even worked at launch, omitting the ability to save, working servers, and half the gamemodes. The game really should’t have even gone off the shelves that year. Even today they’re still trying to iron out some of the game’s issues. It’s playable now, but now the BF record has become very tarnished.
Can you imagine those types of issues with some of these other games? I mean imagine booting up Destiny for the first time ever and then having a log in error. I don’t know about you guys, but I’d rather wait a little longer to play a polished game than have a buggy mess that came out earlier. That’s all well and good, but does it let game devs completely off the hook? Nope!
It’s clear that somebody needs to learn to estimate better. In my opinion, a release date shouldn’t even be on the table until a realistic development calender is in place. Once or twice is fine, but situations where we have games being delayed every other month isn’t. It’s bad for everyone. First off, it kills hype. There is nothing that can kick a game to the sideline faster than a “oh never mind it’ll be later sometime next year.” You see a trailer, see a little bit of gameplay, see a date, start getting really hyped and denined! I think it’s fair to say it’s in everyone’s best interest not to let that happen.
So to summarize, delays suck and they kill hype, but at least there’s a reason for them. Let’s just hope that this a little hiccup brought on by the introduction of the next gen and not a new standard.