One of the few constants in the video game world is that big name titles will routinely get their release dates pushed back for a variety of reasons. Most of the time the developer of the game needs more time to polish and fully realize the product that will make its way to consumers but other factors can sometimes come into play. We asked the VGU staff what their thoughts were on game delays and here is what they had to say.
Editor in Chief
When a game that I am looking forward to is delayed it usually takes me a while to get on board with the logic that the game is going to be better for the delay. I have the gut reaction of being afraid that the game may never come at all and that can be a scary proposition. While a game like Arkham Knight (which saw a big delay recently) is undoubtedly going to be finished, a game like last generation’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game was in serious limbo for a long time. The delays that came throughout that development cycle were much more ominous than some other title’s delays. When a big AAA title is delayed it generally makes me feel better because I know that while I don’t want to wait longer, the game is going to benefit from the added time. Arkham Knight will no doubt be a much better title after an additional eight months or so of development time than if it had been released this year.
So I suppose the takeaway point is that the reason for the delay is more important in determining my reaction than the actual length of the delay. When a game is delayed because it needs more time that is good but when it is delayed because of other reasons it can be a bit unnerving.
I love to hate game delays. On one hand, it’s easily the best solution to keep a game from coming out broken or more disappointing than what it could wind up being. It’s perfectly understandable that the team wants to put out the best game possible, so in that regard, delaying a game to see that hope brought to fruition is fine.
What I dislike, and I hope to see change, is the need to announce dates or even show games far ahead of their eventual release. Some games, like Batman: Arkham Knight, never had an official day only to be pushed out of their launch window (and by quite a bit also). I would rather they wait to reveal a game knowing full well when it will release as opposed to throwing out some arbitrary date (in 2013 saying “Winter 2014″ for example) to appease stock holders and get their game in the press. I’m as excited as anyone is about the game, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little bit frustrated about the whole delay. But then there are some delays which leave me scratching my head. I believe Watch Dogs was one example that was less than a month from release, only to be pushed back a few more weeks. What kind of “polish” can be done with just a few extra weeks? I really wish publishers and developers would be more transparent as to the reason for delays than some placeholder excuses that we are always given. I feel the least we deserve is an honest and more detailed explanation for delays, especially since they have no problem asking for our money when it comes to pre-orders.
Yes, I want the best game available. So if that means delaying a game, then so be it. But considering it comes up as often as it does, especially for games we have known about for over a year, I want things to be reconsidered a bit in the game industry. Should we all be happy and accept the yearly Fall delays of big titles they couldn’t wait to push on us but inevitably delay a few months for whatever lackluster reason they decide to tout? All I know is I have a hard time wanting to pre-order a game when I have little to no faith in it being released.
I think that video game delays can be both good and bad. Positively, it allows the developer to have extra time to work out bugs and whatever they wish to finish with the game. Negatively, the hype of the fans may die out, although it may have been pre ordered or whatnot.
For me, specifically, I’m hyped up for Super Smash Bros. 4 for the Wii-U, which was supposed to be released this summer, but was delayed until mid-November. I was really hyped when I went to watch the Nintendo Smash Invitational at E3, and I thought that release would be by the end of summer, but it wasn’t the case. I spent my time instead playing Project M and Melee, which I’m greatly interested in now and learning that Smash 4 doesn’t have the advanced techniques in the game in the likes of Melee just slowly killed my hype for the game. I’m still going to buy it, but in the end, I would probably rather play and get good at Melee than Smash 4. If it came out before I started focusing on those two games, things would be different.
That’s what the VGU staff had to say but what do you think? Do you get fearful, upset or happy when a game you are looking forward to is released? Let us know what you think in the comments below.