It was a cold, miserable day in November, freezing rain was pouring from the sky, cars were sliding off the road and I was sitting outside in a line just before midnight to grab my shiny new Day One Edition Xbox One Console. I had been putting pennies away for this thing for months, and eagerly froze my toes off in order to grab it and start the treacherous drive home.
Looking back, I wish I had waited a little longer.
Why? Not because I don’t enjoy having my console, quite the contrary, I love this thing! The hardware improvements, fancy new features and hefty supply of extra apps have kept me entertain for hours a day, however I’m seeing more and more that Developers are having an incredibly hard time keeping to deadlines and release dates, seemingly like clockwork all of the money I had put down on Pre-orders will now sit idly by for months as more and more games are pushed back.
This isn’t a small list, and includes some pretty major titles. Watch Dogs, Trials Fusion, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Battlefield: Hardline, Evolve, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Batman: Arkham Knight, Quantum Break, Dying Light, The Witcher 3, and Mad Max just to name a few of the major titles that we have waited or still have to wait for. This slew of delays is starting to form a potentially disturbing pattern which could become a new trend in the future of game design.
What I mean by this is that Game Developers new and old seem to be becoming more and more comfortable with encouraging a crowd with a release date, only to have it delayed by anything from weeks, to several months. What’s more is that companies seem all to keen to release uncompleted games to meet their deadlines and then release the full product in a patch or DLC months after the games initial release as can be seen in games such as Trials: Fusion, and more arguably Grand Theft Auto: V, even though Rockstar insists that GTA:O is a seperate, unaffiliated entity separate from it’s narrative counterpart.
So what does all of this mean? Well, it could mean a few things or absolutely nothing at all depending on how you look at the situation. Let’s all remember that Next Gen consoles come at almost 10 times the power of the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 or WII that you have sitting in your family room. This means that developers have a whole bunch of new space to work with, allowing them to create massive, expansive and completely intuitive worlds, this also means that you’re going to need more resources and a whole lot more time to create and populate these worlds before they’re ready to ship out to the populace. A persons greatest critic is themselves, so pushing a game back to “Add some polish” may seem like a good idea.
Another, and slightly more grim theory is that companies are getting comfortable with this trend and are doing it more and more due to the lack of action or general acceptance of consumers, who at this point don’t have any other choice but to wait a little bit longer. The resulting uproar can vary based on the silky smooth tale of any crafty PR Teams.
A tad cynical perhaps, but not entirely unbelievable given the current circumstances. I think what’s important to take away from this article is that bringing a AAA title to life takes years of work from hundreds of people across multiple fields of expertise, however given that these games take such long time to make perfect, I believe Game Companies need to compensate with a more realistic release date before announcing one at all. I’d much rather wait that extended period of time, than have the game handed to me only to have it snatched away just before I can wrap my fingers around it.