2014 has swiftly begun being referred to by gamers as the ‘Year of Delays’ with many highly anticipated titles getting pushed back into 2015. Games such as Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Tom Clancy’s The Division, to name some of the more notable titles, have left fans hugely disappointed after losing their initial holiday 2014 release window. Granted, I personally pretty disappointed myself when the news came. I love me some Batman and The Division looks to be a shooter I’m actually really excited to play, which is rare.
However after a brief mourning period (I didn’t wear all black, it is summer after all) I’ve come to the surprising conclusion that I’m ok with delays. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’m happy about them. Before you all come and lynch me though, hear me out. All of these games have been delayed to further benefit us, the consumer. In each case, the developers have put forward statements stating they want to be able to deliver the highest quality experience for the people who play their games. Those people would be us. Too often game developers are chastised for releasing buggy, disappointing or down right bad games. But when delays happen to improve a game, they get attacked for delaying it.
The Trials of Impatience
‘Just release it on the original date and patch bugs out. I NEED THESE GAMES’ you may cry. Well, let’s look at that, you crazy person you. At the end of last year, Battlefield 4 released after a rushed final development phase in order to beat the coming instalment of Call of Duty to the punch. It was torn to pieces by fan due to its broken multiplayer. The issues were so numerous and game breaking in fact that developer DICE put all other projects to one side in December until they could fix them. In a recent interview with Eurogamer Battlefield publisher EA addressed the “unacceptable” launch. So that is the cost of releasing games in an unfinished state. Months of patches to fix a game that should have been great for its fans, rather than alienate them. Now at least EA had a somewhat viable reason behind pushing the launch, as Call of Duty is a huge competitor so they couldn’t risk losing the market for a whole holiday period. That’s a whole lot of cash to miss out on. Saying that of course the delays of the aforementioned titles this year will have those companies miss out on holiday sales, which I’d imagine is as big a blow for them as the delay itself is for us.
‘Well why even announce a release date if it won’t be ready?’ you may ask. To that, I say this: Making stuff is hard. If you want something to be a certain standard, a lot of time and effort must be put in. Hell, writing to express your opinions to an audience is hard. Sometimes a piece of work can take much longer than anticipated. Game development is no different. If a developer feels that a game will be ready for a given time they announce that, as they want you, the consumer, to know when you can play it. But up until that title goes gold any number of issues can arise that were unforeseen or have taken longer than expected to fix. The developers know this but they give us dates anyway. That is the issue and point rolled into one. Release dates are for our benefit as much as anything else is.
Stay Strong and Keep Gaming
[quote_left]“Food? No, I need ammo! More ammo!”[/quote_left]Hopefully this has served as food for thought for you lovely people. Delays aren’t so bad, they just mean we get an even better game in the long run. However, if you’re unconvinced and believe your 2014 will be ruined without The Division or Batman then fear not. Keep coming back over the following days for some more pieces on games that show why the caped crusader may be the hero we deserve, but he’s not the only one we need right now.