PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has been pushed back from the middle of October to the end of November. I’m not even remotely surprised, considering apparently games can’t release the days they were scheduled to anymore. I’m not saying I’m upset at SuperBot for pushing the release date back, as I would rather have a finished and polished game than a buggy, possibly unplayable one (Skyrim). I am, however, saying I am getting very tired of publishers giving us a release date they are never prepared to meet.The amount of delayed games as of recent is, quite frankly, completely ridiculous.
At this point in time it’s almost a guarantee any AAA game, or even a very popular smaller title, will be pushed back at least once. I haven’t been excited about a release date in quite some time because I always think, “This game is going to end up being delayed anyways.” I don’t remember a time I was wrong in thinking that, either. Some of the delayed games from just this year are:
- Bioshock Infinite
- Tomb Raider reboot
- PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
- South Park: The Stick of Truth
- Aliens: Colonel Marines
- FarCry 3
- Assassin’s Creed 3 for PC
- The Last Guardian (if we can continue to pretend)
Holy crap guys, that’s like, all of the biggest releases. That’s not even taking into account all of the games delayed from 2011 into 2012 (Mass Effect 3, RE Operation Raccoon City, and Rage, to name a few). Not to mention the fact that The Last of Us’ initial release was set to be sometime in late 2012/early 2013. Since Naughty Dog didn’t give us a definitive date, unlike these other games, I respect that decision much more. So far the only large game I can think of that has yet to be delayed is Borderlands 2, but there’s still time.
There is the matter of “How does a developer know months ahead of time when a game will be able to release?” The answer is: they don’t. And they shouldn’t pretend to. People clamor for a release date only to get one and become disappointed when the title is pushed back. Developers shouldn’t reveal a solid release date until they know for sure their game will be able to release that day. If I pre-order a game based on the expectations of it arriving on October 18th, I have a right to be upset if I don’t receive my item on the date I was assured it will arrive.
A particular instance that I am quite sore about regarding not receiving pre-ordered items when promised involves ordering a Sony 3D Tv. If you remember back to E3 2011, you may recall Sony introducing a cheap 3D television and pair of glasses, along with a free copy of upcoming AAA game, Resistance 3. This set was to be released, if I remember correctly, in the middle of September. I excitedly pre-ordered this set on the Sony website as a birthday present to myself. A week before it was set to release and ship out, the date was pushed back. Now the set wasn’t to be shipped until mid-December; closer to the Holidays.
When I finally received my TV in December, it was no longer a fantastic deal. Panasonic and Vizio now each offered larger 3D TV sets for close to the same price. To add to my displeasure, my promised Resistance 3 game was no longer included. Now I received a copy of Motorstorm: Apocalypse instead. I also received no email regarding this change. After multiple calls to Sony regarding the promised Resistance 3 game, I was told my only option was to return to TV, and I would have to pay for the shipping and restocking fees myself. Now, less than a year later, the same 3D TV set can be bought for half the price and includes three games with it.
What I’m getting at is that pre-ordering games is much the same. We’re told these games are being pushed back so they can “perfect the game”, but how often is this true? How do we know the company wasn’t getting as many pre-orders as they would have liked, so they push the date back further so they can continue to market their game. Even on the off chance it is 100% true all the time, and they really are using that time to perfect the game, how many companies are announcing a release date they don’t believe they can make, just so they can hype up their product even more? Suddenly it’s a month or two away from release, and they realize they can’t ship this product because of all the bugs they still have to work out, so they delay it.
Sony is a game publishing company, and they pushed back the release of their television set so more people would buy it- then changed the game it was to be released with because their Motorstorm game wasn’t selling well enough. If Sony is willing to do it, who else is as well? This isn’t just something that comes with the product; game companies have only recently began delaying their games to such extremes. As stated before, now it’s almost a guarantee every game will be pushed back at least once. Crash Bandicoot was never delayed, Gears of War was never delayed, but you can bet Gears of War 3 was.
A release date should be concrete unless under extreme and unseen circumstances. If a game developer can’t see months, or even years, into the future, then don’t try. It seems like these release dates are all a marketing ploy to create more pre-orders. If that’s not the case, then what gives? Why, suddenly, is it a requirement that every game be pushed back to “polish all the edges”? Maybe games are just getting harder to make, and they don’t take into consideration the extra man hours they’ll need to finish everything up because they have never experienced making a game so large. If that is the case, this trend is certainly better than developers delaying their games AND releasing them with glitches, forcing people to download their bug fixes in online patches (Skyrim again). This was especially detrimental to players without internet connections.
Whatever the reason is, this new progression has been going on for about 2 years, and development and publishing companies should have a better idea on how long it’s actually going to take their game to be released. So, please, gaming companies, no more trick dates. No more schedules you can’t meet and no more delayed titles. If you don’t think you can see 15 months down the road and gauge a release date, don’t try to. Maybe just give us a season until you know for sure. We may not be the most patient audience, but we are an understanding one.
Thanks to ibTimes for a list of a few of the delayed games from this year.