As of late, it has been difficult to not notice the wealth of announcements regarding delays to eagerly anticipated video games. First it was Hitman’s slip to 2016, then it was Mirror Edge: Catalyst’s move by a few months and now Deux Ex: Mankind Divided is the latest release date to be shifted. For each of these delays, many gamers were clearly disappointed and took to social media to express their frustration. Initially I too was disappointed with several of these delays, however, upon reflection, I’m now much calmer about the situation. Actually, in some regards I’m actually relieved. Therefore, I thought I would explain why actually some game delays aren’t always the end of the world.
We’ll get a better game
The majority of the time when a game is delayed, the main reason cited for the cause by the developers is that they want more time to polish the game. Is this such a bad thing? Some games still to this day are often released almost-unfinished with too many bugs; this has been especially true with multi-platform games such as Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Batman: Arkham Knight, whose PC port was so filled with bugs customers were offered refunds. Even Fallout 4, which I’m enjoying a lot at the moment, is filled with bugs that are frustrating. Could I wait for some of these bugs to be ironed out a little more? Definitely.
Fortunately, such bugs and glitches can be fixed through patches. However, after waiting patiently for the arrival of your favourite game, is it not more disappointing to have the experience ruined by game breaking bugs? Small bugs can be forgivable but game freezing ones are not. Surely a game that is eagerly anticipated will be far more enjoyable without such problems. Especially considering that many of these games are releasing on multiple platforms across multiple generations. After all, you don’t want to be saddled with an inferior version, whilst your mate plays the all-singing, all-dancing version on an opposing console you don’t own.
Not too long ago, game delays resulted in some high quality products. For example Grand Theft Auto V was pushed back by several months but is a truly standout game. Some may even argue that Grand Theft Auto Online should have been further delayed to combat a demand that Rockstar seemingly weren’t ready for. However, that technically is a separate game in many ways, as Grand Theft Auto V was shipped looking polished on ageing hardware, being rightly recognised as a masterpiece.
In fact, one of my favourite games Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, was delayed for what seemed like an eternity. Yet when it was finally released it was a great success. I even recently played through it again and it still holds up surprisingly well. Clearly, this was a game that was delayed due to its ambition, an ambition which apes many games of today.
A less crowded holiday season
For a gamer, every holiday season is one of mixed emotions. There’s the joy of your favourite games finally being released and frustration on not being able to afford them all. Unless you are the profitable owner of a business conglomerate, you have to choose your holiday purchases wisely or cosy up to Aunt Edna and hope she understands your love for video games. Therefore, some high quality titles can be looked over, especially if you are a fan of franchises that just so happen to release their next installment during the holidays. For example, I would probably be playing Rise of The Tomb Raider had it not released in the same week as Fallout 4 and shortly after the release of Halo 5: Guardians. Also, whilst I believe Hitman would have found a very sizeable audience during the holiday season, it could find an even larger audience during a less packed release schedule.
Maybe this reveals something about my compulsive gaming habits, but I don’t always enjoy games released during busy holiday seasons, as I feel in a rush to complete one game before moving onto the next. Sometimes it’s much nicer to sit and savour a game; complete the main campaign, dip into the multiplayer and chase some of the harder achievements. This is something I managed with The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain this year. Both these games were out during generally quieter release schedules, which meant I could immerse myself in their worlds of fantasy and espionage more fully.
So what do you think? Are game delays such as really that bad or do they cause crushing disappointment? Let me know in the comments below.