Over the course of the past two months or so, the gaming industry has played host to a number of various push backs, deadline failures and delays. The reason for each of these varies between wanting to put out a quality product or not meeting specific goals within their alotted time frame. Delays are nothing new to the gaming industry, and they are something that will always be present. It is easy to say, learn to live with it, but that seems like a terrible way to look at the situation. A better way to look at it would be to learn to love them. Here, we will list a couple of reasons that delays help benefit the consumers, as well as, the developers, and why having delays is really a good thing in the long run.
For many of the delayed projects, the reason boils down to nothing more than the developers not being happy with the current build of the game. This could mean unappealing gameplay, massive bugs or glitches, or even going a different direction artistically. Regardless of why they are delaying the project, it is to the benefit of both the gamer and the developer. The developer wants to create the best gaming experience for their customers. If they are not interested in that, then they are not a very good developer. By wanting the best experience for the gamer, the developer sometimes needs to make a bold decision. This decision is something as simple as stepping back, looking at the project and the direction it is heading, and telling everyone, “hey, this is not what we want”, then making the appropriate changes. What this really means is that the developer, no matter what, wants the best experience and does not believe it is possible to achieve given the current situation. This is a good thing, a very good thing.
Imagine if every game that had ever been delayed was forced to release at the time it was originally quoted. Think of BioShock, Metal Gear Solid 4, Twilight Princess, just to name a few. These were some of the greatest games to come from this generation of console gaming, but would they have been if it weren’t for critical delays in the creative process? Would BioShock have been the powerhouse AAA series it is today without going through some necessary bumps and bruises along the way? Absolutely not, just ask the developers. They thought it would take more time, people moaned and groaned, and after it was all said and done, the gaming community was given an amazing title worthy of numerous awards. By saying to all the excited and rabid fans, “hey, you are going to have to wait another six months”, they aren’t telling them it is going to be bad. They aren’t telling them it isn’t going as planned, they aren’t telling them it isn’t even going to come out. What they are telling them is that they want you to love their game, and if that means a few more months of hard work, sacrifice, and the occasional hurtful comment, then so be it.
Game developers want people to love their games. It is true that some games should be delayed, but due to certain circumstances (i.e. games released in conjunction with popular movies, cookie cutter annuals), they are not. Battlefield 3 should have been delayed a month or two, perhaps if that had happened, they may have avoided a poor start and a long lasting bug problem. Diablo III might have also benefited from a week or two delay, just to insure that the servers were ready to handle the millions of fans that had waited over a decade for the popular title. The cases are isolated and debatable at best, but you get the idea.
It used to be that when I was younger and heard about a game I had been waiting to release for sometime, I would be enraged. I would curse to the skies as if the developers were looking down at me, laughing as if they only delayed the game to piss me off for their own amusement. But eventually I came to realize that by delaying the game, I wasn’t so much guaranteed a perfect game. What I was guaranteed was that the people making my game want me to love it, they want it to be perfect. These guys that are spending endless hours slaving away at art design, story writing and coding were just as excited to finish this game the way it was intended to be finished, not the time it was intended to be finished in. They wanted me to wait, because by waiting, they believe that I will have a more enjoyable, memorable experience. Then I began to love the delays. I would say, “great, that game got delayed, it must not be ready to come out yet. Take your time and make it amazing”. I feel as though most people are in the same boat as me, but you cannot help but noticed the mod of angry internet users that bombard message boards with profanities.
Basically, learn to love delays. They are there to make sure you aren’t pissing away sixty bucks on a piece of garbage that you thought you wanted. So what if Tomb Raider, Devil May Cry, Aliens: Colonial Marines, South Park, BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light have been delayed until 2013. I say we all just sit back, relax, and use our income tax checks to purchase a slew of great titles lined up for early 2013.