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Is Delaying a Game Really for the Best?

It’s no surprise that when a game you’ve really been looking forward to is delayed, you feel disappointment. But perhaps you should rejoice, for the wise Shigeru Miyamoto once said, “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” So, when the news hits that delay has happened. Rejoice, for the game you hope to play is being made to meet your expectations. Perhaps even surpass them.

Notably, one of the major delays of the 1990s was for the much-hyped game, Half-Life. The game was developed by both experienced developers as well as modders that Valve had hired. In the runup to the game’s release, the development team realized they had learned much in terms of game development. With funding from Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington, the team redid most of the game which led to a year-long delay. But the end result was a first-person masterpiece that is to this day considered a masterpiece of a game.

Franchise Curse.

Not only can delays affect a single game. Other times, it can affect an entire franchise. In the past, the Resident Evil franchise has had some of its best games delayed due to creative differences from the directors. Series creator Shinji Mikami had worked on the first four games in the series. Mikami acted as both producer and director throughout his time working on the games. But due to multiple directors having their own vision on the franchise. Delays and restarts plagued some of the titles. It wasn’t until Mikami took his turn at directing Resident Evil 4 that the long-awaited horror title was finally released to glowing praise.

Resident Evil 4 Feature

But the delays in the franchise did have a silver lining. For example, Hideki Kamiya served as director for one of the first versions of Resident Evil 4. As development progressed, it slowly turned into the first game in the much-loved Devil May Cry series. So not only can a delay improve a game, it might create a new franchise from time to time.

Technology Moving On.

There are times when a delay can be bad for a game. This can be due to things such as outdated technology or developer incompetence. An extremely good example of this is the well-remembered game, Duke Nukem Forever. Originally slated for a 1999 release, the game went through several engine changes, each costing a fortune in licensing fees. Along with a director who felt the need to create a perfect game at the cost of quality and consistency. Eventually, developer Apogee had simply run out of cash, with Gearbox Software picking up the game and giving it a release after fourteen years of development.

Another example of outdated tech would be the canceled Blizzard game, StarCraft: Ghost. Originally built to run on the Xbox and PlayStation 2. It was going to be Blizzard’s return to the console space. Due to multiple delays, the game missed the release window as the next generation of consoles hit the market. This caused the developers to realize that releasing a game with outdated tech would not be financially sound. Eventually, the game was announced to be on indefinite hold, before finally getting canceled many years later.

starcraft ghost coverart

It Can be Good or Bad.

In short, when a game is going through a delay. There are many reasons to either rejoice or feel disappointment. My advice is to just relax, as most times when a delay is announced. It can mean that developers just need a bit more time in polishing up their vision. Or their just reworking the game to surpass your expectations. In this day and age, however, you never know what to expect from each developer.