Rumours suggest that God of War: Ghost of Sparta developer Ready at Dawn may have spent too much time watching Sam Mendes’ television smash Penny Dreadful to finish The Order: 1886 ahead of the holidays. While it’s nothing more than alleged ‘insider’ speculation at the minute, it’s a believable turn of events – after all, Sony’s barely managed to deploy a minute’s worth of gameplay footage from the dreary PlayStation 4 release. But with delayed racer DriveClub, troubled sequel Uncharted PS4, and re-release The Last of Us Remastered the only other big exclusives confirmed for the Japanese giant’s next-gen machine at the moment, can the company afford to push the alternate history escapade back?

There’s no doubt that the platform holder’s been coy when it comes to its promising Victorian adventure. It took months for us to get our first glimpse of the cinematic shooter’s gameplay, with creative director Ru Weerasuriya seemingly happy to field general questions at last year’s E3 and GamesCom, but less keen to show the release publicly. We did eventually get a look at the actual game in early February – a strange collection of B-roll clips which reinforced the developer’s visual ambitions, but flagged a slightly wonky combat system and some marginally more interactive – albeit not exactly innovative – quick-time events. At the time, the firm insisted that it’s still aiming for Christmas – a comment reiterated by the platform holder itself.

Alas, the lack of information surrounding the release over the past 12 or so weeks has prompted online pundits to ponder just how far along the product actually is. Toss aside the latest line of insider speculation, and many reports have hinted that the game may not be ready in time for the holidays. This is not exactly an unexpected rumour, then, but it does leave Sony in something of a pickle ahead of the busy shopping season. We already mentioned how the delays to DriveClub, Destiny, and Watch Dogs may have worked out in its favour – and if Ready at Dawn’s largest ever undertaking slips, the platform holder may end up relying on Evolution Studios’ outrageously gorgeous racer in order to offer an exclusive this fall.

Take a step back, though, and it may not be the end of the world. While we’d love to tread the Daxter creator’s impeccably rendered Victorian cobbles this Christmas, the end of year release calendar is already starting to bulge. The opening days of October alone promise to offer Alien Isolation, Dragon Age Inquisition, and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, as well as the abovementioned racing game. Meanwhile, the $500 million Destiny is due out in September, with Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Far Cry 4, Batman: Arkham Knight, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and, potentially, a new Battlefield game all due out during the same period. With the stakes for next-gen titles now so high, we’re not convinced that there’d even be room for a trio of moustachioed upper-class men to squeeze in.

Consequentially, perhaps the problem with The Order: 1886 is not its development status, but the busy release calendar itself. Sony proved with The Last of Us last year that it’s possible to create a blockbuster brand by launching during the relative serenity of the summer, and there’s no doubt that the glum slums of Paddington Station would provide some contrast to the sunshine months. Of course, if that is the case, then the company must feel good about its lineup for this holiday – and with co-marketing partnerships on many of the biggest games of the year, it may have a point. Still, while it’s possible to get by on strong third-party titles, exclusives still form an important part of each platform holder’s marketing message, so what could it offer instead?

Well, it’s something that we’ve been consistently coming back to since the start of the year, but we continue to feel that 2014 is going to be the home of the re-release. We already know that The Last of Us Remastered is due out imminently, but don’t be surprised if it’s accompanied by Beyond: Two Souls, God of War: Ascension, and, potentially, smaller products such as Puppeteer. It’s clear that third-party publishers are going to attempt a similar tact, too, with Grand Theft Auto V hotly rumoured to be making a comeback, and even the Mass Effect Trilogy listed for next-gen platforms on certain retail sites. Moreover, the Japanese giant may not be the only first-party resting its hopes on remakes, as Microsoft is widely rumoured to be preparing the Halo: Master Chief Collection for the Xbox One – though it does also have Sunset Overdrive to brag about.

Considering that Sony has consistently kicked figurative buttocks with its first-party releases for several years now, it seems strange to be staring down the barrel of a relatively barren 12 months. inFAMOUS: Second Son was excellent, and DriveClub is shaping up great as well, but the output is hardly on par with last year’s rip-roaring PS3 lineup. That could all change at E3 next month, as the company has undoubtedly been keeping its cards close to its chest. However, you may want to temper your expectations at this point, because we’re no longer holding our breath. We hope that you like indie games and remakes, as that looks like what you’re going to get.


Would you kick the cobbled curb if The Order: 1886 got delayed? What do you make of the current PS4 lineup, and are you satisfied with the releases on the way? Stroke your immaculate moustache in the comments section below.

Do you think that The Order: 1886 will get delayed? (50 votes)

Yes, it looked a bit rough last time we saw it

32%

Hmm, I’m honestly not sure

38%

No, I still believe that it’ll be ready this year

30%

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