When your most anticipated game is delayed, it can be a painful pill to swallow. Admittedly, I’ve had my fair share of these instances in the past. An example of this came in 2013, when Sony made the bold decision to delay a game I had been looking forward to playing since its announcement back in 2011: Naughty Dog's survival horror The Last of Us.
Granted, this masterpiece exceeded my expectations ten-fold, not only becoming my favourite game of that year (and to date) but it piqued my curiosity about what the game would have been like if that delay never even happened. Looking back, perhaps this delay was intended to add a little buff and shine to an already stellar experience, or maybe Naughty Dog needed to completely deconstruct a particular scene – we won’t ever know for certain. The Last of Us is just one example of this, but it is not the first and, unfortunately, won’t be the last to follow this trait either.
These delays are pesky. They can been seen as unnecessary to some, resulting in insults and slander across all reaches of social media directly aimed at developers. While this kind of approach is never the way forward, the frustration involved can be understandable. But is it justifiable when a rushed product may never meet expectations in the first place?
Not every game that's ever been delayed ends up good, of course, but at least it allows for more time. Time to potentially improve, to add that extra map the developer's been plotting for months, or to re-work those pesky textures that have been bugging an artist for ages but haven't yet been fixed.
But most importantly why are these game delays necessary? Because, to me, they show that developers care about their art. Money will, unfortunately, forever be at the forefront of these decisions. That, and pressure from higher echelons of course. But I do see it as a positive when a developer takes the risky decision to keep its game in the oven just a little bit longer – even if the news disappoints.
Are games announced too early? Certainly this plays a part in delays. But games are getting longer, larger, and more complicated than ever before – there are always going to be last-minute issues to overcome. At the end of the day, delays – no matter how disappointing – are a necessary evil. Patience is the key here, and it's worth keeping in mind the next time your favourite game is pushed back that the extra development time is being used with your best interests in mind.
Do you agree with Gabriella that delays are simply a consequence of complicated software development, and should be accepted by fans demanding a quality product? Are games simply announced too early these days? Have a little patience like Take That in the comments section below.