All Good Things Come To Those Who Wait: Delaying The Release Of A Video Game

Anticipating the release of a brand new video game is the equivalent of what a child waiting for Christmas Day feels like—eager and a little impatient. You just want the day to arrive so you can unwrap that new game and start playing it immediately. Developers will tease and drop as many or as little details as possible to keep excitement high until release day arrives. But when an official announcement is made that the video game you have been waiting for has to be delayed by two or five months, you’ll be faced with crushing disappointment until you realize this could be the best thing to (hopefully) happen to the video game.

Last week two of the most highly anticipated video games of the year, Final Fantasy VII Remake and Cyberpunk 2077, had to push back their targeted release dates to spend more time perfecting the games until they were truly ready for the masses to play. Cyberpunk 2077 is the game I’m most excited for ever since it was announced a few years back, and when the full trailer was unveiled at E3 last year with special guest Keanu Reeves also being revealed he’ll be a character in the game.

CD Projekt Red’s involvement in the making of Cyberpunk 2077 and their lofty goals to make this a very intricate and sprawling open world RPG with a branching narrative in a similar vein as BioWare’s Mass Effect and Dragon Age series is enough for me to have really high hopes that this video game will be a winner. Hearing about the delay from an April release to a September one is disappointing, don’t get me wrong, but it has increased my faith in the studio that they are being very careful about making sure this game doesn’t make the mistake of launching before it’s ready.

We’ve already seen plenty of examples of video games being released prematurely with too many bugs or incomplete story narratives that are added onto the game later as patches. Mass Effect: Andromeda, Anthem, and Final Fantasy XV are among some of the video games that would have done better with a longer development cycle. Rushing to meet a game’s release date is not only ruining the gameplay experience for the players who expect to play a near perfect game, but it’s also hurting the reputation of studios who may have been seen as the gold standard of creating amazing games.

I respect game developers and studios who admit that maybe they need more time to get something right and are committed to doing just that. They want to deliver on the promise of a good game and not let their fans down. The most passionate gamers have proven they will spend a little more money on a video game if it’s well worth their time and investment. Give gamers a poorly made game that’s nearly unplayable and you will only serve to frustrate and lose the trust of your fans with bad executive decisions and miscalculations on what you think the game can and can’t do.

While I was hoping I would play Cyberpunk 2077 much sooner after placing a pre-order on it last year, I’m content with waiting for that new September launch date. Besides, this is the perfect opportunity to focus on the other games in my current backlog and to indulge in other side projects before Cyberpunk 2077 becomes my whole world for the next few months!

Have there been video games you were glad they were delayed? Did you think the video game was at its best because of the delay?


15 thoughts on “All Good Things Come To Those Who Wait: Delaying The Release Of A Video Game

  1. I agree. Even though it might be disappointing, it’s understandable that sometimes things happen and games need to be delayed, but I’d rather wait a little more for a solid, complete, and not-buggy product, and know that the developers weren’t being forced to work 537 hours per day, than have the game released on time and be rushed, buggy, or broken, and pushed out by developers who are dropping from stress.

    I’m happy to wait. My enthusiasm isn’t worth the cost of a rushed game.

    1. Exactly! I really hope more developers do this and this no longer becomes a continued business model, bottom line that we keep seeing. We already know what happens when a studio meets their target date, but then it harms the final product rather than helps it.

  2. That’s a good point, rushing games hurts both the devs and the fans. It’s hard when art meets marketing. I’m glad they are pushing these games back — I have other things to play early in the year anyway, like you said! 🙂

    1. It’s obvious that the driving motivation is money and maybe trying to keep the promise of releasing on the day they say they would. I kind of wonder if it would be better to announce a release date when they know the game is really close to being done. Sometimes they announce it a year in advance and then the studio realizes that there’s more to work on than they had initially thought. Might be better to do for everyone involved.

  3. Resident Evil 4 and Perfect Dark are games that I was disappointed they got delayed, but were definitely worth the wait. They’re two of my all-time favorites. 🎮❤️

    1. That’s great to hear! I love examples when a delay ended up being a good thing for the finished product. I actually celebrate the delay more and more if it means you’ll get your money’s worth.

  4. I have zero problems with a game being delayed, but I was a little surprised that it happened with Cyberpunk 2077 since they really seemed to be on track with everything. But, it’s also a massive game with lots of moving parts, so needing extra time to make sure everything works right together is understandable.

    I can’t recall a recent game delay over which I was disappointed. Delays are so very common these days, they almost seem inevitable!

    1. Yeah, it did seem like Cyberpunk 2077 was near completion but based on everything I’ve read or watched about the game it does sound like Cyberpunk will have really intricate gameplay mechanics that can’t be fine tuned over night. I like when studios are realistic and honest about the status of their game and make the adjustments accordingly. The need to push back their release date is the best thing they can do for a game as highly anticipated as this one. They want to deliver on their promise of giving us a gameplay experience that will blow our minds. I’m certainly counting on it. 🙂

  5. I’d actually wouldn’t mind at all if more developers would do this. Of course it’s disappointing when a game you’ve been looking forward to gets pushed back, but the extra time is always worth it. More time means more polish and fewer 16-hour days for the developers. Furthermore, we’ve seen plenty of examples of what happens when unfinished games are rushed to market (Fallout 76 and Anthem anyone?), and it almost never works out.

    There’s so much to play these days that I don’t think delays are the big deal they used to be. Far better for the developer to take their time and make the best possible game they can rather than it is for them to practically kill themselves rushing something half-baked to market.

    1. Agree! With the amount of other quality video games being made, the problem isn’t having enough to play. The big problem now is having TOO much to play. I think backlogs have gotten worse. A good and bad problem to have, haha! But when a game you’re waiting on does get delayed, it’s hardly noticeable when you can focus on the games you still have to play.

  6. I agree, often times rushing game development can cause several issues like bugs and just poor gameplay in general. However, I also feel that delaying the release of a game sets it up for a sink or swim mentality. This is just my opinion, but if a game is delayed I expect the finished product to be very good. If the finished product is not great than I end up feeling disappointed in the end because the developers had enough time to produce the game, and it was lackluster. With that being said, I still feel that developers should take whatever time they need to make the game. Rushing never ends well.

    1. You make a valid point. One can presume that if developers are delaying their game, then your own personal expectations become even higher for the game to be perfect. In a way that does put even more pressure on the developers to deliver a high quality game with the extra time tacked on. I guess it’s all one big gamble no matter how you look at it.

  7. Borderlands 3 provided me with 300+ hours of extremely fun gameplay, but it was pretty buggy and even crashed a few times on my PS4 Pro. After major updates were released, I still had major issues with the weapons inventory menu, which is definitely not cool in such a loot-heavy game! I don’t regret picking up BL3 but it really felt like the devs were adopting an MVP mindset in order to hit the holiday sales season.

    1. Yeah, I encountered a pretty known bug with the co-op for Far Cry New Dawn when a friend and I played it together. It’s really frustrating when these bugs pop up and it’s not something the devs caught earlier on before shipping the game. Or at least fix it with a patch. It looks like the bug is never going to get fixed, which is a shame because it makes the game pretty unplayable on co-op.

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