Console development has always been a good thing. Whether people think that the Wii U is a pile of rubbish or not, the fact that companies continue to innovate their technologies brings us more and more as gamers. One of the biggest developments in recent history has been the connectivity of these consoles to allow us to play our friends online and bring the world together to play against anyone. This is ultimately a great thing, but like many great things, their are side effects that can leave a nasty taste in your mouth, or give you a nasty rash.
Once upon a time, if a company released a game before it was ready then it was going to be a bad game, there was nothing that they could do about it. That’s why we saw games such as E.T produced in mere weeks and be realised to such criticism. The only option when that was the case was to bury them all in the desert. But not today, with our consoles constantly connected, the developer can release a buggy game and then fix it post launch. Take Battlefield 4 as the biggest case of this in the last year. EA would have known that the game was not ready to go out, but they did it anyway, creating an even worse name for themselves now than they already had. Thanks to our content connection DICE were able to fix many of the issues and actually give gamers the game they paid £50 for rather than a buggy mess.
It’s when moving on to some other high profile cases that we take a look at the ‘Delay’ of a video game. Of course we are all thinking of Watch Dogs here and on the verge of its release, we have to remind ourselves that this was supposed to come out months ago, a launch titles for the new consoles no less. Move forward a few months and we have another couple of hight profile games delayed, both The Elder Scrolls online (Console Edition) and Dying Light. In all of these cases, the developers have justified their decisions to delay that games as a needed move in order to make sure the game is as perfect as they can get it. Either features that they want to make perfect need some time or they just want to add some more finishing touches on what they already have. This trend of delays ends up giving me mixed feelings. It’s great that these developers are taking time to fix the game to makes sure that they don’t release a game with lots of issues, relying on post launch patches to make the game bearable. However, there is a trust issue what will start to emerge here. How do we know what they are really just ‘polishing’ and not trying to fix the complete mess that may be their game. The more and more developers that delay their games will just hurt the relationship they have with the gamers and while we may end up with better games, there will be a lot of mixed feelings in the middle.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this issue. STOP MARKETING THE GAMES SO HEAVILY BEOFRE YOU CAN GUARANTY THE RELEASE DATE! Look, we don’t mind too much if the game is delayed a little bit, especially if we are going to get a much better game because of it, but don’t tease us just to rip the toy away when it is in arms reach, that’s just mean people. Hype is important for a video game launch but unless developers and publishers can communicate to control the timing of that hype, it can not only damage the games chances but also the relationship the industry has with the gamers.